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More Than Half of Companies Reviewed Their Sexual Harassment Policies in Wake of #MeToo

The #MeTo and #TimesUp movements began in October 2017 in response to the shocking allegations of sexual harassment and assault against Hollywood film producer, Harvey Weinstein.

As mentioned in the Market Watch, “the #MeToo and #TimesUp movements led to a spike in the amount of reported sexual harassment across the country, specifically in office settings.”

As the #MeToo movement continues, more companies are reviewing their sexual harassment policies and taking action to prevent it. According to a survey conducted by Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc, a career consulting company, more than half of companies (52%) have reviewed their sexual harassment policies, up from 34% in January.

“Companies are responding to the cultural movement and recognizing that most of this abuse occurred in the workplace,” stated Andrew Challenger, vice president of Challenger, Gray & Christmas. “Calls to make the office a safer place and free from any kind of abuse were overwhelming, and seeing companies respond is heartening.”

“It is not surprising that companies are seeing more people come forward in the wake of #MeToo, as workers feel supported and empowered to do so,” Challenger added. “Likewise, it makes sense that there would be some caution when it comes to interactions at work in order to keep from crossing any lines.”

If you have been sexually harassed in the workplace, please contact the attorneys at the California Employment Law Group today for a free consultation with an experienced employment lawyer who will clearly explain your rights and options under the law.

Former Lowe’s Employee Sues the Company for Failing to Act on Groping Incident

A former employee of the Lowe’s Home Improvement is suing the store in Sioux Falls for failing to take action after a co-worker allegedly grabbed her buttocks.

Vickie Mader states that on May 1, 2017, she was assisting customers with ceiling fans when employee Ronald Heidzig reached down and grabbed her from behind as he walked passed her, as mentioned in Daily News.

Mader was angered and humiliated by the harassment, and reported it to an assistant manager the following day. According to Daily News “the manager reviewed video footage of the incident, which showed Heidzig’s hand in a “claw like” position, according to the lawsuit.”

No action was taken for nearly four weeks — a period throughout which the plaintiff was “constantly looking over her shoulder and felt creeped out,” according to the complaint. Mader decided to resign on May 26, seeing no other alternative to avoid working with Heidzig.

The plaintiff is accusing Lowe’s of discrimination, infliction of emotional distress and breach of contract.

If you think your rights have been violated, please contact the attorneys at the California Employment Law Group today for a consultation with an experienced employment lawyer who will clearly explain your rights and options under the law.

Comedian Andy Dick Charged With Sexual Battery

Comedian Andy Dick has been charged with groping a woman on a Los Angeles street in April.

The Los Angeles city attorney filed misdemeanor sexual battery and misdemeanor simple battery charges against the actor and is seeking an arrest warrant for him.

According to legal documents, the comedian “did willfully and unlawfully touch an intimate part of another … against his or her will for the specific purpose of sexual arousal, sexual gratification, and sexual abuse.”

As mentioned in Los Angeles Times, the second charge said the comedian “did willfully and unlawfully use force and violence upon the person.”

In October, Dick was fired from a film after he was accused of groping, non-consensually kissing and licking co-workers. Additionally, he was accused of sexually propositioning at least four members of the production, the Huffington Post reports.

If you have been sexually harassed in the workplace, please contact the attorneys at the California Employment Law Group today for a free consultation with an experienced employment lawyer who will clearly explain your rights and options under the law.

Former Mt. Pleasant Area School Coach Was Regularly Harassed About His Physical Disability

Former basketball coach, Don Porter filed a federal whistleblower lawsuit against the Mt. Pleasant Area School District claiming he was wrongfully terminated because he made numerous complaints about being verbally harassed by a veteran school director.

In the lawsuit, Porter states he reported to school officials that he was constantly harassed about his injury claim by longtime school board member Warren Leeder. As mentioned in LiveTribe, Porter was the boys basketball coach from September 8, 2014, until March 12 when he was fired by the board.

On Jan. 8, 2018 Porter slipped on ice in the school parking lot and mentioned the incident to athletic director Allan Bilinsky “to let the custodians know that salt could be placed on the school walkways.” After the incident, Porter filed a worker’s compensation claim that was approved by the school district, but Leeder also began repeatedly harassing him.

Porter wears a leg brace because he suffers from diabetic nerve damage in his legs, and alleges that the firing was also due to his physical disability and violates the federal Rehabilitation Act.

“(The school district’s) unlawful employment practices caused Porter to suffer damages including but not limited to lost income, benefits, emotional distress, mental anguish, embarrassment, humiliation, harm to his reputation and inconvenience,” the lawsuit states.

If you’ve been wrongfully terminated from your job in retaliation for exercising a legal workplace right, please contact the attorneys at the California Employment Law Group today for a free consultation with an experienced employment lawyer who will clearly explain your rights and options under the law.

State Employees Received “Sham” Discipline to Avoid Pay Increases

Two prison employees are suing the state Department of Public Safety, alleging the agency is using “sham” disciplinary warnings to avoid awarding salary raises in an effort to cut costs.

In recent years, state lawmakers have initiated across-the-board salary increases for prison staff in an effort to combat stagnant pay and persistent turnover and vacancies, as mentioned in WRAL. However, plaintiffs in the suit say DPS leaders directed command staff to write up warnings to correctional officers and other prison workers as much as possible before the raises went into effect and enforced a new policy that would render workers facing disciplinary action ineligible for pay increases.

The suit says written warnings issued by the agency more than doubled from 2013 to 2016. The increase in warnings, however, did not prompt a similar spike in demotions, suspensions or dismissals, according to Michael Byrne, a Raleigh-based personnel attorney representing the correctional officers in the case.

Correctional officers in the suit are seeking retroactive pay, an additional $50,000 judgment and an end to what they say is an unconstitutional policy. Byrne said he expects more staffers will join the suit as it moves forward.

If you think your rights have been violated, please contact the attorneys at the California Employment Law Group today for a consultation with an experienced employment lawyer who will clearly explain your rights and options under the law.

Pregnancy Discrimination Is Near An All-Time High

Throughout the American workplace, pregnancy discrimination remains a widespread issue. The New York Times has confirmed after reviewing thousands of pages of court and public records and interviewed dozens of women, their lawyers and government officials.

In physically demanding jobs, pregnant women risk losing their jobs when they ask for accommodations like taking rest breaks. In corporate offices, pregnant women and mothers are often classified as being “less committed and steered away from prestigious assignments, excluded from client meetings and slighted at bonus season,” says The New York Times.

In recent events, tens of thousands of women have taken legal action alleging pregnancy discrimination at companies including Walmart, Merck, AT&T, Whole Foods, 21st Century Fox, KPMG, Novartis and the law firm Morrison & Foerster. The number of pregnancy discrimination claims filed annually with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has been steadily rising for two decades and is near an all-time high.

Shelley Correll a Stanford sociologist, presented hundreds of real-world hiring managers with two resumes from equally qualified women. Half of the women hinted that they had a child. In Ms. Corell’s study the managers were twice as likely to call the apparently childless woman for an interview. Ms. Correll called it a “motherhood penalty.”

“There is a cultural perception that if you’re a good mother, you’re so dedicated to your children that you couldn’t possibly be that dedicated to your career,” Ms. Correll said.

If you were terminated or forced to resign due to intolerable working conditions or a hostile work environment due to your pregnancy, please contact the attorneys at the California Employment Law Group today for a consultation with an experienced employment lawyer who will clearly explain your rights and options under the law.

Clarifai Employee was Terminated for Trying to Report Controversial Pentagon AI Project was Hacked

Artificial intelligence company Clarifai was working on a piece of Project Maven, a controversial Pentagon project using machine-learning algorithms to interpret drone-surveillance imagery, and the members of the team were not permitted to discuss the work with others at Clarifai.

“A lawsuit filed by former employee Amy Liu alleges that Clarifai’s computer systems were compromised by one or more people in Russia, potentially exposing technology used by the US military to an adversary. The lawsuit says Clarifai learned of the breach last November, but that Clarifai’s CEO and other executives did not promptly report it to the Pentagon,” WIRED reports.

The former Air Force captain Liu states in her complaint that she was wrongfully terminated from her position as director of marketing for arguing that the company needed to disclose the incident. Another former employee told WIRED that his concerns over executives’ handling of the hack prompted him to leave the company.

As mentioned in WIRED, Liu’s “complaint was filed with the Department of Defense Inspector General, alleging that Clarifai broke Pentagon rules by not reporting the breach within 72 hours, and broke military law prohibiting reprisals against contractor employees trying to disclose information about breaches of department regulations. Clarifai’s spokesperson confirmed that Liu was let go in November but denied the company did anything improper.”

If you’ve been wrongfully terminated from your job in retaliation for exercising a legal workplace right, please contact the attorneys at the California Employment Law Group today for a free consultation with an experienced employment lawyer who will clearly explain your rights and options under the law.

Guess Co-Founder Paul Marciano Resigns After Sex Misconduct Investigation

Guess co-founder and chief creative officer Paul Marciano is stepping down after the completion of a company-commissioned investigation into allegations of sexual harassment and assault.

As mentioned in the Chicago Tribune, the allegations of sexual misconduct first became public when model Kate Upton said in a Time magazine interview that Paul Marciano grabbed her breasts during a Guess photo shoot nearly eight years ago. She also stated that he harassed her by showing up at hotels where she was staying and texting her inappropriate comments.

Soon after the allegations, a special committee of the Guess board and an outside law firm launched an investigation, which looked into several reports of inappropriate comments and texts along with unwanted kissing and groping.

The Los Angeles-based fashion company revealed it has settled lawsuits with five of Paul Marciano’s accusers for a total of $500,000.

Attorney Lisa Bloom, who represents four of those women, said “they are pleased with his stepping down as board chair but disappointed he’ll stay on in other capacities.”

If you have been sexually harassed in the workplace, please contact the attorneys at the California Employment Law Group today for a free consultation with an experienced employment lawyer who will clearly explain your rights and options under the law.

 

Kraft Heinz Company Accused of Racial and Gender Discrimination

Former Kraft Heinz employees have filed two separate lawsuits accusing the Kirksville plant of racial and gender discrimination.

According to Kirksville Daily Express the first lawsuit was filed by an African-American citizen, originally from Liberia, in March 2018. The plaintiff is accusing the Kirksville plant of terminating her because of her pregnancy, race and national origin and the emotional distress led their child being stillborn.

″(The plaintiff)’s alleged tardiness and other false, trivial accusations about her job performance were a pretext to conceal the fact that she was being terminated due to her pregnancy, race and national origin. (The plaintiff), on the threshold of giving birth to her first child, experienced extreme mental anguish and emotional distress over the loss of her job and job benefits, including health care insurance,” documents stated.

A second lawsuit was filed by a former employee accusing the company of racial discrimination. As mentioned in the Kirksville Daily Express, the plaintiff claims a line supervisor intentionally assigned him undesirable jobs, criticized him in front of other workers and repeatedly referred to him as a “boy.”

If you have been retaliated against or discriminated at work, please contact the attorneys at the California Employment Law Group today for a consultation with an experienced employment lawyer who will clearly explain your rights and options under the law.

Multiple Women Accuse Freeman of Sexual Harassment and Inappropriate Behavior

One of Hollywood’s biggest stars, Morgan Freeman has been accused of sexual misconduct by eight women, including allegations of “unwanted touching” and harassment, in a report published by CNN.

CNN interviewed eight women, and other people who say they witnessed inappropriate behavior by Freeman on film sets, while promoting his movies and also at his production company, Revelations Entertainment.

As mentioned in Yahoo News, a young production assistant on “Going in Style” shared with CNN that the actor would make comments about her figure and clothing on a daily basis, as well as touching her back. Because of the harassment, she said she decided to leave the movie industry.

Freeman denies the allegations and in a statement to TheWrap said “Anyone who knows me or has worked with me knows I am not someone who would intentionally offend or knowingly make anyone feel uneasy. I apologize to anyone who felt uncomfortable or disrespected — that was never my intent.”

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