When Your Gender and Race Dictate Your Employment Fate

A former track coach is suing the University of Texas, alleging race and gender discrimination.  Coach Bev Kearney was forced to resign after university officials learned that she had a romantic relationship with one of her athletes more than a decade earlier.  Kearney’s lawsuit alleges that she, a black female employee, was treated worse than her Caucasian male peers – one of whom not only had a relationship with one of his athletes but who also received continued employment and promotions following the disclosure of that relationship. 

Despite being one of the top track trainers in the country at the time, Kearney was pushed out while other alleged transgressors were retained and promoted.  The Texas Supreme Court recently ruled that Kearney’s case could continue on.  For more information, please read the article:


If you have been the victim of disparate treatment based on race or gender, you have rights.  It is important to contact an employment attorney at your earliest convenience as many of your claims may contain statutes of limitations. 

Layoffs in the Seattle Area

A handful of major Seattle employers have recently laid off employees.  Two weeks ago, Microsoft let about 520 people go.  The layoffs are the latest round of the 2,850 layoffs in total that are expected.  

Microsoft's supplier Lionbridge also recently laid off all of its unionized workers, two months after completing its first contract with a group of temp workers.  The reason given was reduced demand, and Lionbridge said the union had nothing to do with it.  Regardless, employees should have the rights the union fought for - temporary worker classification, pay raises, severance pay, increased time off and paid holidays.  

If you or someone you know has been mistreated at work, call us today and put us to work for you!

Woman Discriminated Against for Pregnancy Wins Over $300K

A Colorado woman recently won $306,000 after being discriminated against for being pregnant.  She was the former director of the Montrose County Internal Services division.  After speaking with her manager about transitioning to part-time work during her pregnancy, she was fired.  To make matters worse, weeks later she miscarried. 

Pregnancy discrimination is a real issue and can have monetary and emotional damages.  If you or anyone you know has been discriminated against, please contact us today.  We are here to help.


The Supreme Court Saves the Pregnancy Discrimination Act

Today the Supreme Court made a positive affirmation of the importance of the Pregnancy Discrimination Act. Peggy Young claimed that her employer discriminated against her at work when it denied her a reasonable accommodation for her pregnancy while other employees with similar physical limitations were granted accommodations. Ms. Young worked as a driver for UPS. When—after several miscarriages—Ms. Young finally became pregnant, her doctor instructed her to not lift more than a certain amount of weight at work. UPS, however, decided not to grant Ms. Young her medically mandated restriction and informed her that she could only continue working if she was able to lift the amount required in her job description. Ms. Young protested and requested a light-duty assignment; UPS denied her request. Consequently, Ms. Young was forced to take unpaid leave and, as a result, lost her health insurance. Ultimately, UPS allowed her to return only after she gave birth.

As a result of UPS’s decision to deny her a reasonable accommodation, Ms. Young sued, claiming that UPS had violated the Pregnancy Discrimination Act. A lower court, however, dismissed her claims. In the US Supreme Court’s ruling in Young v. UPS, the Court ruled that Ms. Young should have the opportunity to show that UPS illegally discriminated against her because of her pregnancy when it refused to provide her with an accommodation that was made available to her co-workers. The Court did not state that UPS’s conduct violated the Pregnancy Discrimination Act, but it did clarify the law’s language. Despite the Court’s ruling, there are many issues that remain to be decide with regard to pregnancy discrimination.

Please contact us today if you or someone you know has been subject to discrimination.

Booze and Pics for Perks: Seattle Tunnel Project

Almost anyone who lives in the Seattle area is aware of the Seattle tunnel project.  Recently, allegations of unprofessional and unsafe behaviors, and harassment on the project were reported to the WA State Dept of Transportation by a Seattle Tunnel Project (private contractor: STP) employee.  The allegations assert that the supervisors of a carpentry crew were hostile, discriminatory, and featured a quid pro quo system of needing to bring alcohol to the foreman in exchange for perks (better shifts, overtime, etc).  Furthermore, many employees would show up to work intoxicated, furthering the unsafe environment for the employees and the public.

Additionally, this employee reported episodes of sexual harassment, where a woman's supervisor solicited provocative photos via text messaging.  King 5 investigated the situation and found many people who corroborated the allegations.  Despite all of this, STP continues to deny any wrongdoing.

Unfortunately, the employee who brought the concern has since quit the company.  No one should ever feel that quitting is their only option.  If you feel you have worked or are working in unprofessional and unsafe environment, please contact us today!



ExxonMobile Adopts LGBT Workplace Protections

After President Barack Obama's executive order prohibiting federal contractors from discrimination on the basis of sexual ordination or gender identity, ExxonMobile adopted LGBT workplace protections.  For many years, ExxonMobile's shareholders have voted to reject adopting LGBT workplace protections; however, due to the President's executive order, ExxonMobile is finally extending workplace protections. 

While this may seem like a win, unfortunately ExxonMobile made a statement that the only reason it did it was to not lose federal contracts, insinuating their lack of enthusiasm for the spirit of the executive order.  Even if your company has discrimination policies in place does not mean they are following them.  If you feel you have been subject to discrimination in the workplace, please contact us today.



France Pushes For Accountability of Social Media Sites for Hate Speech

The French government announced that they will hold any web companies that host extremis messages accountable.  The French president wants to introduce a law that would make web companies, such as Google and Facebook, "accomplices" in crimes of hate speech. 

This backlash against hate speech is similar to what we have seen in the U.S. with the recent anti-bullying campaigns on social media.  Hate speech and bullying can happen in the workplace.  If you feel you have been subjected to either, please contact us today.

The Verge

Saks Fifth Avenue Discriminating Against Transgender Employees

In a lawsuit in Texas, Saks Fifth Avenue argued that discrimination on the basis of gender identity is not prohibited by federal law.  However, the U.S. Department of Justice and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) have taken the position that the 1964 federal Civil Rights Act protects transgender employees from harassment and discrimination.

If you feel you have been harassed or discriminated at work, please contact us today.


NY Daily News

Maternity Leave Still Difficult for Women

Many women in the U.S. still do not receive paid time off for maternity leave.  Unless you work for a company that voluntarily offers it or live in one of the three states that requires it, paid maternity leave does not exist.  The Family and Medical Leave Act grants 12 weeks of unpaid leave each year; however, this law only applies to full-time employees at companies larger than 50 employees.  This means that only about half of Americans are covered by the FMLA.

Paid leave is another issue.  Only 12% of Americans have access to paid leave according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, as outlined in Bloomberg

Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (NY) in 2013 introduced the Family Act, which would make employers offer new parents three month paid leave at 66% salary; however, the bill has been stalled.  The current generation graduating from college does not experience the pay gap older generations have experienced.  The discrepancy grows as they get older and do not advance at the same pace as their male counterparts.  And, this seems to happen as women start to have children.

According to the U.N., the U.S. and Papua New Guinea are the only two countries in the world that don't have some form of legally mandated partially paid time off. If you or anyone you know feels you have been discriminated against due to pregnancy or not being allowed to take your full maternity leave, please contact us today. 


Tech Industries' Lack of Diversity Shows in Stats

Recently, many technology firms have been forthcoming with their diversity statistics.  However, this has proven what so many have known or guessed - minorities are severely underrepresented.  At Apple, Microsoft, Facebook and others, more than 50% of employees are white and only 25%-30% are female.  And, the problem usually only gets worse as you look at senior management.

As Josh Constine at TechCrunch said, "...they all get an F for being heavily skewed male, white and Asian."


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