After allegations of misconduct against Harvey Weinstein revealed a culture of widespread sexual harassment and assault, the film producer is finally facing concrete sexual harassmentramifications. New York Attorney General’s Office recently filed a lawsuit in New York State Supreme Court, New York County against Weinstein Co., Harvey Weinstein, and Robert Weinstein to “remedy a years-long gender-based hostile work environment.”

The lawsuit (The People of the State of New York v. The Weinstein Company LLC, et al) comes after months of mostly symbolic punishments against the producer. He was fired from Weinstein Co. and resigned from the board in October (while continuing to profit off his 23 percent share in the company) and is said to have received sex addiction rehabilitation treatment since then.

N.Y. Attorney General Eric Schneiderman began building the case after New York Times broke the story last year detailing reports of harassment, assault, and rape allegedly taking place inside Weinstein Co. as well as payouts meant to silence accusers. In addition to claims made against Harvey Weinstein, the lawsuit targets senior managers, who stand accused of ignoring complaints and enabling continued abuse. The attorney general’s investigation included an in-depth examination of e-mails and company records, which allegedly reveal gender discrimination, hostile work environment, harassment, quid pro quo arrangements, and discrimination, according to a report from Variety. Continue reading

Even within organizations whose mission is to protect the rights of others, it is possible for questionable practices that infringe on rights to taint the reputation and wrongful terminationculture of the group. San Diego Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender Pride has been caught up in accusations and internal tensions since the dismissal of its executive director in August 2016. Now the former employee is suing the group for wrongful termination as well as age discrimination and defamation of character.

The former executive director recently filed the lawsuit in Superior Court of California, County of San Diego claiming his firing by the group’s board was personal and not based on performance or any sort of wrongdoing, according to a report from San Diego Reader. In fact, other group members and staffers were so incensed by the dismissal they demanded plaintiff be reinstated, protesting the decision at one of the organization’s monthly meetings shortly after the firing.

Particularly noteworthy to those who defended plaintiff at the time of the dismissal was the booming success of San Diego Pride under his leadership. Many credit him for the record-breaking year the group had in 2016, according to NBC San Diego, including an influx of grants and popular events. He was seen as a rising star in the organization since he joined in 2013, first as an independent contractor, quickly escalating to general manager and then executive director the next year. The board remained vague on the sudden dismissal, citing a desire to “go in a different direction,” causing more unrest among group members upset over the lack of transparency. Continue reading

With the fast-paced growth of the gig economy, the line between independent contractors and employees has become more and more blurred. This has led to employee misclassification lawsuits employment misclassificationfiled by workers, claiming employers have taken advantage of their independent contractor status.

Those lawsuits could have a more clear outcome after U.S. District Court for the California Northern District filed a decision in a lawsuit against GrubHub Inc., according to Los Angeles  Times. U.S. Magistrate Judge Jacqueline Scott Corley Judge ruled GrubHub’s drivers are independent contractors and should not be classified as employees, and therefore will not receive the perks that come with that identifier.

Maintaining a workforce primarily made up of independent contractors is at the heart of the gig economy. Services like Uber, Lyft, Grub, Postmates, and others will often identify their companies as services that connect customers with contractors, rather than the providers of those services. That way they can work around supporting a staff of employees, and reap the benefits of massive cost reductions. Meanwhile, drivers and delivery people are beholden to the companies they contract for while being burdened with costs associated with the work they do without reimbursement. Continue reading

Anyone who has ever waited tables knows how valuable a good tip is. It brings the wages of tipped employees up, makes it possible for restaurant owners to keep food prices reasonable, and gives workers an incentive to work during extra busy and stressful shifts throughout the week.Orange County unfair wages

U.S. Department of Labor defines tipped employees as those who regularly receive more than $30 a month in tips. Such employees, depending on the state, can be paid a minimum of $2.13 per hour, as opposed to the traditional federal minimum wage of $7.25. The tips that are used to bring tipped employees up to minimum wage are known as a tip credit. If the employee does not make enough in tips to meet the federal minimum wage standard, the employer must make up the difference, according to 29 U.S. Code § 203 (m).

California, however, is a bit different in that the state requires employers to pay full minimum wage before tips. The state’s minimum wage is also higher than national, ranging from $10.50 (for employers with fewer than 26 employees) to $11 (26 or more employees). Continue reading

Many companies have employment policies in place to help separate people’s personal lives from the workplace. Limiting personal calls, restricting social media use onemployment attorneys company computers, forbidding offensive materials from being displayed in work spaces and not allowing company resources to be used for personal gain or to spread personal messages — all of these are common practices. It is permissible and necessary for offices to limit such activities to keep workers focused, reduce wasteful spending, and prevent a hostile work environment.

However, problems can arise when managers selectively choose who can and cannot engage in such activities, with only certain people being punished. At best, a company can cause resentment among employees by singling out individuals for actions that are also being committed by others. At worst, they could find themselves in court for violating the First Amendment.

This is in line with the perspective of the Washington Supreme Court, where justices recently filed an opinion in the case against the fire department in eastern Washington. The court determined that a former fire captain, who was terminated after sending religious messages using a company forum, was denied his First Amendment rights to free speech and can sue for damages. Continue reading

According to a report last year by CareerBuilder, research conducted on behalf of the site shows 78 percent of American workers live paycheck-to-paycheck. The numberwage dispute attorneys breaks down further: 38 percent responded they sometimes live paycheck-to-paycheck, 17 percent said usually and 23 percent answered always. The overall percentage goes up for women (81 percent).

CareerBuilder’s chief human resources officer described these employee financial struggles as a problem for employers, citing that stressed out workers are less focused and less productive. Still, while a happy workforce can help financial standing long term, many employers can’t help but focus on immediate gains made by keeping wages as low as possible. Others may go as far as to dig into those already low wages even further to pad out their bottom line by making employees cover expenses related to the job.

This is what about 250,000 former and current employees of Abercrombie & Fitch, Hollister, and other affiliated stores are claiming happened to them, as far back as 2009, according to a report from The Columbus Dispatch. Workers alleged they were forced to buy and wear clothing from their stores on the job, though the company denies these claims. Continue reading

When employees work in helping professions, they generally expect their supervisors and co-workers to share values of compassion and empathy. Unfortunately, racialrace discrimination discrimination, harassment and bullying can rear their ugly heads nearly anywhere, even among people who do good for a living. These in turn give rise to employment lawsuits.

The Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services in Connecticut is currently grappling with a flood of such accusations among its staff. Recently, 40 employees came forward to share their stories during a forum, hosted by members of the Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities. After hearing a myriad of accounts of targeted attacks against staff members, State Sen. Len Suzio (R-Meriden) called for the state to open a formal investigation into reported systemic discrimination practices, according to an article from Record-Journal. Most of the accusations detailed instances of discrimination based on color, race, ancestry and national origin.

Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 explicitly forbids discrimination of employees based on “race, color, religion, sex, and national origin.” U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission defines one aspect of race discrimination as treating someone unfavorably because he/she is of a certain race or because of personal characteristics associated with that race. This applies to all steps in the employment cycle, including the hiring process, training, promotions, and dismissals.  Continue reading

In the wake of the influx of employees coming forward in the past year to report workplace sexual harassment, the rally cry of “me too” has evolved into a steady hum ofsexual harassment attorneys “what now?” Many citizens look to lawmakers to fortify harassment laws and create harsher punishments. However, those legislative bodies meant to govern are finding they have their own house cleaning to tend to.

A closer look at each of the nation’s state legislatures by the Associated Press showed nearly all had at least a minimal sexual harassment policy in writing. However, many state bodies may see big changes to policies in 2018 as the various chambers go beyond the minimum and dig deeper into establishing punishments and setting up prevention strategies. According to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, sexual harassment is a violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 because it is considered a form of sex discrimination. This act applies to the conduct of state and local governments.  Continue reading

The events of 2017 surrounding Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein and the many sexual assault and harassment allegations against him are continuing to cause aRiverside sexual harassment lawyer ripple effect far beyond his region and industry. From people opening up a national dialogue with the #metoo movement to businesses fortifying their sexual harassment policies and training to investigations and stronger laws against predators, this past year has truly been an awakening to the pervasive inappropriate and dangerous behaviors in the workplace and the general public.

The state of Washington is among those examining proposals in response to these revelations that would bolster workplace protections in regards to sexual harassment and bullying and empower victims to come forward.

According to a report from WNPA Olympia News Bureau, among the bills under consideration by the Washington State Legislature is SB 5996, which would dismantle the practice of employers using non-disclosure agreements to restrict the abilities of employees to report misconduct in the work place. The bill outlines that such an agreement would not hold up as a protection in court for accused employers. Continue reading

The explosion of the #Metoo movement has rocked the country, advancing the fight against sexual harassment farther forward than Retaliation Attorneysever before. This has, of course, led to an influx of workplace sexual harassment lawsuits. But it also has caused ripple effects, including lawsuits for retaliation in the workplace, born from reporting of harassment to superiors unwilling to address issues.

Californians have been following one such case in our own State Senate. Several staffers of Sen. Tony Mendoza (D-Artesia) have been in the news recently after allegations surfaced of sexual harassment by the senator, with the former aides alleging they were fired for reporting the harassment.

Amidst investigations being conducted by an outside law firm, one of the former aides is taking formal steps by filing a discrimination complaint with the Department of Fair Employment and Housing against the California Senate, Mendoza, and two legislative officials. The complain alleges that she was retaliated against for coming forward with harassment allegations.

The filing of such a complaint would be a necessary first step in California should the former staffer decide to file a lawsuit. Whether a lawsuit will be filed in not yet decided, according to a report from The Sacramento Bee. Continue reading