Sometimes the terms “wrongful termination” and “retaliation” are tossed around in the context of employment lawsuits, but there is often a fundamental misunderstanding of what these mean in legal terms. wrongful termination Los Angeles

What they do not mean is simply “unfair” actions by an employer. California is an at-will employment state, meaning employers can fire you for any reason at any time – with or without cause. The employer doesn’t need a “good reason.” However, there are exceptions – primarily as outlined in the California Fair Employment and Housing Act.

Wrongful termination occurs when an employee is fired for an impermissible or unlawful reason. There are a long list of exceptions to the at-will employment rule, and they include termination based on things like gender, race, nationality, religion, pregnancy, age, disability/medical condition and sexual orientation. It can also include termination for filing complaints about workplace health and safety or employee injuries.

Wrongful termination can be a form of retaliation, which occur when adverse action is taken against an employee for reporting a company’s violation state Labor Code and other laws. Continue reading

Working mothers in California will soon have stronger support for workplace lactation accommodation. Starting Jan. 1, 2020, employers must provide lactating mothers with a place that is private, secure and close to their workstation in order to pump. Additionally, the room must be equipped with a chair as well as a table or shelf to store their pumping equipment, along with access to electricity, running water and a refrigerator or cooler in which to store their milk. These must all be close to their workstation. lactation accommodation lawyer

As our Los Angeles employment attorneys have been made aware, too many new mothers have been forced to express milk in a restroom, closet, vehicle or other location that isn’t ideal. Research shows that lack of a proper lactation space is especially a hardship among lower-income workers of color.

This new measure mandates companies to inform their workers of their right to express breast milk on-the-job, as well as provide the space and adequate time for it. Any violations of these rights must be reported to the state’s Labor Commissioner’s Office. Continue reading

The City of San Diego is on the hook for $565,000 to a former employee who was reportedly demoted in retaliation for complaining about a supervisor who pressured him to become more religious and chastised him for being being a “non-believer” in the Christian faith. religious discrimination

According to The San Diego Union-Tribune, this same supervisor was the subject of complaints from other workers who were urged to attend church services, told non-believers would “go to hell” and expressed her view that those supporting same-sex marriages are not “children of God.”

The city’s lawyers agreed to settle the case rather than appeal an earlier federal jury verdict finding the city was liable for religious discrimination and retaliation, and ordering plaintiff’s damages and an award of attorney’s fees.

Evidence presented at trial showed that plaintiff filed a grievance against his supervisor for this overt religious pressure in the workplace, prompting an internal investigation. That investigation revealed the complaint had merit – but the city never took action against the supervisor. Instead, the city demoted the worker who filed the grievance, and then transferred him from the clerk’s office to the public utilities department. This new job site, he says, was far less desirable. On top of that, he was stripped of his supervisory title and left in a role with less upward mobility potential. Continue reading

Hiring is an integral but time-consuming, expensive and often tedious process with which every company must contend. In looking for ways to cut down on exhausting searches, an increasing number of companies are turning to artificial intelligence (AI) systems to help more quickly identify qualified candidates. This can prove especially beneficial for firms that need to cut through a huge influx of potential applications. age discrimination attorney

However, there is growing concern that such AI application systems may be perpetuating some forms of discrimination, particularly age, gender and race. This is in spite of tech companies insisting that their systems are designed to root out long-existing human biases.

Last year, Amazon tested integrated machine-learning techniques on its recruiting platform. This was supposed to be a “smart tool” that could help managers pick ideal job candidates faster. However, after being fed a decade’s worth of resumes, the system began showing a clear bias toward male candidates. In troubleshooting, engineers with the company figured out that because most of the resumes were coming from male candidates, it made the “artificial intelligence” leap that male candidates were more desirable, and thus downgraded the ratings of female applicants. Engineers addressed this by editing the programs so that they included more gender neutral terms. However, that doesn’t mean these systems won’t still prove discriminatory – now and in the future. (Amazon decided to ax the project before fully launching it, perhaps realizing the potential legal liability landmine.)

It’s no leap to surmise similar discriminatory patterns could soon emerge.

If, for instance, a firm has a general tendency to hire fresh-out-of-college candidates, these systems could easily begin trending toward a younger workforce bias. Continue reading

The U.S. Supreme Court appeared sharply divided over the question of whether landmark civil rights law prohibiting gender discrimination on-the-job also extends to gay, lesbian and transgender workers.

Reuters reports the deciding vote could be Justice Neil Gorsuch, a conservative who has, on occasion, proven a swing vote. LGBT discrimination lawyer

Los Angeles LGBT employment discrimination attorneys and advocates have been following the case developments closely. The high court has never before ruled on transgender rights – employment or otherwise. In order for the case to be decided in favor of the employee plaintiffs at least one conservative justice would need to join the liberal minority.

Over two hours of oral testimony, three workers (one transgender and two gay) sought to convince justices they were entitled to the same protected status as other workers discriminated against on the basis of their biological gender – a protection expressly extended under the Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. (That law also prohibits discrimination on the basis of color, race, religion and national origin.) Continue reading

Little more than one week after McDonald’s Corp. fired its chief executive officer for reportedly having a romantic relationship with a subordinate, a former employee is suing the fast food chain, alleging sexual assault by a manager is part of a larger culture of sexual harassment in the company. The former CEO could get a payout of an estimated $70 million. Orange County sexual harassment lawyer

The class action sexual harassment lawsuit filed in a Michigan state court as hundreds of workers for the company in that state prepared to strike in protest of the company’s handling of such claims. Workers for the firm are demanding the protection of a labor union. The company is facing more than 50 complaints from employees and former employees who allege the work environment at the restaurant chain is sexually hostile.

In the recent Michigan lawsuit, The New York Times reports plaintiff was subjected to sexual harassment and sexual assault repeatedly over the course of two years working for the company. The manager allegedly groped her, called her by offensive names and once placed his genitals in her hand while they worked beside one another in the kitchen. These incidents, she says, were a daily occurrence, and she was in constant fear of losing her job. She reportedly filed numerous complaints with her general managers, but the complaints were ignored, she said. Continue reading

An employer’s failure to pay wages in accordance with an employment contract – even if what’s paid is in excess of the minimum wage – can now be penalized with fines and restitution orders by the California Labor Commissioner. wage and hour lawyer

That’s thanks to SB 688, a newly-passed measure that amends California Labor Code Ch. 723 s. 1197.1, which goes into effect next month.

“Contract wages,” as explained in the bill/statute, are wages based upon an agreement between a company and a worker for regular, non-overtime hours that is in excess of the applicable minimum wage.

Los Angeles labor law attorneys can explain that under existing law, employers (or those acting as officers/agents) who fail to pay a worker less than minimum wage can be subject to citation and penalties from the Labor Commissioner. However, that power of enforcement does not extend when workers are paid in excess of minimum wage – yet should be paid more according to their employment contract. Continue reading

Independent contractors are entitled to far fewer rights under California employment law than employees or in some cases even job applicants. In filing an employment lawsuit against a company, one must establish they are an employee or prospective employee.employee misclassification Los Angeles

But as our Los Angeles employment attorneys know well, misclassification of employees as independent contractors is rampant. It’s often left to the court’s to decide.

Recently, a California appellate court ordered a new trial in the case of a worker who was technically a temp agency employee, but who took on a supervisory position for five years at the shoe care manufacturing company with which the temp agency contracted. Although the temp agency cut her checks, it was the manufacturer that had the direction and control of her day-to-day work. This, the court ruled, made her an employee for purposes of relief for alleged discrimination and wrongful termination under California’s Fair Employment and Housing Act.

Independent Contractor v. Employee

There is no set definition of the term “independent contractor,” which is why courts and enforcement agencies are often asked to consider the fact pattern of each case where employment status is a possible issue. The Division of Labor Standards Enforcement begins with the presumption that a worker is an employee, but it is one that can be rebutted by the employer. Continue reading

There are many federal and California laws that protect employees from discrimination and retaliatory action. It’s important when pursuing your claim to file under the proper cause of action to ensure the greatest change of success. That’s why it’s so important to choose an Orange County employment attorney with a wealth of experience and a verifiable track record of success. racial discrimination

Recently in Sacramento, a man sued a local baseball club for racial discrimination, alleging the club refused to hire him on the basis of his race. His complaint alleged common tort law violations under the Unruh and Ralph Civil Rights Acts, and further committed unfair business practices as outlined under Business and Professions Code section 17200.

The trial court dismissed his claim after finding that while failure or refusal to hire a prospective employee on the basis of race is a violation of public policy (including both the state Constitution as well as the General Code), the proper remedy through the California Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA). Were he an employee, he might have found resolution in a common law tort, but as an applicant, the claim needed be filed under FEHA. The California Court of Appeal, Third Appellate District affirmed.

It might seem a ridiculous technicality, but claims must be properly stated at the outset in order for courts to properly consider them. A slight misunderstanding of California’s employment statutes and case law could end up costing you valuable time. Improperly state your claim and you might run the risk of being forever barred from continuing to pursue it if you’re too late to file again before the statute of limitations runs out. Continue reading

California employees have the right to be paid – in full and on time. Yet wage theft is still a prime source of labor law violations in this state.

That’s why lawmakers enacted AB 673, amending Chapter 716, Section 210 of the Labor Code. wage and hour lawyer

Existing law provides for a civil penalty – both additionally and entirely independent from all other fines or penalties – on anyone who fails to pay the wages of every employee. The law also includes a provision that bars differential pay or pay schedules on the basis of gender. It allows for the state Labor Commissioner to recover that penalty as part of the hearing that’s held to recover any unpaid wages/penalties or independent from the civil action. A portion of those penalties go to a specific fund in the Labor and Workforce Development Agency for the express purpose of educating workers about state labor laws. The rest goes to the State Treasury/General Fund.

AB 673 allows for the workers who have been affected to bring an action to recover certain penalties against employers who failed to pay them. Continue reading