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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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We all know that speeding has the potential to make bad accidents worse and make serious accidents fatal ones. Statistics from NHTSA back this up. However, you may wonder, “what if my case did not involve a speeding driver? What if I was seriously injured even though the driver who hit me was traveling at a very low speed? Can I still get compensation that will fully cover the extent of my serious harm?” The answer is “Yes, you can.” Start by contacting an experienced Oakland car accident attorney.

In law school, students learn about someone called the “eggshell” plaintiff. Though this may sound like an insult, it really isn’t. It just refers to someone who has a unique potential to be seriously harmed even from a relatively minor accident. That person may be in generally poor health or may have a special medical condition that makes him/her uniquely fragile. The law says that the reason for a person’s peculiar fragility is largely irrelevant. If the person who hit you was at fault, then the law says that he must “take his victim as he finds him,” meaning that he must compensate you for all of the damages that you can prove were caused by the accident.

In a recent Southern California case (Los Angeles Superior Court Case No. BC688739), W.O. was that sort of eggshell plaintiff. The 61-year-old man was injured at a 4-way stop intersection by a man who was going 8 mph when he ran into W.O.’s front passenger side.

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Every employer has policies regarding employees with disabilities. For example, many employees whose disabilities leave them unable to do the essential duties of their job, even with an accommodation, may face termination. This may be legally allowable because discrimination law does not require employers to retain employees who cannot perform the mandatory duties of a position.

So, what happens when you lose your job because your employer made an honest mistake and erroneously misapplied its generally legal policies regarding employees with disabilities? Does the fact that the policy was legal and the mistake was a good-faith one mean that you cannot win a disability discrimination case in California? The answer, as it turns out, is “no, it doesn’t.” Bad faith or an illegal policy isn’t required. As always, be sure to consult an experienced Oakland disability discrimination attorney to find out how best to proceed if you’ve been fired due to your disability.

A recent case from Southern California offers very good news for workers who suffer discrimination, even when that discrimination comes in the form of a good-faith gaffe in applying a permissible policy. In that case, J.G. was a pharmaceutical sales rep for a major pharmaceutical company. Like many pharmaceutical sales reps, J.G.’s job required him to drive extensively.

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Chances are reasonably high that, if you are an employee in California, you know that you can take legal action if you’ve been the victim of discrimination, harassment or retaliation. However, what do you do if you’ve been harmed in one or more of those ways but you’re just a temporary worker? Does that “temp” status change what rights you have or whom you can sue? For customized answers to these and other questions based on your specific circumstance, be sure to consult an experienced Oakland employment attorney.

E.J. was a temporary worker caught in a circumstance like that. She worked at a shoe care goods manufacturer’s facility, but she did not work for the manufacturer. E.J.’s employer was a temporary staffing firm. The temp agency hired E.J., paid her, tracked her time and paid her any benefits to which she was entitled. After five years of working at the facility, E.J. was fired. Following that termination, she sued the shoe care goods manufacturer for FEHA violations, including sex/gender discrimination, harassment and retaliation.

The manufacturer’s defense was fairly straightforward. It argued that a worker can only recover FEHA damages from a person or entity who is the harmed worker’s employer, that it was not E.J.’s employer and, therefore, it couldn’t possibly be liable to E.J. for any harm she suffered as a result of any FEHA violations.

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Sometimes, the key to obtaining a positive result in your injury case is proving that the person or entity you sued was liable. You argue they were… they argue they weren’t… and your ability to obtain much-needed compensation hangs in the balance.

Other times, though, the defense admits that they were liable. When that happens, you “have it made,” right? Not necessarily. Sometimes, the key to success isn’t necessarily about establishing liability, it is about getting an award of damages that fully and fairly addresses the extensive damages you’ve suffered. Proving damages is often the most important part of an injury case, and doing so effectively is one of the essential reasons why your case needs the skill of an experienced Oakland truck accident attorney.

Take, as an example, the case of C.W.H., a woman injured in a Southern California crash. The Signal reported that, as C.W.H. passed through a green light at a Santa Clarita intersection, she was t-boned by the driver of a food processing company’s box truck. The truck driver told police that he was “half asleep” when the accident took place and that he had run the red light, according to the report.

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