A trucking association representing trucking companies in 11 states is petitioning the U.S. Department of Transportation to intervene in an ongoing legal challenge over state-mandated truck driver breaks.employment misclassification lawyer

The group, Western States Trucking Association, has also filed a lawsuit over the owner-operator status, arguing these two issues impact all trucking carriers operating California – no matter where they are based.

The petition submitted to the DOT last month asks for a declaration that truck drivers hauling overweight and over-sized loads are subject to the federal hours of service rules, which (they argue) should supersede the state’s mandated break requirements. The complaint names as defendants the California Department of Industrial Relations as well as the state attorney, and seeks to a nullification of the state supreme court’s ruling that (they say) effectively “eliminates the use of owner-operators, even on-truck motor carriers,” from the trucking industry. Continue reading

The California Supreme Court ruled that employers in the state cannot invoke the federal de minimis doctrine to avoid paying workers for required duties they perform off-the-clock.clock1-300x225

This California wage theft class action lawsuit filed by a Starbucks employee who alleged the store was requiring him to work for several minutes each shift without being paid. When multiplied by the minimum wage, this work amounted to more than $100 over the course of 17 months.

In granting summary judgment in favor of the employer, the trial court relied on the 1946 U.S. Supreme Court ruling in Anderson v. Mt. Clemens Pottery Co., wherein the court concluded that “a few seconds or minutes of work beyond the scheduled working hours… may be disregarded.” The basic concept is that the courts do not concern themselves with “trifles.” Federal courts have held that it can be applied in cases where small amounts of wages that would otherwise be compensable can be excused when they are difficult to administratively record.

The California Supreme Court reversed, noting the de minimis rule doesn’t apply here.  Continue reading

California Supreme Court has ruled that employers must pay hourly employees for tasks that are performed off the clock, no matterwage theft how menial. The case at hand involved Starbucks Corp. and a shift supervisor who claimed the company was taking advantage of outdated laws that allowed for some responsibilities to be completed after workers have clocked out, according to a report from Wall Street Journal.

Plaintiff filed a lawsuit in 2012 describing the tasks he was responsible for completing after he had already clocked out for the night, including not only activating an alarm system and locking the door, which would be typical tasks expected after clocking out, but also transmitting sales records to corporate. He said over time, these extra minutes after each shift add up. After a dismissal and an appeal of the case in the lower courts, the state Supreme Court agreed employers should be responsible for compensating employees for work done during this time. Employers have long been hiding behind standards that give leeway where leeway is no longer needed to pocket incalculable savings over time. Continue reading

Another man in a position of prominence in the entertainment industry has been accused of multiple counts of sexual harassment. Chairman and Chief Executive Officer ofsexual harassment CBS Corp., Les Moonves, has been accused by six women of multiple acts of sexual misconduct and retaliation after the women spoke out, according to an investigative report in The New Yorker. Other employees also came forward describing a culture within the network that allegedly regularly protected men who were accused of sexual misdeeds while paying off their accusers.

The women described a pattern of abuses beginning in the 1980s through the past decade, all with similar notes. Several alleged Moonves touched them inappropriately or forcibly kissed them during business meetings. A couple were threatened to play nice or it would mean their careers. All reported life becoming more difficult after they rejected the executive’s advances, with his hostile behavior affecting their careers either by them getting fired or their job trajectory being derailed.

The accusations are part of the ongoing wave of the #MeToo movement, which has been crashing on the shores of American businesses over the past year. This was seen most notably with the story of Harvey Weinstein, Hollywood producer accused of a long-running pattern of sexual misconduct toward women who worked with him in the movie industry. In addition to several criminal charges filed against Weinstein, he finds himself at the bottom of a growing pile of lawsuits related to his alleged behavior. Continue reading

Disneyland Resort in Anaheim, Calif., has spread a bit of its magic to its workers by agreeing to increase minimum wage to $15 perwage dispute hour by January 2019. At the time of the announcement, minimum wage for park workers was $11 an hour, which will be bumped to $13.25 for the remainder of the year. To ensure the wages keep up with the times, minimum wage will increase again by mid 2020 to $15.45 per hour, and will continue to increase for workers near minimum income by 3 percent every year, according to a CBS MoneyWatch report.

The change comes after months of negotiations with nine labor unions advocating for higher pay for employees at Disneyland and California Adventure Park. Data on park employees from a study funded by park unions showed roughly one in 10 Disneyland workers had experienced homelessness recently. The study also showed 73 percent of respondents did not earn enough for basic expenses, including food, gas, or rent. The problem of low wages is compounded by long commutes and sporadic work hours that make it difficult to supplement income in any significant way. With roughly 30,000 employees, these numbers are significant.

Park representatives said this will be one of the highest entry minimum wages in the country, beating the scheduled gradual increase of minimum wage in Los Angeles and the state of California. Minimum wage in L.A. is currently $13.25 per hour for businesses with more than 25 employees and is scheduled to hit $15 per hour in 2020. California is scheduled to reach $15 in 2022. Continue reading

California’s Department of Fair Employment and Housing has ruled against Forever 21 Retail, Inc. as a result of the misclassification laywerscompany’s alleged policy forbidding language other than English. The complaint, filed in San Francisco Superior Court, resulted from three employees at Forever 21’s flagship store in San Francisco who said they were reprimanded for speaking Spanish in what they were allegedly told was an “English only” environment. The employees further claimed management retaliated against them with harassment, hostility, and reduction of work hours after they complained about the rule, according to an article from KGET out of Bakersfield.

Defendant was ordered to pay $90,000 to each complainant, as well as severance packages and plaintiff legal fees. The chain of stores was also ordered to immediately end policies that enforce rules about not speaking languages other than English. Continue reading

A wrongful termination lawsuit 12 years in the making is finally coming to an end with a settlement of $2.2wrongful termination million for dozens of employees at Santa Barbara News-Press. National Labor Relations Board ruled the newspaper management had bargained with union members in bad faith, and determined the newspaper was responsible for costs and expenses associated with the lawsuit, according to a report from Santa Barbara Independent.

The events began in 2006 after restraints were allegedly placed on the newsroom staff as to how they handled coverage of the news. Six editors and a columnist walked out, while others tried to form a union. Management responded by firing some of the employees who sought to unionize, a clear wrongful termination case and violation of labor law. Continue reading

New York State labor review board has made a move that could shake up the gig economy forever. The boardmisclassification lawyers of regulators recently ruled that three former Uber drivers qualify for unemployment insurance, a decision which first requires that the drivers be considered employees in the first place. According to a report from Forbes, the ruling would apply to all “similarly situated” workers, and the board ordered the company pay unemployment insurance benefits on behalf of the drivers.

Gig economy jobs have become popular in recent years, with companies like Uber, Lyft, Grubhub, and a myriad of other delivery and driving services taking the reins and reshaping the economy. Those desperate for a way to make ends meet that also allows for flexibility around an already packed work and family schedule have given these companies a robust labor force. Others who cannot find stable full-time work have thrown themselves into long days and nights trying to earn enough for a full-time wage. Their desperation, along with contractor loopholes, have created a sub-economy where workers are being stripped of many of the protections others enjoy. Turbo Tax-owner Intuit estimated last year that 34 percent of the American workforce is working in the gig economy, with many this year estimating the number to be closer to 40 percent.  Continue reading

Employees at giant tech companies are figuring out ways to exercise free speech and protest against employment attorneysassignments they find ethically questionable, in spite of at-will laws that could get them fired for such acts of rebellion, according to CNBC. Employees at big names such as Google, Amazon, and Microsoft are staging protests and signing petitions largely in response to government contracts requesting work they find objectionable. Some examples include facial recognition software being used by police, improved military drone technology, and technology used in immigration and customs enforcement.

Nondisclosure agreements and general fear of losing their jobs have kept workers quiet about moral gray areas when it comes to tech work in the past. The First Amendment protects free speech, preventing the government from impeding on rights of U.S. citizens. Those rights, however, do not protect people from their places of business taking action against them. Whistleblower laws offer some safeguards, but only if an employee is reporting illegal activity. They do not protect employees who are taking a stance against legal projects to which they have an ethical objection. Public dissent against the company you work for is not protected and could easily get a person fired. Continue reading

Minimum wages recently went up in a number of cities across California, including Los Angeles as part of a minimum wageplanned implementation of gradual increases. In 2015, city council established a new citywide minimum wage and put L.A. on a schedule to reach $15 per hour by 2020. This would be applicable for businesses with 26 or more employees, with smaller companies given an extra year to reach $15. The minimum wage is set to go up on July 1 each year, with this year hitting $13.25, or $12 for businesses with 25 or fewer employees. In 2022, the minimum will continue to adjust based on cost of living as determined by Consumer Price Index.

Many other cities also raised their hourly minimum wages at the beginning of July, according to UC Berkeley, who has built an inventory of minimum wage ordinances across the U.S. California changes as of July 1 include: Belmont, $12.50; Emeryville, $15.69 (56 or more employees), $15 (less than 56 employees); Malibu, $13.25 (26 or more employees), $12 (less than 26 employees); Milpitas, $13.50; Pasadena, $13.25 (26 or more employees), $12 (less than 26 employees); San Francisco, $15; San Leandro, $13; and Santa Monica, $13.25 (26 or more employees), $12 (less than 26 employees). Continue reading