Discrimination |
May 18, 2017

Attorney San Francisco – Warning Signs of Harassment and Discrimination

San Francisco employment discrimination attorneys explain how employees might spot unlawful harassment and discrimination

Employment discrimination and harassment are still prevalent, even in today’s high tech workplace. Recent and well-publicized allegations involving harassment of or discrimination toward female engineers at San Francisco’s best known tech companies make it clear that, even in today’s economy, employees in the Bay Area still confront issues like gender bias and pay inequality, and may need the assistance of a San Francisco employment discrimination attorney. Here are five issues still plaguing today’s workforce.

Lack of Diversity in the Workplace

employment discrimination attorney san franciscoAn ideal workplace reflects the community from which it draws employees. Whether the job is white collar or blue collar, the demographics of employees (race, sex, national origin) should be roughly proportionate to qualified workers in the community.

But oftentimes we hear of companies whose workforce consist of employees that are mostly white or male. The absence of diversity is a serious concern, especially if it means that women or people of color are being left out. Lack of diversity is also one of the factors that San Francisco employment lawyers consider when evaluating discrimination cases.

Job Placement

If a company’s job data shows that women are overrepresented in certain administrative, low paying or non-managerial positions, while men are overrepresented in management positions, then it may reflect discriminatory hiring practices by the employer. Similarly, if persons of color are abundant in a production department but underrepresented in supervisory positions, it may show that the business engages in discriminatory employment practices.

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) collects workforce data from employers with more than 100 employees. Employers meeting the reporting thresholds have a legal obligation to provide the data. The data is collected and used for a variety of purposes including enforcement, self-assessment by employers, and research. Each of the reports collects data about gender and race/ethnicity by some type of job grouping. In some cases, the data reveals a persistent under-representation of women and persons of color at certain companies.

Glass Ceiling

According to San Francisco’s Department on the Status of Women, female employees in California earn 84 cents for every dollar earned by men. The City’s Equal Pay Ordinance might shrink the gender pay gap in San Francisco, but that ordinance requires similar pay for similar work by people who have similar credentials. It does not assure that women will be elevated to positions of greater responsibility that are accompanied by higher salaries. California also recently amended its Equal Pay Act, which requires that women be paid the same as men for performing substantially similar work.

A 2009 report by the Department on the Status of Women found that highly-educated women are less likely than men with comparable backgrounds to be hired for or promoted to high-level jobs. When the best jobs in a company are disproportionately held by men, despite an available pool of skilled female employees who could be promoted to those positions, it creates a glass ceiling that San Francisco employment discrimination attorneys may argue constitutes discrimination against women.

Rapid Employee Turnover

There might be many reasons why certain employer face constant turnover. The employer may compensate its employees lower than its computers, there may be a problem with the corporate culture, or the employer may have a practice of churning employees to cut costs.

In some cases, however, employee turnover may be attributed to an employer practice of targeting certain workers, such as pregnant women, older employees, or employees with health or medical issues. Some employers terminate protected employees under the guise of a layoff or reduction in force. But if the employee has survived prior layoffs, only to lose a job as part of a “layoff of one,” then it may be that the employer is using layoff as a pretext for unlawful discrimination.

Unfair Performance Reviews

When employees who do their jobs well, according to objective measures of performance like sales or growth, but are still criticized for not being a “team player,” or for being “too aggressive” or “acting too emotional,” then it may show a double standard for men and women. Employers have broad discretion to evaluate employees’ performance, so that wrong, mistaken and even unfair criticism of an employee’s performance may be perfectly legal in California. However, in some cases, the criticism reveals bias against women who do not conform to gender norms or stereotypes. For example, women are still criticized for acting in a manner that maybe acceptable, even admired, among men. The double standard still exists in in companies, particularly in management and sales, and is the type of behavior that employment lawyers in San Francisco use to show employment discrimination.

Getting Help

San Francisco employees or job applicants who suspect that they have been subjected to employment discrimination or unlawful workplace harassment can turn to the law firm of Minnis & Smallets for help. Our San Francisco employment discrimination attorneys have a track record of success. Employees can share their concerns with us by calling 1-415-551-0885 or by submitting a question on our online contact form.