Phoenix Arizona Discrimination Law Blog

Police brutality and the use of unreasonable force

Police brutality has become a sad reality in the modern world. No matter your race or ethnic background, you could be victimized by police who go too far when carrying out their job duties. Fortunately, if you survive the abuse, the law may be on your side; you might be able to pursue financial compensation for justice and restitution.

A successful police brutality claim will primarily hinge on the legal definition of "unreasonable force." This concept is not entirely clear in the language of the law because unreasonable force depends upon the context of the alleged police brutality.

Google workers take a stand against employment discrimination

Every Arizona employer should have the same interest in maintaining a workplace that's free of bias, prejudice, harassment and any other employment-related improprieties. However, achieving that goal while conducting business has been difficult for some companies. To help mitigate losses from lawsuits, pre-dispute arbitrations have become the norm in the vast majority of employment contracts. These require an aggrieved worker to seek some form of alternative dispute resolution prior to filing a lawsuit against the employer. That, however, may be changing.

Mandatory arbitration favors the employer for several reasons. The results are confidential, which allows the company to escape public scrutiny of the findings. Since the objecting employee's lawyer is also bound by confidentiality, no other similarly situated plaintiffs can be contacted. Ultimately, each case must be pursued individually with no option for a class-action lawsuit. This was among the many reasons that Google employees conducted a technology-based campaign to put pressure on tech companies to alter their practices concerning workplace harassment.

4 things to consider before a housing discrimination complaint

Every United States resident has protection from Housing-related discrimination under the Fair Housing Act. Individuals who have suffered from discrimination related to their renting of a home can pursue a housing discrimination complaint via the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).

That being said, there is some important groundwork that the victims of housing discrimination should consider before filing a claim:

Disney Cruise Line accused of age, sex discrimination

Arizona readers may be interested to learn that Disney Cruise Line is being sued by a male former employee over claims of age and sex discrimination. According to the lawsuit, which was filed in November, the middle-aged employee worked as a labor analyst at Disney for 18 years. Over the last few years, he worked under an unidentified female manager who allegedly discriminated against him due to his age.

For example, the manager is accused of calling him names in front of other employees. She also allegedly refused to provide the man with an iPhone or tablet even though younger employees were provided with these devices. The manager is further accused of denying him promotions he was qualified for in favor of younger employees.

What are some examples of color discrimination?

Color discrimination is different from racial discrimination, even though many people confuse the two ideas. Color discrimination doesn't relate to race; it relates to the color and shade of someone's skin. In this respect, color discrimination can happen among people of the same race and ethnicity; it can also happen among people of different races and ethnicities.

According to the courts, the term "color" in Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 refers to skin complexion, skin pigmentation or skin shade. Under Title VII, all types of "color" discrimination are prohibited in the relationship between employers and their workers.

Leadership can create a culture against harassment

Research indicates that strong leadership can play a role in reducing sexual harassment in companies both in Arizona and throughout the country. When employees believe that there are consequences for their actions, they are less likely to commit acts of harassment. When they don't believe that there are consequences, they are more likely to commit them. In such cultures, those who engage in sexual harassment tend to be protected while accusers are the ones who are penalized.

The conclusion that leadership and messaging impact attitudes toward harassment are backed up by research. An online study featuring 618 participants reading a statement from a fictional CEO. One statement expressed shock at the rates of sexual harassment while another attempted to downplay it. The responses of the participants tended to mirror the message sent in the statements that they read. This was true regardless of a person's gender or what the reader's politics were.

2 examples of workplace discrimination against men

Bring up the topic of "gender discrimination at work" and everyone will think you're talking about discrimination against women, which has been addressed extensively by the #MeToo movement over the past year. Nevertheless, men get discriminated against in their jobs as well, believe it or not, and this kind of gender-based discrimination has caused serious problems for many men.

If you're a man who's suffering from gender discrimination in your job, you probably don't need any convincing. Nevertheless, here are two examples of male gender discrimination from recent employment law history:

Reasonableness is at the heart of the ADA

The passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act in 1990 signaled the beginning of a new era where public awareness and respect for people with disabilities was ushered in. Much progress has been made in Arizona workplaces due to the ADA's core requirement that employers must make reasonable accommodations to enable peoples with disabilities to gain and maintain employment. But is as true in much of the law, how the precise wording of the statute is interpreted by the courts defines the bottom line result.

Initially, the ADA prohibits employers from engaging in discriminatory acts such as segregating workers, using discriminatory standards, or excluding qualified workers who have a disability. These are fairly straight-forward standards, and employer compliance is typically high. However, employment experts will explain it is when making reasonable accommodations for a disabled worker is balanced against an exception contained in the ADA that the issue becomes murky.

Watch out for the signs of pregnancy discrimination

According to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), approximately 3,174 women suffered from pregnancy-related discrimination at work in 2017. The thing is, considering how much discrimination goes unreported in Arizona and the rest of the United States each year, it's likely that the number of women discriminated against for being pregnant is vastly greater than this figure.

It's a well-known fact that women often get passed up for promotions or lose their jobs shortly after they tell their boss that they are pregnant. For this reason, in spite of the federal anti-discrimination protections that prevent unfair treatment of pregnant women, numerous women delay their pregnancy announcements at work for as long as possible.

Forced arbitration policy ends at Facebook

Arizona residents may use Facebook on a regular basis as a way to stay connected to the world around them. For those who work at the company, they will no longer have to go through private arbitration to resolve sexual harassment cases. This was revealed in a Wall Street Journal report, and the use of private arbitration in such cases is common in the tech industry.

However, Facebook is not the only company that has decided to make such a move as Google has also decided to allow employees to take their cases to court. This happened because of a walkout protesting packages given to executives who left the company after being accused of sexual harassment. Furthermore, managers will need to be more forthright about revealing relationships with colleagues. In the past, this was only necessary if an executive was dating someone whom he or she supervised directly.

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Elizabeth D. Tate, Attorney at Law
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