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Santa Monica settles discrimination suit with former employee


Women have made significant strides in all aspects of life over the years, including the workplace. However, there are still instances where men and women are treated differently by their employers whether through differing pay scales, promotion criteria or performance expectations.

A legal action for gender discrimination involving a former employee of the City of Santa Monica was recently resolved after nearly a decade in the legal system. The case originated when a female bus driver for the city was fired in 2005 for what the city characterized as a poor evaluation and two unexcused work absences. The employee felt otherwise, claiming that she was fired because she was pregnant at the time. The city's argument was that although her pregnancy may have been a factor, her performance was just as important in their decision. After the initial ruling and various appeals, the City Council recently voted unanimously to approve a settlement to the former employee for $490,000.

There are various classes protected from discrimination by their employers. Such discrimination may include improper hiring practices, failure to promote, unnecessarily poor evaluations and termination of an employee. The protected classes include race, age and gender, among many others. Gender discrimination protections prevent employers from treating an employee unfairly based on their sex. If men and women are treated differently and unequally by their employer, it is likely that gender discrimination is present.

A qualified and talented employee should be free from discriminatory actions in their workplace based on any specific characteristic. Those that feel they are being treated unfairly by their employer as a result of their gender or any other protected class should assert their rights to fair treatment.

Source: Santa Monica Lookout, "Santa Monica Council Votes for Settlement in Decade-Long Sex Discrimination Suit," Jonathan Friedman, Mar. 20, 2015

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Law Offices of Allan A. Sigel, P.C.

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