Articles Posted in Discrimination Lawyer

An employee of Boeing at their plant in North Charleston who found a noose hanging above his desk earlier this year says the company knew about “an atmosphere of racial hostility and harassment towards African Americans,” according to a federal lawsuit filed last week.

The man says he worked at the South Carolina plant for eight years and complained several times about racism in the unit where he had been assigned since 2017, the lawsuit says.

The man, who is black, says white coworkers urinated on his desk and in his seat “numerous times” and used a racial slur daily, according to the court filing. When he complained about the harassment and racism, the man says he was moved to a different unit that did not have air conditioning.

The racism at the plant gained international notoriety earlier this year after the man found a noose hanging above his desk, according to the lawsuit.

Boeing released a statement saying that most of the man’s “allegations were never brought to the attention of management, giving the company no opportunity to investigate these claims. The single issue he did raise was dealt with promptly and in a fair manner.”

Boeing says it fired the employee who hung the noose in the sprawling factory where the company assembles the 787 Dreamliner.

The man had to take medical leave twice because of the effects of the racist environment in the plant, the lawsuit says.

In a statement, Boeing said there are no “no validity to his allegations.”

While the man remains a Boeing employee, he is currently out on family medical leave, according to the suit.

Federal, state and local laws strictly prohibit an employer from discriminating against an employee based on race. These laws protect employees from being treated less favorably than other employees, receiving fewer job or promotional opportunities, termination and more, strictly based on race.

Different Types Of Race Discrimination

There are two types of cases when it comes to race discrimination. The first type is disparate treatment/ hostile work environment cases, and the second type is disparate impact cases. Disparate treatment cases involve an employee who is intentionally discriminated against due to their race. Disparate impact cases involve an employee who is discriminated against by employment policies that negatively affect them because of their race.

Race discrimination can take a variety of forms. The following are just a few examples of how race discrimination in the workplace can occur:

  • An employee is treated differently than other employees based on their race, including harsher disciplinary actions
  • An employee is denied promotions, training, or other employment benefits due to their race
  • An employee has suffered retaliation for taking action against a discriminatory employer
  • An employee has suffered wrongful termination motivated by racial discrimination

Racial Harassment at Work

Hiring practices, intentional discrimination, and unfair practices are not the only ways employers can discriminate. Harassment is also a huge issue with regards to racial discrimination. A hostile work environment based upon race can also be terms for a case against your employer.

Race harassment can involve inappropriate humor, intimidation and even physical violence. Oftentimes, incidents start out small and escalate when not addressed thoroughly and aggressively enough. Challenging racial harassment at your workplace can be tough, but an assertive stance must be taken by your employer to make sure this type of behavior is noy tolerated.

Any co-worker can be a source of race harassment, from upper management to lower-level employees. While management may not be participating in the harassment,  if they are aware that it is occurring and do nothing to stop it, they can be liable for the harassment. Employers are obligated to protect their employees from race harassment, so failing to do so can make them just as guilty as the person(s) carrying out the harassment.

The Next Steps

If you do have a race discrimination or harrassment case,, the next step involves submitting a claim to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. This step is necessary, but can be overwhelming. Our Florida Workplace Discrimination Attorneys at Whittel & Melton can help with the submission and much  more.

Our discrimination and harassment lawyers know the impact that race harassment/discrimination can have on your self worth as en employee, which can negatively impact your work performance. We have the resources needed to help you protect your rights and remedy your current situation.

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The U.S. Soccer Federation has formally denied allegations of gender discrimination made by players of the U.S. women’s national team.

28 members of the current women’s player pool filed the lawsuit March 8 in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles under the Equal Pay Act and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, alleging “institutionalized gender discrimination” that includes unequal pay with their counterparts on the men’s national team.

The USSF claims every decision made “with respect to the conduct alleged in the complaint was for legitimate business reasons and not for any discriminatory or other unlawful purpose.”

The federation has maintained the differences in pay are the result of different collective bargaining agreements that establish distinct pay structures for the two teams. Those agreements are not public.

U.S. Soccer also maintained in the response that any alleged differences in pay between the men’s and women’s national teams were not based on gender, but “differences in the aggregate revenue generated by the different teams and/or any other factor other than sex.”

The USSF and the women’s team agreed in April 2017 to a collective bargaining agreement through 2021 that gave the players higher pay and better benefits.

The federation claims the allegations do not rise to the level required for punitive damages because there is no evidence of malicious, reckless or fraudulent intent to deny the players their rights.

The lawsuit brought by current national team players is an escalation of a long-simmering dispute over pay and treatment. Five players filed a complaint in 2016 with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission that alleged wage discrimination by the federation. The lawsuit effectively ended that EEOC complaint.

It will be interesting to see how this case plays out, as it’s illegal for an employer to pay women a different amount than their male co-workers if they are working the same job and have the same level of experience and skill. As this case shows, there are two main federal laws that make it illegal to pay women less simply based on their gender. Title VII prohibits any workplace discrimination based on sex, race, or religion. The Equal Pay Act makes it illegal for an employer to pay women a different amount for substantially similar work.

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Four women have joined the class action lawsuit alleging discrimination against pregnant and breastfeeding AC Transit employees.

The transportation agency allegedly discriminates and fails to accommodate pregnant women who work for them.

On of the women says she was offered a room where she was told she pump breast milk when she returned to work after her first pregnancy in 2016 – it was an old closet she describes as dirty and that had no privacy.

The woman left her job as a bus driver and now gets paid less as an AC Transit clerk, all so that she can pump.

Another woman says the company makes it difficult for expecting mothers. She joined the suit after she fell asleep at the wheel and crashed her bus while pregnant. She says she asked for lighter desk work prior to the accident but was not accommodated.

So far, four women in total allege that AC Transit refused to accommodate their pregnancy or lactation needs and that they are in violation of their legal rights.

AC Transit released a statement saying that they work with new mothers and value the importance of women in the workforce, and that “it is important to note, modifications of duties can present logistical challenges given the nature of public transit. However, ac transit adopts an individual process that takes into account accommodation options for each new mom and her newborn throughout the first year of life.”

Juggling a family and work is no easy feat, especially for new moms. Seeking a balance between earning money and parental responsibilities can be quite difficult. There are laws in place that protect pregnant and nursing mothers in the workplace. Workplace discrimination based on pregnancy and nursing is illegal, and our Florida Discrimination Attorneys at Whittel & Melton can make sure that you know what your rights are and that they remain protected.

When your employer prevents you from pumping breast milk during work hours, it may violate Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Fair Labor Standards Act. Under FLSA, employers must provide breastfeeding mothers reasonable break time and a private space (other than a bathroom) to pump at work for one year following their child’s birth.

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Two female employees are suing Walt Disney Co., alleging the company is violating the state’s equal pay act and paying women less than men doing similar work.

The class action lawsuit was filed in Los Angeles County Superior Court and is covering people who worked for Walt Disney Studios in roughly the last four years.

Disney said the lawsuit was “baseless.” In a statement, the company said it maintains “robust pay equity practices and policies” and has a specialized team of compensation professionals and lawyers to address the matter. “We are confident that they [the claims] will be found to be meritless when tested against the evidence, rather than the rhetoric of the complaint.”

The lawsuit was brought by Southern California Disney employees. One woman works as a manager in product development for Disney in Glendale. In 2017, she raised the issue that she was not being compensated fairly, the lawsuit said. At the time, her base salary was $109,958. Six other men who held the same title were paid $16,000 to nearly $40,000 more, according to the lawsuit. Five months after she brought up the issue, the woman said, Disney asserted that her salary amount “was not due to gender,” but in November 2018, the company boosted her pay by $25,000, the lawsuit claims. Even with the pay adjustment, the woman believes she is still making less than men doing similar work.

The other woman works as a senior copyright administrator in the Disney Music Group in Burbank. She says she was discouraged from applying for a manager position that was later changed to a senior manager role and given to a man. The lawsuit claims that “he is making significantly more than the woman even though they are both performing the same or substantially similar work.”

Our Florida Employment Law Attorneys at Whittel & Melton are committed to helping bring about gender pay equality. There are laws in place requiring employers to pay women and men the same for equal work. These laws extend beyond salary, including bonuses and other benefits. If you are getting paid less than your male coworkers, we can help you understand your rights and achieve justice.

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A 25-year-old New York state middle school teacher has filed a $3 million lawsuit against her former employer.

She says she was fired because of a topless photo she’d sent privately to someone she was dating.

A student somehow got hold of the photo and began circulating it, but she says that’s not her fault and that she shouldn’t be punished for it.

She is now suing the South Country School District for that amount in a gender discrimination lawsuit because she was fired over the selfie last week.

She said she texted the photo to her partner at the time, another teacher in the district, more than two years ago.

She has no idea how a student was able to get a copy and share it.

It will certainly be interesting to see how this case progresses and its outcome. The main argument here is that no man would ever be fired for exposing his chest in a photograph, so why should a woman be fired for the exact same thing? Treating women differently than men in the workplace is absolutely a form of gender discrimination. No woman, or man for that matter, has to put up with gender discrimination in the workplace. Our Florida Discrimination Attorneys at Whittel & Melton can help you seek financial compensation for wrongs you have experienced in the workplace.

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An Orange County woman is suing a vacation business, alleging discrimination, retaliation and wrongful termination.

The woman filed a complaint Oct. 17 in Orange County Circuit Court against Wyndham Vacation Ownership Inc., alleging violation of the Orange County Civil Rights Ordinance and the Family Medical Leave Act.

According to the complaint, in February the woman requested leave due to complications with her pregnancy. Prior to returning to work on or around March 7, the suit says, she was terminated for alleged poor performance.

The woman says she has suffered lost wages and benefits, emotional pain and suffering, humiliation, inconvenience, mental anguish and loss of enjoyment of life.

She alleges Wyndham Vacation Ownership subjected her to pregnancy-based discrimination and harassment and retaliated against her by terminating her employment for exercising her rights.

In regards to pregnancy, it is illegal for an employer to discriminate against a woman because she is with child. State and federal laws protect women against this form of discrimination in all aspects of employment, including interviewing, hiring, firing and promoting.

Pregnant employees may suffer from a variety of medical conditions during pregnancy and after childbirth. It is illegal for employers to discriminate against these employees. Some examples of medical conditions related to pregnancy or childbirth include:

  • Back pain
  • Pre-eclampsia
  • Gestational diabetes
  • Any conditions that require bed rest
  • Lactation issues

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An Orange County driver is suing UPS, alleging racial discrimination and wrongful termination.

The man filed a complaint Oct. 4 in Orange County Circuit Court against UPS Ground Freight Inc., alleging violation of the Florida Civil Rights Act of 1992.

According to the complaint, the man’s employment with UPS Freight was steady for 17 years until the promotion of two other men.

After their promotion, the suit says, the man and other minority employees began to experience a pattern of harassment as he is Hispanic male of Puerto Rican descent and the two supervisors are white. Furthermore, the man alleges he was terminated for refusing to engage in an illegal activity.

He claims that UPS Ground Freight, despite receiving pleas for help from employees, failed to stop the harassment and allowed the discrimination and harassment to continue in the workplace.

The man seeks trial by jury, judgment for lost compensation, back pay, front pay, benefits with interest, attorney fees, costs and all other just and proper relief.

Congress enacted the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to ensure equality of employment opportunities. Now, more than half a century later, racial  discrimination in the workplace remains all too prevalent. Our Florida Discrimination Attorneys at Whittel & Melton are deeply committed to achieving the promise of the Civil Rights Act by aggressively fighting race discrimination in the workplace.

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A former employee at Florida State University’s College of Medicine is suing the FSU Board of Trustees, alleging sexual harassment by a coworker, discrimination against black students seeking admission, and retaliation for filing complaints.

The woman filed a lawsuit on September 11th in Leon County court.

The woman was an Academic Program Specialist at the FSU College of Medicine Department of Biomedical Sciences.

Her lawsuit alleges that a supervisor made a sexually explicit comment to her in February 2016. She reported the comment to her staff Title IX liaison, who contacted the department chair, according to the lawsuit.

The suit alleges no action was taken to resolve the issue and the work environment became hostile and extremely stressful for the woman.

She says she later spoke out about a second inappropriate comment by the supervisor, and complained about refusal to consider black students seeking admission to the College of Medicine’s Department of Biomedical Sciences.

She says her supervisors further retaliated by demoting her, taking away her privileges and responsibilities, and ultimately firing her.

The suit seeks damages of more than $15,000 and asks that the woman be reinstated to her job. It seeks a jury trial.

FSU General Counsel Carolyn Egan said in a statement, “An independent external investigation found no evidence of wrongdoing. We have every reason to believe the court will reach the same conclusion.”

If an employer has terminated your employment, passed you over for a promotion or raise you deserved, or mistreated you in other ways at work, solely because of your race, gender, age or disability, you could have a discrimination claim. If you have been a victim of discrimination in the workplace, you need legal help from a law firm you can trust and who will help you protect your right to fair treatment in the workplace.

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A Riviera Beach Building Official nearing a criminal trial for allegedly misrepresenting her qualifications has sued the city for sex discrimination, claiming she earned less than the less-experienced men who preceded her.

The 16-page complaint, filed Sept. 20 in Palm Beach Circuit Court, alleges she was discriminated against and subject to a hostile work environment.

The woman’s suit states that, while she started in January 2017 at a total pay package of $75,900, her predecessors earned more than $90,000 in base pay alone. She never received the 10 percent raise she was promised she would get if she received a provisional, limited or standard building official license, it said. She got her provisional license April 22, 2017, the suit said.

The city also reneged on a promise to appoint a deputy building official to help her, the suit said.

Prior to her hiring, the city contracted with CAP Government, a private company, to handle building official duties. One of the woman’s first assignments was to review CAP billings, to curtail unnecessary spending, the suit said.

She found the value of a number of building projects had been underestimated, short-changing the city on building permit fees they paid. In March 2017, one project, a Palm Beach Cold Storage warehouse being built near the port was ordered to halt construction.

That move sparked a lawsuit by the company, saying the city’s administrative paralysis delayed the opening by 11 months and cost the owner tens of thousands of dollars.

The woman’s suit said that, instead of backing the stop-work decision, which was made by CAP and supported by her, her higher-ups retaliated against her.

She was reprimanded for using a city vehicle as a take-home car even though she was considered emergency personnel. In addition, the city tried to keep her from doing outside work, even though she had previously been exempted from that policy.

She filed an internal complaint with the city, then contacted the Palm Beach County Office of Equal Opportunity in July 2017, seven months after taking the job.

While that was pending, in April 2018 the State Attorney’s Office filed a charge against her, alleging she “fraudulently misrepresented herself as a building official and that her actions caused ‘developmental companies to change schedules, incur losses and remit fees.”

The charge is a first degree misdemeanor, punishable by up to one year in jail.

A spokesman for the State Attorney said Tuesday the case is headed for trial.

Sex discrimination is an increasing area of legal concern. This type of discrimination in the workplace can be one of the easiest things to spot as well as the hardest as every instance is situational.  

Our South Florida Discrimination Attorneys at Whittel & Melton have outlined below the most common examples of sex discrimination at work:

  • Unequal pay — Men being paid more for doing the same job as a woman despite having the same position and status at work.
  • Different job responsibilities — Men and women given different responsibilities, such as women having administrative duties doled out while a man is asked to lift heavy items.
  • Interview questions — The biggest issue here is when women are asked completely different questions than men, such as if they have children or if they plan to have children.
  • Advancement opportunities — Men and women should have equal opportunities for advancement without their sex playing a role in the process.

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You may have never heard of the word pretext. It is one of those legal jargon words that employees and everyday people don’t use. What does pretext mean? Pretext is legally defined as a reason for an action which is false, and offered to cover up true motives or intentions. For instance, “My boss lied about why I was fired;” or even, “my employer blamed my demotion on poor performance that I was unaware of.”

When an employer lies about the reason an employee was fired, terminated or otherwise retaliated against, it does not necessarily create a claim, but it does give you reason to ask our Florida Employment Attorneys at Whittel & Melton to look into it. In order to show that the employer’s reason is a pretext it must be demonstrated that the their explanation is not credible. One thing to note is that a simple mistake made by the employer is not a pretext, rather a pretext is a bogus, phony excuse used to cover up the real illegal reason.

An employer will usually not tell an employee they are firing the for an illegal reason. They will make up an arbitrary reason for termination, and the illegal reason will have to be proved through circumstantial evidence. Even though an employer may provide a pretext that seems valid on paper, this does not mean the employee does not have a case.

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