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San Francisco Employment Law Blog

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.

The corporate culture is shifting against sexual harassers

There's been a remarkable change in the way that America is approaching the idea of gender equality and rights -- especially where sexual harassment is concerned. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) reports that it has filed 50 percent more lawsuits regarding sexual harassment in 2018 than in the previous year, and charges filed with the commission have increased by 12 percent.

In addition to vocalizing their experiences and taking legal action, victims of sexual harassment are also getting results. The EEOC also reports that it has found reasonable cause for complaints 1,200 times -- which is up from 970 the previous year. Altogether, the agency has collected $70 million for victimized employees -- a significant increase from the $47.5 it recovered in 2017.

Pregnancy discrimination at work: Your rights

Sexual harassment and gender-based discrimination in the workplace has dominated national conversations as of late -- but there's another form of discrimination that also affects the ability of women to get ahead: pregnancy discrimination.

Biases against pregnancy aren't new. Back when married couples on TV had to sleep in separate beds, women used to be routinely required to leave numerous professions once their pregnancies started "showing," because merely being pregnant in public was somehow scandalous.

Being fired unfairly? Handle yourself like a professional

Nobody enjoys being fired, but the whole experience is somehow vastly worse when you know you don't deserve it and believe it's nothing more than retaliation for exercising your rights as an employee.

The important thing to do in this situation is to focus on your goals and your future -- you want to leave yourself in the best possible position in case you decide to pursue legal action based on a wrongful termination.

Don't let the backlash against 'MeToo' intimidate you

America has been suffering from a lot of divisive beliefs lately -- including those surrounding the #MeToo movement.

Many people believe the movement helped open the door to conversation about sexual harassment and sexual assault -- as well as reduce the stigma that victims often felt. Simply realizing that they aren't alone in their experiences has helped many victims find their voice and new strength. However, a surprising amount of people -- 40 percent in at least one survey -- indicate that they feel like the movement has gone too far.

How do you confront racist comments in the workplace?

Are you wondering what you can do to help stop racist comments and jokes in the workplace?

Racism is a community issue and it will only end when it becomes clearly unacceptable by community standards. That will only happen when enough people decide to take a stand and call out racism whenever they hear it.

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