Perkins & Associates A Professional Law Corporation
Protect Your Rights, Call Today

Sacramento Sexual Harassment Law Blog

Former executive sues Yahoo! for wrongful termination

A former Yahoo! Inc. executive is suing the Internet giant for wrongful termination. The suit, which was filed this month in a San Jose federal court, is also charging gender discrimination at the company's Sunnyvale headquarters. He's seeking unspecified damages for violations of state and federal employment laws and discrimination.

The man, who worked as a senior director in the company's editorial division for three years. He was terminated in January of last year. He says that there was no valid reason for his termination. The plaintiff alleges that the company's quarterly evaluation system, under its chief executive officer Marissa Mayer, is unfair.

Governor vetoes bill to extend family leave rights at small businesses

The United States is thought of a leader in many areas, but we appear to be behind on one issue: family leave. The U.S. is currently the only industrialized country in the world that does not ensure a job once parents return from family leave. Recently California work-life advocates pushed for a bill which would have required small businesses to guarantee employees' jobs after parental leave. The bill was vetoed by Governor Jerry Brown.

The bill would have required small businesses of fewer than 49 employees to give employees up to six weeks off of work after childbirth or adoption. Governor Brown said that the reasoning behind the veto was that the law would bring yet another expensive restriction to small businesses which already face enough challenges.

Sexual orientation is no reason for discrimination

Your sexual orientation -- or how you identify with regard to gender -- isn't really your employer's business. If you do a good job and stay within the parameters of your work policies, then your employer can't take action against you simply because he or she doesn't agree with your gender or sexual orientation choices. In fact, doing so is a type of discrimination and can be unlawful.

It's important to understand the difference between simply not liking your choices and taking specific action solely because of your choices. Your employer doesn't have to like or agree with your choices. He or she has a right to voice an opinion about those choices in general and participate in political or other campaigns that are in line with his or her beliefs.

Head of park in California accused of allowing toxic workplace

A man is stepping down after seven years as the head of a national park in California after allegations that he allowed a toxic and hostile workplace. The man reportedly resigned amid a Congressional investigation into the allegations, which come from at least 18 employees or former employees of the park.

The park in question is Yosemite National Park, but it is not the only location where such allegations have been leveled. Reports are that allegations have come from employees throughout the national park system, including from staffers at sites such as the Grand Canyon and Yellowstone.

Nonprofit worker sues over sexual harassment

A worker for a California nonprofit agency is filing suit, alleging that she was sexually harassed and that her employer did nothing to stop the occurrences. Her suit further alleges that her employer threatened retaliation if she continued to bring the matter of the alleged sexual harassment to light.

According to the lawsuit, the woman worked for the nonprofit agency for approximately six months. During that time, she says her immediate supervisor repeatedly harassed her in a sexual manner. The allegations include the fact that the supervisor touched her inappropriately and continually made comments to her that were of a sexual nature. For example, on one occasion, the man reportedly bumped into the woman from behind. He then made a comment about not getting "front action."

Don't lead someone on in the workplace; be direct when needed

Yes, there's a difference between quid pro quo sexual harassment and someone mooning over you in the workplace. The first is illegal and you have a lot of legal protection in dealing with it. The second is uncomfortable and, while it could eventually turn into a sexual harassment situation, does not necessarily involve the same legal protections while it's simply a possible romantic interest you don't return.

One expert on managing people in the workplace notes that simply being noncommittal all the time to avoid negative issues doesn't work. If someone indicates interest in you or asks you out, there are only so many excuses you can make. Certainly, you can start with this tactic and hope they get the hint, but not everyone does, and continuing to avoid direct communication can even hedge the situation into harassment territory.

What can you not be fired for?

Federal laws protect most employees from being fired as an act of retaliation on the part of the employer. This protection only comes into play in certain circumstances, though. Here are some of the things that you can't be legally fired for.

You can't be fired because you participated in a lawful investigation of your employer or any worker in the company. This includes being a witness at a hearing, whether you were a witness for or against the employer. As long as you tell the truth as you know it in good faith, the employer cannot retaliate against you even if the testimony you provided was not in the company's best interest.

Are you dealing with a toxic work situation?

We've written recently about numerous issues that could cause legal implications in the workplace, but what if you are simply dealing with a toxic environment? Toxic situations can be extremely difficult to stomach on a daily basis, because sometimes you can't see any options for dealing with the situation. In some cases, the environment is extremely negative without ever crossing the line into harassment or discrimination, which means you might not have the legal options we can offer in such cases.

At the same time, most people simply can't walk out on a job because the environment is toxic or stressing. In many cases, the best advice is often to search for another job, but while you wait for leads to materialize or your supervisor to handle the situation, you also need to safeguard your career.

No arbitration compelled in wrongful termination suit

Many employers throughout the state are defaulting to a requirement that all employees sign arbitration agreements. Your human resource representative might gloss over the agreement with the explanation that it means you can't sue your employer, but that's not actually true. You still might have the right to sue an employer if you believe you were wrongfully terminated. The employer, however, has the ability to assert its arbitration rights.

Employers don't always assert those rights, for whatever reason, and if they don't do so in a timely manner, the request for arbitration isn't always upheld by the courts. In a recent case in another state, an employee filed a wrongful termination lawsuit against his employer. The employer filed a number of motions and documents in the case, including a motion to move the case to California.

Retaliation can happen regardless of claim disposition

If you report to your supervisor or employer that you have been discriminated against or sexually harassed, then the employer is not allowed to retaliate against you. Retaliation includes activities that impact your employment or pay if those actions were taken solely because of your report.

Once you make a report, the company usually engages in an investigation. You might also report issues to outside agencies or authorities, and outside investigations might take place. In some cases, the investigations might deem that the issue was not harassment or discrimination. Even if this is the case, you are still protected against retaliation.

Our Office Location

Perkins & Associates, A Professional Law Corporation
300 Capitol Mall 
Suite 1800 
Sacramento, CA 95814
Phone: 916-520-1417
Map & Directions