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  • Coane and Associates,PLLC 2:19 pm on March 21, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , #InterviewDiscrimination, #SexDiscrimination   

    Interview Discrimination: What Employers Legally Can’t Ask Women 

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    Article written by guest blogger: Patrick Foster

    A job interview can be a stressful experience for anyone, even at the best of times. Presenting yourself well, learning about the role, and asking the right questions can be demanding.

    For women, it can be especially frustrating. In a study by the National Academy of Sciences, researchers found that employers were twice as likely to hire a man over a woman. And women make up only 4.2% of CEOs and just 19.2% of board members at firms on the Standard & Poor’s 500.

    Facing such a potentially tough landscape as a woman in the workplace, it’s important to be aware of what your rights are during the interview stage. So before your next application, read on for some useful insights and actionable advice that will help you navigate the choppy waters of your job interview.

    How common is interview discrimination against women?

    Since the Civil Rights Act was introduced in 1964, huge strides have been made by women in the workplace. Despite significant progress since then (especially in the past five years), women still experience significant discrimination. 42% of women in the US have experienced gender discrimination in the workplace, and are twice as likely as men to report discrimination based on their gender while at work.

    Unfortunately, this discrimination extends to the interview process as well. Even before joining a company, female interviewees can be subjected to unfair gender-based prejudices and even illegal questioning.

    Women themselves can often be only too aware of this — finding themselves having to either lie or change their behavior or appearance in order to appear more favorable in a job interview.

    Pregnancy

    The Pregnancy Discrimination Act of 1978 was enacted to protect the rights of pregnant women in the workplace. With it came a number of stipulations for businesses, including the condition that employers must amend any tasks that a pregnant woman would have to carry out in the course of her day-to-day duties.

    This applies regardless of the industry they work in, whether it’s office work or more physical work.

    Unfortunately, some employers view this as a burden, and as such will take steps to identify during the interview process if a woman is pregnant, or plans to conceive in the near future. The PDA accounts for this, and consequently it is illegal for employers to ask a woman about pregnancy.

    If you are asked this, refuse to answer. But beware: employers may get around this by phrasing it differently, for example: “do you have plans to start a family anytime soon?” or “are you taking birth control?”

    Physical appearance

    It is federal law that employers cannot choose one job applicant over another based on their physical appearance instead of their experience and qualifications. Unfortunately, women’s experiences of this happening to them are only too common.

    In your interview, watch out for red flags such as your potential employer commenting on your appearance, no matter how minor it might seem. For example, be aware of questions such as “do you do your makeup like that everyday?”.

    If you are asked anything about your appearance, firmly but politely state that you would prefer not to discuss it.

    Age

    This is especially common, particularly as the global recession forces more and more older people to stay in work in order to make ends meet. Unfortunately, despite federal labor laws intended to prevent discrimination, women in particular find their age a point of contention during job interviews.

    That said, it is not illegal to ask someone their age during a job interview.

    However, the federal Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 does declare discrimination on this basis illegal for people over 40. There are also some state laws that protect younger workers from age discrimination too. However, this can make it tricky to know how to respond if asked.

    As such, if you are asked about your age, redirect them by being forthright about your experience, skills, and qualifications.

    Show them that you know what the role demands and that you are the perfect candidate for the role. Subtly but firmly make clear that your age is just a number, and that your skills and personality are what matters.

    Relationship status

    Federal and several state laws prohibit employers from querying the relationship status of a candidate. While discrimination based on marital status is not explicitly referred to, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act states that businesses cannot discriminate on the grounds of sex. Discrimination on the basis of marital status is often considered discrimination on the basis of sex in the eyes of the law.

    Be wary of personal questions and refuse to discuss it if it comes up. If they contest this, refer to the law and simply state you are not comfortable talking about it. It is your right as a candidate to not discuss your marital status.

    So what can women do?

    It might feel impossible to combat discrimination during or after a job interview, but there are lots of things women can do to combat and prevent this.

    Don’t give too much away

    When you’re applying for a job, be careful not to reveal any personal information about yourself accidentally that is not related to the role itself.

    This often happens before the interview during small talk, as it is easy to let slip private information when your guard is down. To avoid this, keep your written and verbal contact prior to the interview friendly but professional, and think before you speak.

    Take legal advice

    If you feel you have been a victim of interview discrimination, you should lodge a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. They will look into your claim and determine whether a breach of US law has been made. If this is the case, they will begin legal proceedings.

    If you feel you have been unfairly discriminated against during an interview, you should consider getting a free initial case review from a legal professional. They will consider your situation and advise how you can or should proceed. Speak to a local attorney and request a free initial case review to weigh your options.

    Don’t take to social media

    If you have had a negative experience during or after a job interview and felt as though you were treated unfairly in the process, it can be tempting to voice your indignation on social media.

    However, this is not always wise. Naming and shaming a business or individual can often lead to legal proceedings against the complainant, and can interfere with any investigation into the discrimination against you.

    If you do take to social media to vent your concerns, avoid anything that could possibly identify the employer. That includes specifics such as their name and address, but also general information such as their industry. Play it safe, and follow the steps above rather than taking to social media.

    Beware of leading statements

    It is illegal for employers to make statements that would draw a response from the candidate related to their family or marital status.

    For example, if a potential employer said that they have to leave early once a week to take their children to sports practice, that could potentially encourage the candidate to elaborate on their family situation too.

    We have made huge leaps for women in the workplace in the past few years. More and more women are succeeding in business and the number of females in senior roles is growing, albeit slowly.

    Despite this, the hiring process for female candidates is still rife with discrimination. Do your research and know your rights as a potential employee, and discuss only that which you are legally obliged to.

    If you feel you have been unfairly discriminated against, take the necessary recommended steps to ensure you are protected, as both a candidate and a woman.

    For further information, this Houston immigration lawyer and Miami immigration lawyer may be reached at bruce.coane@gmail.com or at 305.538.6800 or 713.850.0066

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  • Coane and Associates,PLLC 5:22 pm on October 25, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: ,   

    Federal Judge Orders University of St. Thomas to Turn Over Documents in Discrimination Case 

    In an Order released this week, a federal judge in Houston ordered the University of St. Thomas (Houston), to turn over documents related to our client’s employment discrimination case.

    Our law firm, specializing in employment law and wrongful termination cases, sued the University of St. Thomas for failing to renew our client’s teaching contract. Our client taught in the College of Nursing and had very good reviews. She complained about reverse race discrimination (she is white), and then one month later, the university says it made the decision to not renew her contract. Our client argues that the non-renewal is not a coincidence but is retaliation for complaining.

    In a hearing held this week, a federal judge ordered the university to turn over many documents, including over a year’s worth of emails sent by Poldi Tschirch (Nursing School Dean), Angelina Chambers (who our client alleges discriminated against her) and Lucindra Campbell-Law. The judge also ordered the university to turn over all documents about the discrimination investigation that they conducted, as well as all documents about our client’s placement on a performance improvement plan.

    No trial date has been set yet, but the judge has asked the parties to report back next month.

    For further information, this Houston employment lawyer and Miami employment lawyer may be reached at 713.850.0066 or 305.538.6800, and at bruce.coane@gmail.com.

     
  • Coane and Associates,PLLC 4:13 pm on October 23, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: #Miscarriage, #Pregnancy,   

    Miscarrying at Work: The Physical Toll of Pregnancy Discrimination 

    Here is a very interesting article about pregnancy discrimination. I have had cases just like this, but in order to make the case, it is absolutely critical to have a doctor’s letter tying the miscarriage to the treatment received at work. Many doctors may not be willing to say that, and so, even with the statistics described in the article, it is often difficult to make a case without the expert testimony of a physician.

    For further information, this employment law attorney can be reached at bruce.coane@gmail.com or at 713.850.0066 or 305.538.6800

     
  • Coane and Associates,PLLC 5:18 pm on October 22, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , #UnpaidOvertime, #WageViolations,   

    Palm Beach OBGYN clinic and doctors sued for alleged wage violations and discrimination 

    Palm Beach Obstetrics & Gynecology, P.A. and Dr. Samuel Lederman, Dr. Gloria Hakkarainen, Dr. Sylvia Siegfried, Dr. Joy Cavalaris, Dr. Lori Sevald and Dr. Marcela Lazo have been sued in U.S. District Court for overtime wages and for race and national origin discrimination by a former Billing Manager who worked for them for over ten years.

    Our employment law firm, Coane and Associates, filed the lawsuit in the West Palm Beach Division of the U.S. District Court. The case alleges that our client has unpaid overtime of over $70,000 which the defendants have refused to pay. Additionally, our client claims that the office staff was mostly white, Hispanics who wanted her terminated, as one of the only black employees in the office.

    Our client was terminated and then she alleges that Nelda Rodriguez, a Hispanic woman replaced her as Billing Manager. Our client seeks reinstatement, back pay and overtime pay in the lawsuit. A jury trial in 2019 is expected.

    For further information, contact employment law attorney Bruce Coane at bruce.coane@gmail.com or 305.538.6800.

     

     
  • Coane and Associates,PLLC 3:58 pm on July 16, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: #AgeDiscrimination, ,   

    Griffin Dewatering hit with Age Discrimination Charge 

    A 70-year old employee of Griffin Dewatering in Houston has filed an age discrimination charge with the EEOC.

    This Houston Employment Lawyer filed the charge on behalf of my client who worked at Griffin Dewatering for over 20 years. My client stated that when he refused to retire, the company fired him.

    In particular, the charge filed at the EEOC states that he was called in to a meeting with David Singleton (President and CEO) and Michael Bilaki (CFO) and that they “pressured me to voluntarily retire.”  When he refused to retire, about two months later, he states that he was fired.

    The EEOC charge filed by my client also indicates that since the company changed ownership in 2014, “Generally, these new hires have been in their late 20s or early mid 30s at the time of hire,” as further evidence of age discrimination.

    The EEOC investigates charges of discrimination in the workplace. It is expected that the investigation in this case will last throughout 2018.

    For further information, this Houston Employment Lawyer may be contacted at 713.850.0066 or at bruce.coane@gmail.com

     
  • Coane and Associates,PLLC 5:40 pm on June 15, 2018 Permalink | Reply  

    Pregnancy Discrimination Is Rampant Inside America’s Biggest Companies 

    Here is an interesting article from the NY Times about pregnancy discrimination and how it is rampant, particularly among large companies.

    I have been handling pregnancy discrimination cases for over 20 years, ever since I got my first case involving a waitress in College Station, Texas. In that case, the restaurant who employed my waitress client fired her when she was six months pregnant, telling her it was too dangerous for a pregnant woman to be carrying a tray full of dinner plates. They eventually paid to settle that case.

    Right now, I have a case against TDECU, where we represent a woman fired during pregnancy.  We received a Right to Sue letter from the EEOC and plan to sure TDECU for pregnancy discrimination next week.

    For further information, this Houston employment lawyer and Miami employment lawyer can be reached at 713.850.0066 or 305.538.6800, or at bruce.coane@gmail.com

     

     
  • Coane and Associates,PLLC 4:59 pm on February 16, 2018 Permalink | Reply  

    Judge Releases Orders in Sex Discrimination Lawsuit against Dignity Health 

    Our law firm has been representing a former employee of Dignity Health in a sex discrimination case in U.S.District Court in Phoenix, Arizona.

    The case has been going on for quite some time with a likely trial date for this year. In this case, our client is a male who worked in a 5-person lab at Dignity Health in Phoenix. Our client alleges, and the evidence has shown, that his boss was sleeping with a female co-worker, and then keeping her as a lab employee as he fabricated reasons for letting other male lab employees go. Our client was terminated, in favor of the hospital keeping our client’s boss’s girlfriend, even though our client alleges that he and the other men in the lab were significantly more qualified than their boss’s girlfriend.

    Eventually, the entire lab disbanded, apparently due to lack of funding, with our client’s ex-boss and his girlfriend as the last employees.

    The action that the judge took this week was to warn former OBGYN Department chair at Dignity, Dr. James Balducci, that he must contact our law firm because he ignored a subpoena to appear for a deposition. The judge’s Order states that he’d consider holding the doctor  in contempt of court if he fails to promptly contact us to reschedule his deposition.

    In addition to Balducci being a no-show for his deposition, Dignity Health was refusing to produce documents relating to the termination of the other lab workers. This week, the judge ORDERED Dignity to provide those records.

    Finally, in a common tactic used by company lawyers, Dignity was threatening to send a subpoena to our client’s current employer in Texas, under the guise of needing independent verification of salary, benefits, etc., because somehow the documents we provided and offered to provide just were not sufficient enough. The judge said that Dignity’s lawyer can issue the subpoena, but only if they significantly narrow their request. Either way, it’s certainly the belief of this Houston Employment Lawyer and Miami Employment Lawyer  that this is an intimidation move to scare workers from filing lawsuits, lest their new employer discover that they sued their prior employer.

    For further information, I can be reached at 713.850.0066 or 305.538.6800, or by email at bruce.coane@gmail.com

     
    • Eva 12:37 pm on February 23, 2018 Permalink | Reply

      When visiting blogs, i generally discover an excellent content just like yours.
      Very good job on this post! I enjoy how you presented your facts and
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  • Coane and Associates,PLLC 3:21 pm on January 8, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , wrongful termination   

    Religious Discrimination case filed against Continental Real Estate Companies of Coral Gables 

    We recently filed an EEOC charge of employment discrimination based on religion and retaliation, against a Coral Gables company, Continental Real Estate Companies.

    The religious discrimination and retaliation charges arise out of a warning that our client got when she was first hired at the company, namely, do not discuss your Christian religious beliefs at work, according to the EEOC charge. Our client was told this, she states in the EEOC charge, by Luis Bertot, her Buddhist supervisor.

    A few months later when our client reported to Bertot about an offensive picture frame on a co-worker’s desk referencing Satan, Bertot fired her that same day, according to the EEOC charge.

    This Miami Employment Lawyer regularly files charges of discrimination with the EEOC on behalf of workers who were allegedly terminated in violation of civil rights laws. For further information, I may be reached at 305.538.6800 or bruce.coane@gmail.com.

     
  • Coane and Associates,PLLC 4:56 pm on December 28, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , ,   

    Pollo Tropical sued for Sex Discrimination and Retaliation-Company Claims Fired for Serving Expired Chicken 

    This has been a busy month at our law firm, filing employment discrimination lawsuits. A little over a week ago, I filed a lawsuit on behalf of my client against his former employer, Pollo Tropical. The lawsuit states that my client was discriminated against because of his sex and fired in retaliation for complaining about it.

    My client worked as a General Manager of a Pollo Tropical store in Pearland, Texas. While all seemed to be going well with his job performance and while recent store audits scored over 90%, my client states that he noticed that female managers were getting reviews and raises but he was getting neither. When he complained to Angel Cortes his District Manager and then to Chad Brown in the HR department, it is alleged that they made excuses but did not take any steps to equalize the situation.

    Instead of treating my client with the same level of fairness by giving him a review and a raise, the company, through Cortes, chose to fire him, the lawsuit alleges.  When my client asked Angel Cortes why he was fired, Cortes says it was due to policy violations, according to the lawsuit.

    When my client of this Houston Employment Lawyer and Miami Employment Lawyer confronted Mr. Brown about his termination, Brown says that he was fired “for changing the dates and labels of raw marinated expired chicken and thereby serving expired chicken to customers of Pollo Tropical,” according to the lawsuit. My client was aghast at such an allegation and denies that he did any such thing. If Pollo Tropical was serving expired chicken to its customers, my client denies having any knowledge of it, and says that the company was making up a reason to fire him in retaliation for complaining about discrimination.

    The lawsuit is pending in the U.S.District Court for the Southern District of Texas, and the first hearing will be coming up in April of 2018. A jury trial is likely to be scheduled for sometime in 2019.

    For further information, I may be reached at 713.850.0066 or 305.538.6800, or by email at bruce.coane@gmail.com

     

     

     
  • Coane and Associates,PLLC 4:05 pm on December 26, 2017 Permalink | Reply  

    Home Depot Sued for Job Harassment and Discrimination 

    Our law firm filed a lawsuit last week on behalf of our client, and against Home Depot. The federal court lawsuit alleges job harassment because of our client’s race, national origin and age.

    Our client, age 62, was a happy employee of Home Depot for over 20 years. The staff at Home Depot enjoyed working  with our client and all was well until our client transferred to the Little York store in Houston. There, his store manager was Thomas Willtrout, and that is when the problems began.

    In his lawsuit, our client alleges that Thomas Willtrout, his store manager, told him that he was “old and slow,” and that he “did not know anything about technology.” In addition, Willtrout, who is white, allegedly made fun of our client’s Indian-Carribean accent in front of customers and co-workers. Further, it is alleged that Willtrout would pretend that he could not understand our client whenever he spoke to Willtrout.

    Our client also states that when he asked Willtrout to stop harassing him and making fun of him because of his age and national origin, that Willtrout said, “I’m the f***ing manager, I can do what I want.”

    Following that exchange, our client states that he complained about the discrimination to Mervin Alphonse (District Manager) and Pamela Holland in Human Resources. They apparently initiated an investigation, but Willtrout remained as our client’s manager.

    In May of 2016, our client states that Willtrout confronted him about the complaint to HR and told our client that he is “unhappy about that.” The following month, Willtrout gave our client a written warning, and in August of 2016, Willtrout fired our client, allegedly in retaliation for his complaint to HR and the District Manager. His 20+ years at Home Depot came to a very sad end.

    The lawsuit is currently pending in U.S. District Court in Galveston, with the first hearing set for April 12 of next year. This Houston employment lawyer is representing the worker in his case against Home Depot.

    For further information, I may be contacted at bruce.coane@gmail.com or at 713.850.0066 or 305.538.6800.

     

     
    • Helen Surovek 2:36 pm on December 27, 2017 Permalink | Reply

      Simply another “ME TOO!” of another category. Outrageous! I LOVE impersonating accents of people I meet in good hearted fun when we can all share a laugh. NOT impersonation for ridicule. A MAJOR difference. As a Manager, one, in my humble opinion, is not a co-worker, per se. Another dimension of co-working authority. Again, in my humble opinion, this is disgraceful! My grandparents had a thick Eastern European accent. As children we were always teaching them the proper pronunciations of certain misspoken words as well as helping them with their cursive and spelling. Simply translated: learning. NO making fun! NOT ALLOWED!
      TO have and use the authority to FIRE someone for exercising their right to report this ‘discriminating’ behaviour to HR is OUTRAGEOUS! Does it not go against the very right of an employee to have a reporting process? If not, WHY HAVE AN HR DEPT at all? Is HR there for compliance only. No true reason, just to exist?
      The person that should be in the line of the fire is the manager that exercised his right to fire. This is an unjust treatment of an otherwise stellar employee of 20 years within the same company. To be told ” old and slow” as well as citing ‘knowing nothing about technology” is also more than inappropriate. Have a learning session with the “old” as they do with the ‘young.’ I’m betting there are systems in place that MUST be learned?
      And…disgraceful to spout “I am the f…… manager. I can do what I want.”
      First of all, the language is unacceptable from ANYONE, especially Management! The culture of Management being able to do ‘what they want’ is NOW scrutinized, as it should be.
      Please have Home Depot accountable. Shameful they are so large HD cannot truly manage and govern their management. Shameful!

    • Coane and Associates,PLLC 5:23 pm on December 29, 2017 Permalink | Reply

      Thank you for sharing your insights and thoughts.

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