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Some companies try to change names to avoid employee lawsuits

Since the beginning of the #MeToo movement, more businesses have been exploring their legal options to avoid getting sued by their own employees for sexual harassment. Though many companies in California have put more effort into making their workplaces safer, others have tried more underhanded methods to keep their money and their reputation.

One of these ways is giving their company a fresh new start around the time of the lawsuit. These employers figure that if the business has a new name and someone else in charge, then they can't be held liable for harassment accusations. Workers should be aware of this devious strategy and how they can overcome it.

Former cameraman for prominent TV show claims sexual harassment

The entertainment industry is largely located in Southern California and, with that, there are commonly allegations that those in a position of power commit sexual harassment on underlings and aspiring performers. It is not limited to performers, however. Staff members, crew and others can be harassed. Those who are crewmembers for an entertainment program often find themselves subjected to these behaviors. With the growing movement to put a stop to it and garner compensation in lawsuits, it is important for victims to understand their rights.

A man who served as a cameraman for the CBS TV show "Criminal Minds" has filed a lawsuit alleging that a producer and others sexually harassed him. He also says he was subjected to inappropriate and abusive treatment. Several defendants are named in the filing. The man stated that he began working on the series in 2011 and the director of photography touched him inappropriately. This happened many times while he worked there. In addition, he says the same man screamed at him, threatened his job, said he was going to be demoted and prevented him from career advancement. He says other employees were harassed and dealt with workplace violations. The sexual harassment happened approximately two or three times weekly until Oct. 2019.

Sexual harassment on the uptick for African-American females

The "me too" movement has gone nationwide, but California is one of the states in which it had its start. The entertainment industry was rife with sexual harassment and a few people speaking out on the topic began what could be compared to an avalanche of outrage and steps to provide greater protection and outlets to victims. While there has been a reduction in the number of complaints about sexual harassment, it is obvious that the problem has not and will presumably never go away completely. Statistics seek to assess the continuing issue and a recent study indicates that African-American women are being harassed with greater frequency.

The data for the conclusions came from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and covered the two decades from 1997 to 2016. The researchers found that there was a connection between sexual harassment and unemployment statistics. When the rate of unemployment rose, the next month showed there was an increase in harassment complaints. This suggests that males had a greater propensity to commit harassment when they thought they were facing a threat to their jobs. The author of the study points out that white women were beneficiaries of the increase in vigilance to prevent sexual harassment. Men tend to think that African-American women will be more reluctant to report sexual harassment.

What are settlements and determinations for employer retaliation?

When California employees are subjected to workplace violations, they undoubtedly understand that they have the right to file a claim to be compensated for it. Still, they might not be completely aware of how the case will be settled or decided upon. Facing employer retaliation can make it difficult to move forward at the workplace. It can have a negative impact on every aspect of a person's working life and their personal life. Knowing how to file and why to file are the basics. The possibility of a settlement offer and what determinations the Labor Commissioner's Office can make is also key. Having legal help from the start is vital to a successful case.

Many employers who are dealing with credible allegations of workplace retaliation due to mistreatment of an employee because of race, ancestry, religion, age, disability, gender and more will prefer to settle the case than allow the Labor Commissioner's Office to make the determination. With a settlement, the claim will be resolved in a manner that the victim and the victim's legal representative deem to be fair. The complaint will be resolved with a payment or other compensatory acts. The settlement can be negotiated and completed at any time. If there is no settlement, the case will continue.

California wildfire season is expected to get even worse

2018 was one of the most devastating years for many California homeowners due to the destructive wildfires. Thousands of people lost their homes and dozens of people lost their lives. After months of people trying to get something out of insurance companies and officials trying to find out who was responsible for a significant portion of the damage, many residents think they are almost done experiencing one of the worst disasters in recent history.

Unfortunately, the peak season for wildfire is just around the corner and the predictions are not looking good. Homeowners should be aware of what potential dangers they face in the upcoming months and how they can get ready for them.

Pregnant employees may be vulnerable during job transfers

One of the main reasons that so many pregnancy discrimination lawsuits happen is because the employers lack flexibility for major changes in a worker’s personal life. It is understandable why it can be difficult for them to adapt to these major alterations at work, but simply firing the employee for being pregnant is never the right solution.

However, there are some instances where more than one change occurs at the same time as the pregnancy. Some expecting workers may end up on the verge of getting promoted or transferring to a new location, placing them in an even more vulnerable position. These employees should be aware that some employers may use this transitional period as an opportunity to get rid of them.

Transitioning former security guard claims employer retaliation

Despite the growing acceptance and increased protections accorded to Californians who are transitioning or transgender, there continue to be incidents of discrimination, harassment and employer retaliation. For those who are dealing with these behaviors, it can cost them their job and present other problems in their lives. Fortunately, there are alternatives to seek justice by considering a legal filing for compensation. Those who have been mistreated in this way should remember their rights and take the necessary steps to pursue a legal case.

A person who worked at the LGBT Center has filed a lawsuit claiming to have been subjected to harassment and discrimination at the workplace in 2018. The woman says she faced retaliation, a failure to prevent harassment, and discrimination based on gender identity. She was on the job for an estimated four months. She says she was born as a male and has been presenting herself as a female. She says that because she was transgender and due to her sexual orientation, she was harassed. Comments were made asking if she intended to remove her male genitalia and if she was transgender. She was told to admit that she was a homosexual man.

City sexual harassment and discrimination policies streamlined

Sexual harassment, discrimination and other illegal treatment of workers are a problem in many workplaces whether it is in the public sector or private sector of Los Angeles and throughout California. This continues to happen despite workers' growing willingness to come forward and report what they have been subjected to. Still, the issue frequently stems from a lack of oversight and problems with knowing how to go about reporting the behavior so it will stop and those who have committed it will be penalized. Understanding how to go about stopping it and seeking compensation for the mistreatment requires experienced legal help.

While sexual harassment and discrimination is often considered to be prevalent in the corporate culture or jobs in which the employees are low-skilled and low-paid, it also happens in city jobs. To reduce it and make it easier for employees to report violations, the City Council has agreed to implement reforms. The motion to combine and simplify the previous policies for harassment and discrimination was made in February and recently approved. The goal is to stop these forms of mistreatment and abuse and give employees improved options to report it.

Is it employer retaliation if the dismissal is due to an illness?

In many California workplaces, workers are concerned about their job if they become ill and miss work. The circumstances will dictate what an employer can do to an employee who misses work without approval. There are times when employer retaliation is a legitimate problem and rather than face the possibility of job loss or other sanctions, employees feel as if they have no alternative but to work despite an illness. If a worker is so ill that he or she takes time off work and is retaliated against, it is important to know if the situation warrants a legal filing.

Employers are not allowed to fire employees if they miss time due to illness in the following situations: if the employee is suffering from a disability and has the right to take time off as part of a reasonable accommodation; or if the employee has a "serious health condition" and they can take leave based on the California Family Rights Act or the Family Medical Leave Act.

Get your boss to pay attention to sexual harassment

Sexual harassment is a serious problem in our workplaces. Research shows that between 25-50 percent of women have experienced sexual harassment at work. Emotional trauma, decreased productivity and higher turnover rates are all linked to sexual harassment. After all, it’s difficult to work where you don’t feel safe or comfortable.

Reporting harassment, however, can be difficult. Among the concerns many victims have is fear of retaliation and whether reporting the incident is worth the trouble. Remember that you have the right to a safe workplace environment. If you believe you have experienced sexual harassment at work, here are some actions you can take.

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