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In California, you have the right to go to work and do your job while free from sexual harassment. You also have the right, if you are the target of sexual harassment, to seek to stop that harassment without suffering reprisals from your employer. That means that you are entitled to say “no,” to complain to your employer’s HR department or to file a harassment lawsuit or claim with the Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) and your employer cannot punish you for it. That means no firing you, no demoting you, no reassigning you to less desirable work and no cutting your hours. If your employer does engage in these types of actions, you should reach out to an experienced Oakland employment attorney promptly, because those punishments may mean that your employer is liable to you for impermissible retaliation.

S.E. was a teenager working at a drive-in restaurant whose lawsuit presented a case of exactly that sort of retaliation. According to the employee, who was still a minor, her manager made sexual advances toward her and, when she did not accept those advances, he altered the teen’s work schedule to reduce her hours (and, by extension, reduce her income.) The teen informed the employer of the manager’s advances and his retaliation against her after she said no. The employer fired the teen.

That, of course, is one of every workplace sexual harassment target’s nightmares, isn’t it? Too many victims look at their harasser and think that he has far more “pull”/”juice”/power/etc. within the organization than they do, and so they suffer in silence, fearing what would happen to them if they did dare to speak up.

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The law in California requires a worker to file an administrative complaint for discrimination with the Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) within one year of the discriminatory actions. The good news for workers, though, is that there are circumstances where the law may give you extra time to file a complaint with DFEH or file a lawsuit with the court. One way this can happen is through something that the law calls “equitable tolling.” Another legal concept that may help your case is something called a “continuing violation” of the Fair Employment and Housing Act. These tools can help you present to the court a fuller and more persuasive case and potentially entitle you to a larger sum of compensation. The key thing is to make absolutely sure that you don’t wait too long, as that could cost you your case entirely. Contact a knowledgeable Oakland employment attorney to learn more about your options and deadlines.

J.B. was a Northern California worker whose discrimination case focused heavily on those deadlines. J.B. was an openly gay man who worked for the California Highway Patrol from 1996 to 2016. During those two decades, J.B. allegedly suffered through many injustices, including “derogatory, homophobic comments,” being “singled him out for pranks” and having his mailbox “repeatedly defaced.” On top of those things, other officers also allegedly “refused to provide him with backup assistance during enforcement stops in the field.”

Eventually, the discrimination and harassment took their toll, according to J.B. He filed a workers’ compensation claim in January 2015. In that action, he stated that he had begun having “headaches, muscle pain, stomach issues, anxiety and stress.” He was also allegedly suicidal due to problems at work. J.B. won his workers’ comp case. That ruling came down in October 2015 and, four months later, he left his job. Several months after leaving, J.B. filed a claim with the DFEH and filed a discrimination lawsuit the next day.

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If you’ve been involved in an auto accident, you know that the pain resulting from the injuries you suffered in that crash may “hit” you right away, or its onset may be delayed. You may first feel the pain the next day, a week later, or maybe not for months. Just because the symptoms of your injuries were delayed in emerging, that doesn’t mean that they weren’t caused by the accident and it doesn’t mean that you can’t still get compensation from those who were to blame for the accident. If that happens to you, don’t be discouraged, but do reach out to an experienced Oakland injury attorney right away to learn more about your options.

A recent case (Ventura County Superior Court Case No. 56-2016-00483594-CU-PA-VTA) from Southern California is an example of that kind of scenario, and is an example of how it doesn’t have to be devastating to your injury lawsuit. K.F. was making a left turn inside a Thousand Oaks mall parking lot when B.R. hit her. K.F. experienced some symptoms shortly after the crash and underwent treatment from a chiropractor for two months, but received no more treatment after that until she underwent steroid injections and spinal fusion surgery… four years later.

This woman’s case is not completely out of the ordinary. A few years ago, KTAR in Arizona reported on seven accident symptoms that may not onset until a substantial period of time has passed following your accident. These include headaches (which can be symptoms of blood clots on the brain or a brain bleed,) neck or shoulder pain, back pain (which, as was the case in K.F.’s lawsuit, can be the result of vertebrae damages,) changes in personality (which may be caused by an undiagnosed brain injury) or abdominal pain.

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Generally, any time you are suing to recover compensation for your injuries, you are asserting that the defendants either engaged in some sort of intentional misconduct or, more commonly, were negligent. Typically, in an auto accident, your lawsuit pursues the other driver for operating his vehicle in a negligent way and causing the crash. In California, though, there may be other people and/or entities who were negligent in causing your accident, meaning that those additional individuals and/or entities may be liable and owe you payment for your damages. To find out how best to go about pursuing them to get the full recovery you deserve, be sure to retain an experienced Oakland car accident attorney to handle your case.

A tragic East Bay crash spawned a case that is an example of this kind of lawsuit. J.H. suffered a seizure while driving a Toyota pickup truck in Danville. Under the effects of the seizure, J.H. ran a red light while going 62 mph in a 45-mph zone. The pickup slammed into a Dodge SUV. The crash killed both the 51-year-old driver of the SUV, E.P. and her 72-year-old mother, M.D.

In a lot of incidents like that, the family of the deceased would be able to pursue J.H. and his insurer… and only J.H. and his insurer. This case, however, was not like most cases. The Toyota pickup truck that J.H. was driving at the time of the fatal crash was not 100% his own; it belonged jointly to him and his father, D.H.

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The COVID-19 pandemic is disrupting lives and, more importantly, has cost the lives of more than 1,000 Americans. While the pandemic has led to the institution of many extraordinary measures, there are some things that remained unchanged. For example, California employers’ obligations to avoid illegal discrimination and harassment remain in place and are as strong as ever. In fact, given the racial/ethnic component of the virus’s presumed origin, employers should be even more vigilant than ever to avoid improper practices. If, in this era of COVID-19 pandemic, you’ve been harmed at work because of your race, ethnicity or national origin, you may have legal options under the Fair Employment and Housing Act. Reach out to a knowledgeable Oakland employment attorney to find out more.

The Department of Fair Employment and Housing recently released an “Information” document about COVID-19 and employers’ FEHA obligations. The very first topic that the document addressed was the harmful practice of discrimination or harassment “because of race or national origin.” This kind of discrimination or harassment can take many forms. In the context of the current COVID-19 pandemic, the victims of illegal discrimination or harassment may be targeted because of actual or perceived Chinese ancestry.

Note that you don’t actually have to be of Chinese origin or ancestry. Illegal discrimination or harassment can stem from one’s actual national origin or the perpetrator’s perception of your national origin. So if, for example, your facial appearance, your manner of speaking or your name makes your supervisor think you’re of Chinese origin – and your supervisor harasses or discriminates against you because of it – it doesn’t matter if your heritage is Chinese, Korean, Vietnamese, Japanese or something else entirely. The fact that your supervisor believed you were of Chinese origin and took adverse action against you because of that belief is enough.

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Sometimes, your wrongful termination case may have overwhelming evidence on your side… a case where you are obviously entitled to a judgment in your favor. A lot of times, though, that’s not what happens. In many lawsuits, the cases are of the type often referred to as “he-said-she-said,” or as lawyers call them, “swearing contests,” which refers to the fact that the sworn testimony of witnesses make up the vast majority of the evidence, and the outcome rests on which side the jury finds more believable. If you’re involved in a case like that, the more evidence you can give the court beyond just your own testimony, the more credible your testimony may become and the stronger your case may become. To be sure you are identifying, obtaining and utilizing all the evidence you need for your strongest case possible, make sure you have an experienced Oakland wrongful termination attorney working for you.

D.W.’s was a case like that. He had risen through the ranks at the call center of a major telecommunications company. By 2012, he was named the interim acting director of the call center. He routinely received high-performance review scores and praise for his leadership skills. He applied to be named the director of the call center but was not chosen. The company selected a white woman to be the new director. Unlike D.W., the woman did not have a bachelor’s degree, which the employer listed as a “preferred qualification” for the position of director.

D.W.’s former supervisor, after having been reassigned, told him that she attempted to get the company to choose D.W., but that he had three key things working against him: he was a former employee of a competitor company, he was not white, and he was not female. Just four months later, the company fired D.W.

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Statistics regarding motorcycle accidents in California are ominous, and the numbers are getting worse. In 2017, there were 16,505 motorcycle accidents in the Golden State. Those crashes caused 15,527 injuries and 541 deaths. If you’ve been hurt in a motorcycle accident, keep in mind that you only have a limited period of time to seek the compensation you deserve. In California, the law says that you only have two years from the date of the accident to file your lawsuit. If you wait more than two years and there is no justification for that delay, the defense can get your case thrown out of court before trial based upon a “statute of limitations” argument. To be sure you’re not losing out on much-needed compensation, reach out to an Oakland motorcycle accident attorney right away.

A few months ago, a motorcyclist tragically died in an accident on I-880 in Oakland. According to KPIX, the motorcyclist was “lane splitting” when a silver car moved left and struck the motorcycle. (Lane splitting, which is when a motorcycle passes “other vehicles proceeding in the same direction within the same lane,” is legal under California law.)

That impact threw the 31-year-old motorcyclist from the bike and onto the ground. The man died at Highland Hospital, according to the report. Tragically, stories like this are becoming more and more common. In 2016, the number of motorcycle deaths was more than twice the number that occurred in this state a decade prior.

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In most any case, it is important to ensure that your complaint names all the defendants potentially liable to you and includes all potentially viable claims for a judgment in your favor. Making sure that you’ve done your pre-trial “homework” to identify all of the entities potentially liable to you is important to ensure that you get the full benefit of the sum awarded by the jury. Including all of the possible claims is important because, the more avenues for the court to find the defendants liable, the greater your chances for success. As you face the possibility of pursuing a discrimination and/or retaliation case in court, be sure you are getting the legal advice you need from a knowledgeable Oakland employment attorney to ensure your court filings are giving you that maximized chance of success.

As an example, there’s the case of J.M., who worked in a maintenance position for a conference center in Santa Cruz. That conference center was a subordinate unit of a Missouri-based church. At one point during J.M.’s employment, a younger male co-worker showed J.M. some messages M.G., the center’s executive director, had sent to the younger man, which he considered suggestive and inappropriate.

The messages were eventually shown to a member of the conference center’s board, who took the messages to the church’s general legal counsel. The employees followed this path of escalation because they feared retaliation from M.G.

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Sometimes, in your bicycle accident, it may be a near certainty that one person was 100% to blame. Other times, the cause may be less clear and there may be more than one person who was responsible, including you. If you made some mistakes that led to your crash — in fact, even if you were the person primarily to blame for the accident — don’t let that convince you cannot recover compensation for the harm you’ve suffered as a result of that accident. Instead, be sure to reach out to an experienced Oakland bicycle accident attorney to find out about the legal options available to you.

Bicycle accidents, including fatal ones, are tragically common. In mid-January, a 54-year-old woman died in Concord after her bicycle collided with a vehicle along Port Chicago Highway, the Mercury News reported. Other than a statement from police that intoxication “did not appear to be a factor,” details about how the accident occurred were few.

Across the country in New York, a Brooklyn bicyclist died in late October after being struck by a minivan, according to the New York Daily News. Police said the minivan had the right of way, but witnesses at the scene said the van ran a red light, according to the report.

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There are many ways that you can lose an Oakland employment discrimination case. You can lose because you don’t enough evidence to support your case. You can also lose because, even though you have a mountain of extremely persuasive proof, you did not comply with the state’s procedural rules in pursuing your lawsuit. This can happen in a variety of ways, but one of the big ones is missing the deadline for filing a discrimination claim. In the past, the Fair Employment and Housing Act said that you only had one year to file a claim with the Department of Fair Employment and Housing. Wait more than one year – even if it was just 53 weeks – and your case could be thrown out.

Now, it will be harder for employers to dodge liability based on this kind of deadline argument. As of January 1, 2020, the law in California says that you have three years, not one, to take action. So, if you have been the victim of discrimination at work and it happened more than 12 months ago, don’t give up! Reach to an experienced employment attorney right away to discover more about the legal options available to you.

Back in October, with Gov. Newsom’s signature, AB 9 became law. That bill said that, effective Jan. 1, 2020, the limitations period (a/k/a the time period for pursuing legal action) in FEHA discrimination cases would be three years. Until Jan. 1, 2020, the law said that that time period was just one year. (These deadline periods refer to the period of time you have to file an administrative charge with the DFEH. The filing of that administrative charge is something that you must do first before you are entitled to sue in court, and it is mandatory.)

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