Academia is known as an exclusive community, with many departments dominated by white men with doctorates. As such, academic workplace environments can be fraught with hostile work environments and other problems, even though their denizens are ostensibly educated, professional employees. A highly respected Hollywood actress is suing a California college after she was reportedly the subject of discrimination because of her race and gender. The woman, Alma Martinez, is well-known as a stage and film actress, with notable roles in the film and play “Zoot Suit.” She is seeking compensation for wrongful termination after she was denied tenure at Pomona College, which she says discriminates against women and Latinos.

The woman’s case is being supported by the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund (MALDEF). This case is not just about the actress, though, according to her legal team; rather, it represents the struggles endured by scores of Hispanic women throughout the nation. Martinez has been an inspiration for scores of these women. When the students see their qualified teachers being denied tenure because of demographic traits, they are less likely to pursue a career in the academic sphere. This robs all of us from the important cultural and scientific contributions that could result from their employment in academia.

The suit seeks to expose discriminatory practices throughout the nation’s education system. Martinez says she was approved to advance to an associate professor status with tenure, having met the requirements and received a recommendation. Still, she was not permitted to join the permanent faculty of the institution. Martinez is seeking unspecified damages in the case, but she also wants to be rehired at the school so she can make a difference in students’ lives.Martinez was a Fulbright Scholar who holds a doctorate from Stanford University and a master’s degree from the University of Southern California.

Source:, “Alma Martinez sues Pomona College for alleged discrimination” Tony Castro, Aug. 23, 2013


Spas are becoming ubiquitous throughout the United States. In California and elsewhere, more members of the general public have access to waxing, facials, massage and other treatments than ever before. With this increased access, however, comes the potential for additional lawsuits, some of which are related to employment law. One woman from Western Pennsylvania, for example, is filing a wrongful termination suit because she was fired after refusing to undergo a Brazilian wax. The suit was filed in federal court in late June.

The woman, age 35, was undergoing training at the local European Wax Center at the time of the incident, which occurred in October. The employees of the center were required to demonstrate the Brazilian technique of waxing on each other in order to ensure job competency. While the woman had no problem performing the wax, she refused to receive the treatment, which is admittedly invasive. Brazilian waxes involve the complete removal of hair from the female genital region. The woman was unaware she would be required to receive the service, according to the suit.

The woman and her attorney have filed wrongful termination and gender discrimination claims; only women were required to participate in the activity. The woman was not only required to participate in an invasive procedure as part of her job, but she was also called upon to expose her genitals to her coworkers, according to her attorney. It is clearly not necessary to receive a Brazilian wax in order to know how to perform such a task, according to the claim.

Many of the other women were also reportedly very uncomfortable with the procedure, but they did not outright refuse. Instead, they opted to tell trainers they were menstruating.

Employers obviously cannot force their workers to expose themselves to coworkers. In this case, the woman could receive financial compensation for lost wages, along with other claims such as emotional distress. She has taken the right first step by soliciting the assistance of a qualified employment attorney.

Source:, “Spa Worker Says She Was Fired For Refusing Brazilian Wax As Part Of Training” Dave Jamieson, Jul. 01, 2013


Two former coaches at a Major League Soccer (MLS) franchise in California are suing the team for wrongful termination after they were allegedly fired because of their race. The men claim their employment was terminated because they are not Latino, even though they are former pros who had been on the U.S. national team. The men filed their suit in Los Angeles County in late May.

Official reports show the pair is seeking compensation for discrimination, wrongful termination and retaliation. The team reportedly fired them for unprofessional behavior that led to an unsafe working environment, according to official documents.

The two coaches were employed by Chivas USA in the player development program, also known as an academy. They allege the team’s owner, who hails from Mexico, had enacted a Latino-only hiring system. The two coaches, both white, said the team owner carried over this discriminatory policy from his tenure as the leader at a team in Guadalajara, Mexico.

In an example of the discriminatory practices, one of the coaches relayed a story about the owner asking who could speak Spanish during a staff meeting. The group that could not speak Spanish appeared to be targeted after that, as other staff members conversed and gave directions to players in Spanish.

So far, the Los Angeles-based team has not issued an official statement about the pending suit. A co-defendant in the matter, a Texas-based human resources company, has also remained tight-lipped in relation to the legal action. The HR firm is under fire for failing to act after the two men filed formal complaints.

Scores of Californians face retaliation and wrongful termination each year. If you have been victimized by your employer, you do not have to suffer in silence. Consider seeking the assistance of a qualified employment attorney to help you learn more about your legal options. Your attorney could help you get the money you need and deserve after illegal employment actions.

Source:, “2 coaches of Chivas USA allege team fired them for not being Latino” Michael Martinez & Jaqueline Hurtado, May. 30, 2013


Former workers at the Lawrence Livermore Laboratory in California are alleging wrongful termination after they were fired for a variety of reasons. The group of 130 former employees at the national security facility, headed by Bechtel and the University of California, is seeking compensation for wrongful termination and breach of contract. Restitution sought in the case includes financial retribution for the loss of employment and income. The suit comes in the wake of a massive layoff spree in 2009 that left 430 lab workers without work.

Attorneys for the affected employees argue that the workers were protected by contractual provisions that prohibited their termination. Employees were let go because of their age, experience and income among other factors, according to the complaint. The Department of Energy maintains that many positions were eliminated because the laboratory was moving away from nuclear weapons research; as a result, employees’ services were simply no longer needed.

Seniority rules were clearly breached during the layoffs, however, with several experienced employees being displaced in favor of younger workers. One woman with 38 years of experience was ousted to make room for an employee with just over a year in the same position. The suit was allowed to proceed to trial because a judge found evidence that the layoffs unfairly targeted employees older than 40; the average age of terminated workers was 54, according to analyses.

The suit, which went to jury trial on March 11, ultimately seeks to determine whether supervisors at the facility violated contractual agreements with the employees. The workers in this case are seeking financial compensation for discrimination, emotional distress, breach of contract and retaliation, among other claims.

Employees who think they have been unfairly fired from their jobs because of their age do have recourse against their employers under existing California law. An attorney who specializes in employment discrimination would be able to provide advice and representation in a civil case against an employer who violated federal or state employment laws.

Source:, “Former Livermore lab workers say they were laid off due to age, income, other issues,” Jeremy Thomas, April 9, 2013


A woman who was employed by the Carmelo School has filed a wrongful terminationsuit against the organization and the area school district, claiming that she was not accommodated as a new mother and was fired for pumping breast milk. The woman has not announced how much money she is seeking in connection with the incidents, during which administrators told her that she was not permitted to pump her breast milk.

The woman claims that she was prevented from pumping, despite asking for only 15 minutes’ break time between 9 and 11 a.m., according to the complaint. She told her manager at the Child Development Center that she would require the short break, but the manager reportedly refused to grant her the time off each day. The manager essentially told the woman that she would have to prevent her breasts from producing milk from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. each day, because she was required to work the entire shift.

As a result, the woman was unable to pump as required by her physician, and the baby’s pediatrician noticed that the child was not gaining weight as expected.

The woman says that she complied with the rules for a short time, but she contacted the group’s human resources department after consulting with her physician. HR representatives told the woman that accommodations would be made to provide her with a private pumping area, but those changes never materialized. The woman was instead left to find her own pumping area with little privacy.

The woman also claims that she received a poor performance rating because she asked for time and space to pump. During her first performance assessment, she had met all 23 work-related performance measures, but she only met 14 during the second assessment, just months later. She was then pushed to resign, and she was told that her two-year employment contract would not be renewed.

Legal documents show that she is suing for wrongful termination, retaliation, intentionally inflicting emotional distress and a variety of other claims.

Source: Monterey County Herald, “Ex-Carmel teacher claims discrimination over breast feeding in lawsuit,” Claudia Melendez Salinas, Nov. 13, 2012.


A scientist has filed a civil suit against NASA’s California-based Jet Propulsion Laboratory claiming that his wrongful termination was based on discrimination for his religious orientation. The opening arguments kicked off in court just recently. The plaintiff in the case is a man that spent 15 years on a project called the Cassini Mission. This was a space exploration project by NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory. The man claims that he was terminated for his belief in intelligent design.

The Jet Propulsion Laboratory contends that it did not punish the man for his religious ideas, rather, for creating a hostile environment while expressing his views with co-workers.

The suit details that the man brought DVDs into work and distributed them to his co-workers. These DVDs contained documentaries that provided biological and cosmological explanations for the theory of intelligent design. This theory states that the universe is so complex that an intelligent entity had to play a part in its creation. Intelligent design also argues that the theory of evolution is insufficient.

The ousted man said in court that he never forced his co-workers to accept his views on intelligent design.

The man’s supervisor confronted him on March 2009, telling him that he received complaints from co-workers. The co-workers had told the advisor that the man was harassing them with debates over the religious issue and forcing them to watch the DVDs. The supervisor allegedly warned the man that if he did not stop talking with colleagues about politics or religion, he would be fired.

The plaintiff said that this meeting was filled with hostility and the supervisor told him intelligent design was considered religion. The man argued that the meeting was a form of harassment.

A spokeswoman for the Jet Propulsion Lab claimed that the lawsuit carried no merit and that it planned to fight the claims in court. JPL also said the man was among 246 employees that were laid off due to downsizing efforts.

Source:, “Terminated employee claims bias against intelligent design,” Stan Wilson, March 13, 2012


Discrimination can come in many forms, whether it is based on race, gender, age or sexual preference. A recent case involving disability discrimination has come to a fortunate end. A disabled juvenile hall corrections officer recently won a lawsuit against Orange County after claiming that he faced disability discrimination, retaliation and failure to prevent harassment.

The officer was born with a deformity of the right hand where the hand lacked fingers and a thumb. Due to his disability, he often kept his hand in his pocket because he was self-conscious about the matter.

The officer claimed that in 2006, one of his coworkers posted on a blog that he is offering other workers $100 if they get a photograph of the officer’s hand. Other officers called the man “one arm bandit” and “rat claw boy” on the website as well. His coworkers also considered the officer a “rat” because he reported their unfair treatment of inmates.

The county claimed the postings were anonymous and that they did not approve the blog, but the court pointed out that the blog was being accessed using workplace computers. The county also claimed the harassment was not severe enough to meet requirements. The court disagreed; saying the county complete ignored other conduct, such as “the incidents where employees put their right hands in their pockets, the scrawling of ‘the claw’ on plaintiff’s (work) cart and elsewhere, the occasions when plaintiff was ignored, and the like.”

The officer was awarded more than $280,000 to cover medical expenses, mental distress and lost earnings.

Source: Business Insurance, “Employer liable for employee’s disability harassment by co-workers: Court,” Roberto Ceniceros, Feb. 10, 2012


When a person is seeking the help of a firefighter or emergency service worker, their only concern is the ability of the person reporting to assist them, not whether they are a man or woman. One California woman, who sought to be a firefighter and paramedic in Carlsbad, was terminated because she is a woman in a male-dominated profession. The woman is now seeking money from the city for the discrimination she faced.

The woman was thrilled by the opportunity to become a firefighter. In fact, she completed her training with tremendous success. As a trainee, she was serving as a firefighter on a probationary basis. When she received a termination notice shortly before her probation period ended, she was baffled.

Without any indication why she was being let go, the woman determined that the only reason was because she is a woman. Under the instructions of her union representative, she signed the termination notice.

Not only does she believe she was terminated because of her gender, but she also experienced sexual harassment while on the job. She recalled an instance involving one of her superiors. The man made lewd comments to her while they were at the fire station.

Now, the woman is trying to find justice for her troubles. She has decided to sue the City of Carlsbad because of the discrimination she faced. In light of her termination, she accepted a position that pays only a fraction of what she would have made as a firefighter and paramedic in Carlsbad.

Everyone has a right to feel comfortable at work and fair treatment based on the quality of the work they provide. The case of this emergency service worker is just one example of the terrible things people endure at their place of work. Employers have a duty to make sure their work environment is safe and healthy for everyone employed.

Source: KGTV 10News, “Woman To Sue City Of Carlsbad Over Firefighting Job,” Jan. 24, 2012


History is rife with incidences of discrimination and persecution against women. And while it is now the year 2011, women are still often subject to sexual harassment in the workplace and gender discrimination that can lead to a hostile work environment.

According to a recent news report, a former Oakland Raiders cheerleader has filed a lawsuit in Sacramento for ostracism and gender-based harassment while working as a police officer for the city of Vacaville, California.

A number of allegations surfaced in the lawsuit; among them, the reported statement made by a superior indicating that the former Raiderette should not attempt to exercise in the department and gym because her appearance would draw unwanted attention.

The woman also claims that, on one occasion, a police sergeant requested a show of hands from officers who harbored a desire to see her in the nude. She purportedly suffered similar instances of harassment on a regular basis, the lawsuit alleged.

The woman now seeks $1.5 million from the city of Vacaville, the police chief, a retired police lieutenant and 25 other individuals in the sexual harassment suit.

Reportedly, following a need for modified duty in 2007 (as a result of purportedly deliberate injuries sustained during a tactics training class), the woman denied a request for medical retirement and continued to suffer through a hostile work environment and constant sexual harassment in the workplace.

The woman also claims that she was retaliated against after she complained about the discrimination and sexual harassment when the County District Attorney’s Office filed criminal charges against her for insurance fraud related to a medical claim.

The woman’s legal counsel filed her lawsuit with the U.S. District Court in Sacramento mid-August. It will be interesting to see how this case evolves.

No one should be subjected to discrimination based on sex, age, or otherwise. Individuals who feel they’ve been victim to a hostile work environment because of discrimination or sexual harassment may be entitled to compensation for the pain and suffering they’ve endured.

Source: Times-herald, “Ex-Raiderette sues Vacaville–claims she was harassed as a cop,” Ryan Chalk, Aug 19, 2011


Charges of rampant discrimination rocked the University of California San Diego campus last year. The infamous “Compton Cookout,” where Black History Month was mocked, made headlines all over the country. Additionally, the school has had problems with other racially charged incidents which has lead to heightened tensions on campus.

The university and student representatives ultimately agreed to 19 separate corrective actions, addressing discrimination and seeking to calm the unrest. Among the measures included in what has now become known as the “March 4 agreements” was the creation of a new job at UCSD specifically devoted to raising funds to support diversity programs on campus.

The woman that was hired for that position has now filed a lawsuit against the university, claiming discrimination, retaliation and wrongful termination of her position. She was fired in May, after just 10 months on the job.

Her lawsuit details instances of racial and sexual discrimination within the development department where she worked, including racially insensitive comments about minorities, and derogatory remarks about gays and lesbians. She claims that her department colleagues appeared to have dismissed the significance of the Compton Cookout, as well as the reaction of UCSD students.

Her complaint also describes a confrontation, believed to be the catalyst to her dismissal, with the university chancellor. The altercation occurred during an April committee meeting of a group created to monitor progress of the March 4 agreements.

At that meeting, the woman told the university chancellor that she did not feel that UCSD supported her fundraising efforts, despite the school making a public commitment for improvement and change. She alleges the chancellor interrupted her in mid-sentence in front of the other committee members and said “that’s enough,” “sit down,” and “that’s it.”

The lawsuit alleges a retaliatory discharge, claiming she was fired from her position for speaking up at the meeting with the chancellor. Further, UCSD is accused of treating the position as a false display of intent, with no real interest in actively changing the school’s reputation by supporting the woman’s fundraising efforts. The university would only say it does not comment on pending litigation.

The matter will now proceed to trial, and the university will have to defend itself against the new charges of discrimination and retaliatory firing. Working for an employer who is unsupportive can be difficult. If an employee is fired for vocalizing a disparity in the workplace to an employer, the outcome could be considered a retaliatory action. A California attorney experienced in wrongful termination and discrimination may offer guidance to those seeking to enforce their legal rights.

Source: SignOn San Diego, “Diversity fundraiser sues UCSD over firing,” Pat Flynn, July 27, 2011