A receptionist for a Northern California law firm was diagnosed with uterine cancer in 2008. When the time came to enroll in health insurance for 2009, the cancer, combined with the fact that she was turning 60, meant a staggering increase in her health insurance premium -- and for that of the small firm. The firm had an insurance broker convince her to choose a cheaper plan.
Ten women who served in jobs ranging from personal assistants to district-wide managers have sued the San Juan Unified School District over unanswered complaints of serious harassment and retaliation by the superintendent. He has been on paid leave since May.
In July 2011, a Pacific Gas & Electric line crew was told to repair a broken electrical pole in Santa Cruz County. Whenever possible, the company tries to perform repairs without interrupting customers’ electrical service, and their supervisor said the pole could be safely repaired without cutting power. While they were working, however, a cross arm broke sending two live, high-voltage wires plunging down and coming within inches of touching. If they had, there would have been a disastrous explosion.
Two highly-paid engineers for a Woodland Hills defense contractor were frog-marched out of their offices and fired because they refused to lie to the Navy about potentially dangerous flaws in guided missiles the company was providing for the military, they claim in a recent lawsuit. They also believe their firings were partially motivated by age discrimination.
According to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, age discrimination claims are on the rise. The Baby Boom generation began reaching age 60 last year, and they appear to be suffering in the job market. The EEOC says that age-related discrimination claims jumped from 16,548 in 2006 to 22,857 in 2012.
A recent lawsuit brought by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission describes a shocking case of disability discrimination of interest even though it didn’t take place in California. An optician employed by Direct Optical, Inc., a two-store eyeglasses retailer in Michigan, was denied a very basic and reasonable request for accommodation for her disability -- to be allowed to bring her service dog to work. Worse, the employer fired her in retaliation for even making the request.
A teacher has just filed a lawsuit in San Bernardino County Superior Court claiming not only discrimination based on her sexual orientation but also retaliation for encouraging LGBT and gender-non-conforming students to speak up against what she says was a hostile environment at Sultana High School in the Hesperia Unified School District. The woman, a lesbian, taught at the high school for two years and was the faculty sponsor of its Gay-Straight Alliance. Despite receiving positive job reviews, however, she was subjected to biased criticism by administrators and fired.
A pattern seems to be emerging among public service agencies in San Francisco -- a pattern of age discrimination. As we discussed on this blog in September, a group of veteran San Francisco police officers filed have a class-action lawsuit over changes made in 2006 to the test required for promotion to inspector. They say the changes resulted in systematic age discrimination. That case has not been tried yet. Meanwhile, 15 San Francisco firefighters with a strikingly similar complaint were just awarded $3.7 million by a jury.
In a case almost too shocking to comprehend, a veteran nurse is suing Kaiser hospitals over how the company dealt with her breast cancer diagnosis and treatment. According to her complaint, Kaiser fired her after subjecting her to hostile mockery and took actions that directly put her health at risk.
Since at least the Civil War, the federal government has passed a number of laws intended to protect the rights of people who serve in our military -- including their right to return to their civilian jobs when their service is complete. Most recently Congress passed the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act, or USERRA, in 1994. The law requires employers to reinstate veterans, military reservists, and federally-activated members of the National Guard to their jobs when they return from duty -- and that applies to reserve training, as well.