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Sacramento Sexual Harassment Law Blog

Women scientists hope to see changes regarding sexual harassment

Scientists -- especially women scientists -- hope that 2017 is the year that things change so that sexual harassment and gender bias among scientists starts to become a relic of the past.

2016 was the year a peephole opened up to reveal an ugly view of the role sexual harassment plays in the scientific community. The response has been tremendously vocal and proactive, with the hopes of changing the situation once and for all.

Whistleblowers who make internal reports are also protected

Thanks to changes in 2014 to the laws protecting whistleblowers in California, employees who report suspected violations of federal or state laws to their bosses, instead of directly to the police or government officials, enjoy the same protections as those that go outside of the company with their information.

Unfortunately, not every company seems to have gotten the message.

Your protection against retaliation goes on after the job ends

For a lot of people, filing a formal discrimination complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission or suing an employer for discrimination is often a desperate measure after every other avenue of relief has been exhausted.

It usually doesn't end up being a comfortable situation for anybody involved, which is why it isn't unusual for an employee in that situation to resign and move on if he or she is able, no matter how the discrimination complaint or lawsuit turns out.

Nurses often experience sexual harassment from their patients

Most people who enter the field of nursing are compassionate individuals who want to help people—so that may make it exceptionally difficult for them to deal with sexual harassment from their own patients.

When a patient subjects a nurse to sexual harassment, it creates what is known as a hostile work environment. It can come about through a variety of subtle and overt methods:

Assembly Bill 1509: Extends whistleblower protections to family

Whistleblower laws are designed to protect people who come forward with information about misconduct or illegal activities in the workplace. They're designed to encourage people to take action against wrongful activity and to provide those people who do so with some measure of security in return for their honesty and bravery.

Not every state has strong whistleblower laws, but California does. Employers have long been prohibited from retaliating against whistleblower employees by firing them, demoting them, transferring them to less-than-desirable positions or otherwise harassing them.

What is an employer's duty when workplace harassment is reported?

Every day, in companies all across the country -- including many in California -- there are employees subjected to hostile work environments. Workplace harassment is real, and even though all of it may not rise to an illegal legal, it does not mean it is something for employers to ignore. Do you feel you were subject to harassment in the workplace? Do you feel your employer did nothing to stop it? You may have legal recourse.

Forest Service accused of sexual harassment and abuse

The U.S. Department of Agriculture is being held accountable by members of the U.S. Congress over years of sexual harassment complaints. One of the central parts of the congressional investigation was an extremely disturbing and tearful testimony brought forward by a wildland firefighter.

The female firefighter from California's Eldorado National Forest told the story of a male supervisor her who fondled her breasts with a letter opener while smiling like he knew he was going to get away with the act. The woman said that all she could do was stand there in shock after the incident.

What are common examples of sexual harassment?

Are you unsure if you've been facing sexual harassment in the workplace? It can sometimes be hard to decide if you're dealing with a real issue that breaks the law, and you may not want to move forward until you're sure. Below are some examples of sexual harassment to help you know what you're looking at:

1. Sharing explicit information. This could include pictures or videos, but it could also include notes, email messages, text messages, letters, and the like. If these are explicit or overly suggestive, they could count as harassment.

Fired university workers say they were discriminated against

A number of Information Technology workers at University of California, San Francisco saw their employment come to an end when they were fired and their jobs were outsourced to foreign workers. Now, they're suing the school. They want to get their jobs back, and they also want to stop other schools in California from doing the same thing.

The workers are claiming they are being discriminated against on the grounds of age and national origin. First off, they claim that preference is being given to workers from India over workers from the United States. They also claim that the jobs are going to young men, and that they were fired in part for being "too old." This also implies that sexual discrimination could come into play if male workers get preference.

Whistleblower awarded $631,200 in Medicare fraud case

A respiratory therapist in Fresno County was working at a sleep medicine center when she noticed what she believed to be Medicare fraud happening at the facility. She decided to speak out, becoming a whistleblower and exposing the scheme. As a result, she was fired from her job.

She ends up with the last laugh, though, as the case recently went to court and the jury decided to award her $631,200.

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