Alexis Berger was recently awarded $40 million by an arbitrator in a gender discrimination case against her employer, Kargo, a mobile advertising firm. Kargo has sued in federal court to reduce the damages to $3 million. If the settlement is upheld, it will be among the highest sexual harassment/discrimination verdicts and settlements. Ms. Berger filed her EEOC charge of discrimination in the spring of 2016 and was fired that July. Her allegations include the fact that Kargo tolerated misbehavior by her male colleagues but disciplined Ms. Berger for similar behavior and ignored inappropriate comments about Ms. Berger’s sexuality. Kargo claims it fired Ms. Berger because of complaints about her managerial style and the fact that she made inappropriate comments herself. The arbitrator stated that overwhelming evidence showed that Kargo allowed sexual discrimination to be a motivating factor in the decision to fire Ms. Berger and that the termination was “a collaborate orchestration carried out in a malicious, insidious, and humiliating manner.”
Age discrimination occurs when an employee or applicant is treated less favorably because of his or her age. This includes non-consideration for positions, demotions, or job loss. The employee or applicant must be 40 years old to be the victim of age discrimination. In 2016, 20,847 age discrimination complaints were filed with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. Of those complaints, the EEOC only filed two cases in court, largely because workplace discrimination cases are often expensive and legally complicated. Additionally, A 2009 Supreme Court ruling established a precedent that puts the burden of proof on employees for age discrimination, and most discrimination cases are settled out of court. Furthermore, A 2015 study from economists at the University of California at Irvine and Tulane University found that older women face greater difficulty finding jobs than older men. Lastly, ageism can have a psychological impact on people. People 50 years or older who have a positive self-perception live 7.5 years longer than those who don’t, and those who experience age discrimination often feel worse about themselves and their age.
When Congress enacted the Pregnancy Discrimination Act of 1978, it amended Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and made it unlawful for an employer to discriminate on the basis of pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions. There is currently limited case law on whether a male can bring a claim of employment discrimination under the Pregnancy Discrimination Act based on his partner’s pregnancy. Recently, a Mississippi man committed suicide after being fired for accompanying his high-risk pregnancy wife to a pregnancy-related appointment. His estate filed a complaint against his employer, alleging that he was fired because of his sex and his wife’s pregnancy. A 2007 case held that in order for a male to properly bring an employment discrimination claim based on pregnancy, he must allege that he was discriminated against because of his sex. The estate argued that he was “treated less favorably than male employees whose wives were not pregnant.” However, the court found that he must allege that he was fired because of his partner’s pregnancy and that a female would not have been fired because of her partner’s pregnancy.
A Massachusetts subsidiary of Dell Technologies agreed to pay $110,000 in restitution and launch an employee training program to settle a former employee’s complaint of discrimination that she says she faced based on her sex and gender identity. The employee reported that she experienced hostility at the company, was denied job opportunities, and faced retaliation after she complained about the discrimination. As part of the settlement, Dell Technologies will pay $25,000 to TransCan Work, which promotes the employment of transgender people in Massachusetts and $25,000 to Girls, Inc.’s Worcester Eureka! that advocates for girls’ participation in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) as well as $60,000 to the former employee.
Imagine being constantly mocked by your supervisors for using too much toilet paper. That’s what Tracey Boudine, age 50 claims in her lawsuit against Wise Public Relations. Tracey claims she was teased about her need to use the bathroom and her need as a women to use toilet paper more frequently when using the bathroom. Further, her bosses put a limit on how much toilet paper she could use. No limitations were placed on male employees. She claims she was relegated to using bathrooms in nearby gyms and fast food restaurants. As a result she spent a lot of mental energy worrying about basic biological functions. She also claims she was denied by her supervisors access to more lucrative clients which were given to male employees. Tracey complained to the company’s founder and president but her concerns were ignored. Tracey’s lawyer then sent a letter to the company claiming Tracey suffered discrimination and possibly harassment on the basis of her gender. Within hours of receiving the letter she was fired from the company. The company claims they don’t tolerate any form of harassment or discrimination. They are confident there was no wrongdoing. Boudine in her suit is seeking lost wages,… Continue Reading Fired Over Toilet Paper
Virginia Tucker was 60 and the second oldest employee in the maintenance department of Chobani’s yogurt plant in Idaho. She claims her younger male supervisor in a supervisors’ meeting said she should be given negative performance ratings because she was a threat to the company. He felt she should be fired before she sued. Virginia also said her younger male supervisors pulled a humiliating prank against her in the crowed lunch room and laughed at her. Tucker complained to the state human rights commission and the EEOC. She was fired the following day. The company claims she was fired for failing to perform a proper procedure while working on a piece of equipment. Her suit claims the company didn’t follow their handbook procedures in her firing and that the state’s Department of Labor investigation found she hadn’t violated any company procedures. The suit also claims she was replaced by a younger, less experienced male. She is seeking lost pay, benefits, damages, and attorney and court fees.
The age of the Internet has opened a lot of options to people — some good, some bad. Unfortunately, under the bad, it has become a tool for those who wish to harass others, including their co-workers. In an incident that recently came to our attention, a young girl was harassed by a co-worker who chose to show her a YouTube video of a man being decapitated. The co-worker had also previously threatened to kill the girl. After the video incident, she could not sleep at night, and could not bring herself to eat meat. The girl reported both incidents to the manager, who said he would speak to the co-worker, however, he had no intention of firing the young man, who he considered to be a good worker. “This is an extreme example of a person with a sick mind preying on a young girl at her first job,” said Jeffrey Freedman, managing attorney, Jeffrey Freedman Attorneys at Law, PLLC. “In this case, the girl was only 17.” This girl suffered from emotional distress as a result of the harassment, which qualifies as employment discrimination under Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act. A person who has been… Continue Reading Co-worker uses graphic video to harass fellow employee
The Center for American Progress recently released findings that wage discrimination is a problem faced by a multitude of groups including women, men, workers with disabilities, and older Americans. A review of unpublished Equal Employment Opportunity Commission data from the last four fiscal years shows that men filed 15 percent of gender-based wage discrimination charges on average. Most wage discrimination charges are filed under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, including claims of wage discrimination based on race, national origin, gender, and religion. Other claims are filed under the Equal Pay Act. Approximately one-fifth of wage discrimination charges allege wage discrimination on the basis of age and a slightly smaller amount on the basis of disability. As the Center states: “Pay disparities persist across many different groups. Stereotypes about workers because of their race, age, disability status, or other factors can result in discrimination that devalues their work and results in lower pay.”
Richard Villarreal sued R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. for age discrimination when he was denied work as a territory manager in November 2007. The Eleventh Appeals Court stated that as an applicant, he could not sue an employer for “disparate” impact because he lacked standing as an employee. Disparate impact includes any rule, policy, or practice that appears neutral in theory but in reality has a disproportionate impact on a group of protected people. When Mr. Villarreal applied for the position, the screening process included age guidelines. Of the over 1,000 people who were hired as territory managers from September 2007 to July 2010, only 19 were over age 40. Mr. Villarreal was 49 when he applied. Since the Supreme Court declined to hear Mr. Villarreal’s case, an opportunity was lost to address ambiguities in the federal Age Discrimination in Employment Act.
The Trump Administration’s Department of Commerce recently removed gender identity and sexual orientation from the list of categories explicitly protected from discrimination. Mara Keisling, executive director of the National Center for Transgender Equality, said that although the exclusion of those categories does not affect LGBT employees at the Department, “it makes the employees feel unwelcome.” The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) states that the Civil Service Reform Act protects LGBT federal workers from discrimination based on conduct that does not affect their professional performance, like gender identity or sexual orientation. “Cutting specific mention of sexual orientation and gender identity protections is a slap in the face to LGBTQ federal employees who proudly serve at the Department of Commerce and sadly signals that this administration does not value them,” said David Stacy, government affairs director for the Human Rights Campaign.