A new study conducted by the National Partnership for Women and Families revealed that California is No. 1 in the country for workplace protections for new parents. familysilouette

Parents and those who are expecting can generally expect a better work-life balance in California than anywhere else in the country, according to researchers in the study, “Expecting Better: A State-by-State Analysis of Laws That Help Expecting and New Parents.” The study looked at the measures states have taken – or not taken – to add to the protections of the federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), specifically with regard to protections for new parents. Those provisions of the act were added in 1993.

California had the best initiatives in terms of:

  • Paid sick days
  • Paid family medical leave
  • Accommodations for pregnancy
  • Protections at work that went above and beyond FMLA for expecting and nursing moms

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Last year, after 21 construction workers on site for five months at a new 79-unit apartment complex in downtown Berkeley were denied payments for five full months of work, local trade unions filed complaints with the state and local joint task forces. An investigation prompted the state labor commissioner to impose a contractor lien for $60,000, which was the outstanding balance of what workers were owed months later, long after the job ended.constructionworkers

That turned out to mean those workers were actually paid – albeit late – for the work they did. However, as Next City reports, that is pretty minuscule compared to the scope of the bigger issue, which is unscrupulous contractors committing California wage theft.

Construction workers in particular are the second-most vulnerable labor pool when it comes to wage theft violations in California, just behind restaurant workers. The problem is vastly under-reported. Only a fraction of wage theft violations result in claims and judgments and a smaller number of those judgments are actually paid. It’s important that attorneys taking on these cases first help victimized workers explore the viability of the claim before pursuing it. Continue reading

A public transportation worker in Washington D.C. is suing the agency for damages in excess of $200,000 after she claims her supervisor repeatedly asked her for, demanded or forced hugs. Eventually, she said, when she reported the sexual harassment, her boss retaliated against her. hug1

The federal employment lawsuit alleges her supervisors ignored repeated reports of this treatment, even as another assistant superintendent in the bus division where plaintiff worked revealed he had a history of sexual harassment at the firm.

This case presents a good opportunity to talk about the H-word: Hugs. For some, hugs are viewed as a way to “spread the love.” But our sexual harassment lawyers know they can also be a liability to workplaces that allow them to go unchecked.  Continue reading

Disability discrimination against a Wal-Mart employee could have been avoided had management simply agreed to continue to accommodate the worker with a written list of daily tasks. Instead, court records show, managers chose to fire the intellectually disabled worker – even though he’d been employed by the company for 18 years.list

Now, the store has agreed to settle the case by paying $90,000 to its former employee. The settlement was reached with the assistance of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), which helped the worker filed the case.

According to the lawsuit, EEOC v. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., it was alleged the worker had previously been able to meet the expectations of the company with the help of the store’s long-standing practice of writing out his daily assignments for him. It had been key to allowing him to successfully perform his duties.  Continue reading

California age discrimination is the target of a new bill passed by the state Senate that would allow actors and actresses to keep secrete their ages from certain websites. In particular, the Internet Movie Database, which is frequently used by casting directors in both the television and film industry, has been cited by actresses and actors who have been turned down for roles on the basis of what they suspect is their age. Hollywood1

Sent. Bob Hertzberg (D-Van Nuys) is supporting the measure, AB 1687, by saying that older actors are often subject to age discrimination when they are seeking their next role. The bill is referred to as the Customer Records: Age Information: Commercial Online Entertainment Employment Service Providers. The bill was first introduced to the Assembly in April before being amended in May and then sent to the Senate, which has amended it twice, most recently Aug. 2, 2016. Now that the latest version has been passed by both the Assembly and the Senate, it now goes to the governor’s office for final approval – or veto.

Hertzberg cited the example of former “90210” actress Gabrielle Carteris, who was 29-years-old when she auditioned for the role of a 17-year-old girl. She landed the part, but the casting director said at the time, he didn’t know her age. If he had, he later said, he would never have given her the role. Hertzberg says this is a perfect example of how the easy accessibility of an actor’s age online can work against someone who is talented and otherwise qualified for the role.  Continue reading

Anyone who has ever worked in the restaurant service industry is familiar with the term, “side work.” It’s the work that servers are often required to do on top of the normal serving of tables. What many workers may not know is that payment for these duties must be at least the minimum wage. The federal minimum wage is currently set at $7.25. server

A recent wage and hour lawsuit in North Carolina highlights this problem.

A former server at a restaurant chain alleges the company paid her – and hundreds of other workers – just $2.13 an hour (typical for waiters and waitresses), even while requiring her to do side work for which she should have received minimum wage.  Continue reading

The Pennsylvania Attorney General’s office has agreed to pay $150,000 to settle the wrongful termination claim from an ex-employee who claimed whistleblower status after he asserted he was improperly fired and then defamed for recommending a top lieutenant be fired for reported sexual harassment. sad

Instead, Attorney General Kathleen Kane promoted the alleged harasser and fired the person who recommended his termination.

Now, this settlement brings the total amount paid out by Kane’s office to current and former employees for employment lawsuits to more than $586,000. There are also numerous employment lawsuits still pending for claims like slander, retaliation and wrongful termination.  Continue reading

A former worker at a Mexican food restaurant chain has been awarded $550,000 – which includes punitive damages – after a federal jury in Washington D.C. found she was in fact discriminated for her pregnancy. pregnantwoman

Although the national chain, Chipotle, and its franchise owner had denied that it had fired the woman for her pregnancy, the jury opined this was in fact the reason for her termination from the job.

The case dates back four years. It was at that time in 2011 when plaintiff became pregnant while working at the fast-food restaurant. It was not long after she informed the manager of her pregnancy that he started acting out. He restricted her access to water. He also began giving her a hard time about bathroom breaks and informed her she needed to limit them. He even went so far as to say that anytime she needed to go to the bathroom, she had to announce it to every employee in the store, and further that he had to approve them so that her post could be covered. Continue reading

One of the largest insurance brokerage firms in the world is facing down allegations of pregnancy discrimination.pregnancy5

According to The Orlando Sentinel, this was a situation in which a pregnant applicant was offered an entry-level post, which was almost immediately rescinded once the company learned she was with child. Although the company thanked her for “telling us beforehand,” it was explained in an email that that the firm had “a very urgent need to have somebody in this position long-term.”

The woman had informed the company of her pregnancy by asking about maternity benefits almost immediately after she was hired. Less than a half hour later, she received an email rescinding the offer.  Continue reading

Five years ago, Jeff Gottlieb won the highly-coveted Pulitzer Prize while working as a reporter for the New York Times. Today, he is now preparing to face his former employer in court, alleging age discrimination following a years-long battle over the prize money. newspaper

His complaint, Gottlieb v. Los Angeles Times Communications LLC, was filed recently in Los Angeles Superior Court, and asserts a number of events that unfolded after his work on the corruption in Bell, California was published. That as in 2010, and he resigned from the paper in 2015. He won the Pulitzer in 2011.

The lawsuit alleges the newspaper essentially forced him to resign and that the paper’s editor and publisher frequently fired older employers with greater frequency than younger workers. The company also allegedly hired fewer workers older than 40 and employees on the younger end of the spectrum often were handed plum assignments and better benefits than their older counterparts.  Continue reading