Posts Tagged ‘gender discrimination’

Is having a second job at Hooters in order to pay your bills and support your children enough to terminate your employment? Is there a claim for gender or familial status discrimination where a single mother holds this type of job to support her kids? Thess issues are starting to be addressed in the Ft. Myers area in the case of Nicole Zivich.

A high school cheerleader coach in southwest Florida says she was fired because a parent complained about her part-time job at a Hooters restaurant. The 24-year-old Nicole Zivich was fired from Estero High School Nov. 21. Zivich told the Lee County School Board this week that a parent of one of the cheerleaders had sent a flurry of emails complaining about her second job at the popular chicken wing restaurant where waitresses wear tight-fitting uniforms.

Citing a privacy policy regarding personnel issues, the school district has not given a reason for her termination. But school superintendent Joseph Burke said it had nothing to do with her employment at Hooters. She was working under contract as the school’s varsity cheerleading coach.

This matter has created lots of noise for the local school board who has been asked to reconsider its decision. Will keep you posted on how things turn out.

If you believe you have been the subject of sexual harassment or gender discrimination, feel free to contact Scott Behren and the Behren Law Firm for a free consultation.

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Federal and state protections against race discrimination apply to you when working for an employer, but are also relevant when you apply for a job with an employer. An employer may not discriminate against you in making a hiring decision based upon your race, gender, age, etc. Of course, proving the reason why they refused to hire you is another issue altogether. Although, its easier, as in the case of Bass Pro where they tell you why they are not hiring you.

The federal government has sued national outdoor retail chain Bass Pro Outdoor World alleging racial discrimination in its hiring practices dating back to 2005. The Equal Opportunity Commission, a federal agency charged with enforcing anti-discrimination laws in employment, filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Houston on Wednesday. The lawsuit alleges that qualified African-Americans and Hispanics were routinely denied positions at Bass Pro stores and managers of stores in Houston, Louisiana and other locations made derogatory racial comments acknowledging the practice. The commission also alleges that Bass Pro destroyed documents related to applications and internal discrimination complaints and retaliated against those who spoke up.

Bass Pro denies all of the allegations and complains that the EEOC suit is prompted in part by the perception that people who like NASCAR and the outdoors are more likely to engage in discrimination.

If you believe you have been refused a job or promotion, based upon your race, age, sex or gender, feel free to file a Charge with the EEOC or call Scott Behren and the Behren Law Firm for a free consultation.

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As discussed before, a pregnant employee can face many different legal issues with her employer that impact many different laws including the Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA), The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) and possibly the Genetic Information Nondisclosure Act (GINA). Pregnant employees also need to know about their short term and long term disability insurance plans and how they interact with these laws. Most of these laws clearly cover natural pregnancy and adoption, but what about birth by surrogate?

That issues is now being addressed in a recently filed case. A US businesswoman is suing her employer after she was allegedly denied maternity leave following the birth of her twins through a surrogate mother.

Kara Krill, a clinical business manager at the Massachusetts-based company Cubist Pharmaceuticals, is claiming breach of contract, breach of good faith and fair dealing, discrimination on the basis of her disability and gender, and negligent misrepresentation by the company. She is seeking an injunction against Cubist, as well as compensatory and punitive damages.

Krill developed Asherman’s Syndrome – a condition which rendered her infertile – following the birth of her first child. When she and her husband decided to have a second child they used a surrogate. The resulting twins are biologically related to both Krill and her husband.

Following her first pregnancy, Krill was given 13 weeks of paid leave under the company’s maternity leave policy. However this time Krill says she was informed that she would only be entitled to five days of paid leave and up to $4,000 in expenses – as is offered to adoptive parents. Paternity leave under Cubist’s policy is also five paid days.

In her letter of complaint to Cubist, Krill stated: ‘But for my physical disability, I would be receiving the paid maternity leave offered by Cubist. Accommodating my disability would not require [Cubist] to provide me with any more benefit than other mothers’. Furthermore, she complained of discrimination and verbal abuse by her supervisor in the workplace due to her disability and surrogacy arrangement.

What do you think about Krill’s situation?

If you or someone you know is pregnant, and are not sure how to navigate the maze of legal issues that face you, feel free to call Scott Behren and the Behren Law Firm for a free consultation.

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Under Federal law and most state laws, sexual harassment is not permitted in the workplace and should not be tolerated.

University of Texas Longhorns football coach Mack Brown’s longtime associate athletics director for football operations was dismissed from the university last March because a university investigation determined he made repeated unwanted sexual advances toward a female administrative assistant over a two-year period

Cleve Bryant, who oversaw numerous daily activities for the Longhorns, including game-day-operations, team travel and recruiting weekends, was fired after a university investigator determined “that Mr. Bryant did sexually harass” the staffer and that “the harassment was likely both verbal and physical.”

The sexual harassment complaint was filed by Rachel Arena, a then 24-year-old football department employee who had graduated from Texas in 2008.

The investigation show that Arena told investigators:

• That during a July 2010 meeting in Bryant’s office about whether she would receive a raise, Bryant pulled down the top of her dress and bra and fondled her breast.

• That Bryant repeatedly either told her in person or texted her that “I want to kiss you.”

• That Bryant retaliated after she told him to stop texting by creating a false allegation that she had acted inappropriately at a minor league baseball game she attended with some former Texas football players.

• That one day while in the break room, getting a bottle of water, Bryant came in, stood in front of the door as she started to leave and said, “Kiss me.” Arena said she turned away and Bryant kissed her on the neck before she could leave.

• That two other female office workers alleged that Bryant had inappropriately kissed them in the past.

• That another woman in the athletic department referred to Bryant as “old-freak-nasty” and that he once told Arena “he wanted to touch me, that he wanted to pleasure me, that he could, that he could make me happy, referring to sexually, things like that.”

Bryant, who is married, denied all of the allegations.

If you have suffered sexual harassment in the workplace, feel free to call Scott Behren and the Behren Law Firm for a free consultation.

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Under Federal law, a woman can not be discriminated against or terminated based upon her being pregnant. Typically, there are also state laws, such as in Florida the Florida Civil Rights Act, that mirror the Federal laws. However, agricultural giant Olam International has not been following the law which has resulted in them being sued by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).

A woman named Jennifer Heintz claims she was offered a job as an executive assistant to two presidents with Olam. She took the job, but three days later, she was told the company was holding off on filling the position. Four days after that, Olam hired another person to fill the position. Heitz contends that the job offer to her was withdrawn based upon her being pregnant. Apparently, the EEOC agreed since the EEOC, in most cases, does not bring suit on behalf of an empoyee.

A lawyer for the EEOC stated, about pregnancy discrimination:

“It remains a serious problem — women not getting jobs, women being forced out of jobs, essentially being fired, and in this case, hired and fired immediately after they learned of the pregnancy.”

And the problem seems to be getting worse. In the five years from 1997 to 2001, the EEOC received 20809 pregnancy discrimination complaints. In the last five years, they received 29088, a 40% increase.

The EEOC further stated, “There is an added stigma because you become pregnant, therefore in the future and after even you have your child, that you will not be a productive worker,” she said. “That’s simply not true.”

If you believe you have suffered termination or discrimination due to your pregnancy, or have been denied Family Medical Leave, feel free to contact Scott Behren and the Behren Law Firm for a free consultation.

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This blog frequently blogs about sexual harassment in the workplace and the remedies available to employee where they experience sexual harassment.

Well, the television show, “The Price Is Right” has now been accused of sexual harassment in the workplace. A former model on “The Price Is Right” game show filed a lawsuit Wednesday alleging wrongful termination and sexual harassment by producers who continually humiliated and berated her, according to court papers.

Lanisha Cole names the producers of the popular game show, Michael G. Richards and Adam Sandler as well as their production company, Fremantle Media North America.

Cole began working on “The Price Is Right” in 2003 but beginning in December 2009, the situation began to deteriorate when Richards suddenly and inexplicably stopped speaking to Cole and began showing favoritism to another model with whom he was having a relationship, the suit alleges.
According to the court papers, Richards used policies “which never before existed” to limit her modeling work on the show and engaged in abusive behavior.

While called into a meeting about alleged sexual harassment involving another model, Cole complained about her own treatment.

Months later, Cole informed management she had to miss a day of work because of a family commitment and was told she would not be able to work for that week, the lawsuit says.

When she returned, she was told she was “holding the show hostage” because of her complaint.

We will continue to keep you posted on any developments in this new lawsuit. In the meantime, if you have problems with sexual harassment in the workplace, go to Human Resources or the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) to make a Complaint. If that does not work or the problems become worse, speak to an employment lawyer that handles sexual harassment matters. Feel free to call Scott Behren and the Behren Law Firm for a free consultation.

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Dustin Hoffman in the Graduate was told just one word, “Plastics.” However, plastics did not appear to be a good business decision for several employees of plastic company Promens USA.

Promens USA Inc. has agreed to pay $225,000 to four women to settle a sexual discrimination and harassment lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the EEOC has announced.

The women worked at the former Bonar Plastics rotational molding plant in West Chicago, Ill., that was acquired by Promens hf, based in Kópavogur, Iceland, in 2005.

EEOC said the violations occurred during the five years that Promens owned the factory.

The women, who were employed in the finishing department in West Chicago, filed discrimination charges with EEOC in 2007, which sued Promens on their behalf last fall.

The women alleged that a Promens supervisor “repeatedly propositioned temporary female workers,” EEOC said in a news release announcing the settlement. When the women rejected the supervisor’s advances, he fired them.

“This pattern of quid pro quo harassment continued until Promens USA fired this supervisor in July 2010 after yet another woman complained of sexual harassment,” EEOC said.

When EEOC investigated, the agency also found that Promens USA excluded women from jobs in the rotomolding department, which paid more than the finishing department.

The EEOC stated that “Employers should take notice that women cannot be excluded from a class of jobs based on stereotypes about their physical strength of assumed lack of interest. The EEOC uncovered evidence that Promens systematically excluded women from higher-paid positions as machine operators,” Hendrickson said. “Federal law plainly forbids work force segregation on the basis of sex.”

If you believe you have been subjected to sexual harassment in the workplace, speak to your human resources department. If your concerns are not addressed, go to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) or an attorney that handles employment law cases.

If you have been subjected to sexual harassment or believe you have suffered discrimination in the workplace, call Scott Behren and the Behren Law Firm for a consultation.

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A recent jury verdict against Xerox for almost $800,000 shows the repercussions an employer, such as Xerox, may suffer for retaliating against an employee who complains of discrimination in the workplace. Remember that most state and federal laws prohibit not only the discrimination itself, but also retaliation against any complaints of discrimination.

Hope Bailey-Rhodeman, an African-American female, claimed she had suffered retaliation when she had made an internal complaint of race and gender discrimination. Since she filed the claim, she was demoted to a sales position, but at the time of her complaint, she was a sales manager for Xerox and had a successful career spanning nearly 20 years. She had been promoted to sales manager, leading a team of 10 sales representatives who specialized in selling equipment and services to customer in state and local government.

Bailey-Rhodeman was consistently the highest ranked sales manager in her section, and was frequently one of the most highly ranked sales managers for the country. But all this changed in the summer of 2006, when Bailey-Rhodeman made an internal complaint to Xerox Human Resources, complaining that other managers were bullying her because she was an African-American female.

Her immediate supervisor learned of the complaint, and told Bailey-Rhodeman that he was angry at her for making him look bad, telling her “now you did it.” He then launched a retaliatory investigation of Bailey-Rhodeman. Without being interviewed, or even being told the specifics of the accusations against her, Bailey-Rhodeman was suspended, being accused of committing an unspecified “policy violation.” Three weeks later she was told she was being fired, but Xerox offered to pay her 12 weeks severance, if she would agree to quit. She refused, and threatened to sue the company.

In response, Bailey-Rhodeman was told that she was being removed from her sales manager job, but could accept instead a reassignment to a sales position where she would be stripped of all supervisory responsibilities. Otherwise, she would be fired. The reassignment was a demotion, which would result in a significant loss in pay. Nonetheless, without any job prospects, Bailey-Rhodeman took the reassignment, but continued to challenge the demotion.

After being demoted to the sales position, Bailey-Rhodeman lost approximately $100,000 per year in sales commissions. Her territory was split between two white males. At trial, Bailey-Rhodeman challenged her demotion as being in retaliation for her complaints of discrimination. The jury found in Bailey-Rhodeman’s favor on her retaliation claim, and awarded Bailey-Rhodeman $488,088 in lost past income, and $316,126 in lost future income.

Should you believe you have been the subject of discrimination in the workplace or retaliation, feel free to call Scott Behren and the Behren Law Firm for a free consultation to discuss available legal options to you.

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For those of you who have seen the movie “Waiting”, when I read this post, visions of “The Bat” kept coming to my mind. Anyone who has seen the movie will recall what I am talking about and those who have not, check the movie out it is a very funny look at behind the scenes in the restaurant industry.

That being said, this week the EEOC advised Flemings Prime something that is probably good business sense, don’t flick your co-workers genitals. Whether these co-workers be male or female.

The EEOC announced that Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse and Wine Bar, at DC Ranch in Scottsdale, Ariz., will pay nearly a quarter million dollars and furnish other relief to settle a same-sex sexual harassment lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the agency announced today.
Read the rest of this entry »

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So once again, not really on topic for employment law, but it does fall within the discrimination context so I’m blogging about it today. If you’re starting a family and would like to buy a house to raise your kids in, there’s something you should know. Women who are pregnant and plan to stay home to take care of the baby may not qualify for a mortgage loan. Despite the Pregnancy Discrimination Act, mortgage lenders say they are denying mortgages to expectant couples because they must comply with strict new standards for verifying income.

Based upon new guidelines passed by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, lenders are now required to recheck a borrowers income right before the loan closes, not just just when the contract is signed. In addition, the lender must also document that the lenders income is likely to continue for at least three years.

Mortgage lending standards interpret maternity leave as short term disability insurance. Because the disability payments will not continue for three years, Fannie and Freddie mortgage lenders will not count maternity leave as qualifying income. These mortgage lenders will require the new mother to reapply for the mortgage once she returns to work.

Mortgage lenders say they are not discriminating against pregnancy but against income. The Equal Credit Opportunity Act prohibits lenders from discriminating against gender and marital status. The Equal Credit Opportunity Act also bars lenders from asking about your plans for having or raising children. However, lenders can ask questions about expenses related to your dependents. The federal government moved to make pregnancy discrimination illegal in 1978. The Pregnancy Discrimination Act declares that discrimination due to pregnancy, childbirth or related medical conditions is unlawful sex discrimination. But the Pregnancy Discrimination Act only applies to employment, not borrowing.

So the question is whether this pregnancy mortgage discrimination can be brought under the Equal Credit Opportunity Act claiming gender discrimination or a violation of some other federal or state law. Would love to test this policy out in the courts. Someone bring me a test case please?

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