Race/Color Employment Discrimination

Discrimination based on color – skin pigment, complexion, shade, or lightness or Discriminationdarkness – is illegal. Color is a separate protected category under Title VII, the primary federal law that prohibits workplace discrimination.

Discrimination based on race and color often overlap. Discrimination because of race means race is the reason, or at least a motivating factor, in an employer’s adverse treatment of an applicant or employee. Discrimination based on race or color can also occur when an employer’s neutral policy or practice disproportionately disadvantages employees of a particular race and there is no legitimate business reason to justify the policy or practice.

An employment policy or practice that applies to everyone, regardless of race or color, can be illegal if it has a negative impact on the employment of people of a particular race or color and is not job-related and necessary to the operation of the business.

Remember! It is unlawful to harass a person because of that person’s race or color!

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Stop Employment Discrimination Now! Equal Employment Opportunities For Everyone!

equalEveryone has the right to equal employment opportunities. Unfortunately a lot of people were denied jobs because they are different. An employer cannot discriminate against a worker due to their membership in a protected class. Characteristics of a protected class are:

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  • race color
  • national origin
  • sex
  • religion
  • age
  • disability
  • pregnancy
  • sexual orientation (in some states and cities)

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How to Place a Bid on Legal Bistro

Bid-for-Placement: what does it mean? Why do we need it?

A bid is a sum of money that a lawyer offers for the opportunity of talking to a client, to receive his contact information and discuss his case (the minimum amount you can bid on is 6 law dollars).

It’s important to remember that a lawyer’s bid on a case determines where in the list of competing, “bidding” lawyers their profile will be displayed to the clients, who posted the case. The profile with the highest bid will be displayed first and the lowest, respectively, the last.

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Legal Bistro Elevator Pitch for Lawyers

What is an Elevator Pitch?

An “Elevator Pitch”, also known as an elevator speech or statement, is a short summary used to quickly define a person, product, profession or organization and its Value Proposition.  The name “elevator pitch” conveys that the person who is delivering the message has about the same time that it takes the typical elevator to go from the ground floor the top floor to convince their audience about their proposal.  A well designed elevator pitch should be between 30 and 60 seconds.

How to Write a Good Elevator Pitch

The “Elevator Pitch” on Legal Bistro is five lines (500 words maximum) of text that are displayed to potential clients in what we call the “Short Profile Preview”.  This is the very first thing that a potential client will see about you and your law firm so you should give a lot of thought to what you would like to say.

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Why Consumers Love Legal Bistro

 Do you need a lawyer but are intimidated by the legal process?  Are you concerned that professional legal services may be financially out of reach?  Perhaps English is not your native language and you are having trouble finding a qualified attorney with whom you can effectively communicate.  Don’t worry, if you answered yes to any of these questions you are not alone.

We built Legal Bistro because we were inspired by the contribution that Lending Tree made to the process for finding a mortgage lender.  Lending Tree used the power of the Internet to bring online competition in the mortgage application process. Equally important is that Lending Tree’s website has helped consumers to better understand the process of applying for a home loan. We hope that Legal Bistro can achieve similar results in the legal services market.

When Lawyers Compete, You Win!

The single biggest reason why consumers love our service is because Legal Bistro facilitates lawyers competing online to serve the client.  Our Company motto is that When Lawyers Compete, the Client Wins! Frankly, we believe that both lawyers and consumers win when the competitive playing field has been leveled.

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Why Lawyers Love Legal Bistro

    

Are you happy with the current Return on Investment (“ROI”) for your online legal services marketing dollars?  Are you spending too much of your time qualifying leads? wasting time imagesDo you know anything about the visitors to your law firm’s website besides their IP Address and the date and time of their visit?  More specifically, are you being provided with case specific  facts that will help you evaluate their legal needs?

If you have answered yes to some or all of these questions then perhaps you will appreciate why lawyers love Legal Bistro.

YOU ARE IN CONTROL

You decide what cases you see based on the Practice Groups, Case Types and Tag or Key Words used when defining your Areas of Practice.

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$ 3.5 Million Award for Wrongful Termination

In a recent article posted on The Employment Law Group Blog entitled: Federal Jury Awards Whistleblower $3.5 Million in Alaska Retaliation Case, is reported that a federal jury awarded Paul Blakeslee $3.5 million because of the illicit activity of his former employer. As it was proved, Shaw Environment & Infrastructure Inc fired Paul Blakeslee for reporting suspicious dealings by a manager of the company’s maintenance work on Alaskan military bases.

According to Mr. Blakeslee’s lawyers, the verdict included $2.5 million in punitive damages becoming so one of the largest judicial decisions in an employment case in Alaska history. It also may happen that after supplemental awards by the court, the final value of the verdict will pass $4 million.

Shaw Environment & Infrastructure Inc is a Louisiana-based contractor for the U.S. Army. The jury came to the conclusion that Shaw Environment & Infrastructure Inc fired Paul Blakeslee for reporting that the other manager was billing the Army at inflated rates for equipment leased from his own company. Shaw Environment & Infrastructure Inc stated the firing was independent, but the jury called it retaliation and said it violated the False Claims Act.

The question of discrimination was also raised in the court. As Mr. Blakeslee was 71 at the time he was fired, the jury accused Shaw Environment & Infrastructure Inc of age discrimination against Paul Blakeslee.

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California Court Strikes a Blow to Piece Rate Employment

 

Piece work is defined by Wikipedia as any type of employment in which a worker is paid a fixed piece rate for each unit produced or action performed regardless of time. Piece rate work is the oldest form of performance related pay.

A California appeals court ruled Tuesday that a class of auto mechanics paid on a piece-rate basis were also entitled to minimum wages for time spent waiting during their shifts and that their employer could not average their compensation to show minimum wage compliance.

The case involved a Mercedes Benz dealership called Downtown LA Motors LP.  The dealership employed a practice whereby it paid technicians well above minimum wage for the time spent working on repairs, ensured that a worker’s pay never fell below this minimum threshold by supplementing the technician’s pay if it did.

The issue at stake was whether an employer who compensates its automotive service technicians on a piece rate basis for repair work must also pay those technicians a separate minimum hourly wage for the time spent during their work shifts waiting for vehicles to repair or performing other non repair tasks during their downtime.

The dealership sought to use an averaging method (i.e. above hour minimum wage while  working to repair vehicles and no wages while idle) to determine an employer’s minimum wage obligations under California State law.  The second District Court used the 2005 ruling in Armenta v. Osmose Inc. to determine that the dealership had violated California State law by failing to pay the technicians minimum wage for the hours they spent waiting to repair cars during their shift.

The court rejected the argument presented by the dealership that it was not required to pay the technicians a separate hourly minimum wage for the waiting time because it used a formula to insure that the compensation paid to that technician for the total hours spent at work always exceeded the minimum hourly wage required under California State law.  This was achieved by supplementing a technician’s pay anytime that the total pay fell below the minimum hourly wage requirement for the total time period spent at work.

The Appeals Court upheld the lower court’s award of $1.5 million that was to be paid to the technician class and added another $237,840 in penalties for the dealership’s willful failure to pay wages.

What’s interesting is that this particular case is only one of several cases related to piece rate pay and commission pay that are pending in the State of California. These cases are estimated to affect close to 2 million employees in the State of California.

Interesting Attorneys – Jonathan Plaut – Chardon Law Offices

In the first of what we expect will be a long term successful series of Blog Postings of Interesting Attorneys, Legal Bistro is pleased to present Jonathan Plaut of Chardon Law Offices.  Our goal for this series is to highlight lawyers who are doing interesting things in their personal lives.

Besides being a highly skilled litigator and criminal defense attorney, Jon is also an accomplished musician.  He is the lead singer and base player in a band called The Learned Hands.  His musical influences include Bob Dylan, Paul Simon, Dan Bern, Jackson Browne, Joni Mitchell, Michelle Shocked, Rush, Van Halen and AC/DC.

Jon recently played rhythm guitar at the BB King Blues Club in Manhattan backing up Carmine and Vinnie Appice (of Black Sabbath, Ozzy, Rod Stewart and Jeff Beck fame), and played viola for the great troubadour rocker Michelle Shocked during seven of her shows in New York, Virginia, Pennsylvania, Maine and Massachusetts.  He has played at various rock venues throughout the Northeast.

Jon speaks and writes Japanese, and he has represented numerous Japanese citizens and businesses in a variety of matters including corporation formation, civil lawsuits, criminal defense and governmental investigations.  He served as a foreign legal associate at the firm of Anderson Mori in Tokyo, Japan where he represented numerous multinational corporations.

Jon has taught courses in criminal law and environmental law at Tufts University and Boston College.  Jonathan has also taught spoken and written Japanese at several secondary schools including Choate Rosemary Hall and the Kent School.

For additional information about Jonathan Plaut, please visit Jon’s complete Legal Bistro Profile.

Weight Discrimination: Obesity Is More Than Just Health Problems

Obese individuals discrimination. Isn’t that illegal? Do we have laws protecting against weight discrimination?

A recent Wall Street Journal article, entitled: Weigh More, Pay More on Samoa Air, reports that a tiny South Pacific airline is pioneering a radical pricing model that no other airline has dared to try: charging passengers based on their weight.

Samoa Air customers flying on short international distances are set to pay US $ 0.92 per kilogram for each flight.

According to the World Health Organization, about 55.5% of the country’s population over the age of 20 is considered obese, what explains why passenger weight is the matter of great importance for Samoa Air, which operates with smaller planes that seat between three and 10 passengers each. That means a grossly fat passenger could essentially reduce a plane’s capacity, which in its turn could cause a loss of company’s income.

“We are like a shopkeeper; we are selling weight. But with the weight goes the responsibility of being able to seat the passenger comfortably,” said Samoa Air Chief Executive Chris Langton to The Wall Street Journal. He paid attention to the fact that while a 160-kilogram person on Samoa Air will pay four times as much as a 40 kilogram person, the airline would ensure more space for the bigger passenger.

The change caused heated discussion on Samoa Air’s Facebook page, where many called for a boycott of the airline based on discrimination. There were others who absolutely commended the company for its decision on charging by weight.

While Samoa Air could wake up the profit-starved industry, many of the world’s airlines have so far been hesitating to gain advantage from passenger weight because of discrimination concerns.

There is no doubt that a great number of Americans are obese. According to F as in Fat: How Obesity Threatens America’s Future 2012, a new report from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and Trust for America’s Health, half of all American adults are expected to be obese by 2030.before

The social consequences of obesity include discrimination in employment, barriers in education, biased attitudes from health care professionals, stereotypes in the media, and stigma in interpersonal relationships.

As most cases involving weight are employment discrimination cases, and many of them are unsuccessful, in an article by Donna Ballman entitled: Is Weight Discrimination At Work Illegal?, are reported the top ways you might be protected under the law against discrimination if you’re overweight:

1. Disability DiscriminationThe Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) protects employees from discrimination due to disabilities. EEOC considers morbid obesity to be a protected disability. If your life activity is essentially limited because of your weight, then you may be protected against discrimination.

Overweight people who are not “morbidly obese” but who experience weight discrimination cannot file claims under the ADA because they are not considered disabled. These unresolved issues, along with public perceptions that blame obese people for their own negative experiences, result in inconsistent court rulings and deter other overweight people from seeking legal recourse at all.

2. Sex Discrimination – Very often, women are expected to be slim but men aren’t. If your employer is holding women to different standards than men (or vice versa) then they may be guilty of sex discrimination.

3. Family and Medical Leave – If you need medical treatment because of your weight problems, you may be protected for days you miss work under the Family and Medical Leave Act. You can get protected leave for each of your doctor’s appointments, for up to a total of 12 weeks per year. You can use both intermittent and continuous FMLA leave as your doctor requires.

4. State and Local Laws – Very few, but nevertheless, some states and municipalities have limitations on appearance or weight discrimination (for example, Michigan has a state law).

However, if you are in none of the protected categories above, that all changes, and you have to fight your battles alone. Despite increased attention to the obesity epidemic, little has been done to stop the discrimination that obese people face every day. No federal laws exist to prohibit bullying and harassment against obese people. Many forms of discrimination are perfectly legal.

However, some of these “legal” kinds of discrimination may also have an illegal effect. Try to look around and see if what’s happening is really about sex, race, age, disability, pregnancy, national origin, or some other type of illegal discrimination.

Obesity is an extremely complex condition and it’s going to require many different solutions.