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San Francisco Employment Law Blog

Discrimination against "Independent Contractors"

I read this article about pregnancy discrimination (I Was Fired for Being Pregnant - Yes, Really) the other day on the internet and I thought it was unfortunate that the author did not consult with us.  Many times employers misclassify employees as independent contractors - hence all the anti-discirmination laws that apply to employees may have applied to her.  Yet even if she was properly classified as an independent contractor, there are many other laws that apply to discrimination in the formation and performance of contractual relationships that may have let her recover for the loss of her work.  We have successfully represented many employees/independent contractors in pregnancy discrimination cases, and her case has the makings of particularly potent case. 

Pregnancy discrimination at work?!?!

How do you know if you've been discriminated against at work?

Sometimes it is obvious, because your employer overtly tells you something. For example, your employer might tell you that it won't let you work because you are pregnant.

Sometimes, it is less obvious. For example, your employer starts micro-managing you after you revealed that you are pregnant. Or, for example, after disclosing your pregnancy, your managers begin providing you with negative feedback when before it was only positive. Another example might include writing you up for being late, when your co-workers arrive at the same time and they are not written up.

EEOC files lawsuit on woman's behalf for workplace discrimination

Many women in California and across the country face unnecessary stigmas when it comes to their work-related abilities. It is not unusual for women to be wrongfully considered less intelligent or less capable than their male co-workers. Unfortunately, even woman well-qualified and experienced can face workplace discrimination that can hold them back.

It was recently reported that a lawsuit has been filed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission on behalf of a woman in another state. The woman works for an automotive group as a sales manager and has been hoping to move up to the general manager position. However, reports indicate that she has been denied the promotion nine times in favor of male employees, even though they were less-qualified than the woman in some cases.

Bullying could escalate to workplace harassment

Many California residents work in competitive environments. There may only be a few positions available at a particular place of employment, or only employees in certain roles will obtain particular benefits. As a result, it can take a lot of hard work to be promoted to one of those positions. Unfortunately, the feeling of accomplishment that may come with a promotion may be short lived if workplace harassment takes place.

"Workplace mobbing" is a term used for group bullying that occurs at places of employment. Typically, several other employees may bully someone in an important position or who simply performs his or her job well in efforts to get that person to leave the job. While bullying itself is not necessarily an action that is specifically against the law, harassment is.

Overtime Pay of Commissioned Sales Employees

Generally, unless an employee is exempt, he or she is entitled to overtime pay. The default is rule is that overtime is calculated at 1.5 times an employee's regular rate of hourly pay, or "time and a half," for each hour worked beyond 8 hours per workday or 40 hours per workweek.

What is an adverse employment action?

You undoubtedly know that if you report workplace discrimination to your California company’s management and/or the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, federal law forbids your employer to fire you or retaliate against you in any other discriminatory manner. Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 strictly prohibits such adverse employment actions.

While some adverse employment actions, such as termination, are easy to spot, other kinds of retaliatory discrimination are subtler and not always recognized for what they are. For instance, your employer likewise cannot retaliate against you by means of any of the following:

  • Reduce or threaten to reduce your salary or wages
  • Reassign your work duties to other employees
  • Take away your supervisory responsibilities
  • Examine your work excessively
  • Threaten to report you or one of your family members to immigration authorities
  • Criticize you in public, especially in the media

Sexual harassment complaints can be filed even without HR dept

When a person faces harassment on the job, it can be difficult to know where to turn for help. In particular, sexual harassment can be a struggle to face head-on, even in the wake of the #MeToo movement. While many California employees are advised to go to their human resources department to file complaints regarding such harassment, not every company has an HR department.

Fortunately, individuals in this type of situation do not have to feel as if their hands are tied. They can first attempt to talk to the harasser in hopes of getting the undesired actions to stop. By making it clear that the actions are unwanted and unacceptable, a harasser may stop the unwanted behavior. Of course, if a person feels that confronting the harasser would put the person in danger, it may be best to first file a complaint with a manager.

Class Action Filed Against Walmart for Pregnancy Discrimination

Former Walmart store associates Leigha Klopp and Kaitlyn Hoover last week filed a class-action lawsuit in state Supreme Court claiming the Arkansas-based company's absentee policy penalized them after they had to take time off for unscheduled pregnancy-related hospital visits, and violated their rights under state law.

Being fired over pregnancy issues may constitute discrimination

While most California residents undoubtedly want to feel joyous anticipation when they find out they are expecting a child, they may also have less happy feelings. In particular, working women may worry that their employers will treat them unfairly due to their conditions. While pregnancy issues often do not prevent women from working entirely, some employers do not feel the need to provide the necessary accommodations.

It was recently reported that multiple legal claims have been made in another state against Walmart. Two women indicated that they were fired from their jobs after they took time off of work to attend to pregnancy-related medical conditions. Walmart issued a statement in response to the claims which stated that they do not condone discrimination and deny the claims made against the company.

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