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Los Angeles Employment Law Blog

'Me too' evidence and its connection to #MeToo cases

In previous blog posts, we have examined the employment ramifications of the #MeToo movement, both in California and nationwide.

What we have not discussed is a legal concept that shares the same name as the #MeToo movement. In the legal realm, it's known as "me too" evidence, or other victims of discrimination evidence.

What happens when men are sexually harassed?

When thinking about sexual harassment in the workplace, do you think about the problem of men being sexually harassed? Sexual harassment of men is common, but men rarely speak up. It begs the question: when men are harassed, is the harm evaluated in the same way as when women suffer harassment?

Consider a Los Angeles case that went to trial in 2017 (Marqui Barber v. Southern California Permanente Medical Group, et al., Los Angeles Superior Court, Case No. BC598063). Attorney Twila S. White served as lead trial counsel.

Sexual harassment: Is change coming to the restaurant industry?

Chefs and other workers in the restaurant industry are fighting back against a culture of sexual harassment that they say is as prevalent as the wallpaper on the walls.

In recent weeks, employees in Oakland and Chicago have publicly shared their experiences of sexual harassment. A disgraced celebrity chef in Oakland admitted that the industry's culture of sexual harassment is wrong and that it must change. In Chicago, 12 prominent female chefs said they are speaking out in order to protect other women.

Will sexual harassment law evolve?

The publicity surrounding recent cases of sexual harassment may help foster an important cultural awakening. For decades, even generations, victims of workplace harassment have been ignored or intimidated into silence. As more people come forward to share their experiences with sexual harassment, perpetrators and enablers will find it harder to keep their misdeeds a secret.

Public outcry is valuable, but there is another factor that must be addressed in helping workers who are sexually harassed. Courts around the country have long been willing to dismiss cases of sexual harassment, even when the evidence shows blatant misconduct. People who experience sexual harassment will continue to be reluctant to report the abuse if valid claims are dismissed and employers are allowed to retaliate. 

The Harvey Weinstein case isn't just about Hollywood

Everyone is talking about Harvey Weinstein as if it's a shock that sexual harassment occurs in Hollywood.

The truth is that it is an everyday occurrence across Los Angeles, and across the country, in every industry, from glamorous to the shop around the corner. Wherever people in authority have power over others, sexual harassment occurs.

VIDEO: You do not have to be afraid to come forward about discrimination | Law Office of Twila S. White

Although there are specific employment laws that prohibit retaliation, many employees still fear that reporting discrimination might jeopardize their job security. In other cases, employees that have been wrongfully terminated may hesitate to come forward, perhaps blaming themselves. In both cases, our employment law firm can offer peace of mind.

Uber's culture is toxic: What employees need to know about discrimination at work

Does Uber have a discriminatory culture at their company? According to allegations from current and former employees, Uber has created an environment full of discriminatory practices ranging from sexual harassment, bullying, retaliation, unprofessional behavior and physical safety concerns.

These are serious allegations against the company. Uber hired a law firm to investigate 215 reports of "inappropriate workplace instances," which broke into the following categories:

  • 54 complaints of discrimination
  • 47 complaints of sexual harassment
  • 45 complaints of unprofessional behavior
  • 33 complaints for bullying
  • 19 complaints for other harassment
  • 13 complaints for retaliation
  • Three complaints for physical security
  • One complaint for wrongful termination

Video: Speak up to protect your rights with the help of an attorney

If you are being mistreated in the workplace, you probably are feeling powerless and scared. You might feel as though you have no options to protect yourself, or that you will be fired or otherwise penalized for speaking out about misconduct. However, you have rights and a voice worth fighting for, and an attorney can help you do this.

VIDEO: The law protects whistleblowers | Law Office of Twila S. White

A whistleblower is an employee who suffers retaliation for coming forward to report the illegal activities of his or her employer. Most states have laws that protect whistleblowers. Unfortunately, an employer may disguise adverse employment actions with pretext.

For example, retaliation can take forms other than termination. Demotions, disciplinary actions, or even a hostile workplace are all examples of unlawful retaliation.

Video: Fired for an illegal reason? | Law Office of Twila S. White

California is an at-will state, which means that an employer does not need good cause to terminate an employee. At the same, both state and federal laws make certain workplace behaviors illegal.

For example, termination based on a protected category, including race, color, religion, sex or national origin, is prohibited. It is also illegal for an employer to retaliate against an employee who utilized employment rights, such as family and medical leave, or reported discrimination or sexual harassment in the workplace.

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