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Employment Law Blog

The Pregnancy Discrimination Act Turns 40 – What’s Changed, What Hasn’t?

It’s been 40 years since members of the United States Congress signed into law legislation known as the Pregnancy Discrimination Act of 1978. The passage of the PDA came on the heels of a U.S. Supreme Court decision in which the court sided with General Electric, upholding a lower court’s ruling that GE’s temporary disability benefits could exclude pregnancy and childbirth.

The Supreme Court based its decision in part on the notion that not all female employees become pregnant and therefore, pregnancy and childbirth were not subject to the provisions set forth in the 1964 Civil Rights Act, which explicitly bars sexual discrimination in employment settings.

A reckoning for women in the workplace

From Hollywood producers and media moguls to Washington politicians and boardroom executives, the recent “Me Too” movement has brought down some of the wealthiest and most powerful men in the country. While the sexual harassment and abuse allegations and lawsuits against Harvey Weinstein, Matt Lauer, Bill Cosby and President Trump make headlines, the “Me Too” movement is also shining a light on millions of other women who have been subjected to lewd comments, inappropriate touching and physical assault in the workplace.

If you are an employee who has or is experiencing sexual harassment at work, it’s important to understand your rights and the steps you can take to enforce those rights. No employee, regardless of profession, position, income or sexual orientation, should tolerate sexual harassment. Moreover, sexual harassment in an employment setting is illegal and legal action should be taken to hold perpetrators and condoning parties accountable.

Why some women didn’t speak up: Confidentiality agreements

Every day, more accusations of sexual harassment are being made against powerful figures in politics, entertainment and the corporate world. Now, the role of confidentiality agreements and nondisclosure agreements (NDAs) is becoming a subject of scrutiny. In particular, several of the women who have accused Harvey Weinstein of sexual misconduct essentially broke nondisclosure agreements they had signed.

Weinstein’s NDAs

The battle against sexual harassment on Capitol Hill

In the wake of the "Me Too" movement and the sexual harassment and assault allegations against Harvey Weinstein and many others, U.S. Rep. Jackie Speier, D-Calif., shared her own experience with sexual harassment to inspire other women on Capitol Hill to do the same. According to Speier, sexual harassment is a major issue in the halls of Congress, but very few people are talking about it.

In a video that went viral, Speier said that she was forcibly kissed by a congressional staff member early in her political career. She told ABC News that the man was Joe Holsinger, chief of staff for the late Rep. Leo Ryan, D-Calif. At the time of the incident, Holsinger was 50 while Speier was in her 20s. Holsinger died about 13 years ago.

A catalyst for change: the #MeToo movement

If you have accounts on social media sites like Facebook and Twitter, chances are you've heard of the "Me Too" social media movement. The movement quickly went viral after actress Alyssa Milano shared it on Twitter. So far, the movement has reached millions of people in at least 85 countries. According to Twitter, almost 2 million tweets included the #MeToo hashtag. 

The hashtag exploded in popularity after dozens of women made sexual assault and harassment accusations against Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein. After the controversy began, Milano shared a tweet on October 15th. The tweet said that people should post "me too" if they've been sexually harassed or assaulted. The purpose of the movement is to show the magnitude of the issue. 

The Harvey Weinstein scandal continues to grow

A few weeks ago, the New York Times blew the lid off of a story about Ashley Judd's (amongst others') accusations of sexual harassment against famous Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein. Since this article was published, more than 60 women have come forward with sexual harassment allegations against Weinstein, and the number is growing.

In the past weeks, some of the actresses who have accused Harvey Weinstein of sexual harassment and abuse are famous women - Gwyneth Paltrow, Angelina Jolie, Mira Sorvino, Rosanna Arquette and Rose McGowan. Many women have shared their personal stories of what they endured while working with Weinstein. The allegations of unwanted touching, harassment and rape span over decades- some dating back to the early 1980s.

Gloria Allred helps more accusers come forward

Attorney Gloria Allred quickly began assisting accusers in coming forward. Several current and former actresses, including Natassia Malthe, Louisette Geiss and Heather Kerr, as well as former Weinstein Company production assistant, Mimi Haleyi, have turned to our firm for representation and assistance in coming forward publicly. We now represent numerous accusers, some who have not yet gone public.

Silicon Valley "frat house:" Workplace sexual harassment allegations prompt another CEO resignation

The CEO of online lending company Social Finance Inc., known as SoFi, has announced his resignation following a sexual harassment lawsuit. Mike Cagney is a cofounder of the company and served as CEO since the startup was established in 2011. He is the subject of several lawsuits, including a sexual harassment claim by executive assistant Laura Munoz and a wrongful termination claim by a Brandon Charles, a former employee who reported that he had witnessed female employees being harassed by Cagney and other managers. 

Employee rights in the aftermath of a hurricane

When hurricanes or other natural disasters strike, most people are concerned primarily with survival and recovery in the aftermath. The last thing those living in impacted areas are probably worrying about is protecting their jobs. Unfortunately, if this unforeseen situation isn't handled properly with an employer, a person's job security may be at risk.

It is important for those affected by Hurricanes Harvey and Irma to know their employment rights, as well as steps they can take to keep their employment secure.

Can an employer fire someone for being a white supremacist?

In the days and weeks following the shocking white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, numerous names and faces of participants have been publicized by mainstream media. Employers, colleagues, classmates, friends and even family members may now be appalled to know that they are associated with a publicly recognized racist. Some employers have reacted quickly, terminating employees who showed up at the rally, hoping to distance their businesses from such individuals and their views. But can an employer legally fire someone for being a white supremacist? 

Youth over wisdom: Age discrimination in 2017

In many ways, ageism still runs rampant in Western society. This is no surprise, given our cultural obsession with youth and desire to "fight" the effects of aging. And unfortunately, the workplace is no exception, as experienced workers are often discarded and replaced by younger employees as a cost-saving measure.

Age discrimination, in fact, is one of the few biases that continue to be ingrained in the employment practices of many companies. Often, this is because age discrimination cases are difficult to prove, as a New York Times piece explored in-depth recently.

Contact Us for a Confidential Review of Your Case

Do you believe you are a victim of an employee rights violation or other injustice? Contact our firm for a case evaluation. Ask about our experience with confidential pre-litigation settlements and our previous courtroom successes.
We can be reached in Los Angeles at 323-302-4774 and New York at 212-202-2966.
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