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Employment Law - How To Substantiate Claims Of Employment Discrimination

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

While California and federal laws clearly list demographic groups likely subjected to workplace discrimination, demonstrating instances of workplace unfairness is a challenging task. Given that employment discrimination occurs in various forms against diverse groups of people, assessing whether you are the target of unjust treatment requires proper review and legal guidance. The Spencer Law Firm, established in San Clemente, California, provides free case evaluations based on the nature of discrimination reported to ensure that your rights remain protected under current employment laws.

The Importance of Concrete Documentation

If speaking to the coworker, supervisor, or manager who you feel discriminates against you does not halt unwanted treatment, it is practical to document instances in which you feel employment discrimination occurred. It is important that you clearly state that the behavior offends you and makes you uncomfortable given that you feel targeted or demeaned based on your background.

In employment discrimination lawsuits, companies are subject to evaluation based on how proactively they investigate and address employment discrimination. Filing a complaint with management and your employer's human resources department regarding discriminatory treatment not only provides the company a reasonable opportunity to resolve the issue, but also creates a written record of future offenses and the company's success or failure in addressing unfairness in the workplace.

If you lack direct documentation, circumstantial evidence comes into consideration, though extensive research is often required to substantiate a claim. Topics for research include demographics of company employees, violation of longstanding company policies relevant to fair treatment, and statistics indicating that individuals of your demographic are more likely subjected to employment discrimination than other groups. The Spencer Law Firm will assist in evaluating how circumstantial evidence plays should you face employment discrimination.

Adhering to Legal Regulations

Though you may possess direct documentation and circumstantial evidence of discriminatory treatment, such is not sufficient to bring a lawsuit to court. Federal law requires that you first present your claim to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, or EEOC. Upon receiving your claim, the agency contacts your employer in an attempt to remedy the discrimination you face. If, after further review, the agency deems your claims valid or substantiated, you receive written notification of your right to sue.

What to Do

Once you have extensively documented instances of employment discrimination to the best of your ability and complied with federal requirements through corresponding with the EEOC, you must seek advice from a qualified attorney. Along with years of experience, the team at the Spencer Law Firm prioritizes clients' best interests, incorporating detailed attention to each case and a team-oriented work ethic to produce optimal outcomes. Even if you instinctively think that you are the target of employment discrimination and feel overwhelmed by the process of developing a claim, attorneys at the Spencer Law Firm aim to evaluate your situation and advise you of your next appropriate action, no matter how complex your problem presents itself. Contact the Spencer Law Firm today. First time consultations are always free.



Employment Law & Workplace Discrimination: Know Your Rights

Thursday, February 01, 2018

Under California employment law, employees have the right to discrimination-free work environments. In short, discrimination occurs when a person is treated unfairly because of his or her race, gender, sexual orientation, disability, age, religion, or nationality. But identifying employment discrimination isn’t always easy, as it can take many forms. If you are an employee and have been treated unfairly in the workplace, knowing your rights is the first step toward seeking justice.

Legally speaking, there are two basic types of workplace discrimination: disparate treatment and disparate impact. Disparate treatment happens when an employer acts in a way that is directly unfair to the employee. This might include demotion or termination based on the employee's nationality, for example. In some cases, the employer might fail to give a promotion or raise to a qualified employee because of his or her sexual orientation or religion, which also qualifies as discrimination under California employment law. 

Disparate impact, on the other hand, is a more general term that refers to an action (usually a company policy) that is unfairly biased against an entire group of employees. If a company policy discriminates against pregnant women, for instance, it falls into this category. Other situations might include policies that prohibit clothing associated with a specific religion or policies that discriminate against a gender minority.

If you suffered discrimination in the workplace, now is the time to speak with a legal representative about your claim. At The Spencer Law Firm, you can work with an Orange County employment lawyer to seek compensation for your damages. Contact us for more information about employment law and your rights. 



Suit Against Shasta County Jail Becomes a Class Action

Thursday, May 18, 2017
A lawsuit against the Shasta County Jail in northern California has achieved class Actions status, according to the Legal Reader. The suit, filed in Sacramento’s Federal District Court by a number of disabled inmates, alleges numerous violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act.

The suit claims that the jail has inadequate facilities for disabled prisoners, including a lack of handle bars in showers, and doorways too narrow to accommodate wheelchairs. A lack of wheelchair seating in classrooms was noted. The action also claims that disabled inmates were abused, forced to traverse numerous barriers with little or no assistance and placed on 23 hours-a-day lockdowns. Conditions were so bad, some of the plaintiffs claimed, that the inmates could not shower, sleep, or be mobile. Guards were alleged to have threatened to withhold medication if the prisoners complained.

The designation of the suit as a class action means that any disabled inmate, current or former, can join in the civil action and seek redress for the alleged violations.

Shasta County seems to be taking a benign attitude toward the lawsuit, perhaps in recognition that it has a problem with its jail. The county counsel, Jim Ross, declined to oppose the motion to make the lawsuit into a class action. In the meantime, jail officials have vowed to work with disability groups to ensure that the conditions alleged to be present at the jail are corrected to ensure that disabled inmates are treated with dignity as the law mandates. No word exists as of this writing whether or when the suit will be settled or go to trial.

For more information contact us.


Federal Employment Protection During Pregnancy

Thursday, March 30, 2017

The US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, or EEOC, provides federal protections for women's choices related to pregnancy, if she works for an employer with more than 15 employees. The protections are against discrimination and harassment, and there are further protections regarding exposure to hazardous working environments during pregnancy.

The PDA, or Pregnancy Discrimination Act, provides for protection against negative employment actions related to pregnancy, intent to get pregnant, and abortion. This means hiring decisions, firing, promotion or demotion decisions or other job actions cannot be made based on these reproductive health issues.

Workplaces must make sure the environment is safe for pregnant women, and these safety precautions include hazardous chemicals, noise, radiation, and heat/cold. However, an employer cannot remove a pregnant women from employment for these safety reasons, but must, if able, provide a different job or a different work environment. The worker cannot be placed on leave for the extent of the pregnancy for these reasons. An employer is expected to make reasonable accommodations.

If the pregnancy is causing difficulty doing the job, employers can offer reasonable workplace accommodations such as sitting rather than standing, breaks, altered work schedules, and work from home options. These changes in the work environment much be accommodations, rather than demotions, and be time-limited. In all instances, the change must not place an undue burden on an employer.

If an employee cannot work during the pregnancy, and paid leave is available, then that leave is allowed, and further unpaid leave can be a workplace accommodation. How the employer uses workplace accommodations for other employees needing assistance or altered work environments, such as those protected under the Americans with Disabilities Act, can be used to also offer similar to pregnant employees.

If a pregnant woman is experiencing harassment in the work environment, the employer has a responsibility to stop the harassment. Harassment alone cannot be used as a need for an accommodation in the workplace.

If an employee feels that she has been discriminated against due to pregnancy or reproductive health issues, she can speak first to HR or directly to the EEOC. Employers are prohibited from retaliation against employees for filing an EEOC complaint. The burden of proof rests with the person filing the complaint.

For more information about employment law, please contact us.



What counts as discrimination under employment law?

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Employment discrimination -- what is it?

It's helpful to first clarify what employment discrimination is and isn't. Employment discrimination law deals with matters affecting protected categories, such as people of a particular race or religion. It seems equally important to note that discrimination based off of non-categorical factors, such as personality, have no relevance from a legal standpoint. Therefore, it is imperative that you understand the legal limits of employment discrimination.

According to find law, legal discrimination can occur due to someone's "race, gender, ethnicity, religion, disability or age." Discrimination can also happen at various stages of employment, including hiring, promotion and termination. It's also important to note there are other aspects of discrimination covered under the umbrella of the law that might slip your notice, such as disability leave or even retirement plans. Other lesser known types of discrimination include hiring decisions based on an individual's genetic history, preferred language, or the fact that their spouse is a type of person protected under the employment discrimination law that the employer has chosen to discriminate against.

Specialization is important

Employment law is incredibly broad. Discrimination law is a distinct branch of the law from, say, workers' compensation issues. So you would want to find a lawyer whose focus is on employment discrimination, and who specializes in the type of discrimination that is relevant to your legal dispute.

Time limits and proper procedures

If you've been discriminated against, you should consult an attorney as soon as possible. You must file charges with the EEOC as a preliminary step to private lawsuits, and this must be completed within 180 days of the alleged event.

If you have any questions, please contact us.



Federal Agencies Release Updated Guide on Employment Rights of LGBT Workers

Saturday, May 09, 2015

Four federal agencies have come up with an updated manual that aims to educate lesbian, gay bisexual and transgender workers on the rights available to them under the law. The four agencies are the US Office of Personnel Management, the US Office of Special Counsel, the US Merit Systems Protection Board and Equal Employment Diversity Commission.

The manual titled Addressing Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Discrimination in Federal Civilian Employment: A Guide to Employment Rights, Protections and Responsibilities is being issued in a brand-new form. It is more than a decade since the manual was last updated, and the new version contains several revisions that are designed to reflect the changes in the law.

Basically, the manual provides LGBT workers with a clear picture of all their rights and responsibilities in the employment sector. It explains to them the kind of behavior that could constitute discrimination, based on sexual orientation or gender, and also informs them of all the legal options that they have when they are faced with such discrimination.

The manual also clearly defines what are the definitions of key terms like gender identity and sexual orientation as well as the responsibilities of each individual agency in helping promote workplaces that are free from such discrimination.

If you are an LGBT worker, who is currently facing discrimination or harassment in the workplace, you may have legal options to address your concerns. Speak to a California employment lawyer about your legal options, and ascertain your rights. You could possibly file a claim that can help you acquire damages for your losses.



Feds Ally with Transgender Advocacy Group To Enhance Workplace Protection

Tuesday, April 07, 2015

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration is working together with a leading transgender advocacy group to increase workplace health and safety protections for transgender workers.

There are specific concerns that transgender employees have, and the new alliance between the Occupational Safety and Health Administration and the National Center for Transgender Equality is specifically aimed at helping create a healthy workplace for transgender workers.

For instance, transgender workers do have a complaint about managers refusing to refer to them with their changed name after the transition, and also complain about the lack of access to separate restrooms that are appropriate for transgender workers. These are the some of the issues that the Occupational Safety and Health Administration and the National Transgender Equality will keep in mind, as they move forward and develop recommended best practices for employers. The aim is to encourage companies across the United States to implement the recommendations in order to create a more inclusive and safe environment for transgender workers.

The federal administration has been working to ease restrictions on transgender workers. For instance, last month, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ruled that transgender workers face several restrictions including their supervisor’s failure to consider name changes, and that these are a violation of anti-discrimination laws. That decision came in a case involving a civilian employee in the Army, who was working at the Aviation and Missile Research Development and Engineering Center in Alabama. When she tried to use the women's restroom after her transition in 2010, she was confronted by a supervisor, who insisted on using her male name. This is the kind of situation that the new alliance aims to eliminate.



What to Do When You Face Workplace Harassment

Tuesday, March 03, 2015

California laws give employees protection against discrimination or harassment in the workplace. However, to file a claim, you need evidence of the incident that occurred. That's why it helps if you can record incidents of harassment, and take other steps to document it.

When you record the harassment, be as descriptive as possible, and record the incidents, the people involved, and the exact manner and form of discrimination or harassment. If the harassment involved obscene e-mails, or text messages, retain copies of those.

Once you have a record of the incident of harassment, report the issue. Go to human resources, and file a complaint about the harassment. The longer you delay, the less likely it is that your complaint will seem credible. Management will want to know why you didn’t report the harassment earlier.

File a complaint in a very methodical manner. Provide all of the information that you have including evidence, records, text messages, e-mails, and other documentation, in support of your complaint.

Prepare yourself emotionally before you file the complaint. Don’t lose your temper, make wild allegations, and behave like you are having a meltdown. Instead, come across as very sure of yourself, methodical, and clear that you want human resources to handle the issue appropriately.

After you file the complaint, go about work as usual. Don't avoid coming into office, and under no circumstances, quit your job. If you find that human resources takes no action against the harassment, and that you are, in fact, being wrongfully retaliated against for your complaint, speak to a California workplace discrimination lawyer about what to do next.



California Prohibits Discrimination against LGBT Employees

Saturday, November 01, 2014

California is one among several states that expressly prohibits workplace discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender employees. The state prohibits discrimination based on gender identity or sexual orientation and gender identity.

Employers in the state must respect the fact that their workplaces are now very sexually diverse. California employers are responsible for providing employees with a workplace, that protects them from discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. Although there is no full-fledged federal law that prohibits discrimination against lesbians, gays, and transgender employees in private employment, there is an Executive Order that specifically prohibits the federal government from discriminating against employees based on sexual orientation. However, if private employers in California must follow the state law that bans discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity, in spite of the fact that there is no federal law yet that bans such discrimination.

California's law prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity, and if a plaintiff files a discrimination lawsuit based on LGBT discrimination and the case goes to a jury, it is likely that plaintiffs will find a jury that is in their favor. According to recent survey, Americans across the board now seem to be in favor of a inclusive workplaces, and zero discrimination against homosexuals, lesbians and transgender persons.

According to the survey, as many as 55% of the more than 2,500 people who were surveyed believed that no employer should be granted exemption from protecting employees against discrimination based on sexual orientation. Only a minority believed that such exemptions should be granted, and even among them, the majority believed that the exemption should only be applicable to churches and places of worship.



Poll Finds Americans Opposed to Discrimination against LGBT Persons

Friday, October 03, 2014

According to a new survey, Americans are opposed to discrimination against persons with other sexual preferences or sexual orientation.

The poll focused on more than 2, 500 Americans, and out of these, more than 200 indicated that they were homosexual, and 354 identify themselves as gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender. Approximately 55% of these persons believed that no employer should be given any exemption from providing employees protection against workplace discrimination based on sexual orientation, or preference. A minority of them believe that certain businesses or organizations have the right to discriminate against these persons, including places of worship. They also believed that private businesses could have exemption from anti-discrimination laws, based on religious beliefs.

At least two- thirds of the respondents admitted that they believed that there should be an expansion of the federal law to expand protection against workplace discrimination based on gender identity and sexual orientation. Two- thirds of the respondents admitted that they were strongly in favor of the expansion of federal law to provide protections against employment discrimination based on gender identity and sexual orientation. About 54 % were strongly in favor of equal treatment of transgender workers.

This rising tide in favor of acceptance of persons of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender persons in the workplace comes as several states around the country, continue to relax their laws and accept same sex marriages or unions. Even though so many Americans are strongly in favor of protections against workplace discrimination, in matters of gender identity and sexual orientation, the Employment Non-Discrimination Act continues to be debated by lawmakers in Congress. In several American states, it continues to be legal for employers to fire employees if they are lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender. In 32 states, a person can be fired from his employment if he identifies as transgender.




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