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San Francisco Employment Law Blog

Suit against financial services firm alleges age discrimination

It's hard enough to get ahead in business without a factor beyond our control getting in our way. There are several factors that we choose, such as faith or hairstyle, along with many we do not that may change an employer's view of us. Fortunately, California does not allow managers to make hiring and firing decisions based on these factors. Attorneys can help protect the rights of workers suffering from discrimination.

The intellectual economy centered around the Golden State's tech sector allows for many types of people to make a valuable contribution to products, services and their communities. California law ensures that disabilities or other drawbacks unrelated to the performance of a job are not a reason for dismissal or other damage to a person's career.

Were you wrongfully terminated? Here are some signs

You knew that you were an "at-will" employee, which meant that your employer could fire you for just about any reason -- as long as it wasn't based on a discriminatory reason or an act of retaliation.

So how do you tell when you've been wrongfully terminated from your position? Each case is unique, but here are some common scenarios:

African-American women are increasingly subjected to harassment

There's good news and bad news for working women. On the one hand, sexual harassment complaints are generally on the decline. On the other hand, African-American women are increasingly likely to be victims.

A new study that looked at data from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) from 1997 to 2016 indicates that gains made by women in the workplace in regard to sexual harassment are very uneven, with black women continuing to suffer a disproportionate share of the offenses.

Riot Games faces (and fights) gender discrimination allegations

Riot Games, the developer of the hugely popular game League of Legends, has been hit with allegations of gender discrimination. The issue hit the gaming and tech industry with a particularly strong punch when workers staged a mass walkout in response to the company's efforts to force at least two litigants into private arbitration.

Now it appears that it isn't just employees who want answers. The California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) is also asking a lot of questions. They'd like to see the company's data on its payroll to determine whether Riot Games is paying female employees less than male employees for the same work. Riot Games has not been compliant with a voluntary request.

Uber, Lyft fight worker rights bill in California

Ride-hailing companies like Uber and Lyft provide an excellent source of supplemental income for people who are looking to make a few bucks on the side. For others, the driving gig is their sole source of income either by choice or because they're unable to find more lucrative work.

However, gig workers like the drivers who operate under the umbrella of companies like Uber and Lyft are currently considered independent contractors in California (and most of the rest of the country). The companies say that this is necessary in order to maintain profitability -- and also a huge benefit to the drivers. Their independent contractor status allows them freedoms that regular employees don't have. The companies say that those freedoms -- like the ability to choose their own working hours -- would vanish if the drivers were re-classified as employees under new laws.

Pride Month: Marking how far we've come and how far we have to go

Welcome to Pride Month, where lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) communities celebrate their unique cultural identities, reflect on their gains, collectively bow their heads in respect for the struggles that have been overcome and discuss the changes that still need to be made.

This year also marks the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Riots, which is the first well-known pushback by LGBTQ people against systemic police harassment. Many people mark that as the big turning point where people started to question why, exactly, LGBTQ people should be subjected to harassment and discrimination.

'Culture of misogyny' alleged in discrimination suit against chef

Chef Thomas Keller is among the best of the best -- with multiple three-star Michelin restaurants to his name, including the French Laundry in California.

However, a former employee of the chef's New York restaurant, Per Se, claims that she was basically shuffled out of a job through a "bait and switch" offer of employment at the French Laundry as soon as her employers found out she was pregnant. Her attorney has referred to the whole situation as symptomatic of the "culture of misogyny" in the fine dining world -- something that many female chefs have complained of publicly for years. Keller is named in the lawsuit not for any direct involvement in the discrimination but as the owner.

New threshold for exempt employees is coming

Are you an "exempt employee" who isn't entitled to overtime no matter how many hours you put in behind the desk?

Well, that may soon change. If the United States Department of Labor (DOL) has its way, the path to overtime may become available for a whole lot of salaried employees who are currently exempted.

When your employer discourages conversations about pay, watch out

One of the biggest social taboos at work is discussing your rate of pay with your co-workers -- and that suits your employer just fine.

In fact, many employers have openly discouraged employees from discussing their wages with each other -- despite the fact that it's illegal to do so. Since many employees don't realize that the practice is illegal, they comply.

Know your rights regarding work and mental health issues

Mental health issues are very common. However, many people still don't realize that their mental health conditions are entitled to the same workplace protections that physical disabilities are accorded through the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA). The United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has also published information to help spread awareness of the rights of mentally ill employees.

Here's what you should know: