Ms. Forootan serves as counsel for employees, employers, and individuals in employment litigation in cases involving discrimination, harassment, retaliation, equal pay, wrongful termination, wage and hour, whistleblowing, and other related employment issues. She serves as counsel on cases throughout California.
Ms. Forootan’s litigation experience includes the following types of cases:
Sexual Harassment and Hostile Work Environment – California’s Fair Employment and Housing Act (“FEHA”), California Government Code Section 12940, protects employees from discrimination based on gender, which includes sexual harassment. Generally, the two categories of harassment are “quid pro quo” and “hostile work environment.” The former typically occurs when an employer such as a supervisor or manager conditions a job benefit (such as a raise or a promotion) to a sexual conduct. Hostile work environment harassment occurs where the sexual misconduct creates an intimidating, hostile, or offensive working environment that alters the conditions of employment.
Race, Age, Disability, or Other Protected Category Harassment – Disability harassment refers to unfavorable treatment or harassment of employees with a physical or mental disability. Racial or age-based harassment could include unwelcome comments and actions about a person based on race or age. There are several other protected categories in the workplace as well including sexual orientation, marital status, and veteran status. Subtle and overt harassment could include inappropriate jokes, excluding the employee from certain work-related functions, or making incorrect assumptions about the employee.
Disability and Medical Leave Discrimination and Accommodation – Employees with disabilities and employees perceived as disabled are protected under California law. Employers may not fire, refuse to hire, or demote an employee based on a disability and they are required to engage in good faith efforts to provide reasonable accommodations in the workplace. Also, various laws apply with respect to medical leaves that employers must abide by, such as the California Family Rights Act, Pregnancy Disability Leave, Healthy Workplaces, Healthy Families Act (Sick Leave), among others.
Race, Sex, Age, Religion, Sexual Orientation, and Other Discrimination – Employers may not discriminate by taking adverse employment action against employees based on any protected category such as race, sex, age, religion, sexual orientation, ethnicity, etc. Direct and indirect evidence can prove that a person is treated illegally in the workplace based on a protected category.
Retaliation for Reporting Complaints of Harassment and Discrimination and
Whistleblower Retaliation for Reporting Legal Violations – Employers may not retaliate by taking adverse employment action such as firing or demoting an employee for making complaints of suspected legal violations or for complaining about harassment and discrimination.
Failure to Prevent Discrimination, Harassment, or Retaliation – California employers must take all reasonable steps to prevent discrimination, harassment, and retaliation from occurring in the workplace. Not only does this include establishing appropriate policies and procedures, but also adequately implementing them, training the workforce, and taking prompt and effective corrective action when appropriate.
Discrimination Based on Criminal History – The Fair Chance Act (“Ban the Box” law) aims to reduce barriers to employment for individuals with criminal histories. This law generally prohibits employers with five or more employees from asking a job candidate about conviction history before making a job offer, among other requirements. Applicants and employees who suffered a Ban the Box violation may pursue legal claims against their employer or potential employer for penalties and damages.
Wrongful Termination of Employment – An employee who is wrongfully terminated in violation of public policy may sue for damages under tort law. This claim is usually asserted in addition to various other FEHA claims.
Wage, Hour, and Overtime Disputes (Private Attorneys General Act “PAGA” and Class Action), Including Meal and Rest Period Cases and Misclassification Cases – Class and representative actions are where a large number of employees with the same or similar grievances against their employer sue their employer collectively as a group. These claims often involve alleged failure to provide meal or rest breaks, failure to reimburse employees for business expenses, misclassifying employees as exempt instead non-exempt, and similar claims.