Settlement

08 Oct #MeToo inspired sexual harassment bills await signature

Three #MeToo inspired sexual harassment bills await the governor's signature. The legislature passed each of the three bills partly in response to the #MeToo movement, which has grown in response to sexual harassment in the workplace. As part of the movement, #MeToo advocates have called for updates to California's sexual harassment laws. While the bills all aim to deter sexual harassment, they each address distinct issues. AB 9, inspired by #MeToo criticisms, would extend the statute of limitations for sexual harassment claims AB 9 would extend the time victims of sexual harassment have to file claims under state law. Currently, sexual harassment victims generally have only one year to take action. AB 9 would change the statute of limitations for sexual harassment to three years. Employment lawyers and supporters of the #MeToo movement have criticized the short statute of limitations California has for sexual harassment claims. They argue many sexual harassment victims don't immediately recognize they've experienced legally actionable sexual harassment. By the time they do, it may be too late to take action. Meanwhile, critics of AB 9 argue that it will increase employers' liability. Undoubtedly, this would be a major change to state employment law. But until the bill goes into effect, nobody can say for sure how much real world impact the change would have. AB 51 seeks to protect sexual harassment victims' right to sue in court AB 51 would prohibit employers from enforcing mandatory arbitration clauses against victims of sexual harassment. Employers are increasingly using mandatory arbitration clauses in their contracts with employees. Arbitration is essentially a private court system. Arbitration generally has similar procedures as court, but there are some important differences. These differences, tend to advantage employers. Moreover, it's very rare that a court will decline to enforce an arbitration agreement. Unsurprisingly, many #MeToo advocates have been critical of arbitration agreements, arguing they take rights away from sexual harassment victims. Moreover, because arbitration is private, it allows employers to sweep sexual harassment lawsuits under the rug. AB 51 would make it harder for employers to enforce such agreements against victims of sexual harassment. Advocates hope the legislation would help victims fight back more effectively against sexual harassment at work. Even if passed, however, it's possible that AB 51 would conflict with federal law regarding arbitration agreements. Where state and federal law directly conflict, federal law prevails. Therefore, it's possible AB 51 would have little or no impact on sexual harassment lawsuits. If AB 51 does become law, courts will have to work this out. AB 749 would prohibit employers from including "no rehire" clauses in sexual harassment settlements AB 749 prohibits employers from including "no rehire" clauses in settlement agreements with sexual harassment victims. These clauses give employers the right to refuse to hire or employ the victim in the future. #MeToo advocates argue this is a form of retaliation against employees who file sexual harassment lawsuits. By prohibiting such clauses, the legislature sought to ensure that victims can move on without sacrificing future opportunities. #MeToo advocates hope governor will sign the sexual harassment bills As of now, these three #MeToo inspired sexual harassment bills are not law. They will only become law with the governor's signature. The governor has until October 13, 2019 to sign them. Activists in the growing anti-sexual harassment movement are hoping the governor will sign them before the upcoming deadline. If the governor does not sign one or more of the bills, don't expect that to be the end of the line. This is only the beginning of what will likely to be a long effort to reshape California's civil rights laws to combat sexual harassment. If you believe you have been a victim of sexual harassment, contact the Khadder Law Firm today for a free consultation. For updates on these bills and more, follow us on Twitter....

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21 Feb Possible Mediation Outcomes

One of the possibilities in mediation settlement is for the employer to agree to reinstate the employee to the position that they held before they were demoted, or to increase the employee’s pay back to their original pay before their pay was reduced. Mediation can also provide the employee with money for any economic harm or emotional distress that they suffered because of discrimination. For example, if you were paid less, you could, in a mediation, get the employer to agree to reimburse you for the difference of what you were originally paid with what they were paying you when they reduced your salary. However, if you sue your employer, chances are there is going to be some, if not a lot, of friction. Often, in a mediation, an employer will demand, as part of a settlement that involves a payment of substantial money, that the employee resign from their employment and agree never to seek re-employment with that employer in the future. That is not always easy to accept, but if the employer is willing to pay enough money to settle the case, then it may be worth it to resign from your job and agree never to reapply for any job with that same employer. That’s a tough decision to make. Some people would rather have steady income than take a big lump sum of money and have to find a new job. Each case is different, and you have to weigh the risks and benefits of each decision. It is important to consider all of these things if you decide to take legal action against your employer while still employed. For people who have been terminated, the decision is much easier. If they have been wrongfully terminated, there is not going to be the issue of awkwardness or friction at the workplace, because they are no longer there. That makes the decision of taking legal action easier. But, just because you are still employed, by no means should you automatically give up your legal rights to stay with the employer. If you have been discriminated on the basis of your disability by your employer, contact an employment lawyer today at the Khadder Law Firm for a free initial consultation....

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18 Feb Disability Discrimination and Continuing Employment – Is Mediation the Answer?

Most likely, if somebody is still employed but they experience disability discrimination other than termination; for instance, their job duties or responsibilities are reduced, they get demoted or their pay is reduced simply because they have a disability, then you may still have a disability discrimination case that is worth pursuing. It is awkward to say the least, however, to sue an employer when you are still working for the employer. That’s not to say it doesn’t happen, but in those cases, often the best course of action for all parties involved, especially the employee with the disability, is to try and resolve the case short of going to court or having a trial. Mediation is a voluntary process. The parties don’t have to accept a settlement. But, there is a lot more room for creativity if a case is settled in mediation or other negotiations as opposed to having to take a claim to trial and get a judgment. If you have been discriminated on the basis of your disability by your current employer, contact an employment lawyer today at the Khadder Law Firm for a free initial consultation.  ...

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02 Dec Degenerative or Progressive Conditions: FEHA’s Protection of Employees from Future Discrimination

The FEHA prohibits discrimination of physical or mental disabilities that actually exist, or that they believe to exist, even though it doesn’t actually exist. It is also unlawful for an employer to discriminate against an employee who doesn’t currently have a disability but may have a disabling condition sometime in the future. For instance, if an employee has HIV, but not AIDS, they may not presently have any limits on their major life activities. But, if the employer knows that at some point in the future they could become disabled by AIDS, then they might discriminate against that employee. The FEHA clearly prohibits that. Similarly, if someone has some kind of congenital heart disorder, it may not presently constitute a disability because it doesn’t cause limits on their major life activities. But, if the employer believes that in the future it may, they may also discriminate against that employee, and they are prohibited from doing so. There are other examples, but the main point is that if you have an issue or condition that is not presently disabiling, but may become disabling sometime in the future, the fact that it may become disabling prevents an employer from discriminating against you. If you have been discriminated on the basis of your disability by your employer, or future potential disability, contact an employment lawyer today at the Khadder Law Firm for a free initial consultation....

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