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California moves to ban hair discrimination

Hair is sometimes referred to as someone's "crowning glory," so it's only appropriate that a bill aimed at ending discrimination in California against historically black hairstyles is called the CROWN Act.

Otherwise known as Senate Bill 188, the "Create a Respectful and Open Workplace for Natural Hair" Act, was introduced to the state Senate by Senator Holly J. Mitchell. It passed with a 37-0 vote, which means that it will now move to the State Assembly for consideration.

Age discrimination in hiring (and how to spot it)

Are you 40-years-old or older and looking for a job? Whether you're seeking a promotion from within your current company or looking for a position with another firm altogether, you might expect that your years of experience and hard-earned knowledge more than make up for a few gray hairs on your head.

Unfortunately, employers may not think the same way. Even though the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) expressly prohibits age discrimination in the workplace, ageism is still a problem. Many workers aged 40 and over who are looking for jobs or promotions find themselves in a competition they can't win against younger applicants due to employer bias.

How much should sexual harassment cost a company?

What's a fair price, in your mind, for a company to pay when an employee has endured sexual harassment that's put his or her career in jeopardy and caused serious emotional harm?

Right now, federal law says the maximum any sexual harassment case is worth -- no matter how extensive the damage done -- is $300,000. That's the maximum possible under a Title VII claim.

California school sued over retaliation, wrongful termination

The Olive Grove Charter School that operates in numerous locations around Santa Barbara is facing allegations that it wrongfully terminated an upper-level employee who complained about certain improprieties going on.

The allegations come from a former employee who had served as board treasurer for the school and then was promoted to controller and chief operating officer in March 2018. By July 31, however, she was out the door after she alerted the school's board of directors that the school's executive director and chief executive officer was involved in activities that were not just unethical but also illegal.

Could sexual harassment among surgeons put patients at risk?

Between April and July of 2017, researchers sent an anonymous survey to members of the Association of Women Surgeons (AWS) and the American College of Surgeons (ACS) asking questions about sexual harassment within their profession in the prior 12-month period. On one hand, the results weren't really surprising. On the other, they may have terrifying implications for patients.

Here's what researchers found:

  • Out of all the surgeons contacted by researchers, a total of 1,005 responded. In total, 18 percent of the female surgeons sent the survey took the opportunity to provide insight into their world -- while only 1 percent of male surgeons did the same.
  • The majority of responders, 51 percent, were employed at academic institutions. Among the other responders, 15 percent were in private practices, while 13 percent worked at community medical centers and 19 percent in "other" types of settings.
  • A total of 58 percent admitted that they'd experienced sexual harassment within the last year -- most commonly in physical or verbal form.
  • Around one-fourth of the time, surgeons experiencing harassment experienced unwanted physical contact or sexual advances. Others experienced harassing comments that referenced their sexual orientation.
  • The majority of the harassment, 84 percent, went unreported, either because the victim was afraid of retribution, feared the impact on his or her career or generally believed nothing would actually happen to the harasser.

Migraines and workplace discrimination

"I have a migraine," you tell your boss. Your boss rolls her eyes and says, "I get terrible headaches, too. Take some Advil."

Except a migraine isn't a headache -- although it (usually) makes your head hurt. A migraine is actually a complex neurological condition that can involve excruciating pain, visual disturbances, balance problems, nausea and vomiting -- among other things. Some people may suffer one or two migraines in their entire life, while other people suffer from them nearly daily. Controlling chronic migraines can take a great deal of experimentation with medication -- and frequent visits to a neurologist and pain clinic.

Police departments face LGBT discrimination lawsuits nationwide

More police departments than ever -- including those in California -- are facing a reckoning with their past when it comes to discrimination against their lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) brothers and sisters in blue.

In the past, many gay officers were unable to take action against their departments because they didn't have the legal protection to do so. Some just tried to quietly get along, some hid their sexuality and others would simply leave their positions behind and move on after devastating encounters with homophobic co-workers and those in authority.

Handling a wrongful demotion at work

For many people, a demotion at work is worse than being fired -- especially if you know it's unfair -- or outright illegal. The frustration of knowing that you're being treated unjustly can combine with the embarrassment of having to go back into work every day with all eyes upon you and make your situation very uncomfortable indeed.

Regardless of what legal action you plan to take regarding your wrongful demotion, you have to know how to handle the next few weeks in order to minimize the stress and anxiety you feel. Here are some tips:

California senate pays $350,000 discrimination claim

A former employee of the California Senate won a discrimination suit against her former employer for failing to accommodate her needs and retaliating against her for requesting accommodations. The Senate was ordered to pay the former employee $350,000 -- a figure that's at least twice as high as any previous settlement.

The former employee claimed that she was raped by an Assembly employee in late 2016. She reported the rape to the police, but the alleged rapist was never charged. The Assembly hired its own lawyers to investigate and failed to substantiate her allegations.

Were you fired or wrongfully terminated? What's the difference?

Absent a clear violation of your contract, what's the difference between being unfairly fired and a wrongful termination?

Neither are pleasant experiences, to be certain. Being unfairly let go from your position can happen for a number of reasons -- whether the boss just doesn't like you or there were unrealistic expectations about your performance from the start. You can't do much about it when you're treated unfairly -- unless you're treated illegally. That's what turns a firing into a wrongful termination.

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