What's in a title? When it comes to employment discrimination cases, quite a lot. Under federal discrimination laws, employees can usually collect damages automatically when a supervisor or manager is involved in harassment or discriminatory behavior.
It can be very hard to prove a discrimination case. As if it were not difficult enough to show what motivated an employer's decision, employers often come to court equipped with detailed information about the employee's entire tenure at the company. Any history of discipline or disagreement with a supervisor can become the employer's excuse for its decision, making it that much harder to prove whether the real motivation was illegal discrimination.
Andrew MacDonald is a visual effects specialist. While on the job, he witnessed an executive using cocaine while both were in the men's restroom. MacDonald reported the illegal activity to his superiors and was promptly fired.
Ahmed Elshenawy, a former employee of Sierra Pacific Industries (SPI), claimed that he was repeatedly harassed by coworkers following the terrorist attacks of 9/11. He is of Egyptian decent and was harassed because of his national origin and the color of his skin, based on a complaint made to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).
A lawsuit that would require the military to stop gender discrimination in employment was recently filed against the Pentagon. Army Col. Ellen Haring is leading the fight, seeking to declare the Pentagon's practice of excluding women from 150,000 available jobs in the military, unconstitutional.
Earlier this week, we covered employers' use of personality tests to inform hiring decisions. While experts disagree on the extent to which personality tests actually help determine an candidate's potential, nearly 20 percent of workplaces reported using them.
A hearing and speech-impaired woman recently filed a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, alleging that an employer discriminated against her based on the results of a personality test. Personality tests are a common recruiting tool and the results can sometimes mean the difference between a new job opportunity and a rejection.
Although the general rule in the United States is that employment is always at will and can be terminated without cause at any time, armed forces veterans are a big exception. Under the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA), veterans are entitled to a number of benefits. If employers violate veterans' USERRA rights, veterans can sue to enforce compliance.
California Governor Jerry Brown recently signed Assembly Bill 1964 into law prohibiting discrimination against workers who wear visible signs of their religion - like turbans or hijabs - in the workplace. The new law is aimed at protecting Muslim and Sikh workers from religious discrimination in the workplace but protects all employees in California from religion-based employment discrimination.
"Unemployed Need Not Apply"