The lawsuits seem to be never-ending when it comes to Silicon Valley tech startups and their mistreatment of female employees. Recently, virtual reality and co-working startup UploadVR was sued for sexual harassment, sex and gender discrimination, and wrongful termination by a former female employee. And the allegations against the tech company are disturbing.
California has laws that protect employees from being sexually harassed in the workplace. Employees are protected from unwanted sexual advances, a hostile work environment, and from their employers using sexual favors as a condition of the benefit of employment. If you believe that you have been subjected to sexual harassment in the workplace, you need to take action immediately. What follows are the steps a California employee should take if he or she is subjected to sexual harassment at work.
On February 19, 2017, a former Uber engineer by the name of Susan Fowler Rigetti published a blog post about her strange year working for the ride-hailing service. The article details a string of sexual harassment and discrimination allegations, including one that Rigetti experienced almost immediately after beginning work in her new role. According to Rigetti, she brought this and other incidences of harassment to Uber’s HR department, yet Rigetti claims that nothing was done to stop the ongoing harassment that she – and other women – experienced.
Uber’s Chief Human Resources Officer Liane Hornsey has now been ordered to conduct an urgent investigation into the matter. Uber’s Chief Executive, Travis Kalanick, has also hired former U.S. Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. to help lead the investigation into Rigetti’s claims.
Roger Ailes, former chairman and CEO of Fox News Corporation, has been in the news lately over an allegation of sexual harassment against him by his former employee and news celebrity, Gretchen Carlson. Roger Ailes has stepped down from his job at Fox, but he still needs to defend against Carlson’s sexual harassment lawsuit in a New Jersey court. And, as The Los Angeles Times reports, this could be the beginning of more lawsuits against Fox alleging sexual harassment during Ailes’ tenure.
To better understand this notable lawsuit, we’ll take a look at the sexual harassment complaint and break down what it means.
Less than two years ago, P.F. Chang’s China Bistro Inc. faced sexual harassment claims from two female employees who were then awarded $500,000 each in arbitration against the Chinese restaurant chain. And now, at least four more women have filed sexual harassment claims in Southern California alleging that they were sexually harassed at P.F. Chang’s restaurants located in Beverly Hills, Riverside, Chino Hills and Anaheim.
An astronomical sexual harassment problem in higher education institutions may actually come to a halt now that a California Congresswoman has announced a newly proposed bill that would bring to light confidential sexual harassment investigations into faculty members.
You may recall that last year, a leaked confidential report revealed that University of California, Berkeley had conducted an investigation into one its very own astronomy researchers, ultimately finding that the prominent researcher had repeatedly engaged in unlawful harassing behaviors. In fact, the report was so confidential that even the researcher’s coworkers didn’t know about it. But once the report leaked, faculty voiced demands for the researcher to resign. However, he wasn’t the only astronomer who had been accused engaging in conduct that violates Federal civil rights law, Title IX and the California Fair Employment and Housing Act, Cal. Gov. Code § 12940 et seq.
Do you think you might be a victim of sexual harassment? Sometimes harassment in the workplace can be recognized easily, but other times these negative employer behaviors are not as obvious.
It’s important to know that if your employer is subjecting you to sexual harassment or willingly allows harassment by coworkers or supervisors in the workplace, your rights are protected under both California and Federal law. Unfortunately, even with the laws in place, the number of sexual harassment claims are still staggering. In fact, the EEOC reports that sex and gender charges (including sexual harassment) rose to nearly 30 percent in 2014.