Yesterday, February 26, 2013, the Legal Aid Society-Employment Law Center launched its SURVIVE Employment Law Clinic at the Alameda County Family Justice Center. This twice a month clinic offers free and confidential information to survivors of domestic violence about their legal rights at work, including information on taking time off to obtain counseling, medical services, or a restraining order; reasonable accommodations; discrimination; harassment; unemployment benefits; and wage and hour violations.
In an amicus letter filed on February 13, 2013, the Legal Aid Society-Employment Law Center, Equal Rights Advocates, Legal Momentum, and National Women’s Law Center argue that the Court of Appeal’s ruling in Veronese v. Lucasfilm Ltd. misinterprets established law to the detriment of women working during pregnancy. The letter to the California Supreme Court emphasizes that, regardless of an employer’s claim that refusing to hire a pregnant worker is in the best interest of the pregnancy, it is up to the woman - not the employer - to decide when a pregnancy makes her unable to work.
In Harris v. City of Santa Monica, a decision issued at 10:00 today, February 7th, 2013, the California Supreme Court found that employers remain liable for employment decisions corrupted by discrimination even where the employer also has a non-discriminatory reason. The Court rejected the employer groups’ position that employees should be forced to prove that discrimination was a “but for” cause of the employment action to win under the California Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA).
Today, February 6th, 2013, Legal Aid and TRE Legal filed a federal class action against the Marriott hotel chain. That complaint alleges that Marriott discriminates against blind and disabled employees by requiring its managers to use inaccessible computer software and rejecting accessible alternatives.
The lawsuit seeks to dismantle unnecessary barriers to workers with disabilities that are created by an employer’s technology, in violation of the American with Disabilities Act. Read the full press release.Read more
Today, February 5th, 2013, marks 20 years since the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) was signed into law by President Bill Clinton. The FMLA was enacted to provide eligible employees with up to 12 weeks of unpaid, job-protected leave per year to recover from a serious health condition, care for a seriously ill family member, or bond with a new child.
20 years on, millions of workers with family caregiving responsibilities have been aided by this historic law, no longer having to choose between work and family. However, FMLA’s protections do not go far enough and do not extend to all those who need them.
On January 26, 2013, staff attorney Mike Gaitley (far right in picture) journeyed to Watsonville, California as part of a “Justice Bus” legal clinic for low-wage workers. The Justice Bus, a project of One Justice, brings law students to rural locations in California where access to legal services is often limited.
Since Title IX was passed over forty years ago, participation in high schools sports by girls has grown from below 300,000 to over 3 million. But not all girls are reaping the long-term benefits of being involved with athletics, including greater success in academics and higher wages in employment.
Both President Obama and a bipartisan group of Senators unveiled plans for overhauling our nation’s immigration system this week, taking an important first step toward much needed comprehensive immigration reform. We are encouraged that our leaders are considering a pathway to citizenship and that the President proposes recognizing the rights of same-sex families for immigration purposes. If reform is done right, it will bring millions of immigrant workers out of the shadows while strengthening our economy and our communities.
We are thrilled to announce that the Vietnamese American Bar Association of Northern California (VABANC) has awarded the annual VABANC Public Interest Fellowship to the Legal Aid Society-Employment Law Center and Betty Duong. The Fellowship funds a recent law graduate to provide legal services and advocacy to the Vietnamese American community and other underserved, underrepresented communities.
In 2012, with the support of the American Bar Association, the California Legislature enacted AB 2122, a law requiring that the administrator of the Law School Admission Test (LSAT) provide testing accommodations to test-takers with disabilities who need them, and to cease its practice of “flagging” LSAT scores achieved with accommodations.