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San Diego Employment Law Attorney Blog

California employer settles EEOC disability discrimination claim

A telecommunications company in California that formerly had ties to AT&T recently settled with the United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission in order to resolve a disability discrimination claim.

The claim involved an employee who was hard of hearing. The employee had asked for someone to interpret via sign language what was transpiring during company meetings. The employer declined this request and instead accommodated the employee's needs by writing down what happened at the meeting so that he could understand after the meeting was over. Of course, this limited his ability to participate meaningfully in the meeting.

What is ERISA?

The Employee Retirement Income Security Act, or ERISA, is a federal law that was passed in 1974 and took effect in 1975.

Although the scope of ERISA has been broadened many times via amendments to address issues that arose after the law, the primary purpose of the law remains the protection of an employee's pension or other retirement plan. ERISA also applies to employee health plans.

UCLA employees sue university; allege sexual harassment

Four employees of UCLA, a California university well-known to residents of the greater San Diego area, have sued the school alleging that their sexual harassment claims against a former supervisor were not taken seriously.

Beginning in 2016, the supervisor slapped the women's bottoms and also rubbed their thighs and made inappropriate comments to the employees. The university terminated the supervisor, who was also female, in 2017 in the wake of the women's allegations against her.

Review of unemployment compensation in California

Although this blog has discussed California unemployment compensation before, a review of the eligibility requirements may be helpful. After all, San Diego employees who either have recently lost their jobs or sense they are in immediate danger of doing so may rely on unemployment insurance benefits to support themselves and their families while they look for new work.

Most fundamentally, a person who wants unemployment benefits has to be able and ready to go to work as soon as possible. A person who has decided to take some time off cannot receive unemployment. Indeed, someone who is already receiving benefits will have to show each week that he or she is ready to accept and is searching for a new job.

Representing terminated workers in severance negotiations

As a previous post on this blog discussed, workers in San Diego who are let go from their job may be offered a severance agreement as they are on the way out to door. This is obviously a stressful time for a worker, and it may be hard to think clearly about whether the severance agreement is in their best interest. As a result, they may be tempted to sign an agreement even though they do not understand it. However, such agreements may put a person at a significant disadvantage should they sign it.

This is why our law office, as part of its comprehensive employment law practice, helps employees who are facing termination review the proposed severance package. It is important that employees facing a severance package understand the legal implications of signing it. This way, an employee can evaluate the agreement and decide whether they should sign it or whether they should explore other legal options.

What should I look for in a severance agreement?

Even when a San Diego employee knows that they are at the end of their tenure at their present job, getting let go is still an emotionally difficult experience for a variety of reasons. In addition to having to go through the embarrassment of being unemployed, a worker will also likely be doing some fast thinking to figure out how they will support themselves and their families.

Given this, it is no wonder that many employees do not think much about whether or not they should sign a severance agreement when their soon-to-be former employer offers one to them. They may even see such an agreement as a lifeline that will give them a little bit of extra money to get by while they look for another job.

City employee says she faced retaliation for following protocol

For some workers in San Diego, there is often a choice between following the law and doing what the employer wants. If the worker decides to adhere to the law, he or she runs the risk of facing some form of retaliation by the employer. That can even lead to dismissal. This is even worse when the employer is a government agency. When this happens, people might believe they have nowhere to turn. Fortunately, they have the right to seek compensation in a legal filing over the mistreatment on the part of their employers.

According to a recent report, a woman who worked as the head of the Public Records Department claims that the city exerted pressure on her to violate the law regarding the release of information following an outbreak of Hepatitis A. After she refused, she was dismissed. This came to light after she filed a wrongful termination lawsuit. The filing was made in late January and the California Public Records act allowed news agencies to see it. The woman had been a city employee for nearly two decades. In November of 2017, she was fired after documents were released revealing how the city responded to the outbreak of Hepatitis A. Hundreds of people needed hospitalization and 20 died.

Know what steps to take when reporting harassment at work

Although there is a national movement to report and stop harassing behaviors in the workplace, it remains an uphill climb in California to make certain that business owners, supervisors, fellow employees and others do not feel as if they can continue to harass people with no repercussions. Oftentimes, however, people are unaware of what steps to take when they believe they have become a victim of harassment. There are basics that a person who was victimized should remember to ensure that a complaint has a good chance of success.

The percentage of workers who assert they have faced sexual harassment and kept it to themselves rather than tell those at work who have the power to put a stop to it is significant. A survey by CareerBuilder puts the number who were harassed and failed to inform their employer at 72 percent. In addition, 75 percent of people who reported the problem say that it was resolved. Those who are not sure of what to do to report these problems must bear certain facts in mind.

Woman files lawsuit claiming sexual harassment at Uber

An increasing number of people in California and across the nation are feeling emboldened in pursuing compensation after facing sexual harassment on the job. Because this problem is so prevalent and more people are speaking up about it, the behavior is no longer being tolerated as part of the workplace, with nothing that can be done about it. This issue is occurring in a variety of industries. Newer companies with a more relaxed culture seem to be prone to having people accused of these behaviors. Those who have been mistreated and sexually harassed must remember their rights to seek compensation in a lawsuit.

According to a recent report, a woman who worked for the ride-sharing company Uber has filed a lawsuit in California claiming that she was sexually harassed, racially discriminated against and did not receive equal pay as an employee. She was an employee at the company for more than three years until June of 2017. This comes after the company stated it would no longer have forced arbitration for people who have been sexually assaulted and harassed.

What is a noncompetition clause?

Imagine being offered a new and exciting job. But, the employer requires a California employment contract, a lengthy document, written by lawyers, with various clauses. And, one of these clauses is a noncompetition clause. However, before signing one should understand what a noncompetition clause means.

The interesting thing about a noncompetition clause, or a non-compete agreement, is that many employers include this type of clause in employment contract. Though, it does not usually take effect until after the employer-employee relationship ends. In addition, although many employers try to incorporate these into employment contracts, noncompetition clauses are generally disfavored by the courts. In fact, courts generally closely scrutinize these clauses when challenged in a legal dispute.