University of Texas Professor Wins $3M Pregnancy Discrimination Lawsuit

Professor Pregnancy Discrimination News

University of Texas at Austin engineering professor, Evdokia Nikolova, has been awarded $3 million by a jury for being discriminated against based on sex and pregnancy when she applied for tenure. 

Nikolova had worked for nearly five years at UT-Austin and two years at Texas A&M University, when she applied for tenure for the 2018-2019 academic year. Despite being unanimously approved for tenure by the School of Engineering, UT-Austin dean of engineering school Sharon Wood denied her tenure stating that Nikolova did not have the seven requisite years of teaching, which professors typically have when requesting tenure.

Wood argued that Nikolova was making the request too early because she had taken a “probationary extension” and ”modified instructional duty” for pregnancy and childbirth during 2015-2016 and therefore had not yet met the seven years.

Under various state laws like California’s Fair Employment and Housing Act, employees cannot be punished for taking pregnancy or medical/disability leave.  

Nikolova filed the lawsuit against UT-Austin in 2019. The lawsuit showed how there continues to be discrimination against women and mothers in the workplace. Evidence showed that since Nikolova’s first university interview, nine male professors had received tenure while both women who applied for tenure during the same period were denied. The lawsuit also highlighted the importance of pointing out discrimination in influential institutions like UT-Austin, as it deters other institutions from thinking that discrimination can go unchecked.

The University denied any unfair treatment of Nikolova, but stated it will look to improve processes and implement steps to comply with the verdict.

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Man Awarded $450K After Workplace Birthday Party Panic Attack Leads to Termination

Disability Discrimination News

Kevin Berling was awarded $300,000 for emotional distress and $150,000 in lost wages for a disability discrimination case in late March after a two day trial in Kenton County, Kentucky.

Berling sued his employer, Gravity Diagnostics after the company threw him a birthday party against his request that the company not celebrate his birthday because it would cause him immense stress.

Berling suffers from anxiety disorders and panic attacks. He worked at Gravity Diagnostics for approximately 10 months, when he requested that the company not celebrate his birthday as it normally does for its employees. Berling told his supervisor that a birthday celebration would be a stressful trigger of bad childhood memories surrounding his parents’ divorce. The lawsuit outlines that the office manager ends up forgetting his request and the party is still held for Berling. As a result, Berling suffers a panic attack and leaves.

The next day, Berling is called into a meeting with his bosses where he suffers another panic attack when his supervisor chastised him for “stealing his co-workers” joy and for “being a little girl.” The company then fires Berling saying that they were worried about him being angry and violent. 

As part of the lawsuit, Berling claimed the company discriminated against him based on his disability, and retaliated against him for requesting a reasonable accommodation for his disability. The jury returned the verdict after two days in trial and awarded Berling a $450,000 win. 

The company continues to deny liability and is pursuing port-trial options. The company’s founder and COO, Julie Brazil, stated that the verdict sets a dangerous precedent in which workplace violence will be tolerated unless physical violence occurs, and stated that her employees were the victims, not Berling. The jury didn’t seem to agree with Brazil once they got to meet Berling at trial and saw that the company’s claim that he posed a threat was more of an exaggeration.

Employers must accommodate their employee’s disabilities and cannot terminate someone based on a protected category such as a disability or medical condition.  Further, the law prohibits harassment of an employee based on medical condition or disability. 

If you believe you have been wrongfully terminated, retaliated or discriminated against based on a protected category such as a physical or mental disability, or medical condition, give us a call at 310-400-5891 for your free intake.

Learn more about Disability Harassment / Disability Discrimination Law

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Shirazi Law Firm Announced as a Top Los Angeles Employment Law Firm by UpCity! 

Shirazi Law Firm is announced as Top Employment and Labor Law Firm in Los Angeles and Nationally according to upcity

Shirazi Law Firm is thrilled to officially announce that we have been recognized as one of the top employment and labor law firms in Los Angeles and nationally by UpCity! 

From wrongful termination to discrimination to harassment, we handle all types of employment law cases. We have helped past clients achieve significant results against some of the world’s biggest companies, ensuring that California’s workers are never taken advantage of. This is only one reason our Los Angeles-based firm has been recognized by UpCity as not only one of the best employment and labor law firms in Southern California but also nationally in the United States

UpCity is a resource that helps connect businesses to service providers they can trust. With more than 70,000 listed providers—from marketing agencies to accounting firms to HR consultants to IT specialists, and many more—2 million businesses (and counting) have visited UpCity to research and identify the best partner for their needs. 

Dan Olson, CEO of UpCity, had this to say about the Shirazi Law Firm team: 

“When it comes to labor and employment cases, you need the right attorney behind you. The Shirazi Law Firm has proven time and time again that they’re one of the best employment law firms in California and the country as a whole.” – Dan Olson, CEO, UpCity 

This recognition has been driven in large part by our perfect 5-star UpCity review rating Here are a few of our favorite pieces of feedback we’ve received from our amazing customers: 

· “I could not have hired a better pregnancy discrimination lawyer than Emanuel Shirazi and team. Mr. Shirazi’s skill, passion, heart, patience and tenacity led to me getting an amazing 7 figure result. If you are looking for an employment lawyer in Los Angeles or anywhere in Socal, he is your guy hands down 100%” – Julie Vas 

· “Emmanuel did an amazing job on my case! He was very involved and communicated throughout the entire process. He made sure I was comfortable with the decisions and negotiated the best results! I have already recommended two of my friends to him. You are making the right choice choosing Shirazi Law Firm!” 

We’d like to thank UpCity for recognizing us with this tremendous honor. It’s truly incredible to be amongst such incredible firms in the UpCity community.

 

Learn More About Shirazi Law Firm’s Owner and Attorney Emanuel Shirazi

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Whistleblowing – Case Example

Whistleblower Employment Lawyer

Patty was a wonderful professional who performed her job exceptionally. Patty had complained to her Employer about fraud that was being committed by her boss in violation of the USA Patriot Act. Instead of taking action to address the fraud, the company let the fraud continue unabated. Moreover, management retaliated against Patty by bullying and intimidating her and telling her to look the other way on financial crimes. 

When Patty had to take a medical leave of absence due to a serious medical condition affecting her day-to-day life, management retaliated by not accommodating and instead terminating her employment before she was fully released to work by her doctor. 

Patty’s employer discriminated against her by terminating her employment because of her disability and in retaliation for exercising her rights under the California Fair Employment and Housing Act (“FEHA”) and California Labor Code. 

If you suspect that you have been retaliated against or wrongfully terminated for making complaints of illegal activity, or because of your disability or medical condition, give us a call at 310-400-5891 for your free intake.

Learn more about Whistleblowing Law / Disability & Medical Leave Law in California

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Pregnancy & Disability Leave – Case Example

Pregnancy / Disability Leave

Dalia is a young woman who had consistently performed well at her job. Dalia became pregnant and took a pregnancy leave because of her medical condition. She regularly kept in contact with her employer at all times. She provided doctor’s notes to her employer that she was disabled because she suffered from post-partum depression.

But, out of nowhere, Dalia was suddenly and callously fired the day before her one year work anniversary.  Her employer thought that by terminating her before her 1 year work anniversary, they would be home free to terminate her because California’s Family Rights Act would not apply.  But, they failed to realize that she was protected from their discrimination by other California laws, including the Fair Employment and Housing Act.  

Dalia’s employer unlawfully used her pregnancy and medical condition against her, and terminated her employment to avoid dealing with her medical and parental needs.

If you believe you have been wrongfully terminated based on a protected category such as pregnancy, disability, or a medical condition, or been denied medical leave, give us a call at 310-400-5891 for your free confidential consultation.  

Learn more about Medical Leave / Disability Law

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Disability Discrimination – Medical Leave & Retaliation

Medical Leave / Disability Discrimination and Retaliation

AC is a wonderful professional with a unique talent in her field. She went on a medical leave of absence due to a temporary medical condition.  She returned to work with minor work restrictions. Her employer’s refusal to accommodate AC’s work restrictions forced her on to another disability leave. Upon returning to work from her second medical leave, AC was suddenly terminated. 

AC complained verbally and in writing multiple times to management about their illegal conduct. But, instead of fixing the issues, her employer let them continue and retaliated against her. Her boss retaliated against her by issuing a false performance warning and terminating her employment shortly after AC returned from leave.

AC’s employer failed to engage in the interactive process, failed to offer a reasonable accommodation, and engaged in illegal disability discrimination and retaliation.

If you have been harassed, discriminated, or retaliated against based on a protected category such as a medical condition or disability, give us a call at 310-400-5891 for your free intake.

Learn more about Medical Condition / Disability Discrimination Law

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Disability / Medical Condition – Termination for taking too much Medical Leave

Disability / Medical Condition; Termination for taking too much Medical Leave

Michael is a hard working Los Angeles native who brought a strong passion to his field of work. Michael performed his duties with excellence and was very well liked by co-workers, clients, and supervisors.  

Michael was diagnosed with COVID and he required medical leave.  Unfortunately, his symptoms were severe and long term so his medical leave was extended several months.  

Michael provided all requested medical leave of absence documentation from his doctors. In response, Michael’s employer told him that he would be fired if he did not cut his leave early and come back a few days before his doctor stated he could return.  Michael could not return and was summarily fired because his employer would not wait a few more days for him to heal.

Michael was fired because his Employer had an illegal 6 month maximum leave policy.  Maximum medical/disability leave policies are illegal in California.  

If you or someone you know has been fired or mistreated because of their disability or fired while on disability leave, please contact us at 310-400-5891 for a free confidential consultation.

Learn more about Medical Leave / Disability Law

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Medical / Disability Leave & Failure to Provide Reasonable Accommodation

Diane Case Example: Medical Leave/Disability & Failure to Provide Reasonable Accommodation

Diane—a Southern California native–was a top performing employee who needed time off due to a temporary mental/emotional disability. 

Her employer refused to grant the limited reasonable accommodation and just summarily fired Diane in direct violation of the FEHA and with no interactive process. 

Diane was in constant contact with her Employer and provided them all medical notes they asked for in a timely manner. Before that, HR gave her a very hard time and played games with her FMLA leave request.  Diane’s employer forced her to cut her medical leave short and come back early or lose her job. Then they changed her work schedule when she came back to work.  Three times she requested the same schedule as before her leave as an accommodation so she could attend her mental health treatment program. Her employer refused.  

During her second medical leave she was wrongfully terminated before her last medical note was set to expire. She was told that she was terminated because her FMLA leave was exhausted as of 3 months before and was on an “unprotected” leave of absence since then.

Such terminations are illegal.  Even if an employee’s 12 weeks of CFRA/FMLA leave are exhausted, employees are still entitled to additional leave as a reasonable accommodation under California’s Fair Employment and Housing Act. 

If you believe you have been harassed, discriminated against, or wrongfully terminated based on a protected category such as physical or mental disability or medical condition, give us a call at 310-400-5891 for your free intake.

Learn more about Medical Leave / Disability Law

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Disability and Medical Leave at Work in Los Angeles

Today I want to talk about disability and medical leaves at work. Under California law, disability is any serious medical condition and can be temporary, as long as it’s not something trivial like a cold or a sore throat.

Disability and medical leave violations are one of the most common issues we handle such as when an employer fires an employee while they’re on disability, medical or pregnancy leave because:

  • They ran out of FMLA.
  • Don’t qualify for FMLA.
  • Ask for too much time off.
  • Don’t have a set in stone return to work date.
  • The employer says they can’t meet the accommodations request.

In California this is likely illegal if they have five or more employees. A thorough discussion is also required by the employer with the employee to determine if a reasonable accommodation is possible such as time off, change in position, and change in hours. Also – you don’t have to be a hundred percent healed in order to be allowed back to work.

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Shirazi Law Firm, PC

Shirazi Law Firm, PC

1875 Century Park East,
Suite 1025,
Los Angeles, CA 90067

Phone: 310 400 5891
Fax: 888 908 7359