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Lawsuit alleges widespread gender discrimination

California's burgeoning economy has relied on diversity for its signature innovation and ability to adapt to new conditions in the last century. Smart managers know that the workplace is no place for discrimination that could harm this diversity.

State law protects people from discrimination based on gender, race and disability among other attributes. Women have spoken out in increased numbers against sexual harassment and workplace discrimination in recent years, uncovering problems in the tech sector, venture capital and even the state government in Sacramento.

A former senior project manager filed a complaint with a California state university's anti-discrimination office including 16 counts of discrimination and harassment against women in her former department. The office investigated these charges to conclude the department was a hostile work environment for women.

The investigation uncovered discriminatory practices in mentoring and project work assignments, while several women were subjected to isolation and undermining. Some workers reported retaliation from male leadership if workers disagreed with them and difficulty getting required permissions to get work done.

When a different worker complained to the university's human resources department, the male team leader reduced her concerns and called her "aggressive." These charges go against the university's own policy for preventing discrimination in the workplace. The plaintiff in the suit was also terminated five days after the investigation concluded.

Victims of workplace discrimination do not have to tolerate mistreatment and may sue for financial restitution as a last resort to reverse an unfair situation. An attorney can help victims build a case for a settlement, jury verdict or other conclusion against the parties at fault.

Source: The Daily Californian, "UC Berkeley IT worker accuses campus of gender discrimination," Elena Aguirre, Feb. 26, 2018

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