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Los Angeles Employment Law Blog

Attorney Twila White gets arbitration award overturned on ethics grounds

In employment disputes, arbitration is increasingly common, especially since the U.S. Supreme Court recently ruled in Epic Systems Corp v. Lewis that employment contracts can lawfully include mandatory arbitration clauses.

Unfortunately, these clauses are usually the result of a substantial imbalance in bargaining power. Plus, the contract clauses outsource civil justice to private organizations that resolve these disputes confidentially, instead of in a public forum.

Forced out for blowing the whistle on hospital patient safety?

If you're a registered nurse, LPN, CNA or any healthcare professional at a hospital, you're in a position to notice patient safety problems and unsafe working conditions. When you do, it's part of your job to report these issues to the hospital. Patient safety should be of the utmost concern because everyone, including their loved ones, wants to go to hospitals that are safe.

Common patient safety issues you may notice include:

Investigation finds sexual harassment in photojournalism field

Journalists have been leaders in the #MeToo movement, publishing articles that have brought the problem of sexual harassment to the nation's attention.

But have news organizations been providing safe harbor for harassment in their photojournalism departments? A recent investigation by the Columbia Journalism Review raises that question, and the findings prove that no industry is immune to sexual harassment.

Top Uber exec resigns over unresolved discrimination complaints

In another shakeup for Uber Technologies, Inc., the company's chief people officer resigned following an investigation into whether she handled discrimination complaints properly. An anonymous group of whistleblowers has accused the executive of systematically ignoring or dismissing internal discrimination complaints, especially those involving race.

The female executive had been among the company's top spokespeople on discrimination and diversity issues. She had held the position of chief people officer, or head of human resources, for 18 months.

Pregnancy discrimination widespread at America's top companies

The New York Times recently published an expose about how common pregnancy discrimination continues to be in the U.S.

After reviewing thousands of pages of public records and court documents and interviewing dozens of women, their lawyers, and public officials, the Times concluded that pregnancy discrimination is "rampant." This is true even at companies that advertise themselves as especially friendly to working mothers.

Disparate-impact discrimination cases

There are two basic types of illegal discrimination: intentional bias and "disparate impact" discrimination. The second type of discrimination can be intentional, but it need not be. It is a type of discrimination where unnecessary employment barriers are put in the way of certain classes of people.

A classic example of disparate impact discrimination is the "unnecessary height requirement." A police department, for example, might wish to require all officers to be at least six feet tall. Even if the intent were neutral, such a requirement could be discriminatory if it unduly burdened one class of worker over another and served no objective, job-based need. Indeed, employee height requirements have often been found to cause a disparate impact against women.

Hospital pays $15,000 to settle disability discrimination lawsuit

In a case in Indiana, a hospital recently paid $15,000 to settle a lawsuit regarding the hospital's failure to provide a disabled employee with a reasonable accommodation. Specifically, the hospital did not permit the employee to transfer to a vacant position for which she was able to work.

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) filed a disability discrimination lawsuit on behalf of the employee.

Jury awards more than $18 million for wrongful firing

Michael T. thought his career was in good hands with Allstate. It was not. The 55-year-old Californian had worked for Allstate for 30 years, ever since he graduated from college. He had worked his way up to the position of field sales leader and advised 30 independent agents and staff. Despite this excellent performance, he was abruptly fired in 2016.

The reason he was fired had to do with a 2014 arrest in Arizona after complaints made by his then-girlfriend. She was in psychiatric care, and it turned out to be a wrongful arrest. The charges were dropped.

EEOC settles pregnancy discrimination suit with supplement seller

"There is still a strong bias against mothers in the workplace, and we encourage women who feel discriminated against due to pregnancy to come forward and let the EEOC help defend your rights," says the director of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission's San Diego office.

Two employees of Tarr, Inc., a now-defunct dietary supplement company, filed complaints of pregnancy discrimination. The EEOC announced a lawsuit in August of last year. Now, the agency has achieved a settlement that will bind the company's owners, officers and directors if they start new enterprises. Tarr, Inc., merged with Zenith, LLC in 2016.

9th Circuit: Basing pay on past salary perpetuates discrimination

Here in California, employers are prohibited from asking job applicants about their salary histories. With women making about 82 cents for every dollar a male peer makes, we need a way to close the pay gap. When wages and salaries are based on past pay rates, any discrimination a woman experiences at any point in her career can be locked in, giving her a lower income permanently.

The impact of discrimination in pay has not only effected women, but members from various racial and ethnic minority groups. Our legislature has made great efforts to narrow the pay gap in having the broadest and most expansive equal-pay laws in the country.

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