Stand Against Racial Harassment – It’s Illegal and Unacceptable

Discrimination, harassment based on race of family members is illegal. Contact the race harassment, discrimination lawyers in Los Angeles, Helmer Friedman LLP for a Free consultation.

In the United States, an individual’s civil rights are protected under the 1964 Civil Rights Act. One of the many provisions of this act is the legal prohibition of harassment and discrimination based on the race of your family members. No one, under any circumstances, has the right to deny you opportunities, benefits or fair treatment due to the racial background of your family members.

Racial harassment can manifest in a plethora of ways. Some common examples include derogatory comments about someone’s racial or ethnic origin, racial slurs or insults, racial jokes or stereotypes, or displaying racially offensive symbols. These actions are not just hurtful; they’re illegal and punishable by law.

One notable instance of racial harassment in the corporate world involves Cavco Industries, Palm Harbor Homes, and Palm Harbor Villages. The U.S Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) settled a racial discrimination lawsuit with the company for $135,000. The lawsuit alleged that an employee was subjected to a racially hostile work environment, which included racially offensive remarks and comments about the race of members of his family. The settlement reiterates that businesses are legally obligated to maintain an environment free of racial discrimination and reinforces that legal action will be pursued in cases of violations.

A racially hostile work environment is determined through the lens of both objective and subjective criteria. Objectively, the conduct must be severe or pervasive enough that a reasonable person would find the workplace intimidating, hostile, or abusive. Subjectively, the victim must perceive the environment to be hostile or abusive as well. It’s crucial to underline that isolated incidents, unless extremely severe, do not typically constitute a hostile work environment under the law. Instead, it’s the pattern of behavior over time that comes under scrutiny. Factors considered in these determinations include the frequency of the discriminatory conduct, its severity, whether it is physically threatening or humiliating (or a mere offensive utterance), and whether it unreasonably interferes with an employee’s work performance. The threshold for what constitutes this environment is necessarily high because the law seeks to balance freedom of speech and conduct in the workplace with protections against discrimination.

Remember, respect and equality are at the foundation of our society and any form of racial discrimination or harassment undermines these principles. Stay informed, stay respectful, and remember that racism, in any form, is not just morally wrong; it’s illegal.
Know your rights. Report any instances of racial harassment or discrimination in your workplace to the appropriate authorities. We must all stand together to ensure a fair and equitable society for all, irrespective of race or color.

Pregnant Workers Fairness Act Final Rule

Pregnancy discrimination accommodations.

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has released a final rule to implement the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act (PWFA). The PWFA requires most employers with 15 or more employees to provide “reasonable accommodations” for pregnant workers’ known limitations related to pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions. An exception is if the accommodation causes undue hardship to the employer. The final rule will be published in the Federal Register on Apr. 19 and will take effect 60 days after publication.

This rule builds upon existing protections against pregnancy discrimination and access to reasonable accommodations. The EEOC started accepting discrimination charges on June 27, 2023, when the PWFA became effective.

The final rule provides clarity to employers and workers about who is covered, the types of limitations and medical conditions covered, how individuals can request reasonable accommodations and numerous concrete examples. It reflects the EEOC’s response to approximately 100,000 public comments received on the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking.

The PWFA empowers pregnant workers by providing them with clear access to reasonable accommodations, ensuring they can continue their jobs safely and effectively, free from discrimination and retaliation. This final rule, a testament to their rights, offers crucial information and guidance to help employers fulfill their responsibilities and to help job seekers and employees understand their rights. It fosters a culture of open communication, encouraging employers and employees to engage early and often, enabling them to identify and resolve issues in a timely manner.

The final regulation provides numerous examples of reasonable accommodations, such as

  • additional breaks to drink water, eat, or use the restroom;
  • a stool to sit on while working;
  • time off for health care appointments;
  • temporary reassignment;
  • temporary suspension of certain job duties;
  • telework;
  • time off to recover from childbirth or a miscarriage, among others.

It also provides guidance regarding limitations and medical conditions for which employees or applicants may seek reasonable accommodation. This includes miscarriage or stillbirth, migraines, lactation, and pregnancy-related conditions that are episodic, such as morning sickness.

The final regulation underscores the importance of early and frequent communication between employers and workers. It emphasizes the shared responsibility in raising and resolving requests for reasonable accommodation in a timely manner. It also clarifies that an employer is not required to seek supporting documentation when an employee asks for reasonable accommodation and should only do so when it is reasonable under the circumstances, fostering a sense of mutual trust and respect.

The final regulation explains when an accommodation would impose an undue hardship on an employer and its business. It also provides information on how employers may assert defenses or exemptions, including those based on religion, as early as possible in charge processing.

False Claims Act Whistleblowers – Counterclaims

Whistleblower protection lawyers in Beverly Hills - Helmer Friedman LLP.

See U.S. ex rel. Cooley v. ERMI, LLC, et al., C.A. No. 1:20-CV-4181-TWT, 2024 WL 815514, at *1 (N.D. Ga. Feb. 27, 2024)

A recent court ruling has allowed a medical equipment supplier to maintain counterclaims against a former employee who blew the whistle on the company for fraudulent activity. The employee claimed that the supplier provided medical equipment without a valid license. She also alleged that her employer had retaliated against her by stopping her from bringing the company into compliance and by subsequently forcing her out when she threatened to bring an False Claims Act (FCA) suit. The supplier denied these claims and filed counterclaims of its own. These counterclaims alleged that the employee breached her contract and fiduciary duties, and that she misled the company into thinking that a license renewal was forthcoming.

In February 2024, the Court made a decision to uphold the defendant’s counterclaims. The Court clarified that counterclaims for causes of action that are different from the FCA could proceed, even if they came from the same underlying facts as the FCA action. In this case, the Relator’s FCA claim and Defendant’s counterclaims both involved operating without a valid license.

The Court allowed Defendant’s breach of contract counterclaim for the time being. It reasoned that it was too early in the litigation to determine whether Relator fell within the confidentiality agreement’s safe harbor. This safe harbor allows the disclosure of confidential information to a regulator concerning conduct that an employee reasonably believes is illegal or in material noncompliance with applicable laws. If it turns out that Relator retained confidential documents only to support her FCA claim, then this counterclaim could be dismissed on public policy grounds.

The Court agreed with Defendant that Relator’s role in allowing Defendant’s Florida license to expire and misleading it into thinking a renewal was forthcoming was unrelated to the underlying FCA claims. The competitor’s lawsuit against Defendant was brought under the Florida Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act, not the FCA. Therefore, that claim constituted independent damages that did not offset FCA liability.

The Court upheld Defendant’s breach of fiduciary duty claims, as they were not violative of public policy. The Court determined that there was a clear distinction between the facts supporting liability for each claim, even though both the Relator’s FCA claim and Defendant’s counterclaims involved operating without a valid license. The Court held that overlap is what makes Defendant’s counterclaims compulsory.

The court allowed the supplier’s breach of contract counterclaim to proceed for the time being, stating that it was too early in the litigation to determine whether the employee’s actions fell within the confidentiality agreement’s safe harbor provision. If it is later determined that the employee retained confidential documents only to support her fraudulent activity claim, then the counterclaim could be dismissed on public policy grounds.

This ruling provides a roadmap for companies facing fraudulent activity claims to pursue remedies against whistleblowers, even if these counterclaims stem from the same underlying facts as the fraudulent activity claim. Companies should evaluate potential injuries imposed by the whistleblower’s actions during and after their tenure, and determine whether counterclaims may be appropriate.

Reproductive Rights Go Up in Smoke

Women's rights to privacy, reproductive health care, abortion care lost.

Protecting Our Teenagers From Job-Related Sexual Harassment

Teenagers experience sexual harassment on the job. Prepare and protect your kids.

What could be more exciting and anxiety-inducing than your teenager’s first summer job?

Starting a job is a significant moment that marks the transition into adulthood. It brings new responsibilities and opportunities. Research has shown that having these experiences, whether working in a restaurant, mowing lawns, or working in a family business, can have many benefits. Teenagers can gain independence, valuable job and life skills, and experiences that can help them transition into adulthood.

However, what should be a positive step can take a harrowing turn when the workplace becomes grounds for abuse. Today, the alarming reality is that sexual harassment is not just a risk confined to corporate settings but is increasingly common in the first job scenarios that many teenagers find themselves in.

Your child’s excitement for that first day of work is often matched with the anxiety of a million parental what-ifs. But in the shadows of those concerns looms a particularly distressing question about their safety from the risk of harassment. Sexual harassment in the workplace is illegal, yet it continues to stain the environment our teenagers enter with trepidation and expectations.

The first shield against workplace abuse is parental guidance. Preparing your kids for their first job means more than just providing your teen with a packed lunch and a pat on the back. It means giving them the tools to recognize and confront inappropriate behavior. Open and honest conversations about what constitutes harassment and how to respond can significantly empower them. Make sure they understand that anything that feels uncomfortable should be addressed. Building a trusting relationship with your teenager is crucial, and letting them know they can come to you with any concerns or questions.

We want to send a clear and opposing message: every worker has a right to a workplace free from sexual harassment, and the EEOC will hold employers accountable. Nancy Sienko, director for the EEOC’s San Francisco District. In the realm of a teenager’s first job, power dynamics are often skewed, anchored in age, experience, and position. A young manager, though closer in age, holds a significant degree of authority and influence over a teenager stepping into the workforce. This relationship, ideally meant to mentor and guide, can sometimes devolve into a complex web of control and vulnerability. The subtle or overt exertion of power by a young manager can be intoxicating, sometimes leading to abuses of authority. The teenager, eager to impress and fearful of repercussions, may find themselves in a precarious position—torn between standing up for themselves and threatening to lose their job or face workplace ostracism. Understanding and acknowledging these dynamics is crucial for teenagers and their guardians, setting the stage for preventive measures and support systems to safeguard against potential abuses.

Recognizing Warning Signs

Parents need to educate themselves on the issue of workplace harassment and assist their teenagers in recognizing inappropriate behavior. We equip them with valuable tools by teaching them about boundaries, consent, and respect. The EEOC created a website dedicated Youth@Work to helping educate young people about discrimination and harassment in the workplace.

Educators’ Role in Empowerment

Teachers can play a significant role in preparing teenagers for any professional scenario. Teachers preparing students for their first job include warnings about the potential abuse teens might face and foster a culture of understanding and dialogue in their educational environment — giving them the power of anticipation and the power of voice.

Business Owner Obligation

Ultimately, employers shoulder direct responsibility. A thorough understanding of the laws governing harassment is more than a legal requirement; it’s the means to cultivate a safe working environment. Proper training and transparent policies, particularly for management, are essential in protecting teen employees. For business owners, staying vigilant about the interpersonal dynamics within their establishment is critical to maintaining a safe and respectful work environment for all, particularly for teen employees. Warning signs that may indicate a potential problem between a manager and a teen employee include noticeable changes in the employee’s behavior, such as increased anxiety, withdrawal from team interactions, or a sudden dip in job performance. Other red flags could be a manager spending excessive time alone with a teen employee, showing favoritism, or engaging in communication outside of work hours without a professional pretext. Employers need to create a culture where these signs are observed and acted upon with discretion and urgency, ensuring that the workplace remains safe for young workers to thrive and grow professionally.

Shocking Cases of Abuse

Recent legal battles have brought to light egregious situations where teenagers have been subjected to abhorrent behavior despite legal protections. These cases not only highlight the vulnerability of young workers but also the stark reality that job-related abuse isn’t solely a point of concern for corporate environments. The responsibility of ensuring a safe and respectful work environment falls on everyone, from parents and educators to business owners and employers. By working together and taking preventive measures, we can protect our teenagers from job-related abuse and create a better, safer future for all.

The Chipotle Case Exposes

The Chipotle case (EEOC v. Chipotle Services, LLC and Chipotle Mexican Grill, Inc., Case No. 2:22-cv-00279) unearthed a sordid tale of degradation where a male colleague at a Florida outlet not only engaged in sexually explicit comments about a female teenage co-worker but escalated to a physical act. The implications point to corporate culture failures that allowed such an incident to occur and persist.

This case involves workers in their teens and early 20s. These are their first impressions they will they form about the workplace, and it is devastating when an employer permits sexual harassment to continue despite repeated complaints.

Shane’s Rib Shack Retaliation

Similarly, Shane’s Rib Shack (EEOC v. RSPS Holdings, et al., Civil Action No. 5:24-cv-00049)franchisees in Georgia chose to act in blatant defiance of what is right when they subjected a female employee to daily, unwanted advances from a manager that fabricated a workplace environment of fear, degradation, and ultimately, career sabotage when she was fired for complaining.

Teenagers must be prepared if they face workplace harassment, even if employers have taken precautionary measures. If harassment occurs, the first step is to report it immediately to a supervisor or HR. Reporting will begin the documentation process and often results in a quicker resolution.

If internal channels fail to provide resolution, it may be necessary to seek external help. Sexual harassment lawyers are experienced in navigating the complexities of such cases. They can provide the support needed to ensure that the legal weight of sexual harassment laws is used to protect young victims.

Parents, educators, and employers must work together to create a safe and supportive environment for teenagers. By taking a unified stand, we can ensure that our teenagers are not only unscarred by their first job experience but are also armed with the resilience and wherewithal to face the complexities of the working world, no matter the odds.

DOJ Whistleblower Program

New Whistleblower Program administered by the DOJ.


  • The DOJ has announced a new whistleblower program that offers financial rewards to those who report misconduct to the DOJ.
  • This program supplements existing reward programs administered by other institutions.
  • The program focuses on criminal abuses of the US financial system, breaches of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) by private corporations, violations of the Foreign Extortion Prevention Act (FEPA) by foreign public officials, and domestic corruption.
  • The program is exclusive to cases not covered by existing whistleblower programs.
  • Whistleblowers must present original, truthful information that is non-public and unknown to the DOJ to be eligible for rewards.
  • The pilot program will be developed in the next three months, and a full roll-out is planned for later this year.
  • Companies need to examine whether they have sufficient internal reporting hotline systems to motivate employees to report potential misconduct.
  • It’s also essential for companies to maintain policies and procedures that protect whistleblowers from retaliation.
  • The program does not offer immunity to individuals participating in the misconduct they disclose.

The Department of Justice (DOJ) has announced a new whistleblower program that will offer financial rewards to those who report misconduct to the DOJ. This program will supplement existing reward programs administered by institutions such as the SEC, CFTC, IRS, and FinCEN.

The DOJ’s whistleblower program will focus on criminal abuses of the US financial system, breaches of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) by private corporations, violations of the Foreign Extortion Prevention Act (FEPA) by foreign public officials, and domestic corruption. It’s important to note that the program is exclusive to cases not covered by existing whistleblower programs. Whistleblowers must present original, truthful information that is non-public and unknown to the DOJ to be eligible for rewards. Once the victims of the specified crime have been compensated, the whistleblowers will receive rewards.

The pilot program will be developed in the next three months, and a full roll-out is planned for later this year. We urge companies to examine whether they have sufficient internal reporting hotline systems to motivate employees to report potential misconduct. It’s also essential for companies to maintain policies and procedures that protect whistleblowers from retaliation and ensure prompt review and investigation of internal reports. Remember that this program does not offer immunity to individuals participating in the misconduct they disclose.

Unmasking the Shadows: A Comprehensive Analysis of Pay Discrimination

2017-2018 Pay Dashboard shows wage discrimination remains issue.

Pay disparity between men and women is an ongoing issue that remains pertinent today. According to data available on the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) Pay Data Dashboard, the median pay for men remained higher than women for the years 2017 and 2018, a fact reflected in various industries and job categories.

The battle for equal pay for equal work has a long history. The first milestone in this journey was the Equal Pay Act of 1963, a landmark law that prohibited sex-based wage discrimination between men and women who perform jobs that need similar skills, effort, and responsibility under similar working conditions.

Subsequent laws such as the Civil Rights Act of 1964, specifically Title VII, further reinforced this protection, making it illegal to discriminate based on sex, race, color, national origin, and religion. The Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act in 2009 further cemented the efforts for equal pay by allowing individuals who face pay discrimination to seek rectification in courts.

While these laws were all steps in the right direction, the pay data suggests that disparity still exists. However, it’s important to note that this doesn’t mean the laws have failed. Instead, it reflects the complexity of the issue which is deeply rooted in culture and society. It also shows the importance of continuous struggle and the necessity for monitoring and strict implementation of these laws.

For women facing wage discrimination, the Equal Pay Act provides a legal basis for claiming their rights. Women can file a complaint with the EEOC, or can also, under the provisions of the Lilly Ledbetter Act, sue their employers in court for pay discrimination. Therefore, laws guaranteeing equal pay for equal work have played, and continue to play, a pivotal role in the fight against pay disparity.

Ultimately, change takes time and effort. While the laws have facilitated some progress, they alone cannot completely eliminate the pay gap. It’s up to each of us to understand the issues, know our rights, and act towards achieving full equality.

TikTok Race Discrimination, Hostile Work Environment and Wrongful Termination

TikTok employees alleging race discrimination, lawyers Helmer Friedman LLP Los Angeles CA.

Have you, or someone you know, experienced racial discrimination at TikTok? You’re not alone. Several former employees have claimed that they were victims of racial prejudice, being subjected to unfair treatment and a hostile work environment.

For instance, former workers Nnete Matima and Joël Carter have filed a federal lawsuit, alleging that they were treated less favorably than their white counterparts. They were allegedly referred to with insulting racial slurs such as “Black Snake”, and faced retaliation, culminating in unfair termination, when they raised this issue to human resources.

These instances are not just damaging to the morale of employees, but they are also illegal. It’s important to remember that TikTok, like all employers, claims to value diversity and has policies against racial discrimination and harassment. Yet, if the reality of your workplace tells a different story, please don’t be silent.

If you or someone you know have encountered similar experiences of racial discrimination, particularly involving unequal treatment, derogatory comments, or the encounter of a hostile work environment, it’s crucial to take the next step. Seek out the advisement of a reputable lawyer who specializes in race discrimination cases. Let’s ensure that your rights are protected and such instances are brought to light.

Bako Pays $50,000 Pregnancy Discrimination and Retaliation

Pregnancy discrimination lawyers Beverly Hills Helmer Friedman LLP.

Pregnancy discrimination laws provide robust protection for employees, defending them against termination due to pregnancy-related complications. This legal safety net was highlighted in the recent case with Bakotic Pathology Associates, LLC (Bako), which was involved in a lawsuit over allegations of pregnancy discrimination and retaliation. The lawsuit, presented by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), asserted that Bako unfairly treated an employee suffering from pregnancy-related ailments.

Bako terminated the employee during her authorized medical leave and while she was availing short-term disability benefits, following her reports of pregnancy discrimination. This alleged behavior contravenes Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 that explicitly forbids sex-based discrimination and retaliation for participation in protected activities.

As a result of the lawsuit, Bako agreed to a settlement involving a $50,000 payment and the implementation of remedies. Additionally, Bako is now obligated to provide its employees with specialized training on Title VII, share internal complaint procedures and Title VII policies with the workforce, and report any pregnancy discrimination complaints to the EEOC.

Specific situations that would constitute pregnancy discrimination and/or retaliation include:

  • An employer refusing to accommodate reasonable requests made for pregnancy-related conditions, especially when such accommodations are provided for other employees with different medical conditions.
  • Openly demoting, reducing the hours, or offering lower pay to an employee upon learning of her pregnancy, under the guise of unrelated performance issues.
  • Dismissal of a pregnant employee using the pretext of organizational restructuring, when in reality, the position remains open or is quickly filled by someone not pregnant.
  • Subjecting a pregnant employee to frequent, unwarranted disciplinary actions following the announcement of her pregnancy, suggesting a motive grounded in discrimination rather than actual performance issues.
  • Failing to reinstate an employee to her original or equivalent position after returning from maternity leave, which is guaranteed under certain conditions by the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA).
  • Retaliating against an employee for filing a complaint regarding pregnancy discrimination or for participating in an investigation about such allegations, often seen through sudden negative performance reviews or exclusion from meetings and company events.

For more information on pregnancy discrimination, visit the website or reach out through 1-310-396-7714 or Ensure your rights are protected.

Racial Discrimination, Harassment at Electric Boat Company

Your workplace should be free of discrimination and harassment. Contact the attorneys of Helmer Friedman LLP for information.

Imagine a workplace where your skills, experience, and professionalism can thrive without fear of racial discrimination or harassment. Sadly, for John Mack – an African-American man – this was just a dream. The reality, as alleged in a recent lawsuit, reveals a disturbing picture of racial discrimination within the Electric Boat Company.

Hired as a Structural Nuclear Welder by Riley Power Group (RPG) to work at Electric Boat, Mack performed his duties diligently and competently, receiving positive reviews about his work. Tragically, his experience soured as he began to face a hostile working environment, racial discrimination, and a series of assaults by a white supervisor.

What makes Mack’s story more shocking is the response when he reported these incidents. A human resources professional allegedly requested that he not file a police report, promising that Electric Boat would handle the matter internally.

Not only did this fail to bring any substantive disciplinary action against the perpetrator, but Mack also faced another racial incident involving a safety officer who made several racist comments about African-Americans. Yet again, despite reporting the incident, there was no significant disciplinary action.

The law is clear. The Rhode Island Civil Rights Act, the Rhode Island Whistleblower Protection Act, and the Fair Employment Practice Act prohibit discrimination and retaliation and protect employees against racial discrimination in the workplace. Mack bravely came forward to ensure that his rights and those of his coworkers are respected – and so can you.

Every employee deserves a safe, respectful, and equal work environment. Discrimination or harassment at work is not only damaging to individual rights, dignity, and sense of worth but also undermines the potential for businesses to enjoy a diverse, dynamic, and creative team.

If you experience or witness racial discrimination or harassment at work, know that you’re protected by law. Protect your rights. Take a stand. Speak out against racial discrimination, and together, let’s make our workplaces truly equitable and inclusive.