Unveiling Illegal Discrimination, Harassment, Donations for Scholarships, and Whistleblower Retaliation

Workplace violations, discrimination, whistleblower retaliation lawyers Helmer Friedman LLP.

Not Just a Game: Former Cal State University Northridge coach files lawsuit against the school, claiming wrongful termination following exposé on dubious recruiting tactics!

In recent news, an alarming case has surfaced involving the former women’s soccer coach at Cal State University Northridge, Keith Andrew West, who is now taking legal action against the school. The case highlights some of the endemic issues that are often overlooked in higher education, such as illegal discrimination, harassment, unethical donations for scholarships, and whistleblower retaliation.

Athletic Director, Brandon Martin instructed West to terminate one of his male assistant coaches to make room for a female assistant coach, the suit alleges.

The crux of West’s lawsuit lies in whistleblower retaliation, a serious violation of employee rights that often go unreported due to fear of reprisals. In this situation, West claims to have fallen victim to retaliation following his exposure of alleged impropriety within the university’s department.

In addition to this, West reports incidents of discrimination and harassment. He points out the university’s resistance to renewing his contract, expressing an intention to replace him with a female. This seeming gender-bias raises questions about illegal discrimination within hiring and contracting practices.

“The president wants a female in your position.”

Further adding to the university’s list of alleged violations, West reveals he was pressured to use his recruitment abilities to target a potential student athlete based on their potential financial contributions to the school. This brings to light the questionable practice of procuring donations for scholarships, a practice that deeply undermines the merit-based principle that should ideally govern academic scholarships.

In the wake of these accusations, West was subjected to an investigation and subsequent termination, causing him considerable losses, both financial and emotional. His case illuminating potential gross abuses of power and violations of both employment and educational law that should not be dismissed or ignored.

As this case unfolds, it serves as an important reminder of the dire need for transparency, fairness, and ethical practices in higher institutions. We must ensure that illegal discrimination, harassment, and whistleblower retaliation are not swept under the rug, and we must question practices like donations for scholarships that compromise the integrity of higher education.

Equal Pay and Anti-Retaliation Protection Act

Equal Pay and Anti-Retaliation Protection Act protects from retaliation.

New California Law Makes It Easier for Employees to Establish Retaliation Claims for Alleged Labor Code Violations

CA SB 497 Retaliation Law 2024

On October 8, 2023, Governor Gavin Newsom of California signed Senate Bill No. 497, officially establishing the “Equal Pay and Anti-Retaliation Protection Act.” The act aims to protect employees who engage in certain protected activities under specified sections of the California Labor Code from experiencing any adverse employment action within 90 days of such activity. If an employee does face such action, the act sets up a “rebuttable presumption of retaliation” against the employer. The Equal Pay and Anti-Retaliation Protection Act will take effect on January 1, 2024.

Under the new law, the burden of proof for showing that the adverse employment action was based on a legitimate non-retaliatory reason will lie with the employer. Additionally, an employee who wins the case will be entitled to civil penalties for each violation. Suppose an employer is found to have retaliated against an employee for Section 1102.5 protected activity. In that case, the employer may be liable for a civil penalty not exceeding $10,000 per employee for each violation. This civil penalty is already available for Section 98.6 protected activity.

The new presumption standard and civil penalties remind employers in California that they must take employee complaints seriously and avoid any actions against an employee that could be considered unlawful retaliation.