Given recent headlines about Uber and Google, it might be tempting to assume that tech is the only sector still facing stubborn problems with gender discrimination, hostile work environments, and sexual harassment. That certainly isn't the case, and one only has to look at the financial services industry to see that the issue is very prevalent in many other workplaces.
New York City's Commission on Human Rights saw a staggering 60 percent jump in discrimination and harassment complaints in 2016. In 2017, complaints are up an additional 30% so far this year. Of these complaints, approximately 40 percent are reports of discrimination or harassment based on a person's race, religion, national origin and immigration status. The Commission says it has nearly doubled its investigations into that category of complaints in the past two years.
By now, we are all aware of former Google employee James Damore's internally published manifesto complaining of a company culture of shaming that suppresses legitimate discussion about discrimination against women working in technology.
Alongside this summer's blockbuster movies and sleeper hits something else has been pulling focus in Hollywood: pay equity. And it's about time.
Co-Written by Outten & Golden LLP Law Clerk Ryan Elias
Gender equality in the workplace and eliminating the gender pay gap are hot topics in the news, with some large brands capitalizing on the discussion to attract female consumers. Using flashy ads, social media campaigns, and press releases, companies say that they're committed to making meaningful cultural changes in their workplaces.
Employers have the right to pay a man more than a woman for the same work if he had a higher salary at a previous job and there is a "reasonable policy" that justifies the company using past salaries to determine compensation. This was an opinion issued in April by the 9th Circuit in Rizo v. Yovino - a decision that threatens to severely undermine this country's progress on pay equity.
This Sunday, May 7, the world will be watching France to see if the wave of populism that led to Brexit and the election of President Donald Trump will now usher in Marine Le Pen as the new French president. Le Pen leads the country's far-right National Front party and is up against the centrist Emmanuel Macron in this Sunday's runoff poll.
Activists seized on Wells Fargo's annual shareholder meeting this week to press the bank for changes to a wide range of alleged unfair practices. As the country's fourth-largest bank, Wells faces backlash from a scandal involving up to two million accounts opened without customer authorization, as well as related allegations of employment law violations - including firing whistleblowers who refused to participate in fraudulent account openings. Activists mobilizing around the Forgo Wells campaign, among others, have condemned the bank's use of forced arbitration clauses in customers' and employees' contracts, which obstruct many of these issues from coming to light because they prevent employees and consumers from banding together and taking Wells to court.
Sterling Jewelers, Inc., the parent company of Jared the Galleria of Jewelry and Kay Jewelers, is facing explosive allegations - and a national class action lawsuit - alleging its "boys club" culture discriminated against women and encouraged sexual harassment. Hundreds of women have joined the lawsuit.