Sexual harassment is a problem faced by many employers. But what is less often understood is the role that company culture can play in fostering sexual harassment in the workplace – and protecting its perpetrators. Without understanding the systemic causes of sexual harassment, employers cannot adequately eradicate it within their businesses, nor protect themselves from the liability attendant to sexual harassment claims. Occupations which have been traditionally filled by a male-dominate workforce are particularly susceptible to legal claims of sexual discrimination and harassment.sexual harassment lawyers

The Technology Sector Becomes an Example of What Not to Do

Other male-dominated industries can learn from the legal and publicity problems faced by the technology sector. For years, Silicon Valley has been a microcosm of sexual harassment culture. Wired magazine describes the prevalence of sexual harassment in Silicon Valley as being an “open secret.” This open secret is a culture that has lasted for decades, and has not been changed by human resource policies, nor by extensive litigation and judgments against behemoth employers. The culture of male dominance is simply too pervasive to respond to a few settlements that pale in comparison to the massive profits of large tech companies. Continue reading

A recent ruling by the California Supreme Court on May 8, 2017, makes it easier for employers to comply with the state’s “day of rest” statute. The enhanced flexibility can benefit both employers working to accommodate their business needs, and employees who desire more flexibility to accommodate their personal activities with their work schedule and responsibilities. employment lawyers

The California “day or rest” statute prohibits employers from causing employees to work more than six in seven days. The San Francisco Business Times reports that, in Mendoza v. Nordstrom, the Court clarified that the day of rest is guaranteed for each work week, rather than any given period of seven days. Previously, it was unclear which measure had to be used for purposes of calculating the day off. Some employers would go to great lengths to accommodate every seven-day period on a rolling basis. Now, they need only to set a defined work week, and ensure that employees have one day off within that week.

The ruling also gave employers the option of scheduling employees for more than seven days in a row if they are given time off equivalent to one day per work week. This, too, allows greater flexibility in scheduling. It also appears to signal the Court’s awareness of the realities of the contemporary American workforce.  Continue reading

Employers might be surprised to learn that the actions of an Airbnb host can affect policy and obligations created by the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing. Nonetheless, that is the outcome of a particularly heated racial case arising out of Big Bear. employment discrimination attorneys

The Star reports that, in February 2017, Asian UCLA law student Dyne Suh had rented a cabin in Big Bear. The cabin had been rented from Tami Barker through Airbnb. After driving for hours through rain and snow, Suh received a text message canceling the reservation when she was only minutes away from the cabin. Barker wrote:

  • “I wouldn’t rent to u if u were the last person on earth”
  • “One word says it all. Asian.”
  • “This is why we have Trump”
  • “I will not allow this country to be told what to do by foreigners.”

Suh, an American citizen and law clerk at the Riverdale County Public Defender’s Office, reported the case to the Department of Fair Employment and Housing. The Department ordered Barker to pay a $5000 fine, issue a personal apology to Suh, take a college level course on Asian American studies, complete community service at a civil rights organization, and report rental data to the Agency for the next four years. Airbnb also permanently banned Barker from their site. Continue reading

We hear a lot about jobs and job numbers on the news these days, as it has become a major political talking point.  Whether or not jobs will come back to Americans is up for debate, and both sides of the aisle have a lot to say about the topic.

employment attorney LAHowever, what we do know is that there are a lot of factories shuttered and a lot of jobs being lost, and for the laid-off workers, this is often devastating. According to a recent news article from 89.3 KPCC, California is providing $3 million to help the 600 workers who were laid-off by American Apparel. Continue reading

According to a recent news article from CNN, the City of Los Angeles has issued a demand for $1.45 million from fast food chain Carl’s Jr.  This money is to pay fines and make restitution for employees that were underpaid. The city found that the company did not pay employees minimum wage pursuant to local law for over a six-month period.

Wage hour disputeAt the time of these findings, the minimum wage in the City of Los Angeles was $10.50.  Pursuant to legislation already passed, the minimum wage for hourly workers has already gone up to $12 per hour for employers who employ more than 26 people.  By the year 2020, there will be a city minimum wage of $15 dollars per hour. Continue reading

According to a recent news article from the San Francisco Gate, new regulations are now in effect that provide specific protections to transgender and gender-nonconforming employees in California. This comes at a time when transgender workers are receiving more support from some and facing more hostility from others than ever before.

LGBT DiscriminationOne issue that employers are worried about is that even if they want to do the right thing and follow the law, they are not sure exactly what they are required to do.  They also say they do not have the resources to fully follow the law and learn what to do.  While these claims seem somewhat hard to take seriously, there is clearly a need for more training. Continue reading

According to a recent news article from Society for Human Resource Management, an employee in California has filed a lawsuit against his former employer claiming he was fired for being “too gay.”  He was working in executive management for the company prior to being terminated, according to his complaint.

Employment LawyerIn his complaint, employee claimed his was openly gay when he was hired in 1997.  He worked for the company for 10 years in various management jobs. In 2007, he was given a new job as the manager for diversity and inclusion.  This was not only a new job for him, but a newly created position within the company. Continue reading

As discussed in a recent news article from the National Law Review, California’s newly passed Ban-the-Box regulation has now taken effect. This means that our state has joined a growing list of states that are what is being called the Ban-the-Box bandwagon.

LA employment lawyerWhen we use the term “box” we are talking about asking prospective employees if they have any criminal convictions.  While on some applications there is actually a box to check if the applicant has a criminal history, the new law applies to any form of the question. Continue reading

In most states, at certain jobs, your employer will ask you to sign what is known as a non-compete clause.  This means that if you leave the job for nearly any reason, you will not be able to work in the same industry.  There is normally a geographical limit on where you may not compete, though in some industries, a geographical limit would not make any sense.  You are generally not required to sign a non-compete agreement, but the employer has a right to not hire you if you refuse to do so.

executive employment lawWhile this is true nationally, there is a ban on non-compete clauses in the state of California.  In other words, even if you are asked to sign one, it will not be enforced in a California court.  However, despite the ban on non-compete clauses in our state, many employers will still require employees to sign them. They will also try to word them in terms that they believe will be enforceable in a court of law. Continue reading

When a police officer resigns from the force shortly after completing training, can he or she be required to reimburse the city for the costs of attending the police academy? The answer is no – an answer the City of Los Angeles learned the hard way. (See In re Acknowledgement Cases, 239 Cal. App. 4d 1498, decided August 12, 2015.)employment lawyer

In the early 1990s the City experienced a high attrition rate amongst officers of the Los Angeles Police Department. In an attempt to mitigate the costs of turnover, the City enacted an administrative code provision that required officers to pay a prorated portion of the cost of their required training at the Los Angeles Police Academy if they voluntarily left the force within sixty months of graduation, and were hired by another law enforcement agency within one year of leaving. New officer recruits were required to sign an acknowledgment of this policy.

The City brought suit against a series of officers for reimbursement of academy training expenses under this provision. With many pending cases on the same issue, the City agreed that the rulings on the enforceability of the acknowledgment for one case would apply to all pending acknowledgment cases. The trial court ruled in the City’s favor, finding the acknowledgements to be enforceable against the officers. The officers appealed.

The Fourth Appellate District examined the administrative reimbursement provision under the California Labor Code, which provides that employers must indemnify employees against the necessary expenditures or losses incurred in the discharge of the employee’s duties. (Cal. Labor Code § 2802(a)). While no cases had directly resolved the issue of whether training was such a necessary expenditure, the appellate court nonetheless determined that it could be. Training required under state law (such as Peace Officer Standards and Training) was not mandated by the employer, and therefore the court found that it was not an expense of employment. The Los Angeles Police Academy, however, had training which exceeded the state requirements of POST. That portion of training was found to be an expense of employment for which the City could not seek reimbursement from recruits.   Continue reading