California’s Equal Pay Act Put to the Test, and Sexual Discrimination Against Bikram’s Choudhury

This past week we saw several cases of employers who not only discriminated against their employees but also retaliated against them after the employees complained.  Classic cases with a new spin helping workers against companies that placed them in hostile work environments.

Once interesting case reported by our San Jose employment law office is being litigated in U.S. District Court and is bound to test California’s new Equal Pay Act.  In a blog on October 2, 2015, we reported that a new bill is to be signed into law that will aim for equal compensation for women in the workplace.  The Equal Pay Act amendment to the Fair Labor Standards Act combats discrimination against females by ensuring that they are getting equal pay and promotion opportunities to their male counterparts.  Further, there are stiff penalties if the employer ends up retaliating against the females for complaining about such compensation disparity.  That is exactly what was alleged in this case (Lynne Coates v. Farmers Group, Inc. et al.)  The female attorneys at Farmers Insurance Group complained that they did not receive equal pay or promotion opportunity, and that when she brought up her dissatisfaction at the pay disparity, the plaintiff was stripped of her duties and indirectly demoted in retaliation.   Judge Lucy Koh (famous for her ruling in the Apple v. Samsung case), agreed to certify a class for the plaintiffs and believed that there was enough evidence of a systemic unequal pay for women at Farmers Insurance Group.

See our Wage and Hour Litigation page for helpful content and the specialized wrongful termination attorneys in the Northern California offices.

An additional interesting case this week is another in a long string of sexual harassment allegations against Bikram Yoga innovator Bikram Choudhury.    This time, Mr. Choudhury is being sued by his former legal advisor who alleges harassment, defamation, and retaliation when she refused to bury a former student (and plaintiff’s) rape allegations.  When Choudhury’s attorney wanted to investigate the claims made against him, he harassed her and made it difficult for her to complete her work.  Moreover, she claims that his brash behavior entered into the realm of sexist and homophobic comments even accusing her of having an affair with another attorney and ultimately causing her to resign.   Our Los Angeles based employment discrimination attorneys are reporting that this case is being litigated at the U.S. District Court in front of Judge George King who has the propensity for receiving high profile cases.

If you witnessed any improper equal pay practices, sexual harassment, discrimination or retaliation against employees for reporting the discrimination to Human Resources or government regulators, prompt action to preserve your rights is crucial.  Contact the experienced employment law attorneys at Stephen Danz & Associates for a free consultation to discuss your circumstances and legal options.