Last week, our attorneys reported another interesting age, gender and race discrimination case in Los Angeles County. In this case, a former president of a reputable investment technology company called Wilshire Analytics sued her former employer and its founder, Chairman and CEO Dennis A. Tito alleging that she was terminated due to her age, race, and gender. The Claimant, Ms. Loo, is Asian-American who is over 40 and female. She is the only female on the board of directors. In addition, Ms. Loo alleged that Mr. Tito would often refer to her as “too old” and that he wanted to replace her so she should retire. Also, Mr. Tito allegedly told Ms. Loo that he will “send her to China” if she did not meet his expectations. These humiliating, degrading, and discriminatory remarks are strictly forbidden by Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (“Title VII”), California’s Fair Employment and Housing Act (“FEHA”) as well as the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 (“ADEA”).
In a similar law suit, a former mail carrier for the United States Postal Service filed a complaint against the U.S. postmaster general for alleged age discrimination. His main allegation is that he was placed on limited duty caused by a condition caused by his work. As such, he returned to work but allegedly was repeatedly the subject of reduced work hours, reduced wages, ridicule, harassment, discrimination and retaliation by his supervisors as result of his age and disability. Title VII and the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”) protect employees from disability discrimination in the workplace. No one should bear this type of embarrassment and hostile work environment.
FEHA prohibits retaliation against anyone who opposed unlawful activity such as unwelcome sexual advances, sexual harassment or discrimination, filed a complaint regarding such conduct, or testified or assisted in proceedings under FEHA. “Retaliation” is defined as engaging in a protected activity, such as the three examples above, that you were subjected to a negative employment action (such as demotion or firing, withholding of benefits, verbal or physical abuse) due to that protected activity, and you suffered damages. Last year, California law was updated to require employers to modify and strengthen their sexual harassment and discrimination prevention training. Now, every supervisor must to take the two hour training every two years if he or she works for a company that has more than 50 workers. See these blogs for more updates on retaliation.
Complaints of unlawful sexual harassment, discrimination, and retaliation are filed with the Department of Fair Employment and Housing (“DFEH”). Upon their investigation, DFEH may cite the employer and/or grant a Right to Sue letter. Title VII and California’s FEHA prohibit employers from discriminating against an employee who belongs to a “protected class.” Under Title VII, it is unlawful for employers to take negative action, or discriminate, against individuals in their compensation, terms, conditions, or privileges of employment, because of their race, color, religion, sex/gender, or national origin. Similarly, under FEHA, an employer may not, because of the gender of a person, treat that person differently in compensation or in terms, conditions or privileges of employment. (Cal. Gov’t Code §12940(a).) One item in which the two laws differ is that Title VII applies to employers who employ at least 15 individuals in a year, while FEHA applies to California employers with at least five employees in a year. Moreover, California recently passed laws expanding this reach even more to enable more lawsuits to be filed against smaller employers by allowing those working in other states and those on medical leave to count towards the five employee threshold.
If you believe that you, or another employee, suffered an employment law matter related to gender discrimination, age discrimination, or retaliation in the workplace, prompt action to preserve your rights is vital since the laws have strict deadlines to file a complaint. Contact the experienced employment law attorneys at Stephen Danz & Associates for a free no obligation consultation to discuss your circumstances and legal options.