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Former Cal Poly Employee Sues University for Wrongful Termination, Pregnancy Discrimination

Los Angeles, CA (Law Firm Newswire) June 19, 2017 – A former human resources employee at Cal Poly is suing the university for wrongful termination and discrimination based on sex, pregnancy and medical condition.

On September 30, 2016, Sarah Lalou Lessing was terminated five days after going on disability leave for her pregnancy. The university alleges she was terminated for documented performance issues.

In the suit, Lessing states that she discovered she was pregnant in September 2016, five months after starting her job as administrative support coordinator for Cal Poly’s human resources department. The suit, filed in San Luis Obispo Superior Court, names the university and Lessing’s supervisor, Samson P. Blackwell, as defendants.

After Lessing began getting sick at work, she informed her supervisors that she needed to take a one-month leave as a result of complications related to her pregnancy. Blackwell informed Lessing that her leave was protected under a pregnancy disability leave policy of the university. However, just five days after Lessing began her disability leave, she was informed of her termination.

In the complaint, Lessing alleges that her disability leave was approved by her employer after submitting all necessary documentation and after she informed her supervisor of when she would begin to take her leave.

Under the California Pregnancy Disability leave law, it is unlawful to fire someone for being pregnant or taking pregnancy disability leave. Employees who have been employed for a total of at least 12 months and have worked at least 1,250 hours in the last 12 months are entitled to take time off work for medical reasons related to pregnancy or childbirth, under the federal Family and Medical Leave Act (CFRA) or the California Family Rights Act (CFRA). However, an employee can be fired for reasons not related to their pregnancy or disability.

The suit states that five days after Lessing had begun her pregnancy disability leave, she was informed of her termination. In a statement, the university disclosed that Lessing was a “probationary employee who was non-retained because of performance issues.”

Lessing is suing the university for damages, attorney fees and the cost of the suit.

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Texas Enacts SB 4 Against Sanctuary Cities and Sues to Declare it Constitutional: Cities Sue Texas in Response

Dallas immigration lawyers

Dallas immigration lawyers – Rabinowitz & Rabinowitz, P.C.

Dallas, TX (Law Firm Newswire) June 16, 2017 – Cities and counties in Texas are planning legal action against a new state law, Senate Bill 4 (SB4), banning sanctuary cities.

“Texas SB4 faces a slew of legal challenges, some filed and others being developed,” said Stewart Rabinowitz, a Dallas immigration attorney with the law firm of Rabinowitz & Rabinowitz, P.C. “Regardless of what courts may later do, the impact of SB4 on the undocumented immigrant communities throughout Texas is already being felt. Individuals fear reporting crimes and see little benefit in volunteering to testify. The same individuals also fear racial profiling by police who can ask about immigration status for anyone detained.”

Gov. Greg Abbott signed Senate Bill 4 on May 7, and the controversial measure is scheduled to take effect on September 1, 2017. The bill bans counties, cities and universities from directing their law enforcement officers not to enforce immigration law or ask about immigration status. County sheriffs and police chiefs who violate the ban could face criminal charges, and local jurisdictions could be fined up to $25,000 per day for violating the law. In addition, the legislation allows police officers to inquire about an individual’s immigration status during any legal detention, even a routine traffic stop.

Attorney General Ken Paxton made the first legal move soon after Gov. Abbott signed the bill into law. Paxton filed a complaint for declaratory judgment asking the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas to declare that the law is constitutional and is not preempted by federal law. Travis County was named as a defendant in the lawsuit. Earlier this year, Travis County Sheriff Sally Hernandez announced that her office would decrease its cooperation with immigration authorities.

Leaders of Texas’ largest cities have vowed to oppose SB4 in the courts. Elected representatives from Austin, Dallas, El Paso, Houston and San Antonio gathered in front of the state capitol May 16 to call for a “summer of resistance” against the law. On Mother’s Day, hundreds of protesters marched from City Hall to the Governor’s Mansion in opposition to SB4.

Proponents of SB4 say that the measure will crack down on lawbreakers and assist law enforcement in keeping the public safe. Opponents say the legislation would subject people to racial profiling. Some police chiefs have warned that the measure could make immigrants less likely to report crimes, thus endangering public safety.

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