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San Francisco Employment Law Blog

California takes new step to prevent women from discrimination

There's a very subtle way that women are discriminated against in the job market.

It's so subtle, in fact, that most women probably don't give it much thought or even realize that it has the capacity to lock them in a gender-based cycle of unequal pay for equal work.

What is caregiver discrimination?

Many people have never heard of caregiver discrimination -- even if they've dealt with it in person.

Caregiver, or "family responsibility," discrimination occurs whenever an assumption is made (either correctly or incorrectly) that an employee's responsibilities at home take precedence over his or her work and he or she is negatively treated as a result.

Getting even: How to define retaliation for your employees

If an employee has filed a complaint against your company due to the discriminatory behavior of other employees, you are now in the peculiar position of having to defend that person from his or her co-workers -- whether you want to or not.

Even when an employee is totally justified in filing a complaint, his or her co-workers may be angry because they feel like their fellow employee is breaking ranks, just being a tattletale or putting their jobs at risk. If the other employees feel like their co-worker's complaint is unjustified, their anger can run even deeper.

How do you avoid workplace discrimination because you're Muslim?

There's been an uptick in cases of workplace discrimination toward Muslim-Americans -- to the tune of 250 percent since before the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001.

Unfortunately, while America treasures the concept of religious freedom, fear has made much of the country suspicious of Muslims in general -- research in 2015 indicates that almost 40 percent of Americans feel like Muslims should be watched carefully on the basis of their religion alone -- even though the majority of Muslims are nothing like the extremists that capture headlines on the news.

Get help if someone uses a power imbalance to sexually harass you

There has been a striking imbalance between the number of males and females in California's tech industry and between the investors that men and women business leaders were able to attract. There seemed to be no logical reason for the ever-widening gender gap in the tech industry -- something that experts had logically expected to start to decrease, not increase, over the years.

Then women entrepreneurs in California started coming forward to tell stories of sexual harassment by venture capitalists and everything started to seem clearer.

Can they really fire you for that? Understand at-will employment

Do you have an employment contract? Are you a member of a union that has a collective bargaining agreement with your employer?

Unless one of those things is true, you're probably what's known as an "at-will employee." That means that you -- and your employer -- are free to end the employment agreement whenever you please.

Does a fired Google employee have a discrimination case or not?

A Google employee made national headlines after writing an anti-diversity memo that essentially stated, among other things, that women were biologically unsuited to the tech industry.

He was terminated rather quickly for pushing gender stereotypes and violating a company code of conduct that prohibits the fostering of discrimination.

4 clues to determine what is and is not sexual harassment

Sexual harassment isn't just a woman's problem. Anyone of either gender can be sexually harassed by anyone else, However, if you're like most people, you aren't sure where the line is between poor behavior and actual harassment.

Here's how you can tell:

3 steps to stop unwanted sexual advances at work

How do you handle unwanted sexual advances at work?

Women have been dealing with this issue for decades, and they've had to think up all sorts of defenses to discourage unwanted suitors. Some conventional advice women were once offered included things like instructions to pretend that they had a husband at home (even wearing a ring), making up a boyfriend (if the boss or client knew they weren't married) and making sure to dress as conservatively as possible.

What is disparate impact discrimination?

Disparate impact discrimination is hard for a lot of people to understand because it is (usually) a type of unintentional discrimination.

On the surface, an employment or business practice may seem neutral and equally fair to everyone. In practice, however, the policy or method of doing business ends up being discriminatory against a protected class of employees if it excludes a group in a way that the employer simply didn't foresee


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