Jones Day Gender Discrimination Case Only Gets Bigger

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Recent news in the Jones Day gender discrimination indicates the case will only get bigger as a former New York associate came forward. The lawsuit filed by former Jones Day associates has now spread to New York. The original suit was filed by two plaintiffs and four anonymous Jane Doe plaintiffs. The plaintiffs alleged that Jones Day supported a “fraternity culture” and that their “black box” compensation system resulted in women receiving significantly lower pay than male counterparts. Jessica Jardine Wilkes previously spent time working at the Jones Day Menlo Park, California office and joined the suit a few weeks ago. More recently, Katrina Henderson joined the suit.

Henderson is the latest former Jones Day associate to come forward and the first to come forward after working for a Jones Day office in New York. She spent over two years working for Jones Day before leaving for a job in-house. She appears to have been employed by the firm’s New York office from October 2013 through July 2016. At that point, she joined Pixar Animation Studios starting August 2016. She recently moved from Pixar to Amazon Studios in Santa Monica, California.

The parties continue to argue over whether or not the Jane Doe plaintiffs should be allowed to retain their anonymity. The firm insists the plaintiffs should reveal their names, but the plaintiffs assert they should maintain anonymity for the duration of the litigation. One plaintiff compared her situation to that of a whistleblower.

If you have are experiencing gender discrimination on the job or if you need to file California gender discrimination lawsuit, please get in touch with the experienced employment law attorneys at Blumenthal Nordrehaug Bhowmik De Blouw LLP so we can help. With numerous locations, including our San Diego, San Francisco, Sacramento, Santa Clara, Los Angeles, Riverside, Orange, and Chicago employment law offices, we have the resources, the knowledge, and the experience to successfully advocate for workers and protect you from labor law violations.

Is Starbucks Misgendering Trans Woman a Violation of Labor Law?

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Starbucks recently claimed that misgendering or calling an employee by the wrong pronoun is not harassment, which is in direct contradiction to their employee guidelines. A former Starbucks employee, Maddie Wade, filed a complaint at the Fresno Superior Court in California suing the company for harassment and discrimination.

Wade, a former barista at a Starbucks in Fresno, alleges that when she began her transition, her manager at the time reduced her work hours and refused to call her by preferred pronouns. She also claims that her former Starbucks manager began posting transphobic material online through social media outlets. Wade claims that she was bullied and targeted by her manager at the Fresno Starbucks daily after she came out as transgender.

Allegedly, the mistreatment by her boss, Dustin Guthrie, escalated to unbearable levels and Wage had to transfer to a different Starbucks location. The harassment continued at the next Starbucks location. Wade claims her manager at the new site encouraged her to take the matter to the District Manager, and she did, but the situation was not resolved. After nine years of employment, Wade eventually left her position at Starbucks at the advice of her therapist due to the mental stress and “intolerable conditions” she was forced to endure.

Wade seeks general damages, special damages, punitive damages, and attorneys fees from her former employer. She states that the loss of health insurance prevented her from receiving the treatment and procedures she needs to complete her transition. Wade also claims that Starbuck’s value marketing group for its LGBTQ employees on the Facebook page, Starbucks Partners – Pride Alliance Network, refuses to allow her to post on its wall.

It is ironic that as we enter Pride Month, Starbucks seems to be making moves counter to its public record highlighting LGBTQ acceptance. The company is reasonably well known for its LGBTQ acceptance: scoring 100 out of 100 on Human Rights Campaign’s 2018 Corporate Equality Index, releasing annual LGBTQ-focused products, rolling out trans-inclusive health care included in their benefits package, etc. Attorneys representing the massive coffee provider are filing a motion for summary judgment and arguing that there is not enough evidence to show that Guthrie was calling Wade by incorrect pronouns on purpose. Without proof of intent, the Defendant contends that the behavior in itself cannot constitute discrimination under the California Fair Employment and Housing Act.

If you have questions about filing a discrimination lawsuit or if you experienced discrimination in the workplace, the experienced employment law attorneys at Blumenthal Nordrehaug Bhowmik De Blouw LLP can help. Get in touch with employment law office nearest you: San Diego, San Francisco, Sacramento, Santa Clara, Los Angeles, Riverside, Orange or Chicago.

$3 Million Unpaid Overtime Class Action Settlement from JP Morgan

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In a recent unpaid overtime class action settlement, JP Morgan Chase & Co. will pay $3 million to class members. The settlement will end claims made in a class action lawsuit alleging that the company failed to provide mortgage bankers with overtime compensation.

The unpaid overtime settlement was approved by Illinois federal judge Susan Cox. Under the settlement agreement, the class of close to 2,000 bankers will receive compensation for unpaid overtime in case. The settlement covers $1 million in attorneys fees and an enhancement award for the lead plaintiff totaling $1,000. It will also cover appropriate administrative and court costs.

Mortgage bankers in the class claim the company did not compensate them for overtime between April 5th, 2014 and November 30th, 2017. The representatives claim that the company’s overtime payment practice was in violation of both state and federal labor laws.

35% of the qualifying class members in the case submitted claims for settlement compensation. According to the settlement terms, JP Morgan Chase keeps any settlement funds left unclaimed. The judge approved of the deal, noting that it seemed like a good deal from the perspective of the court, and that given the allegations that were made in the case and the defense presented, it was a good resolution. She also found it significant that no qualifying banker objected to the settlement.

According to allegations, JP Morgan Chase used a system of base pay plus commissions for their mortgage bankers. Internally the pay structure was referred to as “incentive pay.” Yet bankers allege the system did not account for the fact that many of them worked over 40 hours per week. They claim they were not compensated for time spent working outside of the normal, full time, 40-hour work week.

Bankers were allegedly required to keep track of their hours by recording them in the company’s computer system. They were also required to record an unpaid lunch break (that many claim they spent working). Allegations were made that the system as it was set up did not allow mortgage bankers to record time spent working during the evening. Additional allegations were made that the company failed to pay earned commissions within a 13-day window as required by Illinois state law.

If you have questions about overtime, overtime compensation or how overtime payment should be calculated, please get in touch with one of the experienced California employment law attorneys at Blumenthal Nordrehaug Bhowmik De Blouw LLP.

Kindred Attempts to Settle Wage, Meal Break Claims with $12M Deal

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A $12 million settlement is on the table to settle allegations that Kindred Healthcare Operating Inc. and its subsidiary Gentiva Certified Healthcare Corp. violated California labor law. The company allegedly failed to provide workers with minimum wage and required meal breaks. The proposed class of approximately 1,600 workers were employed by the company. The class members asked a California federal judge to grant preliminary approval of the $12 million agreement with the health care company and its subsidiaries. This would result in an average $5,415 recovery per class member after payments were deducted for the state and other associated fees related to the settlement.

The proposed class’ legal counsel seeks $3 million in fees and $125,00 in costs. The lead plaintiff’s incentive award portion of the settlement would total $20,000.

Also pulled from the settlement would be $150,000 payment for the claims under the California Labor Code Private Attorney General Act of 2004 allowing private citizens to sue for civil penalties on their own behalf and on behalf of other employees and the state. 75% of the payment will go to California. The rest would be distributed to appropriate class members.

Employees involved in the suit requested that the federal judge certify them for settlement. Included in the proposed class are: clinicians or piece rate workers employed by the health care company and their subsidiaries after August 24th, 2012 whose job duties included providing skilled home care. The employees argued that certification was appropriate because the proposed class was numerous, and the legal questions involved were common to all included class members.

The original suit was filed in August 2016 with Cashon alleging that Kindred and Gentiva failed to pay appropriate wages and overtime and did not provide required meal breaks, rest periods or wage statements. The companies claim they were involved in no violations and that they were in compliance with labor laws. Early mediation occurred in April 2017 but did not result in resolution. After discovery, parties engaged in a second bout of mediation in November 2017 which resulted in the proposed settlement.

If you have questions about overtime laws in California or if you need to know what it takes to gain class certification, please get in touch with the experienced California employment law attorneys at Blumenthal Nordrehaug Bhowmik De Blouw LLP.

Systematic Pay Discrimination Against Women at Vice Media?

Elizabeth Rose, a former female employee for Vice Media, alleged that the company discriminates against women on their workforce. In fact, in the lawsuit filed for pay discrimination, she stated that the company systematically and intentionally pays their female employees less than their male counterparts in the workplace.

Vice Media operates Viceland, a cable channel, and also produces two programs for HBO. Rose worked at the millennial focused media company in both New York and Los Angeles (2014-2016). She was employed as a channel manager and project manager.

Rose’s complaint was filed in Los Angeles County Superior Court. In her complaint, Rose alleges that as part of her job, she received internal memos showing salaries of approximately 35 employees. These notifications portrayed a clear pay disparity with women making far less on the job than male employees doing the same or nearly the same work. During her time at the company, Rose became aware that a male subordinate that she had actually hired was making $25,000 more per year than her. He was later promoted to be her supervisor. A male Vice Media executive advised Rose that the man was a good fit for male clients personality-wise.

Rose claims in the lawsuit that Vice Media violated equal pay laws in both California and New York as well as being in violation of the federal law. Three proposed classes would enable women employed by Vice Media for the last six years to join the suit. Between the three proposed classes, more than 700 women could be eligible to join the lawsuit.

Vice Media officially responded that they were reviewing the complaint made by Rose. They also stated that they are committed to providing a respectful, inclusive and equal workplace for employees. The company defended their claim by advising that a pay parity audit was actually started last year and that the company has a goal of 50/50 male/female representation at every level of the business by 2020. They have also recently created a Diversity & Inclusion Advisory Board to address similar issues.

If you fear you are not being paid fairly in the workplace, or if there are other employment law violations in your place of employment, please get in touch with the experienced California employment law attorneys at Blumenthal Nordrehaug Bhowmik De Blouw LLP.

Gender Bias Case: Silicon Valley Jury Clears Kleiner Firm

May 1, 2015 - A venture capital firm known as Kleiner, Perkins, Caufield and Byers (or Kleiner) was cleared of gender discrimination claims by a California jury. A former female partner at Kleiner lodged the discrimination claims. The jury trial took place in Silicon Valley.

In addition to the discrimination claims, the firm was also cleared of allegations of retaliation against Ellen Pao, a former partner at Kleiner. Ms. Pao filed suit against the firm in 2012. She was then fired from her employment. A number of admittedly embarrassing disclosures were made during the course of the jury trial regarding the treatment female employees at Kleiner. Regardless of this information, Pao was unable to receive vindication through a winning verdict. What her efforts did achieve was a newfound awareness of the Silicon Valley corporate culture, leaving many calling into question the very evident lack of diversity.

The suit included allegations that former male partners used business trips as a chance to make inappropriate advances towards their female colleagues (including, but not limited to Pao).

Pao, no longer a partner at the firm, is now the interim chief executive at Reddit, a social-news service. Ms. Pao claims that while she did engage in an affair with Ajit Nazre, a partner at Kleiner, it was brief. She also claims that when she ended the brief affair, she quickly began to lose her footing at work. What she claims was already a workplace unfriendly to female employees, became even worse. She claims that Nazre and Kleiner as a whole started to actively retaliate against her after she ended her affair with Nazre.

The company denies the allegations. They insist they did not support a workplace climate that was unfriendly towards female employees. They also presented evidence that they actually went out of their way to hire women.

Pao was not the only female employee who cited inappropriate sexual advances from partner, Nazre. Allegations were made by another employee, Trae Vassallo. She claims that he showed up at her hotel room during a business trip inappropriately clothed and urging her to join him for a drink. The company provided assurances that these claims were investigated. Post-investigation, Nazre left the firm.

If you have questions about gender bias in the workplace, please get in touch with the southern California employment law experts at Blumenthal, Nordrehaug & Bhowmik.

Gender Discrimination Laws

Gender Discrimination Lawyer

Under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, it is unlawful for an employer to discriminate against any employee with respect to his or her compensation, terms of employment, work conditions, or privileges of employment, based on the employee’s gender. Importantly, sexual harassment in the form of a hostile work environment constitutes sex discrimination.


To prevail on a gender discrimination claim lawsuit, the employee must establish that there was a pattern of ongoing and persistent gender discrimination that was severe enough to alter the conditions of employment. To satisfy this requirement, the employee must prove that his or her workplace was both objectively and subjectively offensive to the extent that a reasonable person in the employee’s shoes would find it to be hostile or abusive. In addition, the employee is required to demonstrate that the gender discrimination took place because of the employees sex.

In employment discrimination lawsuits, some courts ask the following questions to determine whether an employer is guilty of gender discrimination:

  1. Was the employee subjected to verbal or physical conduct that amounted to harassment in the workplace?
  2. Was the harassing conduct unwelcome?
  3. Was the gender discrimination sufficiently severe or pervasive to alter the conditions of employment and create a hostile work environment?

To answer these questions about whether an employer is guilty of gender discrimination under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, courts usually look at the following circumstances:

  • The frequency of the discrimination based on gender
  • The severity of the sex discrimination
  • Was the employer’s conduct physically threatening or humiliating, or a mere offensive utterance or trivial?
  • Did the sex discrimination unreasonably interferes with an employee’s work performance? 
  • As a general matter, playful teasing and isolated incidents, will not amount to gender discrimination.



At Blumenthal, Nordrehaug & Bhowmik, our gender discrimination lawyers understand how hard it can be when companies single employees out based on their sex or gender. Not only is gender discrimination in the workplace immoral, but it is also illegal and the law is on your side if your company has committed acts of gender discrimination or otherwise created a hostile work environment for you.  Contact our sex discrimination attorneys in California for a free consultation about your employee rights with respect to discrimination in the workplace.