Employment Discrimination

21 Oct Different Sources of Employment Law

There are different sources of employment law in California. You've probably heard about Title VII. This is federal law, which Congress enacted as part of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Title VII prohibits harassment and discrimination in the workplace. But California also has its own version of Title VII: the Fair Employment and Housing Act, also known as the FEHA. Like Title VII, the FEHA prohibits workplace harassment and discrimination. Both Title VII and the FEHA apply in California. If you're considering suing your employer, you may be able to choose between the two. Different sources of employment law, similar rules and remedies After the federal government enacted Title VII, many states passed their own versions of the law. The FEHA is California's version of Title VII. Because the FEHA is based on Title VII, there are many similarities between the two laws. For example, both prohibit harassment and discrimination based on certain characteristics, such as race, gender, and religion. They both also prohibit employers from retaliating against employees who oppose harassment or discrimination. Moreover, they both set up a mandatory administrative process. Title VII created the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. If you want to sue your employer under Title VII, you have to go to the EEOC first. Likewise, the FEHA has the Department of Fair Employment and Housing. Like under Title VII, you must go through the DFEH's administrative process before you sue your employer in court under the FEHA. Finally, Title VII and the FEHA both authorize punitive damages and allow victorious plaintiffs to collect attorney fees and costs. They both also have asymmetrical cost shifting. This means prevailing plaintiffs can recover fees and costs as a matter of right, but when defendants win, they can't recover fees and costs unless the plaintiff's lawsuit was frivolous. Though similar, there are important differences between Title VII and the FEHA While similar, there some key differences between Title VII and the FEHA. Perhaps the most important difference from a plaintiff's prospective is Title VII's damages cap. While the FEHA allows for unlimited compensatory and punitive damages, Title VII limits recoverable damages. Additionally, Title VII is federal law. This means that federal courts automatically have jurisdiction over Title VII cases. While California courts can hear cases involving federal law, a defendant being sued under federal law has the right to remove the case to federal court. While this doesn't affect the substantive law, federal courts use different procedural rules. For example, California courts do not require plaintiffs to win unanimous jury verdicts, while federal courts do require unanimous verdicts. Moreover, it's often more expensive to litigate in federal court and plaintiffs' attorney are generally less experienced there. Accordingly, plaintiffs often prefer state court. Because the FEHA is not federal law, defendants have a harder time removing FEHA cases to federal court. Finally, there are some differences in the substance of the two laws. For example, the FEHA prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. It's unclear whether Title VII does so, though the Supreme Court is expected to conclusively resolve this issue in the spring of 2020. Different sources of employment law: which law should I use? Now you know there are different sources of employment law in California. If you're considering suing your employer, you might be wondering: which source of law should I use? The answer: it depends. Most plaintiffs' attorney probably prefer the FEHA. But that doesn't mean that every plaintiff in every situation should proceed under the FEHA. There are some instances in which Title VII is the way to go. First, in some situations, Title VII is your only option. For example, if you are an employee of the federal government, you generally can't use the FEHA to sue the federal government in state court. There are also some areas, called federal enclaves, where only federal law applies. If the offending conduct occurred in a federal enclave, Title VII may be the exclusive remedy. Additionally, you may be in an area where the juries are not favorable for plaintiffs. Because the applicable federal court may be in a different city or county, it's possible you could get a more favorable jury in federal court. Because you probably can't bring your FEHA claims in federal court, you may want to use Title VII if this is the case. These are only a few of the many factors involved in choosing whether to pursue claims under Title VII or the FEHA. Ultimately, this is a decision you'll need make in consultation with your attorney. It's also important to remember that there are other laws, both state and federal, that might apply in the employment context. If you believe you have a claim against your employer, contact the Khadder Law Firm today for a free consultation. To stay up to date on our blog posts and more, follow us on Twitter....

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14 Oct Sexual Harassment Bills Become Law

Governor Newsom has signed a suite of sexual harassment bills that will now become law. The legislature passed the three bills a while back, but Newsom's predecessor, Governor Jerry Brown, vetoed them. While advocates were optimistic Newsom would reverse course and sign them, the bills lingered on the Governor's desk for several months. After a prolonged pressure campaign from #MeToo advocates and the California Employment Lawyers Association, among others, Newsom signed the bills into law, less than a week before the deadline. The sexual harassment assembly bills: what they would do Assembly Bill 9 will extend the statute of limitations for sexual harassment claims from one year to three years. In addition, Assembly Bill 51 will limit the use of mandatory arbitration clauses in the employment context. Finally, Assembly Bill 749 will prohibit the use of "no rehire" clauses. Some believe these updates were long over due, others are less enthusiastic Taken together, advocates hope these changes will make it easier for victims of sexual harassment to fight back. Conversely, business interests, such as the California Chamber of Commerce, have concerns. They claim the new laws will be job killers. By expanding employees' rights, they argue, the bills will invite increased litigation against California employers. This would make doing business in California more expensive, they contend. This may be true, but there are also costs to sexual harassment in the workplace. Accordingly, some of the concern from the business community may be shortsighted. If the changes have the desired effect, they could a boon to business in the long term. The fight against sexual harassment continues After helping these sexual harassment bills become law, advocates will turn their attention to other anti-sexual harassment efforts. While these changes to the law will help to fight against sexual harassment, there is still a long way to go. If you believe you've been the victim of sexual harassment, contact the Khadder Law Firm today for a free consultation. For updates on these new laws and more, follow us on Twitter....

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14 Oct Title VII sex discrimination oral arguments

The Supreme Court heard oral arguments in two landmark Title VII sex discrimination cases on October 8, 2019. The two cases involve whether Title VII prohibits employment discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. The Court's decisions in these cases could transform federal employment discrimination law. Bostock v. Clayton County Georgia: Does Title VII's sex discrimination provision prevent employers from discriminating against gay employees? The first of the cases was Bostock v. Clayton County Georgia. This case is actually two cases that the court consolidated because they raise the same issue. The Bostock plaintiff was an employee of Clayton County in Georgia. When the county found out he was gay, it fired him. The Plaintiff sued the county, arguing it unlawfully discriminated against him for being gay. The county argued that Title VII does not cover sexual orientation. At the Supreme Court, the plaintiff's argument started with the text of Title VII, which prohibits discrimination "because of...

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03 Oct Court case on gay, transgender employment discrimination

The Supreme Court will decide whether discrimination against gay and transgender employees is illegal under federal law. The Court has agreed to hear three cases on the issues in the fall term. The cases involve Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Title VII prohibits employment discrimination based on protected classes such as race, gender, and national origin. In these cases, the Court will decide whether sexual orientation and gender identity are protected classes. Lower courts are divided on whether employment discrimination against gay and transgender workers is unlawful under Title VII Courts are split on whether Title VII protects gay and transgender employees. Most courts have found Title VII does not protect sexual orientation and gender identity. Where this is the law, employers can discriminate against gay and transgender people. For example, an employer can fire an employee for being gay. Some courts, however, say Title VII does protect gay and transgender workers. This means that gay and transgender employees can sue their employers for employment discrimination under Title VII. Therefore, whether federal law protects gay and transgender workers from discrimination currently depends on location. In some places it does, in other places it does not. This creates what's called a "circuit split." This means courts are split on the issue. The Supreme Court's decision will set the law for the whole country. Many states do not have laws prohibiting employment discrimination against gay and transgender people Title VII is federal law so it applies across the entire country. Because many states do not have strong employment discrimination laws, Title VII is very important. If you live in a state that does not protect gay or transgender employees, Title VII is your only protection. Therefore, millions of gay and transgender Americans will be left with no protection if the Supreme Court decides Title VII does not protect them. The Court will hear arguments on gay and transgender employment discrimination on October 8 The court will hear oral arguments in these cases on October 8, 2019. Next, the Court will issue decisions. This will likely happen in the next several months. However, it's possible the Court could dodge the issue and resolve the cases on procedural grounds. Accordingly, the Court may not definitely resolve the issues raised in these cases at this time. The Supreme Court will decide whether employers can discriminate against gay and transgender workers under federal law only Fortunately, California law does protect gay and transgender people from employment discrimination. Therefore, whatever the Supreme Court decides, California law will still protect gay and transgender workers from employment discrimination. If you believe an employer has discriminated against you, contact the Khadder Law Firm today for a free consultation. For updates on these cases and more, follow us on Twitter....

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30 Sep Court grants new trial in French Laundry discrimination suit

The Khadder Law Firm is pleased to announce that the Honorable Judge Victoria Wood of Napa County Superior Court has granted a Khadder Law Firm client a new trial in her pregnancy discrimination lawsuit against renowned Chef Thomas Keller, The French Laundry, and the Thomas Keller Restaurant Group. For several years, our client worked at Per Se, a Keller restaurant in New York. During a 2016 visit to California, she became interested in transferring to The French Laundry in Yountville. After speaking with management at The French Laundry, our client believed she had secured a position there. Before starting at The French laundry, she discovered she was pregnant. After The French Laundry learned of the pregnancy, it told our client it had no position for her. The French Laundry then denied that it ever offered our client a transfer. She retained the Khadder Law Firm and filed suit in Napa County Superior Court in September 2016. After a month-long trial during May and June of 2019, the jury returned a verdict in favor of the defendants on each of our client's four claims. The Khadder Law Firm, along with our co-counsel, moved the court for a new trial. On September 5, 2019, Judge Wood ordered a new trial as to each of our client's four claims. Judge Wood’s order acknowledges significant irregularities in the jury deliberation process. Additionally, Judge Wood found multiple instances of attorney misconduct by the defense. Based on the strength of our client's evidence and the jury verdict, Judge Wood concluded that these irregularities were prejudicial and that “a new trial is most certainly warranted.” As of now, the court has not set a date for the new trial. If you believe you have been the victim of pregnancy discrimination, contact the Khadder Law Firm today for a free consultation....

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