Federal and state laws prohibit California pay discrimination, which is a workplace disparity in pay based on an employee’s gender, race, color, religion, age, disability, and national origin. Plaintiffs in California pay discrimination lawsuits do not need to prove there was discriminatory intent. In other words, it doesn’t matter if the employer didn’t mean to be discriminatory; the impact is what matters. equal pay discrimination

Pay discrimination claims in California are primarily based on one of a few laws:

  • The California Equal Pay Act, Labor Code section 1197.5. This state law has been in place for decades, and aims to ensure equal pay regardless of race or gender. In 2016, lawmakers expanded these protections to workers who do “substantially similar work.” It also eliminated the requirement that comparative workers be operating in the same establishment. The law also explicitly states retaliation against employees who seek enforcement of the law is illegal, as is punishing workers for discussing or asking about co-workers’ wages.
  • The Equal Pay Act of 1963. This federal statute requires employers to compensate men and women equally for doing the same work at the same workplace.
  • The California Fair Employment and Housing Act. FEHA prohibits discrimination of applicants and employees of companies with 5 or more employees. Pay discrepancies based on gender in violation of FEHA.

As our Los Angeles employment lawyers can explain, these statutes cover all forms of pay, including salary, overtime, bonuses, vacation/sick leave, insurance, and other benefits.

California Equal Pay Lawsuits Underscore Persistent Problems

The fight for equal pay isn’t a new one, but companies continue to violate the law. The tech industry has become quite notorious for persistent equal pay problems. In a survey conducted by Bloomberg last year, male employees received higher pay than 59 percent of women for the same work. The average disparity in pay was about 3 percent. That can amount to thousands of dollars per year for every employee. Continue Reading ›

A novel California law that empowers an unelected council to set both wages and working conditions at fast food restaurants is facing fierce opposition from wealthy business and restaurant lobbyists. State labor unions want to protect the law, which they say is the most significant win for organized labor in decades. fast food worker rights

The blowback is primarily coming from national business groups – including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce – which are seeking not only to see the law overturned in California, but to block similar movements in other states.

As our Los Angeles employment lawyers can explain, California has positioned itself as a leader in labor rights, particularly over the last few years. Lawmakers here have enacted one worker protection measure after another, and other state union and worker lobbyists have been closely watching these developments, analyzing which may work in their own regions. Political analysts are predicting these measures could soon take root in other states, particularly those majority-controlled by Democrats.

Per the U.S. Department of Labor explains that fast food workers are entitled to:

  • Minimum wage.
  • Overtime protections under the FLSA.
  • Food credits (employers can take credit for food provided at cost, but cannot take credit for discounts given to employees on food menu prices).
  • Special protections if they are minors. Those ages 14-15 can’t work more than 3 hours in a day or 18 hours in a school week. They can’t start work before 7 a.m. or clock out after 7 p.m. They are limited in the types of jobs they can do. Those who are 16 or 17 cannot perform hazardous jobs (primarily in fast food involves meat processing machines, commercial mixers, power-driven bakery machines, but also includes assignments for time-sensitive deliveries). ‘

California’s new law takes these benefits a step further.

Sweeping Protections for California Fast Food Workers

Historically, employees in the fast food industry have been sorely lacking in workplace protections. One recent Harvard study found that California fast food industry workers are on average paid $3 less per hour than workers in similar sector jobs in the state. Further, because of the somewhat unpredictable nature of the industry, many workers involuntarily get part-time schedules.

The Fast Food Accountability and Standards Recovery Act (also known as the FAST Recovery Act), was signed by California Governor Gavin Newsom on Labor Day. Sponsors of the law say the goal is to set certain baseline standards for the treatment of fast food workers – about 500,000 in this state alone, many of them women and people of color. These include certain health and safety rules, minimum wage regulations, and enforcement of employer violations. Continue Reading ›

Discrimination of pregnant workers is unlawful in California workplaces – an important protection given that women make up half the workforce and 85 percent of working women will become mothers at some point in their careers. And yet, research shows that over the last decade, there have been more than 50,000 pregnancy discrimination claims filed with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. That excludes strictly state-level claims as well as instances that occurred but were never reported. pregnancy discrimination lawyer

Recent analysis of national census figures reveal women in the United States work longer during pregnancy and return to work much sooner post-childbirth than ever before. Yet employers too often fail to follow the law, which is to provide reasonable accommodations for women temporarily impaired by a pregnancy- or childbirth-related condition – just as they would any other employee with a disability.

As our Los Angeles employment lawyers can explain, the Pregnancy Discrimination Act of 1978, which amends Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, prohibits discrimination on the basis of pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions. It is applicable to individuals (employees and applicants) who are disparately treated in a way that’s unfavorable in any aspect of employment. That can include hiring, termination, salary, tasks and assignments, promotions and benefits, training opportunities, promotions, and other conditions or terms of employment.

What Does Pregnancy Discrimination Look Like?

Even knowing there are laws in place to protect pregnant workers, it’s not always easy to recognize when you’re the one being impacted.

Some examples of California pregnancy discrimination: Continue Reading ›

The COVID-19 pandemic spurred many employers to adapt by allowing work-from-home arrangements. Now, with the risk of COVID having largely receded with the availability of vaccines, companies have been pressing staffers to return to in-person work. However, some workers have alleged the roll-out of these return-to-office plans has resulted in employment discrimination. disability discrimination

One such high-profile incident recently garnered a lot of headlines. Twitter Inc.’s controversial new CEO Elon Musk as reportedly notified employees (those remaining following a mass layoff) that they should steel themselves to return to in-person work – and long hours at highly intensive paces.

In response, a new class action employment lawsuit alleges this push is discriminatory against employees with disabilities. A former engineer who kickstarted the case says he was fired shortly after informing his boss of his desire to continue working from home because he’s immunocompromised (a cancer survivor) and more vulnerable to contagious illness.

Musk’s demand for in-office work wasn’t a complete shock; He’d made his plans known shortly after buying the tech firm. Exceptions, he said, would be extremely rare.

The federal employment lawsuit asserts that work-from-home is a reasonable accommodation for disabled employees who can carry out essential job duties off-site. What’s more, demands for workers to put in long hours at an all-out pace is an unreasonable expectation for disabled workers. Continue Reading ›

California Senate Bill 1162, recently signed by Gov. Gavin Newsom, is a broad pay transparency law that requires employers to include pay ranges in all job ads as of Jan. 1, 2023 – a measure that is intended to close the pay gap and prevent unlawful employment discrimination. California pay transparency

Pay transparency employment law is a catching trend. In addition to California, other states like Nevada, Colorado, Washington, Connecticut, Maryland, and Rhode Island do as well. New York passed a similar measure too, but it’s awaiting the governor’s signature (though New York City has its own pay transparency law).

As our Los Angeles employment lawyers can explain, publication of pay for various jobs is supposed to reduce or eliminate discrepancies in pay. It’s effective in this because it brings to light information that employers have historically wished to keep under wraps. (If you encourage employees to stay hush-hush about their salaries because it’s “impolite” or “against company policy” or a “company trade secret,” there’s less chance of them learning if some groups are being unfairly discriminated against in their pay.) It can help employee plaintiffs more easily make their case when pay disparities are clearly spelled out in black-and-white. And by posting the salary upfront in job ads, employers may be less likely to engage in discrimination by low-balling a prospective employee in starting pay on the basis of their protected status (be that race, religion, gender identity, national origin, disability, sexual orientation, age, etc.).

It is against existing law for companies to communicate with other employees about wages – per the National Labor Relations Act and California Labor Code Sections 232(a) and (b). Continue Reading ›

Social media giant Twitter is facing legal action over allegedly laying off more than 950 workers without providing proper notice, as required under the federal and California WARN Act. WARN stands for Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act.California WARN Act

Per the California Department of Industrial Relations, relocations, terminations, and mass layoffs in this state are regulated in Labor Code sections 1400-1408. Generally speaking, most large employers aren’t allowed to order mass layoffs, relocations, or terminations unless the employer provides written notice to employees 60 days prior to the order taking effect. Employers are also required to notify the state’s Employment Development Department. As our Los Angeles employment lawyers can explain, failure to do this can trigger recompense for ex-employees for back pay, the value of any benefits workers may have been entitled to during that time. Companies can obtain an exemption from the law if certain conditions under Labor Code section 1402.5 are met, but that doesn’t appear to have been the case here with Twitter.

Musk’s Rocky Start at Twitter Helm

As it’s been widely-reported, Twitter was recently purchased by Tesla CEO Elon Musk. The acquisition deal had been in the works for months, but was finally sealed Oct. 28th for a $44 billion price tag. At the time, he promised to keep employee benefits and compensation the same.

News soon began to spread that Twitter would begin mass layoffs the first week of November. In an effort to eliminate costs, Twitter axed 50 percent of its workforce, reducing staff by 3,700 positions.

The complaint, filed in the U.S. District Court in the Northern District of California, alleges the company initiated layoffs starting Nov. 1st, with several employees saying they were in the first wave of mass layoffs, despite not receiving proper written notice in accordance with state and federal employment law.

Of note: It’s not the first time Musk has been accused of violating WARN laws. Continue Reading ›

Age discrimination against workers is nothing new. It’s not unique to California or even to America. Unfair treatment of older workers is a common thread in many societies, with ageism becoming more prevalent in economies that are advancing even as their workforce ages.It’s estimated that by 2030, one quarter of the world’s workforce will be over 55. Orange County age discrimination lawsuit

We’re likely to see a growing number of California age discrimination lawsuits as two of the largest generations – Baby Boomers and Millennials – cross the over-40 threshold. (Baby boomers are currently between 58 and 67, while the Millennials can be as young as 26, but as old as 41.)

What is Age Discrimination?

Workplace sexual harassment is a serious problem plaguing employees in California and beyond. The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) reports that between 2018 and 2021, it received nearly 28,000 complaints alleging sexual harassment. sexual harassment lawyer Orange County

As our Orange County sexual harassment lawyers can explain, such conduct is against the law. Employees impacted by sexual harassment deserve to be compensated for the harm they’ve suffered. Filing a California sexual harassment lawsuit is the way to do it.

What Exactly is Sexual Harassment?

It’s not unusual for folks to glean a narrow view of what precisely is sexual harassment.

Many people think of it as the stereotypical quid pro quo type of situation. Basically, a boss demands sex from an employee and, if employee refuses, they’ll be fired. And that is sexual harassment, but not the only form of it.

Both California and U.S. law define sexual harassment as behavior that involves:

  • Unwanted sexual advances.
  • Unwelcome physical, visual, or verbal conduct of a sexual nature.
  • Offensive conduct that is directed at or based on someone because of their sex, gender, sexual orientation, or pregnancy.

Harassment can involve a supervisor, but sometimes it involves co-workers or even customers. The defining factor is if endurance of this conduct effectively becomes a condition of employment. If you complain to your boss and nothing is done to correct the situation – or worse, you are retaliated against for complaining – that’s when sexual harassment is legally actionable. Continue Reading ›

Allegations of Orange County workplace national origin discrimination at a California-based construction company has led to litigation by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). Los Angeles national origin discrimination

The federal lawsuit alleges that for at least the last three years, supervisors at the construction company subjected Latino workers to harassment based on their race and national origin. In some cases, the workers were threatened with sexual assault.

As our Orange county employment attorneys can explain, while racial discrimination and sexual harassment are pretty well understood, national origin discrimination is less so. It involves treating applicants for employment or employees unfavorably on the basis of their actual or perceived place of birth, country of origin, ancestry, native language, accent, or because they are perceived as looking or sounding “foreign.”

In this case, construction workers were reportedly subjected to ongoing harassment in which their co-workers and supervisors referred to them as “wetbacks” and mocked them for not speaking English, and told them to “go back to where you came from.” In the bathrooms, anti-Latino graffiti would cover the walls, including offensive imagery and abusive language.

The Latino workers were also allegedly sexually harassed by co-workers, referred to as derogatory slurs, regularly shown explicit pictures, and threatened with sexual assault. Continue Reading ›

Workplaces that fail to accommodate a worker’s injury or disability may be rightly sued for California employment discrimination.Los Angeles disability discrimination

As explained by the California Department of General Services’ Office of Human Resources, reasonable accommodation refers to logical adjustments made to a job and/or the work environment that enables a person who is disabled to perform the essential functions of that job. Reasonable accommodations don’t change the essential job functions or create jobs that don’t exist. But they are provided when accommodation is necessary to allow a person who is disabled to perform the essential job functions.

Employers have a responsibility to engage in a timely, good faith, interactive process to determine effective reasonable accommodations for employees who are disabled. When they do not, workers can take legal action against them by filing a California employment lawsuit.

That’s what happened in a recent case at a poultry farm in Merced County, Central California. Continue Reading ›

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