Three women who worked for a venture capital firm based in San Francisco have recently decided that the only way they will be able to protect their rights after being subjected to sexual harassment in the workplace is to file a lawsuit against their former employer.
Earlier this week on our San Diego employment law blog, we had mentioned that the wage gap between men and women in the workplace still exists today, even though the Equal Pay Act was passed 50 years ago.
Although 50 years have passed since the Equal Pay Act of 1963 was signed into law, women in San Diego and throughout the entire U.S. are still earning less than men. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, women are earning about 82.2 cents for every dollar men earn.
Workers have the right to certain expectations in the workplace, including being able to work in an environment that is safe and free of sexual harassment. Unfortunately, sexual harassment still occurs, and even when employees do report incidents, employers may try to deny the allegations or ignore workers' complaints.
A well-established California venture capital company is being sued by one of its female junior partners for sexual harassment and gender discrimination. The 42-year-old woman who filed the lawsuit in May has been employed by Kleiner, Perkins, Caulfield & Byers in Silicon Valley since 2005, where she says women are denied financially advantageous and high-ranking positions over men.
Abercrombie & Fitch Co. paid $40 million several years ago to settle with Asian, Hispanic and African-American workers who accused the retailer of race discrimination. The settlement should have sent a strong message to all retail companies and other companies in California and throughout the entire U.S. that race bias will not be tolerated in the workplace.
Laws protect employees from co-workers or bosses guilty of discrimination and harassment. However, some California workers endure workplace miseries, including sexual harassment and discrimination, for fear of repercussions or because they do not know how to protect their rights. What workers need to understand is that harassment and discrimination is illegal in the workplace and laws are meant to protect workers from retaliation when they do raise concerns about illegal behaviors or actions.
Most San Diego residents might assume that what they do outside of work should not affect their employment or the perceived ability to do their jobs.
Giving birth to a child is one of the most joyous experiences a mother can have. Fortunately, many working moms in California are protected under state and federal medical leave rights so that they can take time off of work after they have a child to recover and to bond with their new baby.
Discrimination is certainly illegal in the workplace, but it is not an uncommon practice in some places of employment. Last month, three women filed a lawsuit against San Diego Reader claiming that they were discriminated against because of their gender and as a result, they were sexually harassed by other employees and later fired from their jobs at the Reader.