Legal professionals in California and worldwide too often have to cope with sexual harassment. A survey by the International Bar Association that collected nearly 7,000 respondents from people in 135 countries recorded widespread problems. Sexist comments and sexually charged jokes represented the top source of harassment as reported by 67.9% of respondents. Unwelcome physical contact such as brushing up against the body accounted for 48.6% of incidents that respondents experienced.
Workers in the San Francisco Bay Area may have a number of significant concerns about discrimination on the job, ranging from racial discrimination to gendered harassment and abuse. While many know that the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission investigates discrimination issues based on race, sex, age or disability, they may not be aware that misuse of genetic information can also give rise to a workplace discrimination case. The EEOC has provided guidance on the use of this provision, one of the newer and less-used aspects of workplace civil rights law.
According to one survey, workers in California and throughout the country regularly face discrimination based on their age. The AARP study revealed that 61 percent of respondents over 45 years old had seen or experienced it themselves. Although the practice was made illegal by the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, it can be difficult to prove that it happened in a given case.
In California and most other states, discrimination is illegal, but it doesn't mean that it can't happen. An email chain that was started on March 20 and includes a number of female Microsoft employees caught the attention of senior leaders within the organization. The chain was started by a woman who had worked for the company for six years and was looking for tips on how to get a promotion.
Those who sue a California employer or any other in a Title VII case can obtain a maximum of $300,000 in compensation. The cap has been the same since 1991, and it isn't widely believed to be a deterrent. However, a professor at Vanderbilt University said that the cap should be $7.6 million. This figure was developed in part based on the theory that workers get paid more when they take on extra risk.
In a lawsuit filed in a California district court on March 8, the U.S. women's soccer team accuses the sport's governing body of gender discrimination. The litigation alleges that the United States Soccer Federation, which is more commonly referred to as U.S. Soccer, pays female players less than men even though they perform substantially similar work. The lawsuit is the latest development in a long-running pay equity dispute and comes just months before the women's team begins its defense of the World Cup it won in 2015. The victory was America's third in the competition.
Employees at a California-based company have alleged in a class action lawsuit that the company discriminates against nursing mothers. According to the lawsuit, although state law protects the rights of breastfeeding mothers, they are not allowed breaks and are laughed at when they request them.
For many San Francisco technology workers, age discrimination remains a serious concern. According to one survey, 43 percent of tech employees from the baby boom generation are concerned about losing their jobs due to their age. The survey involved over 1,000 professionals across the country, focusing on tech workers with an average of over 15 years of experience in the industry. While close to half of all employees are millennials, only 23 percent of the respondents felt that there was an overrepresentation of younger people on the job. An even smaller number, 18 percent, felt that there were too few baby boomers in the workplace.
While businesses in California and the across the United States cannot discriminate against employees for being over the age of 40, a new decision from the 7th Circuit casts doubt on whether those protections extend to the hiring process.
Employees at Google, the tech giant in California, have been challenging tech companies and urging them to change their policies with regards to workplace harassment. In particular, their main gripe pertains to forced arbitration, which requires employees of large tech companies to solve harassment issues at the company rather than taking their employers to court.