The state’s new worker classification law takes effect on Jan. 1st. Those behind the AB5 legislative effort know it was an uphill battle – but it appears the fight isn’t over yet. Court cases challenging the law are piling up, some companies are saying they simply won’t cooperate (likely to lead to more litigation) and there is a looming multimillion-dollar ballot initiative gearing up for next November. employee misclassification lawyer

Our Los Angeles employee misclassification attorneys will be watching these developments closely to see how these disputes unfold.

AB5 is going to make it more difficult for companies to label their workers as independent contractors rather than employees. Legislators backing the measure pointed to mounting evidence that companies are improperly classifying workers as independent contractors to avoid the added expenses of things like workers’ compensation benefits, health insurance, minimum wage, overtime, unemployment insurance, the right to unionize and other benefits to which employees (but not independent contractors) are entitled.

Employer preparations for AB5 should already be well underway. If you operate a small business and still aren’t sure about whether your operations fall under the umbrella of AB5 or if so, how to restructure your employment model, it’s imperative that you contact a longtime employment law firm to help protect your legal interests. Some companies have been able to find creative workarounds that satisfy employees as well as their bottom line. This can include using staffing agencies, having contractors form an LLC (to qualify for a business-to-business exemption) and other strategies.  Continue reading

2019 has been a banner year for worker rights in California. One important development that might have gotten lost in the shuffle amid all the rest was the passage of AB738 in September. Effective Jan. 1, 2020, home daycare providers will have the right to form, join and participate in unions. Our Los Angeles employment attorneys know this is a right home-based child care providers have been pursuing for almost two decades. In the lead up to Governor Newsom’s signing the bill, there had been five gubernatorial vetoes of similar bills. Los Angeles employment lawyers

As KCRW.com reports, most of the workers in the industry are women of color who own and operate their own businesses. Yet some lawmakers in the past had taken to routinely calling them “babysitters.” These workers comprise roughly half of the state’s 200,000 early childhood education workers

One of the main reasons they wanted to unionize was to gather bargaining power to finally address subsidized payments – both the amount and method. Reimbursement for individual childcare workers is low to start. When the government steps in to subsidize daycare payments for low-income families, it’s below market rate. On top of that, the way these workers are paid is complex and ultimately problematic because it often results in some workers not being paid for months at a time. Earning enough to survive – let alone run a business, pay taxes, etc. – can be very difficult.

The Economic Policy Institute reports that most of the more than 27,000 licensed family child care providers in California barely earn minimum wage. Unions will allow these workers to better negotiate compensation with the government, as well as other entities like health insurance companies, liability insurance companies, etc. Continue reading

A new law intended to make it harder for companies to misclassify workers as independent contractors rather than employees has been the source of much controversy and litigation – even though it doesn’t take place for another week. Los Angeles employment lawyer

Los Angeles employment lawyers know that while AB5 has a fair amount of detractors among mega-corporations like Uber (largely the kind of worker relationship model the law intended to target), small businesses that use freelance independent contractors are likely to be impacted too.

The designation of independent contractor has become a store point for lawmakers and labor advocates who argue many of these workers are doing jobs that should count them as employees, entitling them to certain valuable benefits like minimum wages, overtime, sick pay, workers’ compensation insurance if they’re hurt on the job or unemployment insurance if they’re suddenly laid off. Freedom from the responsibility of having to pay these expenses has proven an attractive prospect for many employers. But their designation isn’t the last say. It can be challenged – and increasingly is – since last year’s Dynamex decision by the California Supreme Court and now AB5, both of which strengthen worker protections and make it more difficult for companies to claim workers are independent contractors as opposed to employees. Continue reading

Southern California’s garment industry has in the past been accused of being one of the biggest wage theft offenders in the state. It’s been so bad in recent years that the California Labor Commissioner’s Office released a brochure specific to the problem for industry workers, noting that garment workers who aren’t paid for their work are entitled to file claims against all “guarantors” of wages, which includes the contractor that hired them as well as the manufacturers and in some cases the retailers. garment industry wage theft lawyer

The latest among these is a company called Fashion Nova. According to The New York Times, the L.A.-based online retailer with celebrity and influencer endorsements has found its niche of producing cheap clothing that looks much more expensive. It’s tailored to the Instagram crowd looking to keep their digs fresh every few weeks. Blowing a month or two’s expendable income on a pair of jeans isn’t an option for these consumers, explaining Fashion Nova’s rise in popularity.

But the U.S. Labor Department reports it’s the garment industry workers who ultimately pay the price. The DOL has found that the company is able to mass produce cheap clothing in the U.S. because the people actually sewing the garments are paid unlawfully low wages. Continue reading

Roughly 70 workers at a private, non-profit museum in Los Angeles is facing a possible class action lawsuit for allegedly violating California’s WARN Act, which compels employers to offer at least a 60-day advance warning both to employees and local government agencies if there will be a plant closure, major relocation or mass layoff. As our Los Angeles labor lawyers can explain, the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act, found in California Labor Code 1400-1408LC, entitles workers denied this notification to receive back pay and benefits for the period of violation (the period by which their advance notice fell short of those 60 days). Los Angeles WARN Act lawyer

While most of the Golden State’s wrongful termination laws pertain to the rights of individual employees, the WARN Act protects workers fired/laid off in connection with a mass layoff (50 or more workers laid off within 30 days of each other), a company closure or relocation of substantial business activities to a physical location more than 100 miles away. The law only applies to companies that have employed 75 or more workers in the year preceding, and companies are exempted if the closure/layoffs/relocation is due to some act of war or physical calamity. It’s similar to the U.S. WARN Act, 29 USC;2104(a), but extends greater worker protections.

This kind of advance notice is key for workers and their families, who will need time to transition and adjust to employment loss and seek alternative income sources and/or job training while still providing for their family in the immediate future. The reason local government is included in this notification is that the California Employment Development Department has an established Rapid Response Team to aid both employers and employees in the midst of a mass layoff or company closing. They offer information about dislocated worker services available, unemployment insurance options, income support and assistance with job training and job searches. Continue reading

A proposed class action lawsuit by so-called “trimmigrants” against a California cannabis company alleges that workers were compelled to work extended hours in difficult conditions without meal breaks, overtime pay or an accurate accounting of their wages. Los Angeles cannabis employment attorney

The workers, whose duties included growing, harvesting, bucking and hanging marijuana plants to dry before placing them in large freezers for shipment, were largely young immigrants, often undocumented. This, they say, was used by their employers to exploit them.

The 11-count complaint against the marijuana farming company asserts the company:

  • Compelled workers to toil 7-days-a-week for 12 hours daily;
  • Refused to provide rest or meal breaks, as required by law;
  • Declined to reimburse employees for work-related expenses such as travel and meals;
  • Provided workers with a flat $15-and-hour rate of compensation, no matter how many hours they worked;
  • Failed to keep reliable, accurate records of worker hours, in violation of FLSA’s mandates on proper record-keeping.

Continue reading

January 2020 will mean higher wages in 22 states for some 7 million workers, who can expect to earn more than $8 billion in additional income over the course of the year. Los Angeles wage and hour lawyer

The wages hikes are the result of legislation, inflation adjustments and ballot measures. Twenty states still use the federal minimum wage of $7.25.

In California, nearly 17 percent of the state’s workforce will be affected by a legislative increase of $1 to minimum wage earnings, bringing the state minimum wage to $13 effective January 1st. In all, nearly 3 million workers in the state can expect an annual increase of $4.3 billion. The average worker will bring home approximately $1,500 more per year.

Wage increases across the country ranged from $0.14-an-hour (Minnesota’s inflation adjustment) to the $1.50 higher minimum wage ceiling in New Mexico, thanks to legislative action.

The schedule for California minimum wage phase-in requirements per 2016’s SB3 that workers can expect an increase of $1 additional every year through 2023. For workers with 25 employers or fewer, that means $12/hr as of Jan. 1, 2020, $13/hr as of Jan. 1, 2021, $14/hr as of Jan. 1, 2022 and $15/hr as of Jan. 1, 2023. For workers employed by a company with 26 or more employees, it’s $1 higher than that for each year respectively, meaning next year the minimum wage for those workers will be $13/hourly, capping at $15/year in 2022. Continue reading

A federal judge in California declined to compel ridesharing company Uber to reclassify its drivers as employees, rejecting plaintiffs’ claims that the alleged misclassification of workers adversely impacts the state of valuable tax dollars due to public assistance spending for low wage workers. Los Angeles employee misclassification lawyer

Plaintiffs filed the motion for injunction by asserting it would benefit the general public. In an 18-page ruling in Colopy v. Uber Technologies Inc., the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California declined to treat the motion as a “public injunction,” finding the case’s primary plaintiff, is seeking a private injunction, not a public one. He noted the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals tends to disfavor class-wide injunctions in such cases, particularly where no certification has been awarded to the class. Further, he pointed out that many of Uber’s drivers in California had signed arbitration agreements upon employment, meaning most of the drivers in question wouldn’t be entitled to such relief anyway.

Plaintiff employment attorney argued the technology firm impacts not only its own drivers but the industry as a whole, thus negatively affecting a large number of workers by depriving them of employment rights as spelled out in the state’s labor code. Defendant lawyers meanwhile argued an injunction wasn’t needed because drivers would still have the ability to obtain damages for statutory violations after the resolution of the case. A preliminary injunction that would force the company to switch up its entire business model should be considered “extraordinary,” they argued. Continue reading

In what is believed to be the highest damage award ever in a California employment lawsuit, a billionaire defendant/Hollywood executive/hologram entrepreneur/heir to Coca-Cola to pay a former employee $50 million in damages after jurors found him liable for battery, sexual battery and sexual harassment.Los Angeles sexual harassment lawyer

The ruling is the third verdict this year in which the defendant, Alki David, has been accused of repeated acts of sexual harassment and sexual violence against former employees. Two other cases are pending.

The Los Angeles Times reported that the latest verdict brings the total amount of compensation David must pay to previous employees to $74 million. In the most recent case, plaintiff was a production assistant who worked for defendant. He reportedly thrust his pelvis into her face, simulated oral sex, moaned and then zipped up his pants before thanking her as he walked away. Continue reading

The Los Angeles technology company perhaps best known for its launch of video game League of Legends, has agreed to settle the California class action gender discrimination lawsuit for $10 million. The settlement, which is still pending court approval, will apply to roughly 1,000 women who worked at Riot Games between November 2014 and the date the settlement is finalized. Each employee’s exact cut will depend on how long they worked for the company and whether they were an employee or independent contractor. Los Angeles gender discrimination lawyers

Our Los Angeles gender discrimination lawyers understand the workers sued Riot Games, the $1.6 billion company owned by Chinese firm Tencent, alleged violations of the California Equal Pay Act as well as pervasive sexual harassment and gender discrimination.

The lawsuit was filed after a series of in-depth investigations, starting with a piece from gaming website Kotaku. Continue reading