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A SWAT for trying to hit workers when they’re down

Submitted by on Thursday, 9 July 2009 2 Comments

It’s the most obvious promotion on Earth for business in a capital city, so of course Sacramento businesses quickly decided to offer state workers discounts on their “furlough Fridays” – their mandatory unpaid time off every month.

The only surprising part came when a scumbag lawyer – it’s a not always valid cliche, but it fits in this case -  threatened to sue under the Unruh Act, a state law that prohibits businesses from discriminating based on “sex, race, color, religion, ancestry, national origin, disability, medical condition, marital status, or sexual orientation.”

The lawyer, whom The Sacramento Bee said officials aren’t identifying, has written businesses and asked for actual damages, compensatory damages and, of course, attorney’s fees.

Say what?

How in the world does a discount aimed at workers whose pay has been cut – and who could face an additional 5 percent loss – add up to a violation of civil rights legislation?

Mad because you’re not offered a discount? Take your business elsewhere. But don’t try to make it a gender/race/marital status/religious issue, because it’s not.

To make that perfectly clear, though, a bipartisan group of legislators have amended Senate Bill 367 to make it legal for businesses to offer discounts to workers who have “suffered the loss or reduction of employment.” The change has the backing of the Consumer Attorneys of California.

As if the California Legislature doesn’t have enough to do, what with trying to solve  the problem that led to the furloughs, pay cuts and layoffs to begin with.

No one thinks the business are offering the discounts because they’re swell people – they might be, but the motivation more likely is trying to bring in customers in a tough economy.

Not every state workers will need the discount – they at least still have jobs, and that’s more than 11.5 perent of Californians can say.

Not every state worker will want the discount – many are too afraid of joining that 11.5 percent that they’re not shopping beyond essentials.

But for a lawyer to try to profiteer from the situation is a smack in the face to those who have endured genuine discrimination over the years.

Anonymous lawyer, Stop Wasting America’s Time. When even other trial lawyers think you’re full of it, you are indeed full of it.

Know of someone who deserves a SWAT? Click here to make a nomination.

Copyright 2009 Debra Legg. All rights reserved.

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  • MtnMom said:

    UNBELIEVABLE! In a time when we need to work together and help carry each other’s loads this doofus brings injury charges against businesses trying to just that! Kudos to the business owners tht want to cut some slack to folks losing money this year just because they are employed by the State of California.

    You make an excellent point! Using the Unrah Act in this context? I hope the judges who have to look at this one will toss the attorney and the case to curbside pronto!

  • Leslie K. said:

    sounds like the lawyer out of Nor California who makes his living filing lawsuits under the ADA…and then blackmailing businesses into just settling rather than taking on the cost of fighting.