workplace discrimination

Google Accused Of Workplace Discrimination Against White Conservative Men

Workplace Discrimination Case

The engineer who was fired by Google after he criticized its diversity policies last August claims in a lawsuit that he and others at the internet giant faced harassment and workplace discrimination due to their conservative political views. This latest lawsuit against Google comes on the heels of a lawsuit brought against the company in December citing violations of the California Equal Pay Act. That suit alleges that Google discriminates against its women employees by systematically paying them lower compensation than their male peers for performing substantially similar work under similar working conditions. 

Damore v. Google, LLC. (Cal. Sup. Ct., Santa Clara Cty.)

On January 8, former Google engineer James Damore, who famously circulated a memo about Google’s so-called “ideological echo chamber,” and a fellow former Google employee filed a discrimination class action complaint against Google on behalf of all employees of Google discriminated against “due to their perceived conservative political views,” “their male gender,” and/or “their Caucasian race.” 

The other ex-Googler named as a plaintiff is David Gudeman, who says he was an engineer for three years until he was wrongfully terminated in December 2016. The two men claim they were “ostracized, belittled and punished for their heterodox political views, and for the added sin of their birth circumstances of being Caucasians and/or males.”

The complaint alleges the following:

  • that employees who deviated from the “majority view” at Google regarding issues such as “‘diversity’ hiring policies, ‘bias sensitivity,’ or ‘social justice,’” were singled out, mistreated, and systematically punished and terminated from Google.
  • that the company’s “open hostility” to conservative thought leads to discrimination in hiring, promotion, and termination decisions on the basis of race and gender because of the “extreme” lengths Google allegedly goes to in taking race and/or gender into consideration as determinative hiring factors, to the detriment of white males.
  • that several of Google’s diversity initiatives, including, among other things, a “Diversity and Inclusion Summit” and a “diversity training class,” as evidence of bias against conservative white men.
  • “Google’s current method of increasing diversity resulted in what is known as reverse discrimination, because Caucasian and Asian males were not being selected for jobs and promotions due solely to their status as non-females or non-favored minorities.”

Damore’s Attorney

workplace discrimination

Damore’s attorney is Harmeet Dhillon, a civil rights lawyer who has taken on cases that push back against the Bay Area’s progressive tendencies. As part of a press conference, Dhillon, a California representative for the Republican National Committee, elaborated more on the very lengthy complaint and argued that her current clients are far from alone. Dhillon suggested that she had spoken with “dozens” of employees at Google to formulate the lawsuit and that she expects there will be “future lawsuits” to explore, as well.

California Employment Law

Protected classes called out in both state and federal statutes, such as sex, religion, race, etc. are broadly defined. As such, every person can face discrimination, and it is just as unlawful if targeted against white men as it would be against any other group. As long as an employee is negatively impacted because of his or her membership in a protected class, that counts as discrimination and could form the basis for a lawsuit. Further, California law also bans private employers from discriminating against workers due to their political views, affiliations, or activities.

If you are living in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Sacramento, or San Diego and feel you have been a victim of workplace discrimination, contact Kingsley & Kingsley to speak with one of our experienced lawyers.

Kingsley & Kingsley

16133 Ventura Boulevard, Suite 1200
Encino, California 91436
Phone: 888-500-8469
Local: 818-990-8300 (Los Angeles Co.)

fair employment posters

Updated Employment Posters from California Department of Fair Employment and Housing

fair employment postersThe California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) has been busy in 2017, releasing updated posters covering Employment Discrimination, Family Care and Medical Leave (CFRA Leave), Pregnancy Disability Leave, Sexual Harassment, Pregnancy Discrimination, and Workplace Harassment. DFEH has organized the posters on their website, categorized by the poster/brochure audience or intent (i.e. those that are required versus those designed for employment, housing, business establishments, or hate/violence).

Required Posters  

DFEH has placed all required posters and brochures on a single webpage in multiple languages. Even with the numerous updates, DFEH points out the absence of changes in some posting obligations. Employers may post any version of the Workplace Discrimination poster (titled: California Law Prohibits Workplace Discrimination and Harassment / DFEH-E07P-ENG / formerly DFEH-162) from December 2014 to the present. Also, employers may post any version of the CFRA/Pregnancy Disability Leave notice (DFEH-100-21) from July 2015 to the present. Lastly, employers may post any version of the Rights and Obligations as a Pregnant Employee notice (DFEH-100-20) from April 2016 to the present.

All California employers are required to display the following poster:

Most California employers also must display two other posters:

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ups disability discrimination

UPS Settles EEOC Disability Discrimination Suit for $2 Million

ups disability discriminationOn August 8, 2017, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) issued a press release announcing the settlement of a lawsuit against United Parcel Service, Inc. (UPS). The suit alleged disability discrimination claims under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and was settled for $2 million dollars. The EEOC alleged that UPS maintained an “inflexible leave policy” by which disabled employees were automatically discharged if they were unable to return to work after exhausting the maximum 12 months of leave provided by the policy. Thus, according to the EEOC, this UPS policy essentially shut down the interactive process required by the ADA to determine whether additional reasonable accommodations were available to such persons.


The EEOC suit against UPS started when the company discharged employee Trudi Momsen, after she requested leave beyond the maximum 12-month limit. Initially, Ms. Momsen took a 12-month leave of absence from work due to a diagnosis of multiple sclerosis. She then returned to work at the conclusion of that 12-month leave, but shortly after requested an additional two weeks of leave for medical reasons. Eventually, UPS terminated her for exceeding the 12-month leave policy.

EEOC Determination

The EEOC’s investigation concluded that UPS’ 12-month leave policy and its application to employees such as Ms. Momsen violated the reasonable accommodation and other provisions of the ADA. The EEOC filed suit in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois (Case No. 09-cv-5291) after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process. The suit involved a class of 88 current and former UPS employees whom the EEOC alleged were victims of UPS’ employment practices.  Continue reading

employee notice domestic violence

California Employers Must Notify Employees of Rights Regarding Domestic Violence, Stalking and Sexual Assault

employee notice domestic violenceEmployee Rights to Deal With Domestic Violence, Sexual Assault and Stalking

Per the Labor Commissioner’s Office, California employers with 25 or more employees are required to provide to new employees upon hire, and to current employees upon request, notice regarding the rights of victims of domestic violence, sexual assault and stalking. The new law was effective July 1, 2017 and is intended to provide covered California employees with information about their rights to:

  • Take off time to procure medical attention or services from a domestic violence shelter, program or rape crisis center.
  • Take off time to obtain psychological counseling for issues related to domestic violence, sexual assault or stalking.
  • Use vacation or personal leave to receive safety planning assistance.
  • Take time off to secure a restraining order or other court order to protect the employee and the employee’s children from domestic violence, sexual assault and stalking.
  • Request and receive a reasonable accommodation to assist them in keeping safe from domestic violence, sexual assault and stalking at work (such as installing locks or changing a shift).
  • Take time off for the above reasons, even if you don’t have paid leave.
  • Be free from retaliation for being a victim of these issues or asserting the right to time off or reasonable accommodation for these reasons.

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age discrimination

Fox U.S. Productions Faces Age Discrimination Suit

Last week, a California judge tentatively rejected Fox’s bid to dismiss a longtime Los Angeles local reporter’s age discrimination suit, saying she thought the reporter had sufficiently alleged he was discriminated against and that the discrimination forced him to quit his job.  age discrimination


Last September, Fox KTTV 11 reporter Chris Blatchford, 68, filed suit against his employer claiming they got rid of employees older than 40 with greater frequency than younger employees, hired very few older employees and gave preference to younger employees. Blatchford asserted that he was constructively terminated in February after his doctor informed him that continuing to work in a hostile environment would be detrimental to his health. All told, Blatchford asserted one claim of age harassment, and six claims of labor law violations based on the contention that he was so mistreated that he had no choice but to quit his job. 

Blatchford also claims Fox retaliated against him after he backed union steward Tony Valdez in what he says was a campaign to decertify the union. “Blatchford was among the reporters who had his role minimalized after standing up for Valdez and the union,” the suit said. “In contrast, the freelancers, who were primarily younger employees, who supported decertifying the union were rewarded with staff positions.”

Blatchford brings claims of discrimination on the basis of age and retaliation in violation of the California Fair Employment and Housing Act, among other causes of action. The suit names as defendants local Fox affiliate Fox U.S. Productions 11 Inc., parent company 21st Century Fox Inc. and other related entities, along with a number of individual defendants who served as Blatchford’s supervisors.

Los Angeles Superior Court

Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Stephanie M. Bowick said that she was inclined to reject the attempt by Fox US Productions 11 Inc. — a.k.a. Los Angeles station Fox KTTV 11 — and its corporate parents to dismiss plaintiff Christopher Blatchford’s claim of age harassment and labor law violations. The judge did say, however, that she would likely dismiss Blatchford’s claim for breach of contract and retaliation.Continue reading

employee arbitration alternative dispute resolution

California Court Decides on Employee Obligation to Alternative Dispute Resolution

Agreement of Alternative Dispute Resolution employee arbitration alternative dispute resolution

On December 27, 2016, the California Court of Appeals published a decision on the enforceability of an Alternative Dispute Resolution Agreement (“Agreement”) in an employee-employer relationship. The case in front of the court was Flores v. Nature’s Best Distribution and the issue before the Court was whether or not a former employer could compel arbitration under the Agreement signed by the employee.  Ultimately, the Court declared that the defendants failed to prove the plaintiff agreed to submit her claims to final and binding arbitration.


In July 2001, the Plaintiff in this case, Julie Flores began working for Nature’s Best Distribution in the shipping/receiving department. According to her complaint, Flores injured her back in February/March 2014 but continued to work until May 2014, when her back injury got worse and she was placed on medical leave. The complaint further alleged that plaintiff’s medical leave was extended through August 15, 2014.  When plaintiff returned to the doctor, however, she was not cleared of all restrictions and was placed on further leave until August 31, 2014, on which date she would be cleared to perform modified duties from September 1 to 19, 2014. Plaintiff did not receive a doctor’s note memorializing the need to further extend her leave, until August 18, 2014, at which time she faxed it to her employer at a fax number, which she previously had used, and received a confirmation that the fax was successfully sent. The employer denied receiving a fax. Plaintiff attempted to deliver the doctor’s note in person, but learned that on August 21, 2014, her employment had been terminated for failing to return from medical leave.

In November 2014, Plaintiff filed a lawsuit against Nature’s Best Distribution, LLC, Nature’s Best, KeHe Distributors, Inc., and KeHe Distributors, LLC (collectively referred to as defendants), alleging several claims under the California Fair Employment and Housing Act. Specifically, Flores claimed disability discrimination, failure to engage in the interactive process, failure to accommodate disability, failure to prevent discrimination or retaliation, and wrongful termination in violation of public policy.

Defendants filed a petition to compel arbitration based on evidence that plaintiff signed an agreement for alternative dispute resolution. In opposition to defendant’s petition to compel arbitration, plaintiff argued that: 1) she did not recall signing the Agreement; 2) the Agreement was ambiguous because it did not specify which set of American Arbitration Association (“AAA”) rules applied; and 3) that the Agreement was unconscionable because it was a take-it-or-leave it condition of employment, plaintiff was required to pay unlawful fees, and denied plaintiff’s appeal rights. The trial court denied the petition. 

California Court of Appeals

The defendants in this case contend the trial court erroneously concluded defendants failed to prove plaintiff agreed to arbitrate her claims and that the arbitration provision contained in the Agreement was unenforceable because it is unconscionable. The California Court of Appeals affirmed the trial court’s order and declared that the defendants failed to prove plaintiff agreed to submit her claims to final and binding arbitration.

The Court of Appeals’ analysis started and ended with the following: “[W]hen a petition to compel arbitration is filed and accompanied by prima facie evidence of a written agreement to arbitrate the controversy, the court itself must determine whether the agreement exists.”  (Rosenthal v. Great Western Fin. Securities Corp.)  In this case, the Court of Appeals found that no Agreement was reached on multiple levels.  While the Agreement seemingly bore the contested signature of the plaintiff, a signature from a company representative was absent from the Agreement.  This would seemingly be sufficient because the employer never signed the Agreement to which it was a party, but the Court went further in its analysis.  The Court of Appeals went on to find that the agreement was ambiguous because it failed to: 1) specify which disputes would be subject to arbitration; and 2) which of the multiple sets of AAA rules would apply to arbitration.

In affirming the trial court’s order, the Fourth District Court of Appeals found that the Agreement was ambiguous at best and that defendants failed to prove that the parties reached a “final and binding” agreement on arbitration of claims.  The Court of Appeals declined to analyze the issue of unconscionability because there was no agreement to begin with.

California Employment Law

Flores v. Nature’s Best Distribution illustrates the importance of consulting an attorney when developing or revising employee policies and procedures, to include employee agreements and other obligations on the part of employees or employer. If you have any questions about California employment law, contact Kingsley & Kingsley to speak with one of our experienced labor lawyers.

Kingsley & Kingsley

16133 Ventura Boulevard, Suite 1200
Encino, California 91436
Phone: 888-500-8469
Local: 818-990-8300 (Los Angeles Co.)