January 2014 Archives

Are hugs at work considered sexual harassment?

In popular culture, hugs are most often depicted as a pivotal form of connection. Friends hug each other in moments of sadness and triumph. Family members hug one another when arriving and departing from shared locations. Even co-workers hug in the movies and on television after completing various monumental achievements. But in the real world, hugs are not always a welcome form of expression. Though appropriate in some contexts, hugs can be considered sexual harassment in others.

HSRR Client Who Settled His Case With the County Was One of the Inmates Beaten by Sheriff's Deputy Named in Recent Indictments

In light of federal indictments against 18 L.A. County Sheriff's Department employees, past cases of inmate abuse are back in the spotlight. Hadsell Stormer Richardson & Renick LLP represented Michael Holguin in a lawsuit against the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department and several individual Sheriff's Department employees for civil rights violations while Mr. Holguin was in custody at Men's Central Jail in October 2009. When Mr. Holguin complained about being repeatedly denied a shower, L.A. County Sheriff's Department deputies retaliated against Mr. Holguin by removing him from his cell with his hands cuffed behind his back and striking him repeatedly over the head and legs.  Mr. Holguin suffered serious injuries requiring stitches to his head and microscopic surgery to his leg. Mr. Holguin's case settled in March, 2013. Several news outlets have covered Mr. Holguin's case as a part of the inquiry into a pattern of excessive force by Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department deputies and custody assistants.  See: http://www.dailynews.com/general-news/20131210/la-sheriffs-corruption-probe-union-leader-fires-back-at-charges http://abclocal.go.com/kabc/story?section=news/local/los_angeles&id=9356126 http://www.myfoxla.com/story/24188370/corruption-investigation-does-anyone-deserve-this

Recent trends in discrimination claim filings with the EEOC

Last month, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) released a report detailing its work over the past year. In what is hopefully a positive turn of events, the number of employment discrimination claims filed with the EEOC dropped during the 2013 fiscal year from the number of claims filed during the 2012 fiscal year. In all, roughly 6,000 fewer claims were filed last year than were the previous year.

Is breastfeeding discrimination illegal pregnancy discrimination?

When female employees become pregnant, federal and state laws protect their jobs under most circumstances. Female employees are generally protected from pregnancy discrimination in the workplace in numerous forms including retaliation and wrongful termination. But what if female workers return to work after maternity leave only to be retaliated against or wrongfully terminated for pumping breast milk at work? Because the workers are no longer pregnant, is this treatment considered illegal pregnancy discrimination? What if employers allow workers to pump breast milk but only in locations characterized by unsanitary conditions? Is this illegal pregnancy discrimination?

California law affects public workers facing discrimination

The California Senate recently released a report regarding a policy first embraced by the Schwarzenegger administration that could potentially affect any public sector worker who has faced or is facing illegal treatment in the workplace and wishes to pursue justice through the legal system. This policy potentially allows California’s governor to override certain state employment law provisions and veto employment discrimination claims brought by employees against public agencies. Furthermore, it apparently allows the governor to do so without any public disclosure or explanations of any kind.

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