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Los Angeles Employment Law Blog

IKEA accused of age discrimination

IKEA is coming under attack for alleged age discrimination. In the past year, five lawsuits have been filed nationwide against the home furnishings retailer.

In the latest lawsuit, a 48-year-old Connecticut man alleges IKEA has a "corporate culture of age bias" and repeatedly violated the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA).

Is sexual misconduct to be expected in male-dominated workplaces?

"This job was everything I'd ever wanted," Jennifer G. told the New York Times. It was a physical job, but Jennifer was a bodybuilder. The job involved guarding a highly classified Energy Department site where scientists perform top-secret nuclear tests and work on our nation's responses to nuclear, chemical and biological emergencies.

The position was with a group called the Proforce, which is managed by government contractors. It involved 12-hour shifts, sometimes longer, of armed patrol. It sometimes involved simulated attacks on the facility, with Proforce members working both sides.

Guest sexual misconduct is a serious issue in hospitality industry

In 2017, a drunken male guest barged into a Marriott hotel lobby bathroom that a housekeeper was cleaning. He groped her and offered her $50, presumably in exchange for sex. The woman's supervisor joked that the man should have offered $100.

Unfortunately, it's not uncommon for guests to sexually harass or even assault hotel housekeeping staff. According to Leticia V., the plaintiff in a recent lawsuit, men frequently urinate in front of her and make lewd comments or sexual advances. She's suing the Marriott Irvine, claiming that management hasn't done enough to stop sexual harassment and misconduct by hotel guests.

Chili's server denied promotions due to her gender nonconformity

When Meagan H.'s supervisors at a Phoenix Chili's Grill & Bar invited her to apply for a manager training program, she was thrilled. She loved her job as a server and was good at it.

Things began to go bad when Meagan appeared at a seminar regarding the company's Certified Shift Leader program. A district manager saw her wearing a men's button-down shirt, fitted pants and boat shoes and told Meagan's general manager she had been "inappropriately dressed."

Majority of workers over 50 face unwanted termination, report says

Age discrimination may be far more common -- and more damaging -- than most people ever thought.

The nonprofit news organization ProPublica and a think tank called the Urban Institute recently analyzed data from the Health and Retirement Study (HRS), a detailed survey of the work lives of Americans over 50. What they found was disheartening: 56 percent of U.S. workers will be laid off, forced out of a job or feel compelled to quit between age 50 and retirement. Worse still, only 10 percent of those workers will ever earn what they had before.

Judge says African-Americans can proceed with class action against Kaiser

Two former Kaiser hospital employees claim Kaiser has a policy of discriminating against workers on the basis of race, gender and age. The workers allege their own experiences of being harassed, being denied promotions and ultimately being wrongfully terminated are common to other female, African-American employees over 40, and Kaiser Permanente uses a totally arbitrary, subjective system when making employment decisions.

Although the two women worked in different areas, their experiences were similar. Lunell Gamble worked in human resources for Kaiser for 16 years before being allegedly wrongful terminated. She claims that, despite being qualified and having an excellent performance record, she was denied promotions for years.

Private Attorneys General Act gives relief to wronged employees

Fifteen years ago, a state budget crisis pushed California to adopt the Private Attorneys General Act, or PAGA. This law allows private attorneys to sue employers on the state's behalf when those employers violate certain state employment and labor laws.

The law is especially important to workers because the California Supreme Court has ruled that employers cannot require PAGA complaints to be handled in individual arbitration. This is significant because employers routinely require, as a condition of employment, workers to agree to arbitrate all claims against the employer.

More than 1,100 women accuse KPMG of discrimination, assault

"We allege that KPMG discriminates against women in pay and in promotions, and that this happens within a boys' club culture that fails to address these disparities -- even though KPMG has known about them -- and that fails to address complaints of gender discrimination and sexual harassment," said the lead attorney in a gender discrimination case against accounting giant KPMG, which has U.S. and international offices.

The plaintiffs allege violations of the Equal Pay Act and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits job discrimination based on gender. The lawsuit has been conditionally certified as an Equal Pay Act class action. It could also be certified as a Title VII class action, which could affect far more women than the 1,112 who have joined the case so far.

Tech giants won't require arbitration in sexual harassment claims

The Supreme Court ruled earlier this year that companies could require employees to resolve their employment law claims through individual arbitration rather than by class action or ordinary lawsuits. After the ruling, it was widely expected that companies would eagerly adopt such policies, as arbitration is thought to benefit the employer. However, Google, Facebook, Airbnb and other technology giants have recently announced they will not require arbitration.

Google's decision not to require individual arbitration in sexual harassment and misconduct cases came after more than 20,000 employees walked off the job on Nov. 1 in protest of the company's conduct in previous cases. According to the New York Times, the walkout was prompted by revelations that Google had given a senior executive a $90 million "golden parachute" even though he was credibly accused of sexual harassment. 

Supreme Court rules unanimously on age-discrimination case

Federal age-discrimination laws apply to governmental entities regardless of their size, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in its first opinion of the court's current term.

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg wrote the opinion for the court's unanimous 8-0 decision, which was announced November 6.

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