Employer Fakes Gruesome Active Shooter Drill Without Telling Anyone, Resulting in Mayhem

Employer Fakes Gruesome Active Shooter Drill Without Telling Anyone, Resulting in Mayhem

John Channels was hired by a real life employer to ambush its Nebraska office building simulating a mass shooting with an assault rifle holding blank cartridges and actors covered in fake blood. However, only two in the building knew of the active shooter drill, which led to a traumatizing show, and ended with Channel’s arrest for terroristic threats.

Catholic Charities, who were new to the building, had ordered an ambush on their building simulating a mass shooting on May 19. This “drill” began with Channels, wearing a dark hoodie and mask, firing blanks into the air and banging on the windows of a conference room from outside of the building. This caused genuinely terrified workers to flee the conference room and stumble on hired actors bleeding fake blood in the hallway.

Employees rushed to the building’s exits and many called 911. The police was not alerted ahead of time about the drill so they responded as if it were a legitimate active shooter incident. Channels was later arrested on five charges of terroristic threats, a separate gun count and was placed on bail at $300,000.

Prosecutors note that Channels was lucky no one was seriously injured. It was also uncovered that Channels had gone around asking ‘’hysterical” employees if they wanted to purchase a gun from him and lessons.

Channels’ attorney pointed out that the hysteria brought on by Channels was ultimately what Catholic Charities had ordered, “be real life-like.” Also, Channels had explained the exercise to the supervisors ahead of time in detail including requesting employees be kept in the dark and they okayed it.

Catholic Charities has denied asking for the drill to be so elaborate and claimed Channels had misrepresented himself and did not follow agreed upon procedures including alerting law enforcement of the drill. Channels, however, apparently did attempt to alert the Omaha police through written notice.

Channels’ attorney plans to depose Catholic Charities’ supervisors to prove Channels wasn’t the mastermind in order to eliminate the terroristic threats charges. Channels was taken into custody before obtaining written proof that Catholic Charities ordered the drill. In the end, Channels not only faces charges for the drill incident but also for allegedly sexually assaulting a girl and for production of child pornography, which he was arrested for in May.

Catholic Charities will also likely face legal liability for the horrendous effect this had to most of its employees.

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Report: Widespread Sexual Harassment and Gender Discrimination at Nintendo of America

Report: Sexual Harassment and Gender Discrimination at Nintendo of America

A new report has revealed another gaming workplace culture brimming with sexual harassment and gender discrimination: Nintendo of America. Through interviews with female employees at Nintendo, Kotaku pulled several reports of harassment by colleagues and pay inequality compared to male counterparts.

One former game tester, Hannah, recounted how she was retaliated against after reporting inappropriate sexual comments by a Nintendo employee in a workplace group chat. After reporting the behavior, she was told to be less outspoken. Hannah also found that she was being paid $3 less than a junior male tester and had an extra difficult time trying to get a pay increase. Hannah was also subject to sexual orientation-based harassment by male colleagues who she rejected advances from, including being told “Oh, you’re a lesbian. That’s kind of sad.”

Other female game testers had similar experiences as Hannah. Some employees spoke of a product testing lead who frequently commented on women’s weight and appearance. Because he was in charge of deciding contractors’ schedules, female testers were forced to endure his harassment.

Another alleged abuser of power, was from a more senior tester, who would stalk another contractor, but when she tried to report him he threatened to fire her. Further, a common complaint, was the lack of advancement and promotion opportunities compared to male counterparts at Nintendo.

Company chief Doug Bowser did not respond to Kotaku’s questioning but did previously address sexual harassment and sexist toxicity reports about Activision Blizzard, calling the accounts distressing and disturbing. Bowser proceeded to say that they ran counter to Nintendo’s values; however, this Kotaku report paints a different picture. The testers who spoke out in the publication are just some of the contractors who have been victim to the harassment, discrimination, and retaliation at Nintendo of America.

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National Origin & Race Discrimination – Case Example

If you have been harassed, discriminated, or retaliated against based on a protected category such as national origin, give our law firm a call at 310-400-5891 for your free confidential consultation

Mari and Claudia are Hispanic and both suffered harassment and discrimination based on their national origin by their employer.

Mari and Claudia were subjected to national-origin based harassment including being told: “Speak English only, I don’t understand Spanish,” and “You are in America, you have to speak English only.” They reported the illegal “English Only” policy but no corrective action was taken.

Mari and Claudia went on to file a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) for harassment and discrimination based on national origin. Right after filing the EEOC complaints, Mari and Claudia’s employment was terminated in retaliation.

California’s Fair Employment and Housing Act prohibits an employer, including any supervisor, from harassing an employee based on national origin. We helped Mari and Claudia get justice for the racial harassment and retaliation they endured.

If you have been harasseddiscriminated, or retaliated against based on a protected category such as race or national origin, give us a call at 310-400-5891 for your free intake.

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Report: Apple Ignored and Retaliated Against Employees’ Complaining of Misconduct and Sexual Assault

Apple Retaliation

A report by The Financial Times has been released about Apple’s toxic culture of apathy and retaliation against employees’ serious complaints of colleague and employer misconduct, including reports of sexual assault. In a company that boasts of its inclusiveness and its boost in diversity, these allegations cast a shadow on the company. 

Multiple women have filed complaints of sexual abuse, bullying and other misconduct. Former employee Megan Mohr complained of a colleague removing her clothes while asleep and taking pictures of her during a platonic night out. In response, Apple HR described the allegations as “reprehensible” and “potentially criminal,” however because the employee did not violate Apple policy, nothing was done in response to Mohr’s complaint. 

Another complaint involved an Apple Store employee complaining about two instances of sexual assault including rape. Instead of listening to her complaints, HR treated her as the problem saying that after the accused individual returned from a 6 month “career experience,” she should be feeling better by the time he returned. After she was denied a transfer request, she was left continuing work at the same store as the accused. 

Another instance of HR ignoring its employees’ concerns was when an Apple IP attorney complained of a “toxic work environment” and “gaslighting” coming from a male vice-president who intended to fire her with false allegations that predated her arrival at Apple. HR reportedly ignored her allegations. 

The report also lists several employees complaining of Apple suppressing worker organizing and blocking message boards used by employees to make complaints of management misconduct and pay inequity. Apple retaliated against one software engineer, Cher Scarlett, after complaining to the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) and had been offered a severance demanding she turn in the NLRB complaint that list other employees’ names. She only accepted after Apple withdrew the demand, but she was forced to pull the complaint. However, after Apple said “it supports employees’ rights to freely speak” to the Securities and Exchange Commission, Scarlett leaked her complaint to the media which led to eight US state treasurers to ask the SEC to investigate Apple. 

A director in the legal department, Jayne Whitt, was reported to have told HR about a colleague who hacked her devices and threatened her life. Instead of taking it seriously, the investigative unit said she acted unprofessionally during their meeting during a time when Whitt was begging for help and reliving trauma. As a result, Whitt posted an essay describing the situation, which prompted an outpour of Apple employees’ support. However, Apple went on to fire her for an irrelevant six-year-old indiscretion, and Whitt now challenges Apple legally after she opened her eyes to the struggle of women in the company—especially with gender-pay disparity

Apple claims it thoroughly investigates misconduct allegations and strives to create an environment open to reporting from employees. However, Apple acknowledged its unmet ideals in some accounts, including those reported by The Financial Times, and admits these complaints should have been handled differently. Apple claims it will accordingly make changes to training and processes.

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Amazon Accused of Systemic Disability Discrimination by New York State Agency

Amazon Disability Discrimination

The New York State Division of Human Rights has accused Amazon of discriminating against pregnant and disabled workers at its worksites.

A complaint was filed by the Agency claiming that Amazon has policies requiring workers to take unpaid leaves of absences even if they are capable of working, instead of providing reasonable accommodations.

The complaint blames Amazon for allowing worksite managers to ignore in-house accommodation consultants who recommend providing modified schedules or job responsibilities.

As per state law, employers are required to provide reasonable accommodations to disabled workers who request them. “Disability” under California law is defined very broadly and can include many temporary medical conditions that can cause people to need time off or changes to their work duties. This includes employees with pregnancy-related medical conditions, which can also be considered disabilities.

In the complaint, Amazon is described to have forced one pregnant worker to continue lifting 25 pounds and put her on indefinite unpaid leave after she got injured. Additionally, it describes Amazon reversing recommendations to modify work schedules for two disabled employees, after the managers resisted the change.

The complaint seeks unspecified civil fines and penalties, which can go up to $50,000 for violations, or $100,000 for willful conduct. The complaint also calls for improved training and new policies for review of requests for reasonable accommodations.

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LAPD Lieutenant wins $4.4 Million in Disability Discrimination Lawsuit

LAPD Lieutenant Disability Discrimination Lawsuit

Veteran LAPD Lieutenant, Lou Vince, has been awarded $4.37 million by a jury in a disability discrimination and retaliation lawsuit against the city of Los Angeles. Vince claimed a supervisor minimized his back issues and that the department had ignored his accommodation requests for light duty to heal.

Before the incidents that lead to Vince filing against the city, Vince had no problems supervisors and had numerous accolades and promotions throughout his career.

In 2008, Vince suffered back injuries as a patrol officer, and shortly after promoting to lieutenant, he underwent spinal fusion surgery in 2015. Upon his return, Vince had medical work restrictions to allow his back to heal. Instead of accommodating Vince’s medical restrictions, his boss was not happy and insisted Vince have them lifted. Vince complied but was unable to work with his full duty belt because of ongoing back problems. Vince was never given a light-duty position as he requested.

When Vince made a disability discrimination complaint, he was then retaliated against with station transfers and job reassignments.

In April 2018, Vince filed a lawsuit alleging disability discrimination, failure to reasonably accommodate and failure to engage in the interactive process. The City Attorney’s Office argued that the LAPD had non-discriminatory and non-retaliatory reasons behind every action against Vince and denied he was retaliated against for complaining.

It is illegal for an employer to retaliate against an employee for making a legally protected complaint to management, HR, or the DFEH / EEOC. Moreover, employers are required to reasonably accommodate employees with a disability or medical condition.

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US Soccer Makes Landmark Deal to Pay Men’s and Women’s National Teams Equally

US Soccer Makes Landmark Deal to Pay Men’s and Women’s National Teams Equally

After a group of top women’s players sued U.S. Soccer for gender discrimination in 2019, US Soccer has announced that they will have new contracts that will pay both women’s and men’s teams equally. This landmark decision will also include splitting World Cup prize money. 

These collective bargaining agreements were made after a decades-long fight by the U.S Women’s National Team (USWNT) for equal pay and fair treatment. 

The women’s national team has been recognized as U.S. Soccer’s most successful team, winning 4 Olympic gold medals and more World Cups than any other country. Contentions over the gender pay gap grew after the women’s consecutive World Cup championships in 2015 and 2019, while the men’s team failed to qualify for the 2018 tournament. 

In 2019, top women’s players sued U.S. Soccer for inequalities in treatment and pay, and won the lawsuit. U.S. Soccer agreed to pay $24 million to settle once a new Collective Bargaining Agreement was made.

As part of the latest bargaining deal, the USWNT will get $7.2 million in this year’s pool and includes a 68 percent increase to $120,000 for what players can earn in this summer’s World Cup qualifying tournament. These agreements run through 2028 and covers two World Cup cycles. 

Unlike the vast disparities in past distributions of FIFA’s prize money, under the new deals, U.S. Soccer will put 90 percent of the prize money from both the men’s and women’s World Cups into a pool for players to split. This is a groundbreaking move for U.S. Soccer as no other federation has gone as far as splitting World Cup prize money. 

Also included under the deals:

1/ U.S. Soccer will share commercial revenues with the players; 

2/ Both Men’s and Women’s games will be played on similar surfaces (grass or turf);

3/ Travel budgets will be comparable and both teams will have equal number of charter flights;

4/ U.S. Soccer agreed to establish protections to prevent harassment and other misconduct such as ability to anonymously report abuse.  More than a half-dozen players accused U.S. Soccer of willful inaction following abuse by coaches;

5/ Expanding parental benefits like childcare to not only USWNT but also for USMNT.

Now that new collective bargaining agreements have been made, the 2019 settlement can be finalized. With the decades long fight now settled, all that is left for the USWNT is to focus on the World Cup!

In many places, including under California law, paying less to one gender for the same work is illegal.  The movement towards gender pay equity is here to stay.  But, for the most part, men and women’s professional sports have not been considered equal.  Think NBA vs. WNBA.  Do you think this precedent will change pay practices in other women’s professional sports?

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LinkedIn Paying $1.8 million in Gender Pay Discrimination Case

LinkedIn to pay $1.8 Million in Pay Discrimination Settlement

As part of a settlement in a gender-based pay discrimination case, LinkedIn is set to pay $1.8 million in back wages to approximately 700 female employees.

The U.S. Labor Department investigators had made a pay discrimination complaint against LinkedIn, the career-networking platform, after a routine compliance evaluation found that from March 2015 to March 2017, LinkedIn failed to comply with equal pay law. The employer had been underpaying about 700 female workers in its San Francisco and Sunnyvale, California offices. The affected women were being paid less than men in comparable job roles in its Engineering, Product, and Marketing Departments.

Though LinkedIn has agreed to settle, the company denies the government’s claims of pay discrimination and insists that their models didn’t identify pay disparities, stating that LinkedIn has paid employees fairly and equitably. LinkedIn officials quote a pay study conducted in 2021 that found female employees earning $.99 for every $1 earned by a male employee, and that in the U.S., employees of color earned the same as White employees.

However, the Labor Department’s analysis found significant pay disparities. Federal laws ban any discriminatory pay practices especially in companies like LinkedIn that contracts with the government. As part of the settlement, LinkedIn is expected to pay $1.8 million in back pay and interest to resolve the violations.

The breakdown will be as follows:
• Sunnyvale Engineering: $719,592 in back pay plus $13,120 in interest
• Sunnyvale Product: $370,974.00 in back pay plus $13,120.00 in interest.
• San Francisco Engineering: $232,448.00 in back pay plus $13,120.00 in interest.
• San Francisco Marketing: $424,506.00 in back pay and $13,120.00 in interest.

LinkedIn also agreed to host a staff-training program to ensure compliance with non-discrimination policy and will evaluate that staff salaries are gender neutral for the next 3 years and make salary adjustments accordingly. LinkedIn will also revise its compensation policies and allow reporting to guarantee compliance with federal contract obligations. The Labor Department hopes these changes ensure LinkedIn understands its obligations as a federal contractor.

In addition to these federal laws, California has strict gender pay equity laws that requires women be paid the same as men for equal work.

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Video Game Giant Activision Blizzard Settles On $18 Million To Victims Of Sexual Harassment And Discrimination

Activision Blizzard Sexual Harassment and Discrimination Lawsuit

Activision Blizzard, a video game company giant, has agreed to settle a workplace discrimination lawsuit filed by the EEOC. The company will pay $18 Million and individuals who were employed after September 2016 that have a harassment, discrimination, or retaliation claim will be eligible at a piece of the settlement.

The EEOC filed the discrimination lawsuit after a three-year investigation initiated by several harassment, discrimination, and retaliation complaints by Activision employees. It found that the company failed to take corrective and preventative measures on sexual misconduct complaints. 

The DFEH alleged that Blizzard Entertainment had a pervasive “frat boy” culture where employees, under management’s instruction, would drunkenly go around the workplace harassing and groping female employees. On top of the rampant pay discrimination, victims of such harassment were punished when they spoke up against the unwanted behavior.

Throughout the investigations it was uncovered that Bobby Kotick, Activision Blizzard CEO, knew for years about the sexual harassment complaints, including alleged rapes, but did not inform the board of directors, even after investigations began in 2018. It wasn’t until September 2021, when he was subpoenaed that the reports of misconduct were disclosed. Afterwards, Activision issued a press release in which they stated that they continue to quickly work at addressing and resolving workplace issues.

Several employees filed sexual harassment lawsuits against Activision. These employees describe a culture of sexual harassment and assault at the company. One current employee disclosed that she was subjected to frequent sexual advances, and another employee was subjected to sexual harassment, battery, and assault by management. When employees spoke up or tried to speak up, they were reprimanded, ridiculed, threatened with retaliation or told that human resources was not going to help. These victims demand from Blizzard an increased settlement amount in excess of $100M as an acceptable apology for the damage endured.

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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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