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San Francisco Employment Law Blog

Supreme Court asked to hear gender discrimination case

Are sex and gender the same? Is gender immutable and fixed or subjective?

These are some of the theoretical questions that have to be answered and defined into law because they have real-world implications for the nation's transgender community -- which has become increasingly visible and vocal over the last decade alone.

Imminent danger and your right to refuse to work

For the most part, employers have a pretty broad prerogative to tell employees what work has to be completed at any given time -- and many jobs have an element of danger that has to be managed on a daily basis. It's impossible, for example, to work on a construction site without recognizing that there is some danger associated with simply being there. Your employer's rights, however, stop where imminent danger begins.

Generally speaking, you can refuse to continue working or refuse to complete a specific task, depending on the situation. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) details your right to refuse to work when the danger to your life is imminent.

Culture of sexual harassment alleged in government agency

Did the former personnel chief of a federal agency treat his office as like a private hunting ground for women? Did he create a culture that treated women as mere objects -- many hired on solely because they were viewed as attractive possible partners for the personnel chief and his friends?

That's the allegations against a former official with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). The official recently resigned after an internal investigation into the agency's sexual harassment problem.

When you’re fired after developing health problems

What happens when you've developed a serious medical condition and your employer responds to the uncertainty in your life by terminating your position? Are you simply out of luck?

Not necessarily. There are a number of laws that protect employees from wrongful termination.

Generation X is the new face of age discrimination in tech fields

How old is "too old" in the tech field? Would you believe 36 is considered too old by many employers?

For anybody born between roughly 1965 and 1984, known as "Generation X," it seems almost inconceivable that members of their generation who witnessed the birth of the digital age are now considered too old to be part of it. Unfortunately, that's the accepted wisdom of many in various technological fields.

How can you protect immigrant employees from discrimination?

Immigration issues continue to make headline news all over the country -- with some areas arguably being hit harder than others. If your workforce includes immigrants of any kind, is there anything you can do to protect those employees from discrimination based on their background?

Absolutely. It's important to realize that a lot of discrimination against immigrants is tied to their ethnic background or citizenship status -- and you want to avoid the appearance of remotely condoning that kind of behavior from your managers or other employees. Here's how you can do it.

California's lone female sheriff accused of sexual harassment

Sexual harassment is often thought of as a woman's problem -- especially today, when many women are stepping forward with allegations of sexual harassment in various industries going back decades. However, the latest accusations of sexual harassment to hit the news involve men who say they were harassed by the state's first -- and only -- female sheriff.

The string of accusations started with a letter. In it, a corrections officer claimed that the woman who is now a sheriff was his supervisor in 1994. He claimed she harassed him repeatedly, while he kept silent out of fear.

Do women suffer more age discrimination then men?

If you're a woman of "a certain age," you're no doubt aware that there's a societal double standard when it comes to age and gender. Men get older and are seen as distinguished-looking and seem wise. Women just get older.

It doesn't matter what industry you're in -- although some professions, like acting, suffer from the issue worse than others. Age is an inescapable fact for everyone -- but women seem to suffer significantly more discrimination than men in the workplace over it.

What accommodations are reasonable during and after pregnancy?

If you're pregnant, do you know your rights at work? What should you expect your employer to do (or not do)?

The Pregnancy Discrimination Act (among other things) requires employers to make reasonable accommodations for pregnant women and new mothers. However, there are some guidelines that have to be followed to avoid problems. These are some important facts that employees need to know:

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