$200M Gender Discrimination Lawsuit Filed Against Jones Day Firm

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Several former lawyers for Cleveland-founded firm, Jones Day, filed a lawsuit seeking over $200 million due to allegations of pervasive gender and pregnancy discrimination. The suit was filed in federal court in Washington, D.C. describing the firm as operating on the level of a “fraternity” and controlled by one man, Steve Brogan. The culture at the large law firm was described by plaintiffs as harmful to female attorneys with male counterparts earning significantly higher wages, and enjoying more opportunities for promotion and career advancement, even when male attorneys’ skills on the job do not match those of females who are being passed by for promotion and/or raises.

In addition, the lawsuit stated that women who are pregnant or who have children are assumed to be less committed to their work. Six women filed the lawsuit, but only two are named. The two named plaintiffs are Nilab Rahyar Tolton and Andrea Mazingo. The other four plaintiffs are listed as Jane Does to preserve their anonymity.

Tolton claims she was treated like the problem child at the firm’s Irvine, California office after she asked about maternity leave policies. When she returned from maternity leave, she came back to a salary freeze, negative reviews, and a significant decrease in the number of work opportunities. After a second maternity leave, she was told to look for another job.

Mazingo claims she was denied mentorship opportunities and subjected to sexual harassment during her time employed by Jones Day in their California office. She also alleges verbal abuse by a male partner at the firm when she needed to take a weekend off in response to her health. She alleges she was forced to leave the firm last year.

According to the lawsuit, the firm is aware of the problems and has long been aware of the problems yet they have failed to take even the most remedial measures to correct the problem or prevent recurrences. Plaintiffs and their counsel seek class action status.

If you need information about how to seek class action status or what to do when you are being discriminated against on the job, please get in touch with one of the experienced California employment law attorneys at Blumenthal Nordrehaug Bhowmik De Blouw LLP.

Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals Mistakenly Releases Opinion Listing Deceased Judge

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The U.S. Supreme Court held recently that the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals was in error when they released an opinion that listed a deceased judge as the author while also counting his vote. The deceased judge, Judge Stephen Reinhardt had died 11 years earlier.

In an unsigned opinion the nation’s high court vacated the Ninth Circuit’s April 9, 2018 decision in the case that interpreted the federal Equal Pay Act. In the opinion, it was found that…the opinion of the court, without Judge Reinhardt’s vote (the deceased judge that was mistakenly listed as author) that was attributed to him in err, would have been approved by only 5 of the 10 members of the en banc panel who were alive when the decision was filed. The other five judges did concur in the judgment, but they concurred for varying reasons. The issue to be made clear is that Judge Reinhardt’s vote that was mistakenly included made a difference in the outcome.

The question posed to the Supreme Court was whether or not it was lawful. Since Judge Reinhardt was no longer a judge when the en banc decision was filed for the case, the Ninth Circuit decided that the Ninth Circuit did, indeed, err when counting him a member of the majority. In doing so, they effectively allowed the deceased Judge Stephen Reinhardt to exercise the judicial power of the United States post mortem. Since federal judges are appointed for life – not eternity – the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals clearly erred.

Prior to his death, Judge Reinhardt did actively participate in the case and author the opinion. The majority opinion and concurrences were final and voting was completed prior to Judge Reinhardt’s death on March 29, 2018. The opinion listing the deceased judge in error was publicly released on April 9th. The Supreme Court found that the justification for counting Reinhardt’s vote was not consistent with well-established judicial practice, federal law, and judicial precedent.

The heavily debated opinion came in a discrimination case that was filed in the District Court for the Eastern District of California by a math consultant for the Fresno County Office of Education named Aileen Rizo. Rizo alleged she was paid less than her male counterparts.

If you need help protecting your legal rights in the workplace or have questions about how to file a California discrimination lawsuit, please get in touch with one of the experienced California employment law attorneys at Blumenthal Nordrehaug Bhowmik De Blouw LLP.

California Discrimination Lawsuit Against Hospital Results in $1M Award

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A former employee of St. John’s Pleasant Valley Hospital in Camarillo, California, Virginia Hoover, filed a California discrimination lawsuit against the hospital. A California jury awarded the woman $1 million.

Virginia Hoover, the former employee of St. John’s Pleasant Valley Hospital, worked as a radiologic technologist at the facility. She alleges that during her time working at the California hospital she was discriminated against.

According to Hoover, the discrimination occurred after she was injured while moving some medical equipment on the job. Due to the work-related injury, Hoover had lifting restrictions. According to Virginia Hoover, the hospital did not respond appropriately to her lifting restrictions with adjusted duties to accommodate her injury and her necessary treatment. Instead, they responded to her need for accommodations by terminating her employment in 2014.

Providing Reasonable Accommodations in the Workplace for Disability or Injury is Required by Law: The California Fair Employment and Housing Act requires California employers with five or more employees to offer reasonable accommodation for individuals with a physical or mental disability to apply for jobs and perform the essential functions of their jobs unless doing so would cause the employer or their business undue hardship.

The facility’s legal representation argued that the hospital gave Virginia Hoover a leave of absence and also made efforts to assist her in returning to the job. But the hospital’s attorneys stated that the company did decide at that point that Ms. Hoover was not able to perform her job duties as necessary.

The jury’s award to Virginia Hoover totals $1 million and includes payments for lost earnings due to the termination from her position with the hospital and the associated emotional distress. The Defendant in the case, St. John’s Pleasant Valley Hospital of Camarillo, California has been on record stating that they plan to appeal the court’s decision.

If you have questions about discrimination in the workplace or if you need to file a California discrimination lawsuit to protect your rights on the job, please get in touch with the experienced California employment law attorneys at Blumenthal Nordrehaug Bhowmik De Blouw LLP.

Marin Woman Files Suit Alleging Hostile Work Environment, Discrimination and Wrongful Termination

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A former church pastor is being sued by an employee/parishioner. The woman, Kimberly Labozzetta, alleges that the preacher, Joe Everly, manipulated her into a sexual relationship, impregnated her, pressured her into having an abortion, shamed her before the church congregation, and then caused her to lose her employment.

Labozzetta is a former parishioner and employee at the Quest church in Novato. She also named Quest church as a defendant in the suit. The church is operated under an incorporated nonprofit organization, Crossings of Novato. Everly resigned from the church earlier this year. According to the president of the church board, Eric Brandt, Everly was pastor for Quest church for approximately 15 years and the church’s congregation was less than 100 members strong.

According to the lawsuit, Labozzetta and her husband joined Quest church in 2011. Everly, their pastor, provided couples counseling on various issues: marriage, sexual relations, family, grief, etc. In 2016, Labozzetta was employed by the church as a youth pastor and the church’s project manager. This left Everly in a unique position: spiritual leader, personal counselor and employer. According to the lawsuit, Everly used necessary work meetings and counseling sessions to create a sexual relationship with Labozzetta. She claims Everly told her that God approved of their relationship and that he was going to leave his wife to be with her.

In February, Labozzetta learned that she was pregnant. Labozzetta’s husband had a vasectomy years before so the baby was Everly’s who immediately began attempting to persuade Labozzetta to get an abortion. He promised her that they would marry and have children later. She did so – despite her moral opposition to doing so. Once the abortion was completed, Everly ended their relationship and announced their extramarital affair to the church’s congregation. Labozzetta was put on administrative leave while the church investigated the situation.

According to the complaint, many members of the flock blamed her for the preacher’s departure, and she was left isolated from the group. She was eventually forced to leave the church – her reputation in the church community was irreparably sullied. The suit seeks unspecified damages and claims sexual assault, sexual harassment, hostile work environment, fraud, gender discrimination, workplace retaliation, wrongful termination, etc.

If you are experiencing a hostile work environment, discrimination in the workplace or wrongful termination, please get in touch with one of the experienced employment law attorneys at Blumenthal Nordrehaug Bhowmik De Blouw LLP.