Companies in California can no longer force workers as a condition of employment to sign away their right to have claims of discrimination, unfair pay or harassment resolved in a court of law as opposed to an arbitrator. There are a few exceptions, but the sweeping effect of  AB-51, signed into law by Gov Gavin Newsom, will have a significant impact on the landscape of future employment litigation in California.workplace arbitration agreements

As our Los Angeles employment attorneys can explain, mandatory employee arbitration agreements have had chilling effect when it came to worker rights and employer accountability. Not only are arbitration agreements costly for workers, they tend to end more favorably for employers, class action isn’t an option and it’s all confidential. A company could turn a blind eye to something like sexual harassment for years – and victims would never have the benefit of all the claims that came before them. And what if a worker refused to sign the arbitration agreement? They risked being fired – or never hired in the first place.

This is not to say arbitration has no place at all in resolving employer-employee disputes, but not when workers are forced to sign away their rights or risk giving up their job to someone who will. Continue reading

With a developmental disability, visual impairment and deafness, he employed for 16 years as a cart pusher at a retail giant. Now, he’s been awarded $5.2 million in an employment disability discrimination lawsuit.employment disability discrimination

As our Orange County disability discrimination attorneys understand it, the man had been receiving a number of workplace accommodations pursuant to the Americans with Disabilities Act, which allowed him to be successful in his role. One of those accommodations was a job coach, paid for by federal disability funding.

His condition had not changed. What did change, The Associated Press, was that new manager came on-board. According to the complaint in EEOC v. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. and Wal-Mart Stores East, LP, within just a month of the new manager taking charge, the worker was suspended and forced to resubmit the medical paperwork that allowed him access to reasonable accommodations. Continue reading

Female janitorial workers – particularly those working the night shift – have long been fighting for safer workplaces. Specifically, they have sought protection from the scourge of sexual assault. sexual harassment

In 2016, a janitors’ union representing some 25,000 workers in California expressed shock when a survey of 5,000 janitorial workers revealed the majority of its membership were either:

  • Victims of workplace sexual harassment and/or sexual assault (50 percent);
  • Witnesses of workplace sexual harassment (25 percent).

Continue reading

For the most part, business liability insurance policies do cover the cost of defense and settlements in numerous types of employee lawsuits. It usually comes down to the exact language in the policy, but coverage is often extended for claims of sexual harassment, wrongful termination and discrimination. This is of paramount concern to employers, but it’s also relevant to employee plaintiffs in employment litigation because if the insurer doesn’t cover it, the employer will be directly responsible. If the damage award is sizable enough and the company small enough, it could mean you’ll have difficulty collecting on the damage award in your employment lawsuit. wage and hour lawsuit

This is especially pertinent to those filing a claim for violation of California’s wage and hour laws. Many employer liability insurers don’t carry coverage for this type of claim in California. Wage and hour claims are often explicitly cited as an exclusion or else businesses pay a premium for coverage.

However, a recent California Court of Appeal decision paved the way for more wage and hour claims to be covered by employer liability insurers. In Southern California Pizza Company, LLC v. Certain Underwriters at Lloyd’s, London, the appellate panel ruled that wage and hour claims against a pizza shop (for failure to reimburse for reimbursable expenses) was not barred under the business’s policy exclusion on wage and hour claims.

Why? Continue reading

The joint employment of a fast-food franchisor can’t be established in California employment lawsuits just because the company asserts control over the franchisee’s branding. Instead, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit ruled that plaintiffs will need to show sufficient control over things like worker hours, wages and job conditions under numerous legal theories. wage and hour lawyer

In the case before the Ninth Circuit, Salazar v. McDonald’s Corp., the court held that the McDonald’s Corporation didn’t exercise sufficient control over the workers at a Bay Area franchisee to be held as a joint employee for alleged violations of state wage laws. Continue reading

People diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) can make excellent employees. However, many are denied opportunities – for a job, for advancement, for benefits and more. Disability discrimination is all too often a daily occurrence for those with ASD, especially because the spectrum is so broad and the condition still not well understood.disability discrimination lawyer

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports an estimated 1 in 59 children in the U.S. are diagnosed with autism annually, a figure that has steadily increased in recent years.

As our Los Angeles workplace disability discrimination attorneys can explain, the Americans with Disabilities Act, as well as the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, ban disability-based discrimination in employment.

Discrimination is understood to mean that a qualified job applicant or employee is treated unfavorably by a job applicant because of his or her disability. Continue reading

When a 34-year-old former California correctional officer secured a $1.7 million settlement from her former employer in her pregnancy discrimination lawsuit, she thought that might be the end of it. The agency was accused of failing to accommodate her pregnancy, ultimately resulting in her baby’s stillbirth. But she’s back in court facing them again, this time for a clause in the settlement that required her to resign – and barred her from ever working for the agency again. no rehire clauses

Although she does not want to return to that line of work, her concern is the impact this condition might have on her ability to collect disability retirement. A court hearing has been scheduled to address the issue, but this is something our Los Angeles employment attorneys have found affects many, many workers who have been discriminated and retaliated against.

It’s the driving force for a pending bill that would prohibit “no rehire” clauses like this in employment discrimination settlement agreements. Continue reading

Companies can be held legally responsible for sexual harassment and even sexual assault of an employee in an employment lawsuit if business managers/supervisors/HR representatives failed to take action regarding previous complaints of harassment/gender discrimination.sexual harassment lawyer

A large auto manufacturer is facing a federal trial over allegations that it did nothing to aid an employee who was sexually harassed and later sexually assaulted on company property.

The worker filed the employment lawsuit last year and it’s now slated for trial in 2020. The employee alleged that her manager harassed and attacked her, all while assuring her that no one in human resources would intervene if she filed complaints – which, she says, ultimately proved true. Continue reading

Employee rest periods and overtime are worker rights guaranteed in California by statute and overseen by regulators at the state’s Department of Industrial Relations. Although there are exceptions, most workers are guaranteed at least 10 minutes of rest for every 10 hours worked and must be paid overtime for every hour worked over 40. The laws are clear, and yet our employment wage and hour lawyers know far too many companies run afoul of them. employee rest breaks

Some large banks in the country have been accused – and made to pay – repeatedly for failures in providing employees with rest breaks or pay overtime as required by law – in California and other states.

Recently, a federal judge in New Jersey approved a $35 million settlement to current and former employees at Wells Fargo & Co. who were made to work unpaid overtime outside normal hours. That lawsuit was initially filed three years ago, with the financial firm’s accused of not paying for all hours worked and/or not paying overtime. Workers were reportedly forced to work off-the-clock in order to meet unrealistic sales targets that would be impossible to achieve in a typical 40-hour workweeks.

That same bank had previously been accused of rest break violations. Continue reading

Several former chicken plant workers are suing more than a dozen processing businesses, subsidiaries, affiliates and consultant companies, accusing them of conspiring to keep wages and benefits low for workers, overwhelmingly immigrants. The employees filed the wage and hour lawsuit on their own behalf, though the case could eventually encompass thousands of workers if approved for class action status.wage and hour lawsuit

Employee wage and hour attorneys understand the defendants include some of the largest chicken companies in the U.S., responsible for production and processing of some 90 percent of chicken sold in the country.

Price Fixing Allegations

The federal lawsuit alleges the companies took turns paying for annual, secret gatherings of their respective representatives in Florida to share with each other wage and benefit information – which they then used to fix those wages and benefits. Managers of companies would also be in contact with each other throughout the year when new positions would open up, discussing what the wages and benefits would be for the new post. Plaintiffs alleged this led to a pattern of controlling wages. Continue reading