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49ers Hit with Age Discrimination Lawsuit

According to several reports, at least two former 49ers employees have filed an age discrimination lawsuit against the team. The suit claims 49ers’ owner laid off the employees who were in their late 50s to “rebrand” the company. Just before the 49ers moved to a new stadium in Silicon Valley, reports claim several older employees suffered discrimination. Two of these employees assert they were laid off because the owner wanted to rebrand the team as a new “startup.” The suit claims the team’s owner did not offer valid reasons to have younger workers take the place of older employees. The company has been struggling with its reputation since hiring a former Facebook executive. Former employees claim the tech company executive referred to them as “legacy employees.” Insiders use this term in a derogatory fashion to refer to older workers. Former 49ers employees have added complaints linked to this treatment to their suit. Employer May Have Defended Discriminatory Practices In light of reports concerning the job applicants and their qualifications, many believe that former employees are right to pursue this case. The suit claims both job applicants were qualified for the position. Still, younger candidates were the ones who were chosen to take over. During meetings—one of the former employees claims—the company’s vice-president mocked him for his grey hair. This type of complaint is usually associated with age discrimination behaviors that should not be encouraged in the workplace. Co-workers claim former employees were exemplary professionals. Still, none of the consistently positive performance reviews were enough to help them to keep their jobs. When both men were asked to finally leave,...

Do You Need to Update Your Policies for Pregnant Workers?

The EEOC recently released new guidelines for accommodating pregnant workers. For the first time in over 30 years, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has issued updated enforcement guidelines on pregnancy discrimination. In order to protect your business from potential complaints and legal actions, it would be wise to review your pregnancy and family leave accommodation policies now and make sure your business practices are in line with the most recent set of guidelines. The Law Office of George G. Romain will be happy to help you do an in-depth review of your current policies and draft new ones as needed. Meanwhile, here are some key points that you need to understand about the current guidance. Any Woman Can Face Pregnancy Discrimination The EEOC reminds employers that the Pregnancy Discrimination Act covers past, current, and future pregnancies. It is illegal to take adverse job actions including failure to hire, failure to promote, reassignment to undesirable shifts, etc. against any women based on her pregnancy or her potential to become pregnant. Pregnancy Impairments Covered under the ADA In their updated guidance, the EEOC confirms that many pregnancy-related impairments can qualify as disabilities under the Americans with Disabilities Act. This means that pregnant workers must essentially be treated like any other worker with a temporary disability. The example given compared a pregnant worker to an individual with a temporary back impairment neither one would be able to lift heavy items and the employer would have to provide appropriate accommodation of this fact. Suggested Accommodations The new guidance contains many examples of reasonable accommodations that may be made for pregnant workers: Allowing pregnant workers...

3 Important Things to Know About California Medical Malpractice Cases

Basic information that will help you decide how to proceed with your medical malpractice case. Suffering a painful or debilitating injury when you expected to experience healing can be an extremely upsetting experience. If this has happened to you or a loved one, you may have grounds for a medical malpractice claim against the medical professional, facility, or pharmaceutical company that provided your treatment. Because filing requirements and legal issues surrounding medical malpractice cases can be quite complicated, you will definitely want to enlist the assistance of an experienced medical malpractice attorney like George G. Romain to help you prepare your case. However, even before you call your attorney, it will be helpful to know these 3 important things about medical malpractice cases in California. A  Mistake Isn’t Necessarily Malpractice First and foremost, it is vital to understand that not every medical mistake constitutes malpractice. In order to prove malpractice, it is necessary to establish that the care provider breached the standard of care, meaning they failed to act in accordance with generally accepted procedures and practices for the diagnosis and treatment of a given condition. Furthermore, you must prove that this breach in the standard of care directly caused the injury or suffering. California Has a Cap on Malpractice Awards In the state of California, the law limits the amount of money a plaintiff may receive in non-economic damages. Non-economic damages include compensation for pain, suffering, disfigurement, and physical impairment. Only $250,000 in this type of compensation may be awarded. Fortunately, another type of compensation is available, namely compensatory or “actual” damages. This form of compensation is not...

State Employment Law Trumps Federal for Truck Drivers

Recent court ruling finds truckers are entitled to rest breaks under state employment law. Conflicts between state and federal law can be very confusing for workers trying to exercise their rights to rest breaks, meal breaks, overtime, time off, and more. Typically, California law specifies that whichever statute provides the most protection should be followed. However, in some cases it was not thought possible to override federal law. This was resulting in less than ideal work conditions for thousands of truck drivers in California. In California, state law dictates that all employees must receive a paid 10 minute rest break every 4 hours and a paid 30 minute meal break every 5 hours. However, trucking companies argued that they did not have to provide these benefits because states can’t make laws affecting the “price, route, or service” of any motor carrier transporting property, as per a federal law signed by President Clinton in 1994. Truck drivers have questioned this argument in court, but up until just recently, most federal judges found that the companies were justified in not applying state law. The reasoning was that paid breaks increase the cost of doing business, which affects the price of trucking services. However, on Wednesday July 9, an appeals court in San Francisco found in favor of the drivers, reinstating a class action lawsuit that 349 Penske drivers had filed against their employer. The drivers argued that the company policy of requiring 10 hour shifts without paid breaks violated state law, and the judge agreed that this argument had merit. In the opinion, Judge Susan Graber noted that there are plenty...

Know the Signs of Nursing Home Neglect & Abuse

If you see any signs your loved one has been abused, contact an attorney immediately. Elder abuse is a serious problem in this country, with an estimated 1 in 10 Americans over age 60 having experienced at least one incident of abuse or neglect. Policymakers have recognized this fact for some time, and efforts to educate the public and curb the incidence of elder abuse have been ongoing. Earlier this month, an important milestone in this effort was reached when the Department of Justice and the Department of Health and Human Services released “The Elder Justice Roadmap.” This tool is designed to help guide comprehensive and concrete action at all levels in the effort to put an end to elder abuse, neglect, and financial expectation. Helping the public to understand and identify the signs of elder abuse is a key function of the Elder Justice Roadmap. If you have a loved one in a nursing home, you need to be alert to the following possible signs of nursing home neglect & abuse. Signs of Neglect Poor hygiene Lack of clean clothing Weight loss, dehydration, or malnutrition Untreated bed sores Lack of medical aids like glasses, hearing aids, teeth, etc. Call button broken or ignored Signs of Financial Abuse Amenities the elder could easily afford are not present Jewelry or other items missing from the elder’s room Elder has suddenly begun giving large or otherwise uncharacteristic “gifts” to staff Elder of dubious mental competency has signed legal documents regarding money or property Signs of Psychological or Emotional Abuse Elder displays unexplained changes in mood or behavior You have difficulty making...

Historically Black University Sued for Racial Discrimination

A Native American professor alleges Alabama State University discriminates against job applicants based on race. Historically black universities such as Alabama State University face a difficult dilemma in today’s supposedly colorblind world: how to maintain their identity without resorting to discriminatory policies? It seems ASU is not doing a particularly good job of dealing with this issue, at least according to one professor. Dr. John Garland, a professor of Health Sciences at ASU, has brought a lawsuit against the university and 8 of its current and former employees, alleging racial discrimination in hiring practices. Garland also alleges that he was punished when he tried to speak up about this racial discrimination at the university. The lawsuit describes several specific instances of discrimination against non-blacks at the university: At a public campus forum where two white faculty members spoke, an ASU diversity officer complained that there were too many whites on the faculty. A faculty member said only African-American professors were suited to “our type of institution.” A search committee described its primary goal as hiring a black woman for an open position. After Garland’s husband, Dr. Steven B. Chesbro, was appointed as dean of the College of Health Sciences, faculty and students started calling the college “the White House.” This is especially disturbing considering that while Chesbro is white, Garland is actually a member of the Choctaw Nation. After speaking up about racial discrimination on campus, Garland was transferred to a lesser position in violation of his contract. The transfer came with a salary reduction of $23,000 per year and left him stuck in an office with no working...
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