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  » BofA To Pay $39M To Settle Sex Bias Class Action

Bank of America Corp. and Merrill Lynch & Co. Inc. have agreed to pay $39 million to settle a class action brought by women employed as financial advisers for alleged discrimination in compensation and business opportunities, according to a motion filed Friday in New York federal court.

  » Jury Opposes Workplace Use Of N-Word, Even Among Blacks

A black boss cannot get away with calling a black employee the n-word, a New York jury said Tuesday, ordering a Manhattan-based nonprofit and its founder to pay punitive damages.

  » Radio Host Accuses Ex-Staffers Of $5M Extortion Plan

A Spanish-language radio star hit six former Univision employees and their attorneys with a civil extortion lawsuit in California state court Monday for allegedly threatening to go public with sexual harassment allegations unless they were paid nearly $5 million.

  » NY Warns NFL Of Legal Blitz Over Sex Preference Queries

Recent reports that National Football League team representatives asked prospective players about their sexual preferences drew a warning from New York's attorney general on Thursday and a demand that the league ramp up efforts to prevent such questioning, which is illegal in many jurisdictions.

  » Ex-'Price Is Right' Model's $8M Award Tossed In Bias Case

A California judge on Tuesday threw out an $8.5 million jury award to former “The Price is Right” model Brandi Cochran, saying her pregnancy bias case against the show's producers should be retried because he did not instruct the jury properly on a key issue.

  » California Firing Motive Ruling Could Deflate Worker Suits

In a closely watched decision in favor of the city of Santa Monica, the California Supreme Court held Thursday that employers can’t be on the hook for damages when discrimination factors into a termination if the worker would have been fired anyway for a legitimate reason, a ruling that could quash discrimination, wrongful firing and whistleblower retaliation suits across the state, attorneys say.

  » Trump's Atlantic City Casino Accused Of Axing Older Workers

Atlantic City, N.J.’s Trump Taj Mahal has been hit with an age discrimination lawsuit filed in a New Jersey state court by 20 former employees who say they were fired for being too old.

  » 'Price Is Right' Model Fired For Pregnancy

Nearly three years after she lost her job as a model on "The Price is Right," a California jury on Tuesday awarded Brandi Cochran $776,000 in compensatory damages on her claim that the game show's producers discriminated against her because she was pregnant.

  » Starbucks Has To Pay Up $14M In Tip Money

The First Circuit sided with a group of Massachusetts baristas Friday in their long-running battle with Starbucks, affirming that shift supervisors can't dip into the baristas' tip pools and ordering the coffee giant to pay the group $14.1 million in damages over lost tips.

  » Robert Half's $19M Settlement Of OT Class Action Gets OK

A Los Angeles judge on Friday preliminarily approved Robert Half International Inc.’s $19 million settlement with a class of 4,000 recruiters and other professionals who claim the staffing company failed to pay overtime and provide meal and rest breaks, among other labor law violations.

  » Worker Not Bound By Unsigned Arbitration Pact: Calif. Court

An ex-worker who never signed the Sports Club Co.'s arbitration pact but stayed on board after learning that the agreement was a condition of employment doesn't have to arbitrate her wrongful termination and sexual harassment case, a California appeals court said Tuesday.

  » Waiters at Yankee Stadium Claim Team Keeps Their Money from Tips

The NY Yankees' ownership hit fans with up to 20 percent service charges for ordering food to be delivered to their premium seats, but did not pass that money along to waiters, according to a suit filed on Friday by 32 servers seeking potentially millions of dollars in damages.

  » Courts Struggle To Lay Out Social Media Discovery Limits

A CA judge's recent rejection of Home Depot's bid for broad access to social networking posts made by a former employee bringing a discrimination lawsuit shows that courts are still grappling with where to draw the line on discovery from social media sites.

  » Governor Jerry Brown signs law that increases employee rights that could lead to more law suits

Governor Jerry Brown signed into law a California bill that raises the bar for an employer to deny accommodation for a worker’s religious dress, grooming or other needs. This move continues to expand employees’ rights in California and is likely to encourage more litigation over religious discrimination, attorneys said Monday. It was approved on Saturday and set to start taking effect in 2013 under California’s Fair Employment and Housing Act.

     
  » Verizon Workers Win Class Cert. Over Pay Stub Flubs

A California judge on Tuesday certified a class of more than 11,000 current and former Verizon California Inc. employees who claim the cellphone provider violated a state labor law by omitting their pay periods, hourly rates and other required information from wage statements.

     
  » Jewish Woman Accuses Toys 'R' Us Of Religious Bias

An orthodox Jewish woman has sued Toys “R” Us Inc. in New Jersey for discrimination because the toy retailer allegedly fired her because she refused to work Friday nights and Saturdays based on her religious beliefs.

     
  » Liquor Co. To Pay $3.5M For Sales Reps' Unpaid Expenses
Alcohol distributor Southern Wine & Spirits of America Inc. will pay $3.5 million to more than 800 traveling salespeople who claimed the company didn't properly reimburse them for gasoline and cellphone bills, according to a proposed settlement filed Friday in California federal court.

     
  » ABM Security Guards Win $90M In Break Period Suit
A California state judge on Friday ordered facilities management company ABM Industries Inc. to pay almost $90 million in damages to a class of security guards who alleged the company put them “on call” during break periods.
     
  » Pregnant Servers Say Casino Discriminates

PHILADELPHIA (CN) - A pair of Pennsylvania women are claiming pregnancy discrimination in connection with a casino's alleged policy of transferring pregnant cocktail servers "once their uniforms no longer fit." Alycia Campiglia and Christina Aicher say they worked as cocktail servers, or Parkettes, for Parx Casino, just outside Philadelphia, and that when they became pregnant, they were told that a "maternity uniform" was out of the question. "You can only continue to work as a cocktail server up until there is no costume left to fit you" and "You are not allowed to alter the uniform," a human resources manager told one of them, according to a federal suit filed Thursday in Philadelphia. The women's only option was a demotion to a "concession stand" position, their lawsuit says.

     
  » Sara Lee Strikes $1.25M Deal In Route Sales Reps OT Suit
A $1.25 million deal to end a putative class action against Sara Lee Corp. provides substantial benefits to hundreds of route sales representatives who allegedly didn't get proper overtime pay or meal breaks and should be approved by a California federal court, the plaintiffs said Monday.
     
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Activision Ends 'Call Of Duty' Contract Row With Ex-Employees
Activision Blizzard Inc. reached a settlement Thursday to resolve its dispute with the creators of blockbuster videogame "Call of Duty,” who had accused Activision of firing them to avoid paying millions of dollars in royalties from the game

     
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Nordstrom Can't Halt Wage Action During 9th Circ. Appeal Fight
A California federal judge ruled Wednesday that a wage-and-hour class action by employees against Nordstrom Inc. should continue despite the retailer’s pending Ninth Circuit appeal of an earlier ruling that refused arbitration in the case

     
  » Calif. Assembly OKs Bill To Shield Workers’ Facebook Logins
A landmark bill that aims to protect California employees and prospective workers from being asked by a company to turn over their usernames and passwords for their Facebook, Twitter and other social media accounts easily cleared the state Assembly on Thursday
     
  » Geek Squad Accuses Best Buy Of Wage And Hour Violations
Best Buy Stores LP is forcing its Geek Squad and home theater installers to work off-the-clock and without rest periods, according to a class action the gadget retailer removed to California federal court Monday.
     
  » Perkins Coie's Calif. Unit Illegally Deducted Pay, Suit Says
A putative class action filed in California federal court Friday alleges Perkins Coie LLP and its California unit illegally deducted thousands of dollars from attorneys' paychecks when they elected to work for the California branch rather than join the Seattle-based national partnership
     
  » Judge Limits Extraterritorial Reach Of Calif. Wage Laws
A California federal judge on Thursday trimmed a $6 million proposed class action against an adventure tour company over unpaid overtime wages for its tour guides, clarifying that California and federal wage laws would not apply outside the U.S.
     
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Muslim Woman Wins $5M Verdict In AT&T Bias Case

A Jackson County, Mo., jury on Thursday handed $5 million in punitive damages to a woman who accused AT&T Inc. of discrimination for firing her her after she converted to Islam and began wearing a hijab to work, according to media reports.

     
  » Patton Boggs Refutes Ex-Worker's $12M Sexual Harassment Suit

Patton Boggs LLP on Tuesday said a former employee who hit the law firm with a $12 million sexual harassment suit last month was terminated after other employees complained about her workplace conduct.

     
  » In a dispute stemming from criticizing of the City of Baldwin Park over budget cuts and loss of personnel, two Baldwin Park officers have filed a Federal lawsuit alleging that they were passed over for promotions despite both being the highest ranked officers listed for promotion. The two were President and Vice President of the Baldwin Park Police Association. Attorney Stephen Warren Solomon of Solomon Saltsman & Jamieson noted, “This type of discrimination against officers who lawfully exercised their rights to free speech has no place in City government.”
     
  » Twenty years’ time has not erased the memory of perhaps the most celebrated case of work-place sexual harassment. Southern Carolina women gathered to remember the October 1991 Senate Judiciary Committee hearings which witnessed Anita Hill’s allegations of sexual harassment earlier committed by then Supreme Court nominee Clarence Thomas. Today, Anita Hill’s being harassed by Justice Thomas and then attacked by members of the Senate Committee, has became a focal point for the protection against gender discrimination and harassment in the workplace. In recalling the Senate hearings, Stephen Warren Solomon of Solomon Saltsman & Jamieson said, “The judicial system has significantly progressed to protect employees from gender discrimination in the workplace.”
     
  » TSA manages to generate a number of complaints and lawsuits. Recently in Arizona a woman filed a law suit claiming false imprisonment, false light and intentional infliction of emotional distress after TSA agents held the plaintiff in a glass enclosure approximately for 40 minutes after she requested that breast milk for her 7 month old go through an alternative screening process to avoid exposure to radiation. The young woman was singled out for this harassment because of this request and a similar request she made a week earlier. Federal printed guidelines provide for an alternate screening under these circumstances. Ryan Kroll of Solomon Saltsman & Jamieson noted, “This type of government harassment cannot be allowed. I see a potentially large court verdict.”
     
  » In a lawsuit alleging human trafficking, slavery, unjust enrichment and infliction of emotional distress, a Bolivian woman claims she was enticed to the United States by a World Bank employee. The 35 year old woman was to work as a nanny at $7 per hour with benefits. However, her suit states upon arrival, her employer confiscated her passport; she was forced to work as a domestic without pay for three years until she was rescued by the FBI and others. During the three years’ enslavement, her suit states, she was intimidated, had no vacation or sick time. She was “imprisoned.” The Prayer for Relief includes punitive damages. R. Bruce Evans of Solomon Saltsman & Jamieson states: “This is an extreme case, but the Courts are here to compensate victims of employer abuse of employees.”
     
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Hospital Patient Wins $67,359,753.00 Judgment in Sexual Assault Lawsuit

A jury awarded Courtney Rosenberg $67,359,753.00 after Encino-Tarzana Regional Hospital failed to prevent her sexual assault by Ramon Rodas Gaspar, a nursing assistant at the hospital.  Prior to the assault, at least four women had complained of similar incidents involving Gaspar.  Rosenberg argued that the hospital consciously disregarded its patients’ safety by failing to adequately investigate the prior incidents. Stephen Solomon, Senior Partner at Solomon, Saltsman & Jamieson, commented, “When the hospital received the previous reports about Gaspar, it was on notice that this guy posed a danger to patients at the hospital.  The jury clearly felt that the hospital should have done something to prevent Gaspar from harming more patients.”

     
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Former Employee Files Discrimination and Harassment Claims Against John Elway’s Manhattan Beach Toyota Dealership

Timothy Sandquist claims that he was subjected to widespread harassment and racial slurs during his 11 years of employment at John Elway’s Manhattan Beach Toyota Dealership.  Sandquist, who is African American, also claims that he was paid less than his white peers and was overlooked for promotions. Ryan Kroll, Partner at Solomon, Saltsman & Jamieson, commented, “When unwelcomed racial comments and conduct are so bad and so frequent that it’s difficult to show up to work in the morning, an employee may have a harassment claim based on a hostile work environment.  Racial comments may also support an employee’s claim that he or she was treated differently because of his or her race.”

     
  »  Churches can legally fire an employee for being Un-married but living with a member of the opposite sex
Sara Henry, a teacher at Red Hill Lutheran School, was alleged to have been terminated for living with her boyfriend without being married to him.  If Sara's employer was not a church the termination would likely violate California’s Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA).  The court hearing Sara's case held that the employer-school was not subject to FEHA, and therefore could legally discriminate against Sara because, as a nonprofit religious corporation, the school did not meet the FEHA statute's definition of an "employer."  Stephen Jamieson, Partner at Solomon, Saltsman & Jamieson, commented, "Workers believe that their workplace must treat their workers fairly and not discriminate against them, but the fact is that unfairness and discrimination happen every day. Whether or not in any given circumstance the worker has legal rights to enforce can depend on who or what type of business the employer is in. It is, therefore, important to immediately consult experienced legal counsel to ascertain one's rights"
     
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Starbucks Sued for Disabiltiy Discrimination

A woman has filed a law suit against Starbucks after its employees told her she could not use the bathroom to tighten a screw in her prosthetic leg unless she bought something first.  Janet Marx, of Stockton, CA, says that she was humiliated by the way she was treated.  Marx says other patrons have been allowed to use the bathroom without first making a purchase.  Ralph Saltsman, Senior Partner at Solomon, Saltsman & Jamieson, commented, "California law requires that businesses treat customers equally--including equal access to facilities--regardless of a customer's race, religion, sexual orientation, or disability."

     
  »  IRS Creates Tax Benefit for Re-Classifying Some "Independent Contractors" as "Employees"
Employers sometimes misclassify workers as "independent contractors," rather than as employees. One effect of this misclassification is that the employer does not pay the same taxes as the employer would if the worker were properly classified as an employee. A new, voluntary program initiated by the IRS gives employers incentives to reclassify independent contractors as employees. Stephen Solomon, Senior Partner at Solomon, Saltsman & Jamieson, commented, "This program has the potential to benefit misclassified workers because employees are protected by California and federal laws, but those protections don't always extend to independent contractors."
     
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Are Drug Reps entitled to Overtime?
The U.S. Supreme Court will determine whether pharmaceutical sales representatives are entitled to overtime pay under the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”). Christopher v. SmithKline Beecham pits a drug company against a class of American sales representatives who claim that the Act’s outside-salesman exception should not apply to them. Ryan Kroll, partner at Solomon, Saltsman & Jamieson commented, “The outcome of this case could dramatically impact the pharmaceutical and medical industries and will clarify the scope of protection that the FLSA provides.”
     
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The Los Angeles Times reported that rape charges were dismissed against a former Contra Costa County District Attorney who, ironically, prosecuted Sex Crimes and whose accuser was a young prosecutor in the DA’s Office. Although the rape charge was dismissed, it was reported that prosecutors in the Sex Crimes Unit regularly joked about sex, bragged about membership in a sex club, and hosted a coed after-work slumber party. Bruce Evans, partner at Solomon Saltsman & Jamieson, commented, “There is perception that sexual harassment has been rooted out of the upper echelon professional workplace and if it occurs at all, it is a blue collar problem. That's wrong. Sexual harassment continues to be a problem throughout all levels of the workplace in America.”
     
  »  While the law has become more protective of sexual harassment victims over the years, culture has not kept pace, according to Los Angeles Times writer, Sandy Banks.  Stephen Jamieson, partner at Solomon Saltsman & Jamieson, commented, “Part of the reason for this discrepancy is that powerful harassers throw money at their misdeeds, victims settle with confidentiality, and the stories of harassment never come to light.  If our culture was exposed to disturbing details, perhaps it would catch up with the law.” 
     
  »   Rampant Sexual Harassment Plagues Adolescents/Teenagers 
A national study found that students from grades 7-12 experienced sexual harassment during the last school year.  Out of 2,000 students polled, a majority reported that they had been sexually harassed, whether in person or online.  Stephen Solomon, founding partner of Solomon Saltsman & Jamieson commented, "This study demonstrates that sexual harassment is not just an adult problem.  And unfortunately, this generation is particularly vulnerable because predators can use social media as another forum in which to harass."
     
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Sexual harassment gains national attention

Republican presidential hopeful and former head of the National Restaurant Association, Herman Cain, faces a third sexual harassment allegation from a former employee. Stephen Jamieson, partner at Solomon Saltsman & Jamieson, remarked “There is a very interesting clash here between Cain’s legal obligation not to comment on these claims due to binding confidentiality agreements, and his political incentive to speak out."

     
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Women stand up to Wal Mart
Female employees have sued California Wal-Mart stores for discrimination.   They claim that the company’s “good ole boy” mentality has led to lower pay and limited access to a variety of jobs.  Ralph Saltsman, partner at Solomon Saltsman & Jamieson commented, “These plaintiffs demonstrate not only that Davids can challenge Goliaths, but that many challengers are not “Davids.”
     
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Managers can't get away with racial slurs
The EEOC has sued a Fontana-based trucking company and its parent corporation for widespread and racially-based discrimination, harassment, and retaliation, according to The Valley News.  The lawsuit alleges that management from Scully Distribution Services and Ryder System, Inc. frequently used racial epithets, referring to African American drivers as "n----rs," East Indian drivers as the "Taliban" and "camel jockey[s]," and a Latino manager as a “spic.”  Ryan Kroll, partner at Solomon Saltsman & Jamieson commented, “Employers are required by law to stop racism in the workplace if they know about it. Employers who ignore their legal obligations should pay damages to workers forced to suffer harassment at work because their bosses let it happen."

     
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Men Get Sexually Harassed Too

A male employee has sued his female manager at the 24-Hour Fitness club in Sherman Oaks for sexual harassment, the Los Angeles Times reported.  According to Jonathan Prince, when he refused his boss’ advances, including invitations to drink and join her in Las Vegas, and inappropriate text messages, she retaliated by giving him a poor performance evaluation.  Bruce Evans, partner at Solomon Saltsman & Jamieson commented,This case shows that sexual harassment does not always fit the stereotype of men harassing woman. The law protects both men and woman from unwelcome harassment and no one should be afraid to assert their rights against a hostile work environment.

 
     
  »  The Gender Nondiscrimination Act adds protective language to existing anti-discrimination law by including “gender identity and expression” within the definition of “sex.”  The Vital Statistics Modernization Act enables transgendered people to obtain birth certificates reflecting the sex with which they identify without having to provide proof of surgery.  Ralph Saltsman of Solomon Saltsman & Jamieson, stated “Transgendered people face unspeakable discrimination, physical danger, and oftentimes, death, in our society.  This gives them the legal protection that all California residents, indeed all human beings, deserve.
     
  »  The largest laser hair removal company in the U.S. settled a sexual harassment/retaliation lawsuit for $125,000 as reported by the Fresno Bee yesterday. After years of harassment from the landlord of American Laser Centers’ Fresno office building, female employees complained to district management. Despite the landlord’s egregious behavior, including approaching the employees while physically aroused and touching them, management found that he had done nothing wrong. A week and a half later, American Laser fired one of the employees who had complained. Stephen Jamieson, partner at Solomon Saltsman & Jamieson, comments that “Employers are in a powerful position. It is incumbent upon them not only to create a
safe and harassment-free work environment, but to rigorously pursue and root out discrimination when reported. Unfortunately, the very opposite occurred here.”
     
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The LA Times reported that three senior detectives with the Los Angeles Police Department received a $2.5 million verdict in a gender discrimination, harassment, and retaliation lawsuit against the Department last week.  They complained of being belittled by supervisors in front of colleagues, forced to comply with and promote discriminatory employment practices, and bullied into working when injured.  According to a recent Los Angeles Times investigation, the L.A.P.D. was sued over 250 times between 2005 and 2010.  Stephen Solomon, founding partner of Los Angeles law firm, Solomon Saltsman & Jamieson, commented that 'this verdict sends a clear message to city governments and corporate employers everywhere: discrimination, harassment, and retaliation have no place in the work environment.’
     
    »  Former law clerk turned attorney sues Novato, California personal injury law firm for refusing to pay him overtime wages and other employment benefits.  The plaintiff argued that his previous employer, Brayton-Purcell LLP, improperly classified him as a "professional" during his post law school graduation but pre-bar passing stage of employment.  He claimed that since he lacked a license to practice law during this segment of time, he was not a professional and thus entitled to these benefits.  However, the Marin County trial court felt differently, as did the appellate court.  They held that in light of plaintiff's law degree and the level of legal work he was performing, he was indeed a "professional" exempt from receiving these benefits.