Category

Blog

Blood Bank of Hawaii Fires Woman Who Was Battling Cancer

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) is suing the Blood Bank of Hawaii, alleging it terminated an employee who was fighting cancer because she ran out of sick leave.

BBH President and CEO Kim-Anh Nguyen said in a statement: “Blood Bank of Hawaii is aware that a lawsuit has been filed by Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. We uphold all Equal Employment Opportunity principles and it is our policy to comply with federal and state laws. We are committed to resolving the lawsuit and ensuring all BBH employees are duly protected under the applicable laws.”

As mentioned in Hawaii News Now, Jane Magaoay began working at the Blood Bank of Hawaii as a laboratory assistant in 2012. She was diagnosed with breast cancer two years later.

The lawsuit claims Magaoay took additional time off to undergo chemotherapy treatment and the Blood Bank terminated her for exceeding the 12-week maximum leave policy.

“They failed to provide her with additional leave as a reasonable accommodation for her medical condition. And during the investigation we found that other employees are also terminated under the same type of situation,” said EEOC Honolulu Director Glory Gervacio Saure.

Broadcaster Suing ESPN for Racial Misunderstanding Speaks Out

Former tennis professional and ESPN broadcaster Doug Adler has filed a lawsuit against ESPN because he was fired due to a misunderstanding with his use of the word “guerrilla” while describing aggressive play by African-American tennis champion Venus Williams.

Many listeners heard the word “guerrilla” as “gorilla” and a slight at Williams’ race.

As mentioned in the New York Post, Adler apologized for the comment, while continuing to insist he was innocent, but ESPN let him go anyway and Adler responded by filing a lawsuit against the network in February for wrongful termination.

“They didn’t have good cause and I didn’t do anything wrong,” Adler said during the sit-down interview. “They killed me, they made me unemployable. They ended my career, they killed my reputation, my good name. What else was I supposed to do?”

Justice Department Argues Rights Law Does Not Protect Gays

The Department of Justice filed court papers arguing that Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 does not protect discrimination against gay and bisexual employees, taking a stand against a decision reached under President Barack Obama.

As mentioned in the New York Times, the department filed it the same day President Trump announced on Twitter that transgender people would be banned from serving in the military, raising concerns among civil rights activists that the Trump administration was trying to undermine lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender rights won under previous administrations.

The filing came in a discrimination case before the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit involving Donald Zarda, a skydiving instructor. In 2010, Zarda was fired by his employer Altitude Express. Before taking a female client on a tandem dive, Zarda told the woman he was gay to assuage any awkwardness that might arise from his being tightly strapped to her during the jump. The woman’s husband complained to the company, which subsequently fired Zarda. Zarda then sued Altitude Express, claiming it had violated Title VII.

 

Esurance Supervisor Calls Employee ‘Whiny Jew’ for Reporting an Injury

Brandon Marshall, a former Esurance call center employee is suing the company for alleged anti-Semitic harassment and discrimination. Marshall claims he was called a “whiny Jew” by his supervisor for reporting an injury, and that he endured epithets from a human resource manager after winning company tickets to a baseball game.

As mentioned in USA Today, Marshall had to hire a lawyer to secure time off for Jewish Sabbath, and he was targeted for a performance audit and wrongfully terminated after reporting the issues to upper management.

San Francisco-based Esurance, which is a subsidiary of Allstate, said it could not comment on the lawsuit directly, but said it has several programs in place to address claims of discrimination based on disability or ethnicity.

Marshall’s complaint accuses Esurance of nine separate violations of the Civil Rights and Americans with Disabilities acts, including wrongful termination, retaliation, creating a hostile work environment and failure to accommodate religious practices.

 

Is it Legal to Fire an Employee for Marching in a Rally?

After images of white nationalists rallying in Charlottesville, Virginia circulated on social media, the internet went to work to identify the participants.

Efforts to expose the white nationalists had immediate effects — online posts revealing their identities led to employers finding out that some of their workers had marched in Charlottesville.

As mentioned in Time, depending on the kind of job, a person can get fired for espousing racist beliefs if the employer feels it reflects poorly upon them. While those who work in the public sector or in a state that has protective laws for workers cannot be fired for expressing political opinions, non-union workers in the private sector exist at the whim of their employers.

Samuel Estreicher, director of the Center for Labor and Employment Law at New York University, stated “employers have the right to fire workers if they feel implicated in an employee’s actions.”

Amazon Sued by Transgender Woman for Discrimination and Harassment

The Transgender Legal Defense & Education Fund (TLDEF) has filed a lawsuit against Amazon.com Inc on behalf of two former employees. The couple Allegra Schawe-Lane and Dane Lane allege the company harassed them and threatened them physically.

According to Tech Crunch, after Schawe-Lane was outed as transgender, she began experiencing “discrimination and harassment by Amazon employees, supervisors, and managers,” the lawsuit alleges. The discrimination and harassment, according to the lawsuit, entailed being intentionally referred to by male pronouns and titles “with the purpose and effect of humiliating” her, sexual harassment, threats of physical violence, “hostility” that made it hard for her to use the women’s bathroom, pay deductions and a lot of other really messed up stuff.

In addition to what Schawe-Lane was subjected to, her partner faced retaliation, sexual harassment, disparaging comments from co-workers and a hostile work environment, according to the lawsuit.

The lawsuit, among other things, seeks for the court to order that Amazon implement policies, programs and training that ensure equal employment opportunities for people who are transgender, have transitioned genders or are undergoing a gender transition.

More Than 60 Women Are Accusing Google of Gender Discrimination

More than 60 women, current and former Google employees are considering legal action against the tech giant over alleged sexism and pay disparities with their male colleagues.

According to The Legal Guardian, James Finberg, the civil rights attorney working on the possible legal action on behalf of the female employees, told the Guardian they contend they have earned less than men at Google despite equal qualifications and comparable positions.

A class-action gender discrimination suit would build on a case brought by the US Department of Labor (DoL), which is arguing that Google systematically underpays women and recently convinced a judge to force the company to hand over a portion of the company’s salary records.

Google is vehemently denying that its salaries are discriminatory. However, Finberg, who said he had interviewed about half of the 60 women who may be part of his lawsuit, said their testimony indicated there were clear disparities and prejudices that hurt women at the Mountain View company.

 

Google Employee Fired For Anti-Diversity Memo

The internet giant Google has fired a computer engineer for “perpetuating gender stereotypes.” Google employee James Damore distributed a 10-page “manifesto” condemning Google’s diversity efforts and claiming men are biologically more predisposed to working in the tech industry than women.

According to The Telegraph, James Damore, a Harvard university graduate had worked at Google for four years. Damore was fired after releasing a manifesto that accused the company of “political bias” against conservatives and said initiatives to encourage female programmers were “unfair”.

Damore revealed he had been dismissed by Google for “perpetuating gender stereotypes” and said he was exploring all possible legal remedies against the company.

The controversy has come at a sensitive time for Google, which is under investigation by the US government after accusations of gender pay inequality, and has been forced to hand over pay records.

How to Survive Age Discrimination in the Tech World

When speaking of technology, we often refer to the latest gadget, the latest app, latest features and everything in between that is shiny and new. In fact, the technology world develops rapidly that companies often look for young minds and fresh perspectives. But what about the older workers—those with experience and mature minds?

Backchannel’s Worklife columnist, Karen Wickre points out that “most people who might be affected by age discrimination often don’t want to bring it up.”

Wickre was hired by Google at the age of 52, putting her in the run for the “oldest employee.” She recalls “being thrilled to be there” but “worked hard to become known as a good colleague, reliable, energetic, and a quick study.”

“If workers do come forward [about age discrimination, it] is very hard to prove, since it’s often hidden by internal reorganizations, budget cuts, and employee “at-will” agreements. The subject of “older workers” can be a legal minefield for companies—to even acknowledge it is to open a Pandora’s box of issues,” states Wickre.

As an older worker, how do you survive and thrive in a career that is mostly designed for younger workers? Read Wickre’s personal experience and suggestions for Surviving as an Old in the Tech World.

Opa-locka Employee Fired for Helping Feds Uncover Mass Corruption

Hired in June 2013, Delia Kennedy worked as a grants administrator for the City of Opa-locka. However, after City Attorney Vincent Brown revealed in a citywide email that Kennedy was cooperating with the FBI in an ongoing corruption probe, city leaders eliminated her position.

According to the Miami New Times, Kennedy helped bring in nearly $60 million in governmental grants. City leaders claimed they simply needed to balance the budget. But Kennedy is sure the timing was no coincidence — they actually wanted to fire her for her helping uncover the corruption.

Kennedy’s suit claims that Opa-locka and City Manager Yvette Harrell terminated her for protected whistleblower activities. Her attorney, Michael Pizzi, tells New Times he can think of no logical explanation for the firing.

“Why would a city that’s broke and has wasted millions of dollars get rid of a low-paid grant coordinator who brings in the type of federal and state dollars the city so desperately needed?” he says. “They knew that she had contacted the FBI to report malfeasance. We believe the only explanation for her termination was that they wanted to get rid of somebody who had the integrity to report it.”