In a major victory for workers in California, state lawmakers passed the “Silenced No More Act,” granting workers who have suffered harassment or discrimination on-the-job to speak freely about it – even if they previously signed a non-disclosure agreement. Not only is this excellent news for those who have been directly impacted, but the effect is that secret settlements are no effectively barred. Los Angeles employment attorney

The measure, Senate Bill 331, amends Section 12964.5 of the Government Code, relating to civil actions. Specifically, it imbues workers with the right to discuss the abuse, harassment, and discrimination they endured at work. As our Los Angeles employment lawyers can explain, it also expands a previous prohibition on nondisparagement and confidentiality clauses that were overly broad.

The governor still has the option to veto, but if he signs it, the law will take effect at the start of 2022. Continue Reading ›

Few corporate arenas are immune from ageism and age discrimination in the workforce, but sales and retail settings are known to be some of the worst offenders.Los Angeles age discrimination lawyer

Recently, Reuters reported a federal class action age discrimination lawsuit had been filed against a drug maker, alleging the company only advertises its sales representative positions through college campus recruitment programs, and then fill the jobs with younger workers who were typically brought on initially as interns.

Plaintiffs allege the drug manufacturer is in violation the Age Discrimination and Employment Act, a federal law, as well as comparable state-level laws, which shield workers who are over the age of 40. In this case, workers in this protected age group were either deterred from filing for sales representative jobs or applied unsuccessfully, despite being more qualified than the younger individuals who were ultimately hired.

The company denies that managers were allegedly instructed to “not even bother” submitting candidates over 30 for consideration in sales position. Plaintiffs allege the company adopted hiring quotas about five years ago with the intention of packing their sales force with “early career professionals.” That’s a nice way of saying discriminating against older workers. Continue Reading ›

When it comes to California employment discrimination lawsuits alleging wrongful termination, a common defense is the “mixed motive.” That is, even where discrimination is a deemed a substantial motivating factor in firing someone, employers cans still effectively defend themselves if they can successfully argue the outcome would have been the same absent any such discrimination. In that situation, as it was in the 2013 case of Wynona Harris v. City of Santa Monica, employees may not be entitled to damages, back pay, or an order of restatement (often the primary relief many seek), though they may still be entitled to injunctive and declaratory relief, as well as compensation for reasonable attorneys’ fees and costs. racial discrimination

The high proof burdens in these employment law cases are one of the primary reasons we urge anyone considering a  claim for discrimination, harassment, wrongful termination, and/or retaliation, will work only with a highly experienced and skilled Los Angeles employment attorney with a track record of success in similar cases.

Recently, a similar case arose from an allegation of racial discrimination by a former scientist with the UCLA Medical Center. She alleged on-the-job, race-based harassment – which she did prove. In fact, jurors had previously awarded her $1.5 million in damages. However, in a review by a California Court of Appeals, the panel held that because the plaintiff was fired for legitimate reasons (notwithstanding race discrimination as a substantial motivating factor), the claimant’s damage award was reduced by more than $275,000.

As our L.A. racial discrimination lawyers can explain, the California Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) holds that discrimination, retaliation, and harassment are separate wrongs, even if for the employee, it all appears connected. Each element of unlawful conduct has its own remedy. In the UCLA case, Birden v. The Regents of the University of California, the court held, a damage award for racial discrimination is only justified if that harassment ended with the employee losing his or her job. Continue Reading ›

A California non-profit wage theft lawsuit was settled recently for $170,000, according to Palo Alto Weekly. The organization is responsible for providing street cleaning services in communities around the Bay area. The class action claim was filed by a former employment specialist at the group, who alleged that she and others were routinely denied fair wages. Los Angeles wage and hour lawyer

According to the wage and hour lawsuit, the workers were not paid for overtime, denied break and lunch time compensation, and received late wage payments post-termination or resignation. Additionally, workers alleged employee misclassification, categorizing some workers as salaried and thus “exempt” from overtime pay under the California Labor Code. The pay rate for “salaried” employees, plaintiffs asserted, fell below the statutory level that would qualify them as exempt employees.

As our Los Angeles wage and hour lawyers can explain, California labor laws do apply to non-profit agencies, unless the individual in question is a volunteer, not an employee. As of Jan. 1, 2021, the statewide minimum wage in California is $14 hourly for companies with 26 or more employees and $13 hourly for those with 25 for fewer. However, some local ordinances set forth higher minimum wage rate than state law. For example, the minimum age in Los Angeles is $15 hourly for companies with 26 or more employees and $14.25 hourly for those with fewer. Where local minimum wage rates higher than state rates, employers must comply with the local law. Continue Reading ›

A former employee alleges Amazon’s pregnancy discrimination against her and failure to provide accommodations led her to suffer a miscarriage.pregnancy discrimination lawyer

According to Vice, the packer was 7 weeks pregnant when she suffered a miscarriage at the fulfillment center where she worked. In the weeks prior, she said she’d begged her warehouse manager and human resource office for lighter duty. She provided a doctor’s note requesting pregnancy accommodations, which indicated she was not to lift, push, pull or carry more than 20 pounds. She was also not to walk or stand for more than half of her shift. Her job involved loading packages onto delivery trucks. The bins she was responsible for lifting could be up to 50 pounds, repeatedly, over a 10-hour shift.

The worker said that when she provided the doctor’s note, she was told verbally that there were no specific areas for light work that wouldn’t require 15 pounds or more of lifting or for her not to be on her feet. Subsequently, her manager began repeatedly questioning why she was sitting, taking longer bathroom breaks and moving more slowly.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention note that the risk of miscarriage can increase when workers routinely engage in heavy lifting, standing on their feet for long hours and bending at the waist. Plaintiff said her manager was not accommodating of any of this. Although workers are only allowed 10 minutes of “time off task” daily, the size of the warehouse means it takes six minutes just to talk to the bathroom and back. It would be virtually impossible to take more than one bathroom break daily with those kind of restrictions. Continue Reading ›

Employers using social media platforms to advertise jobs and recruit potential employees is nothing new. Some did run into trouble tailoring their job ads to certain audiences (by age, gender, location, etc.), but most of those fields have been eliminated. Now, some employers are shifting their recruiting efforts to TikTok, a wildly popular video-sharing social networking service. Los Angeles employment discrimination lawyer

Last month, the company even launched its own pilot program with its own website that allowed people to apply for jobs through the app, which offered resources, tips and how to make a good pitch. Meanwhile, many employers, facing significant worker shortages, are using the app to reach out to potential workers.

By virtue of the fact that it is a video-based provider, it does leave prospective employees vulnerable to looks-based discrimination, sometimes referred to as appearance discrimination or lookism.

Of course, one’s appearance is not an indication of their work ethic or character. That said, society often puts a significant value on one’s appearance. Certainly, that’s not fair, but is it illegal? Appearance discrimination isn’t a category that is technically recognized as being protected by employment laws in California, but it could be actionable when the employer’s conduct amounts to gender discrimination, age discrimination, racial discrimination or disability discrimination. Continue Reading ›

Sony, multinational conglomerate corporation, is being accused of racial discrimination against Black employees. Some had been invited to appear in a Black History Month video earlier this year to speak as “Sony shining stars” about the power of Black voices in the company. Yet at least one of those workers now alleges that the company’s representations of diversity failed to match reality. racial discrimination lawyer Los Angeles

According to Buzzfeed, plaintiff said she raised concerns about racist remarks by her supervisors. Instead of addressing those, management for the company allegedly retaliated against her by excluding her from meetings, taking away certain prime accounts and then terminating her while she was on sick leave after contracting the coronavirus. She now believes she was used by the company to bulk up its diversity numbers, and had no intention of actually living up to the image it portrayed.

The company declined to comment on the specific lawsuit, Buzzfeed reported, but insisted dedication to equity, inclusion and diversity, adding all such complaints are taken seriously and investigated thoroughly.

Our Los Angeles racial discrimination employment lawyers know this is far from an isolated incident in terms of employees of color closely considering whether the racial inequality reckoning that’s reverberated across the country over the last year has actually resulted in meaningful changes – particularly in terms of employment. Continue Reading ›

A new California sexual harassment lawsuit has rocked the gaming world, with an avalanche of dissent and claims of “frat boy culture” dominating descriptions of Activision Blizzard, the video gaming company that own games like “Call of Duty,” “Candy Crush” and “World of Warcraft.” Los Angeles sexual harassment lawyer

The upheaval and high-profile exit is reminiscent of what our Los Angeles sexual harassment lawyers have noted in the culture of the gaming industry (long noted for its misogyny), but some are speculating this could have reverberations throughout the tech world and even corporate America.

This all started with a California sexual harassment lawsuit filed last month by the state’s Department of Fair Employment and Housing. According to the complaint, multiple female employees were subjected to gender discrimination, sexual harassment and unequal pay. Company executives reportedly were aware of the harassment and other problems, but failed to take reasonable steps to halt illegal conduct. Instead, the lawsuit alleges, the company retaliated against the complainants. Continue Reading ›

Are COVID-19 vaccine mandates legal in California? It’s a query increasingly being asked of our Los Angeles employment attorneys. California employer vaccine mandates

Employer vaccine mandates may soon become the norm, at least in California, if not beyond. Large employers – particularly those in California and New York – are moving to have their employees get vaccinated or tested regularly for COVID-19. Recently, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs mandated vaccines for its health care workers and President Joe Biden is expected to announce that all federal employees will be required to either be vaccinated or regularly tested. Masking mandates are also coming back into effect. As of right now, many private sector employers have stopped short of requiring vaccines as a condition of employment, but the growing thread of the Delta variant of the coronavirus may compel them to shift course. A growing number of L.A. bars and restaurants are going so far as to require patrons – let alone employees – to prove they are vaccinated.

Generally, employers can mandate vaccines, but it depends on where you live. Further, as a Los Angeles employment lawyer can explain, accommodations must be made for those with religious exemptions and disabilities, as well as those in unions.

The thinking behind these initiatives is that unless and until more people are vaccinated, infections, hospitalizations and deaths are likely to increase drastically across the country. With this, many major companies such as Lyft, Google and Facebook are requiring worker vaccines, as are universities. The only exceptions are those with medical or religious exemptions.

In response, we’re starting to see some employment lawsuits (wrongful termination) crop up. In Texas, for example, a hospital faced a lawsuit from more than 100 employees who were vaccine averse. There are also university students in Indiana who allege the school’s vaccine mandate is unconstitutional.

However, the history of vaccine mandates in the U.S. is actually a long one. Continue Reading ›

It’s been less than one year since the U.S. Supreme Court waded into the question of pregnancy discrimination versus religious rights in a case involving a Catholic school and its teachers. In the 7-2 ruling, the court held that federal employment discrimination laws aren’t applicable at church-run schools to teachers whose duties include religious instruction. Now, the boundaries are being tested again.pregnancy discrimination lawyer

In a case out of New Jersey, an unmarried elementary art teacher in a Roman Catholic school was reportedly fired because she was pregnant and unmarried. The woman sued, alleging gender discrimination and sexual double standards. As her pregnancy discrimination lawyer explains it, the school’s only proof of a moral code violation was the pregnancy itself. For that, only a woman can be punished, not a man.

While the archdiocese in that area says the legal argument is a “must-win fight for the fundamental freedom of religion,” the principal, a nun, testified in depositions that she’d made no effort to ascertain whether other staffers (including men) were engaged in sex outside of marriage. The school, however, pointed to one case in the same archdiocese wherein a male teacher was fired when the woman he was dating became pregnant.

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