On August 5, 2015, a federal jury awarded $11.9 million dollars to Danielle Rennenger. It is the first of five sexual harassment lawsuits filed against Toy Quest and affiliated companies in 2010 to be resolved. According to the lawsuit, Rennenger and other female employees were subjected to constant verbal harassment that sometimes turned physical. When she complained, Rennenger was fired.
In a sport where a professional player is paid millions of dollars for a single season, you would assume that a professional cheerleader would earn at least a living wage, but the reality is that some teams pay their cheerleaders less than $1,000 per season, expect them to make appearances for free and fine them for minor errors such as bringing the wrong pom-poms to rehearsal. A new California law aims to change that, and the trend may be catching in other states.
Former Wal-Mart employee Jacqueline Cote filed a class action lawsuit against the retailer for wrongly denying health insurance benefits to her female spouse. The lawsuit was filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Boston. Cote is seeking a court ruling that Walmart violated Title VII of the federal Civil Rights Act, in addition to other laws, and damages for herself and her wife as well as any other Wal-Mart employees who were not offered health insurance for their same-sex spouses. Wal-Mart Changed its policy in January, 2014, and now offers benefits to same-sex couples, but by then Cote and her wife Dee Smithson had incurred at least $150,000 in medical costs.
A proposed Department of Labor rule change, which should go into effect in 2016, will raise the income threshold for overtime pay. Currently, employers are required to pay workers who make less than $23,660 a year, or $455 a week, time-and-a-half pay for hours worked over forty (40) hours per week. As a result, it is estimated that over 14 million low wage earning workers are denied overtime solely on the basis of their salary. Under the new rule, employees earning less than $50,440, or $970 a week, will qualify for overtime wages.