A veteran St. Louis cop with over 22 years in the polic department was told that he needed to tone down his gayness in order to be considered for a promotion. Sgt. Keith Wildhabe joined the St. Louis Police Department in 1994; he had spent four years in the U.S. army prior to joining the police department. In 2011, Wildhabe was promoted to sergeant.
However, Wildhabe wanted to keep moving up in the police department. He wished to move up and become a lieutenant. Regardless of his clean disciplinary history, his strong resume, and his exceptional performance reviews, Wildhabe was not promoted to lieutenant.
According to Wildhabe, he was passed over for a promotion more than twenty-three times. He also claimed that he was punished with a transfer when he complained about unfairly being denied the promotion. Wildhabe filed a claim against the police department for discrimination and retaliation. The defense claimed that Wildhabe’s “behavior, mannerism, and/or appearance do not fit the stereotypical norms of what a ‘male’ should be,” according to the lawsuit. The lawsuit also states that the police department’s gender-based expectations contributed to the denial of the promotion.
The jury deliberated for three hours before reaching a conclusion. The jury foreman stated that “[they] wanted to send a message – if you discrimination you are going to pay a big price.” Wildhaber was awarded a total of $20 million categorized into the following:
- $1.9 million in actual damages and $10 million in punitive damages for discrimination
- $999,000 in actual damages and $7 million in punitive damages for retaliation
The outcome of this employment claim is one of the most important in the fight against workplace discrimination.
Discrimination and Retaliation is Illegal
According to Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, it is illegal for employers to discriminate against both applicants and existing employees on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, and national origin. Title VII of the Civil Rights Act also makes it illegal for employers to retaliate against applicants or employees after they assert their rights as granted by the law. This law offers protections from discrimination in compensation, benefits, assignments, promotions, hiring, firing, and discipline.
Nothing in the law offers protection from discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. Because of that, many states have separate laws that offer additional protections. However, there are 30 states without any laws that protect employees against discrimination based on sexual orientation. Missouri, the state in which a St. Louis cop recently won $20 million, is one of these states.
How did Sgt. Keith Wildhabe win his lawsuit for discrimination and retaliation against the police department if they aren’t any laws that protect Missouri employees from discrimination based on sexual orientation? Although there is no law, a Missouri Court of Appeals decided that any form of discrimination based on a sex stereotype (gender norms) falls under sexual discrimination. In the words of Judge Anthony Gabbert: “if [an] employer mistreats a male employee because the employer deems the employee insufficiently masculine, it is [irrelevant] whether the male employee is gay or straight. The prohibition against sex discrimination extends to all employees, regardless of gender identity or sexual orientation.”
California Workplace Discrimination and Retaliation
Although the incident discussed above occurred in Missouri, it is an important reminder that all employees have rights – rights that are protected by law. Unlike Missouri, California does have a state law that protects employees from discrimination based on sexual orientation. Specifically, California’s Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) offers protection from workplace discrimination on the basis of race, color, ancestry, national origin, religion, creed, age, disability, sex, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, medical condition, genetic information, marital statute and military/veteran status.
FEHA overlaps with some of the protections already granted by Title VII of the Civil Rights Act; however, it also establishes additional protections, including protection against discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. This also applies to retaliation – employees cannot be retaliated against for complaining about the discrimination that they are suffering.
Your Right to Pursue a Claim
If you suffer workplace discrimination, you could pursue a claim against your employer. Employment claims are not like any other claims, however. Employment claims must first go though the appropriate agency before being pursued in civil court. On the federal level, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) oversees employment laws and handles employment claims. On the state level, there are similar employment agencies that handle employment laws and claims. Many states have state-level employment agencies. In California, the state-level employment agency is the Department of Fair Employment and Housing.
Before taking any sort of legal action (like filing a lawsuit against an employer), employees that have been the victims of discrimination or retaliation must file claims with an employment agency. The employment agency investigates and reaches a conclusion. The employment agency can file a lawsuit against the employer or can grant the employee the right to sue (the right to file a civil lawsuit). To ensure that you take the appropriate action after being the victim of discrimination or retaliation in the workplace, it is essential that you seek legal assistance immediately.
Your Right to Recover Compensation
Depending on the specific details of your claim, you might be eligible to recover at least some sort of compensation. You could be compensated for lost wages (back pay and front pay), emotional distress, out-of-pocket costs, punitive damages, and legal fees for example. Your claim’s outcome could also result in hiring (if you were an applicant) or reinstatement (if you were an existing employee). You could also receive the promotion that you were being unfairly denied, for example. It is also possible that your claim results in changes in policy and the implementation of specific training in the workplace.
To learn more about the potential outcome of your claim, do not hesitate to seek legal assistance as soon as possible.
Your Claim is Subject to Deadlines
All claims are subject to strict deadlines. These deadlines establish the specific length of time that claimants have to file their claims. If claimants do not take action within the appropriate length of time, they could lose their right to take any action. The deadlines to file employment claims, however, are not always straightforward. In fact, the applicable deadlines depend on the specific action being pursued.
For example, claims with the EEOC must be filed within 180 days (or 300 days in states with state employment agencies, like California). Claimants will have 90-days to file a civil lawsuit after being granted the right to sue. On the other hand, claims with the DFEH must be filed within one year. Claimants will also have one year to file a civil lawsuit after being granted the right to sue.
If you would like to learn more about the specific deadline that applies to your claim, do not hesitate to seek legal assistance at your earliest convenience. If you fail to understand the timelines that apply to your employment discrimination and retaliation claim, you could lose your right to sue.
Contact California Labor Law Employment Attorneys Group
If you are in need of legal assistance after suffering any sort of workplace discrimination or retaliation, you could trust the experts at California Labor Law Employment Attorneys Group. At California Labor Law Employment Attorneys Group, our lawyers have many years of experience handling all sorts of claims – always representing the best interests of victimized employees. Too many employers take advantage of the power that they have over employees and violate federal and state employment laws without any real consequences. At California Labor Law Employment Attorneys Group, we are dedicated to ensuring that employers are held accountable for their unjust actions against employees.
If you would like the employment attorneys at California Labor Law Employment Attorneys Group to handle your claim, contact us today. You could benefit from our free consultations and free second opinions. Our discrimination lawyers will be available to answer all your questions and address all your concerns. Our retaliation attorneys will ensure that you have access to all the information that you need to pursue a claim and recover the compensation that you deserve. Whether you suffered discrimination based on your sexual orientation or any other protected category, you can trust our experts to effectively handle your claim. If you suffered any negative employment actions in retaliation of your attempts to exercise your basic employment rights, you can also trust our experts to handle your claim.
Our free legal services are available as part of a Zero-Fee guarantee that ensures that our clients never have to worry about paying any upfront legal fees for any of our legal services. Because our firm is also based on a strict contingency structure, our clients will never have to pay anything until after reaching a successful claim outcome – if you do not win, you will not be required to pay anything. Do not hesitate to contact California Labor Law Employment Attorneys Group today.
Two car washes located in Los Angeles-Silver Lake Car Wash Inc. (3539 Beverly Blvd.) and Catalina Car Wash Inc. (4000 Beverly)- will be required to pay more than $1 million to employees. According to the claims coming from a number of car wash employees, they were paid as little as $4.50 an hour. Overall, the car washes will be required to pay the following:
- Between $17,000 and $40,000 in back wages
- $519,027 in civil penalties
- $35,996 in legal fees
As mentioned above, the car wash employees claimed to only receive $4.50 an hour. Their workdays were often 10 hours long, resulting in receiving only about $40 for a whole day’s worth of work. In addition to the unreasonably and unlawfully low hourly rate for car wash employees, the employer also failed to provide break periods and overtime pay. The car washes consistently falsified their payroll information-underreporting the hours that their employees were working.
The settlement resulted in approximately 60 employees receiving the wages that they were owed. The car washes will also be strictly monitored for a total of four years-to ensure that they consistently comply with California’s wage laws.
Overview of California’s Employment Laws
California has a number of employment laws that protect employee wages. Consider the following laws-all of which were violated by the Los Angeles car washes:
- California employers with 26 or more employees are subject to an $11.00 minimum wage rate.
- California employers with 25 or fewer employees are subject to a $10.50 minimum wage rate.
- California employers must provide overtime pay at 1.5 times the employee’s hourly rate for the hours worked in excess of the normal 40-hour workweek, 8-hour workday, or 7th day of consecutive work.
- California employers must provide double pay for overtime pay for the hours worked in excess of 12 hours or in excess of 8 hours on the 7th day of consecutive work.
- California employers must provide their employees with a meal period (unpaid) of at least 30 minutes when working more than 5 hours.
- California employers must provide their employees with a 10-minute break period (paid) for every 4 hours worked.
Unfortunately, many employers are quick to take advantage of their employees-especially if their employees are unaware of their rights in the workplace. If you were the victim of wage theft, you must speak up as soon as possible and seek legal assistance. Discussing your current situation with an employment attorney could provide you with the tools that you need to understand your rights as an employee and your rights to pursue a lawsuit to recover the wages of which you were cheated.
California Labor Law Employment Attorneys Group-Your Right to Sue
Do you believe that you were the victim of wage theft? If so, you might have grounds to pursue legal action against your employer. Many people believe that their employers will never act wrongfully against their employees; however, many employers are quick to take advantage or hardworking employees-especially when it comes to wages. If you believe that you are among the victims of wage theft, do not hesitate to contact California Labor Law Employment Attorneys Group at your earliest convenience.
If you were deprived of the wages that you rightfully earned, you might have grounds to pursue a claim against your employer and recover compensation. California law protects workers-do not hesitate to allow our employment experts to handle your claim and hold your employer responsible for their unjust actions towards you and other employees.
California Labor Law Employment Attorneys Group is an employment law firm dedicated to fighting for the rights of all victims of wage theft. If you find yourself in need of legal assistance, do not hesitate to contact our law firm and request to speak to our knowledgeable employment attorneys. Our lawyers will be available to answer all of your questions and address all of your concerns. Our employment experts will provide you with all the information that you need to pursue a successful claim against your employer. California Labor Law Employment Attorneys Group offers both free consultations and free second opinions. It does not matter if you are interested in beginning your claim or if you are looking to redirect your claim after dealing with an incompetent lawyer; you could trust the attorneys at California Labor Law Employment Attorneys Group to provide you with the legal assistance that you need.
Our free legal services are available as part of our Zero-Fee guarantee -a guarantee that you will never be required to pay any upfront legal fees for any of our legal services. California Labor Law Employment Attorneys Group is also strictly based on contingency; therefore, you will not be required to pay anything until your claim reaches a successful outcome. If you do not win, you will not pay. If you would like to discuss your wage theft claim with the employment experts at California Labor Law Employment Attorneys Group, do not hesitate to contact us as soon as possible.
Steps to Take If You Are a Victim of Reverse Race Discrimination
Employers have to consider two things when making employee-based decisions: an employee’s qualifications for the job, and the employee’s ability to perform the essential job functions – those tasks that make that job necessary and why it exists in the first place. If your employer uses things like your race, age, sex against you, and you belong to a majority group (such as white males), you may have the grounds to file a lawsuit against your employer for discrimination – the vernacular among the majority groups being “reverse discrimination.” The California Labor Law Employment Attorneys Group are lawyers in Los Angeles that can provide you with your reverse discrimination lawyer to help you get the compensatory damages to which you may be entitled.
Race discrimination occurs when a disadvantaged group is discriminated against because of their race, color, and physical characteristics that are associated with a certain race (like the color of their skin, the texture of their hair, facial features, and other such things). The term “reverse discrimination” refers to a kind of discrimination which may occur in the workplace wherein members of an advantaged group or majority (such as white males) are discriminated against because of the color of their skin, gender, age, or other protected characteristics that are normally protected under anti-discrimination laws. The term “reverse discrimination” is also often used in a negative connotation by members of that race (such as white males) to describe programs that are meant to help advance members of a disadvantaged and address inequality in the workplace, like affirmative action.
Reverse discrimination is not included in any of the laws meant to protect historically disadvantaged groups of people, many of the lawsuits that arise and claim “reverse discrimination” often cite Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and other statutes.
The anti-discrimination laws that exist were signed into law in order to protect and prevent discrimination against minorities and other groups that were (and are) historically disadvantaged and denied many opportunities in the workplace, there exists some notion that these laws do not protect those members of majorities. But the truth of the matter is that these laws make it unlawful for employers to do all forms of discrimination. Employers cannot discriminate against protected characteristics, including those characteristics that are associated with a majority group.
The term, then, “reverse discrimination” normally arises when employees describe the kinds of cases where members of a majority group are claiming that they were discriminated against on the basis of their race, age, gender, and other such protected characteristics.
The California Labor Law Employment Attorneys Group’s employee discrimination attorneys help people like you who have suffered from reverse discrimination. We help answer questions that have to do with a person’s next moves and explain their rights. Examples of such questions include:
- What is reverse discrimination?
- Can I sue for racial discrimination if I am white?
- What is reverse discrimination? Can my employer discriminate against me because of my race?
- Can I sue for race discrimination if I am Caucasian?
Here are a few things you need to know about reverse discrimination in the workplace, and you.
How Do I Know I’ve Experienced “Reverse Discrimination?”
Federal law does not actually state “reverse discrimination” – when members of a majority and advantaged group are discriminated against – anywhere in its laws. The term is normally brought up when a member of a group that has always had an advantage and is part of the majority (such as a white man) has been discriminated against because of something else that is protected by anti-discrimination laws. Common examples of such cases brought by majority groups can be a white male who is discriminated against in favor of a minority, or perhaps a white man suing because a woman got preferential treatment at work because she was a woman. Affirmative action normally serves to give opportunities to those who have been disenfranchised and have disadvantages, but they also may get too close to the sun and run the risk of breaking discrimination laws despite their historic justifications.
Below are a few examples of what “reverse discrimination” may look like:
- Making employment decisions (like hiring, firing, promoting, etc.) in favor of someone who is a minority and belongs to a protected class, despite the experience/seniority of the white male, or other majority applicants;
- Hiring or promoting a woman just because she is a woman despite there being more qualified males in the workplace;
- Refusing to hire persons under 40 years-old and being in favor of hiring someone over 40 years of age;
- Rejecting an applicant for school while admitting a minority on the basis that the minority is part of protected class.
What Does the Law Say About “Reverse Discrimination?”
It is not easy for the courts to decide on out-of-the-ordinary discrimination cases, and reverse discrimination is among them. Under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, employers are prohibited from discriminating against things like race, sex, religion, national origin, sexual orientation, and other such things, regardless of who the victim is. Under Title VII, employers cannot create policies or programs that would lead to disparate impacts on employees. Disparate impacts happen when a policy that is meant to be neutral affects only individual members of a group.
Even discrimination claims that are brought by minorities and other protected groups are hard to prove. Reverse discrimination faces the same hurdle: they are difficult to prove. The plaintiff has the burden of proof and has to show that actual discrimination took place. The plaintiff – the person who has experienced reverse discrimination and is making the lawsuit against their employer – must prove the following below:
- Evidence that they are a member of a protected class (like race, sex, age, religion, disability, sexual orientation, etc.);
- People who are similarly situated at your place of employment receive more preferential treatment than the plaintiff;
- Evidence which shows that the employer normally, or usually, discriminates against privileged or majority groups;
- That the plaintiff in questions performed the job admirably and had the qualifications (if the discrimination is promotion or employment-status based).
Can I Sue My Employer for Reverse Discrimination?
If you believe that you have been discriminated against, and believe that discrimination to be reverse discrimination, you may have the legal grounds to file a reverse discrimination lawsuit against your employer for discrimination, or “reverse discrimination.”
Since it is reverse discrimination, is there a different procedure that you must follow in order to file a lawsuit? No. You use the same procedure as any other person who files a discrimination lawsuit.
In order to file a claim against your employer, you must first file a charge with an employment government agency. There are two available, the federal and state agencies: the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and the state of California’s Department of Fair Employment & Housing (DFEH), respectively.
Both agencies have a work-sharing agreement, and this basically means that when you file a charge with one agency, an identical copy of that charge is sent to the other agency. This is known as dual filing and serves to protect your rights under both state and federal laws that exist to prevent discrimination. Under the EEOC, you have 180 days to file the charge from the day you last received the discrimination. This deadline can be extended if both federal and state laws protect from discrimination.
Luckily, California has its own set of anti-discrimination laws, and so the deadline is extended to 300 calendar days to file with the DFEH. The DFEH is the state agency and protects you just as equally as the federal agency.
Once they launch an investigation and conclude that it was likely that your employer violated your rights, you may request the “right-to-sue” letter. It is recommended that you only request this letter once you are ready to take your employer to court because you only have 90 days to take action once you receive the letter! An employment lawyer should help you get all of your ducks (and evidence) in order.
The California Labor Law Employment Attorneys Group is your law firm to sue employers in Los Angeles here to assure that you get the maximum amount of damages that are available to you. We offer free consultation and a zero-fee guarantee! This means that you will not pay for our services unless we can prove and win your case. There is no financial obligation on your part, and all of the risk is on us. Give us a call today to see how we can represent you! We are attorneys located in Los Angeles.