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San Francisco Employment Law Blog

What does 'privilege' mean in terms of discrimination?

There's a lot of conversations going on about the concept of privilege in America.

Unfortunately, there isn't always a clear understanding of what privilege means. People who are told that they are privileged because they are white, heterosexual, cisgendered, male or anything similar often react with frustration -- and sometimes anger. You may even hear something like, "I'm not privileged! I've had to work for everything I have!"

Can you be fired while out on sick leave?

Is it illegal for an employer to fire you while you're sidelined from the job due to an illness or injury?

Unfortunately, no. At least, not exactly. Your disability doesn't protect you against all causes for termination.

How to tell if you've been wrongfully terminated from work

Wrongful termination is still a problem at places of employment throughout California and the rest of the country. Even though there are laws banning different reasons why employers can fire their employees, companies still thin their payroll by using these reasons. Let's take a look at the reasons for wrongful termination in today's post.

Whistleblowing: Did you blow the whistle on an unethical or illegal practice of your employer or someone in your company? If you recently lost your job not long after blowing the whistle on inappropriate behavior you might have a case for wrongful termination.

White worker claims racism motivated a wrongful termination

A man who worked for UPS in Los Angeles was fired, and he says that he was discriminated against and wrongfully terminated. He claims that racism was the root of the issue.

The man had been with UPS for a dozen years. At one point, the drivers that he supervised experienced a staffing shortage, so he had to pass out more work to the drivers who were left. The man claims that a Hispanic worker "became insubordinate and at times refused to perform his duties" when asked to do more work than usual.

Workplace sexual harassment is often about power

In order to curb sexual harassment in the workplace, it is important to think about what it's really about. The root of the issue, experts claim, is not a desire for an intimate relationship. In many cases, it is just about power.

It doesn't matter who holds that power. Both men and women have been accused of harassment. In both cases, the end goal is often simply to impose one's power over someone else. The harassment is a way to make the other person feel frightened, small and subordinate.

African American workers in STEM careers face discrimination

Reports indicate that the science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields are not as open to African-American workers as one would hope, with many of them reporting workplace discrimination.

For instance, when asked if they had faced racial discrimination on the job or discrimination based on their ethnicity, just 13 percent of white workers in this field said that it had happened to them. A full 62 percent of African-American workers made the same claim. That's a drastically higher rate, and no ethnicity claimed to see discrimination as often.

Gender discrimination percentages for men and women

Both men and women experience gender discrimination in the workplace. However, looking at the percentages for different types of discrimination -- not getting a raise based on one's gender, for instance -- show that it happens vastly more often for women than it does for men.

In one study, though some of the percentages were close to the same, women came out ahead -- meaning they saw more discrimination -- in every single category. The results from the Pew Research Center are as follows:

  • Any discrimination at all: Twenty-two percent of men, 42 percent of women
  • Making less money in the same job: Five percent of men, 25 percent of women
  • Being treated as if they are incompetent: Six percent of men, 23 percent of women
  • Experiencing small, repeated insults: Five percent of men, 16 percent of women
  • Not getting the same support from management: Seven percent of men, 15 percent of women
  • Getting passed over for important tasks at work: Five percent of men, 10 percent of women
  • Experiencing feelings of isolation: 6 percent of men, 9 percent of women
  • Not getting a promotion that was otherwise deserved: Five percent of men, 7 percent of women
  • Not getting a job: Four percent of men, 7 percent of women

Pilot AI facing wrongful termination allegations

A tech start-up in California called Pilot AI is now at the center of a wrongful termination case that includes allegations of wrongful discharge, retaliation, discrimination and sexual harassment. The case, which was started by a 24-year-old woman who went to Stanford University, was entered in the San Francisco Superior Court.

The lawsuit claims that the two co-founders, who are both men, turned the workplace into a hostile work environment. The young woman says that they made inappropriate sexual comments and, to get her to participate in these types of conversations, only gave her a promotion and a raise of $20,000 when she joined in.

33 percent of Latino workers report discrimination

Racial discrimination in the workplace may be illegal, but that does not mean it doesn't happen all the time. In fact, about 33 percent of Latino workers claim they have been discriminated against at work. That's a stunning percentage, considering today's modern employment laws.

Examples of this discrimination include:

  • Getting unequal pay for the same job as their coworkers
  • Not getting considered for promotions that they deserve
  • Finding it hard to land a job when putting in applications

Do you still get your pension after getting fired?

You plan to use your pension to retire. You've been planning on it for decades; it is one of the main reasons that you took this job in the first place. It's a very good pension that should allow you to maintain an enviable lifestyle even after you quit working, no matter what happens with the rest of your savings and investments.

Then, shortly before retirement, you get fired. Do you still have a right to your pension?