Sexual Harassment Case Settles For $3.5 Million

The U.S. District Court has approved a settlement between Alorica, Inc. and the United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) for $3.5 million to resolve a sexual harassment lawsuit. According to the EEOC, the company subjected male and female customer service employees to harassment, including a sexually hostile work environment, by managers and coworkers. The EEOC also alleged that the onsite human resources staff did not properly address the harassment despite repeated complaints by employees. The $3.5 million will be distributed among the class members from the company’s Fresno and Clovis, California facilities.

Read more about this case here.

New CA Law Requires Women On A Board Of Directors

On September 30, 2018, Governor Brown signed SB 826, which requires that by 2020, a domestic general corporation or foreign corporation that is a publicly held corporation, whose principal executive offices are located in California, must have a minimum of one female on its board of directors. By the end of the 2021 calendar year, the new law requires an increase in the required minimum number to 2 female directors if the corporation has 5 directors or to 3 female directors if the corporation has 6 or more directors. Read more about the new law here.

New Law Broadens Scope of Required Sexual Harassment Training

On September 30, 2018, Governor Brown signed into legislation SB 1343, which requires all employers with 5 or more employees, including temporary or seasonal employees, to provide at least 2 hours of sexual harassment training to all supervisory employees and at least one hour of sexual harassment training to all nonsupervisory employees by January 1, 2020, and once every 2 years thereafter. The bill also requires the Department of Fair Employment and Housing to develop or obtain 1-hour and 2-hour online training courses on the prevention of sexual harassment in the workplace, and to post the courses on the department’s Internet Web site.

Read more about AB 1343 here.

9th Circuit Rules For Uber In Misclassification Case

In a major victory for Uber Technologies, Inc., the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeal reversed a lower court’s ruling, which held that a lawsuit filed by current and former drivers could proceed as a class action. In finding for Uber, the Ninth Circuit ruled that the claims against Uber for misclassifying their drivers as independent contractors must be filed individually as opposed to a class action, thereby dramatically reducing the value of these claims. The Uber drivers alleged that Uber misclassified them as independent contractors, thereby denying the drivers reimbursements, tips, and other protections required for employees. Although the drivers had filed a class action against Uber, they had signed an arbitration agreement that included a class waiver. However, the lower court held that the arbitration agreement was unenforceable, and thus ruled that the case could proceed as a class action. Uber then appealed, and the Ninth Circuit ruled that “[a]s the class certification by the district court was premised on the district court’s determination that the arbitration agreements were unenforceable, the class certification must also be reversed.”  This decision highlights the importance of employers including mandatory arbitration agreements (which have a class waiver) as part of their workplace policies.

For any questions about implementing an arbitration agreement that contains a class waiver for your workplace,  please give us a call at Toll Free 1-562-888-0126 or email for more information.

Read the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeal’s decision here.

Content Moderator Claims PTSD From Reviewing Images Posted On Facebook

A former Facebook content moderator, Selena Scola, is suing Facebook alleging that she developed Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) from reviewing disturbing material on a daily basis as part of her job duties.

Scola worked at Facebook from June 2017 until March 2018. She alleges that as part of her job, she witnessed thousands of acts of extreme and graphic violence.” As a content moderator, Scola enforced the social network’s rules prohibiting certain types of content on its systems. Scola alleges that she developed PTSD “as a result of constant and unmitigated exposure to highly toxic and extremely disturbing images at the workplace.” Facebook hired Scola through a third-party contracting company, Pro Unlimited. The complaint also charges the Boca Raton, Fla.-based contracting company with violating California workplace safety standards.

Facebook relies on thousands of moderators and A.I. to determine whether posts violate its rules against violence, hate speech, child exploitation, nudity and disinformation. The Company will be hiring another 20,000 globally. Scola’s lawsuit also demands that Facebook and its third-party outsourcing companies provide content moderators with proper mandatory on-site and ongoing mental health treatment and support, and establish a medical monitoring fund for testing and providing mental health treatment to former and current moderators.

Companies with content moderators will need to consider safety measures to ensure safe working conditions for these employees, although workers’ compensation insurance coverage is intended to cover workplace injuries such as PTSD. It is interesting to note that this lawsuit was filed in superior court as opposed to the Workers’ Compensation Appeals Board. For any questions about setting up a workplace safety program, please give us a call at Toll Free 1-562-888-0126 or email for more information.

To view the full article from Washington Post By Elizabeth Dwoskin, posted on September 24, 2018, click here.