Articles Posted in Employment Arbitration

Non-solicitation clauses in California employment agreements have been deemed illegal in California per two recent court decisions. This includes out-of-state employers with California employees. Orange County employment attorneys are encouraging companies to review their employment agreements and consider removing non-solicitation clauses that may be in conflict with state law. California nonsolicitation agreements

Non-solicitation agreements are provisions in employment contracts (sometimes standalone contracts) wherein an employee agrees he or she will not try to solicit customers or clients of the employer for his or her personal benefit or for that of a competitor if/when he/she leaves the firm. Non-solicitation agreements can also encompass an employee’s agreement not to solicit other employees to leave once he/she quits.

Restrictive Covenants in California Labor Code

California has some of the strongest worker rights provisions in the country. For instance, California Business and Professions Code section 16600 states that all employment contracts that would keep anybody from engaging in a lawful profession, business or trade is void.

Courts in California have long held that it is against public policy to restrict former employees’ right to work for competitors. Further, state courts have soundly rejected the argument put forth by the inevitable disclosure doctrine, which asserts employees who immediately go work for a competitor is going to inevitably disclose or use trade secrets of the former employer. In the 2008 case of Edwards v. Arthur Andersen LLP, the California Supreme Court ruled previous workers are entitled to solicit the clients of former employers – assuming they don’t do so using their former employer’s trade secrets or confidential information while doing so.

This ruling marked a shift from the 1985 ruling by a California Court of Appeal in Loral Corp. v. Moyes, in which justices declined to void as unenforceable an employee agreement restriction indicating the employee was not allowed now or in the future to damage, interfere, impair or disrupt the business of the former employer by interfering with or “raiding” its employees, business relationships, agents, representatives, customers, vendors, etc. The clause created an express exception for being employed by or engaging with a competing business. The court didn’t expressly allow employment contracts with non-solicitation agreements, but rather ruled the one in question wasn’t an obvious, unenforceable restriction on fair trade.  Continue reading

The U.S. Supreme Court handed a significant victory to American workers in a case that started as a California employment lawsuit over forced arbitration by independent contractors working in transportation. The decision in New Prime Inc. v. Oliveira was a somewhat surprising outcome given that the court in recent years has a history of favoring corporate interests over workers. (Note: Justice Brett Kavanaugh, who assumed the bench after the oral argument, did not participate in the decision, but the ruling was unanimous.) As our Los Angeles employment arbitration lawyers can explain, this will allow hundreds of thousands of independent contractors nationally to take their cases to court, rather than be mandated to settle them quietly before an arbitrator. Los Angeles employment arbitration lawyer blog

The problem with arbitration – whether it’s a case of product liability or premises liability or unfair wages or sexual harassment – is that it tends largely to favor employers and big corporations. The arbitrators are paid by the companies, the outcomes are not public (depriving the public of pertinent information regarding unfair or unsafe business practices) and even when cases are decided in plaintiff’s favor, they tend to be lesser than what one could expect to receive when cases go to a jury.

This case stems from a dispute between a trucking company employer and a truck driver, who was hired to complete some 10,000 miles of driving as an “apprentice” before he could expect payment. Even after that, he was expected to drive for 30,000 miles as a trainee, during which time he was paid $4 hourly. Then, once he was finally designated a full-time driver, he was still misclassified as an independent contractor, as opposed to an employee. He was required to lease the truck he drove from the defendant, buy his own equipment from their store and purchase his own diesel fuel, often from gas pumps that were owned by the defendant. In any other employment situation, the employer would be the one footing the bill for these expenses. The result, in several cases, was that the “independent contractor” truck driver would have to deduct these expenses from his income, meaning sometimes his paychecks actually wound up being negative. He was paying this company to work for them.  Continue reading

Only certain background information of ex-convicts will be searchable for employment now that Governor Jerry Brown has signed SB 1412, which amends Section 432.7 of the California Labor Code. As our Riverside employment attorneys can explain, the measure stipulates that employers conducting criminal background checks on job applicants may only ask about/ weigh convictions that are relevant to the job for which a prospective employee is applying.Riverside employment lawyer

The new California employment law, effective January 1, 2019, applies not just to private individuals and corporations but also public agencies. Companies won’t be barred from conducting criminal background checks on job applicants, but they will be restricted in doing so. It doesn’t stop public or private employers from conducting criminal background checks as required by local, state or federal law. It does however replace the provision that allows employers to inquire about “criminal convictions” to instead say, “particular convictions.”

Doesn’t California Law Already Protect Ex-Convict Job Seekers?

As your Riverside employment attorney can explain, California law does to an extent already protect those seeking a job from being required to reveal certain information. However, SB 1412 takes it a step further in shielding more workers from discrimination based on prior criminal history.  Continue reading

The Supreme Court’s recent decision in the case of Janus v. American Federation of State, County, and employee rightsMunicipal Employees quickly rose to landmark status in employment law. The 5-4 ruling by the high court determined it is unconstitutional to force nonunion workers to pay fees to unions in the public sector. Justices for the majority decisions explained that forcing workers to financially back an organization whose views they did not necessarily agree with was a violation of their First Amendment right to free speech, according to a CNBC report. The decision overturned the 1977 Supreme Court ruling in Abood v. Detroit Board of Education, which stated fees could be collected for collective bargaining, but not for political purposes. Some believe, however, that by nature collective bargaining and union practices are political.

While the ruling does not affect the private sector directly, the spirit of the decision certainly sets a precedent for legal disputes with private employment unions. It also helps bolster laws that already exist in 27 states which forbid agreements between unions and employers to force all employees who are part of a bargaining unit to contribute to union dues. The ruling is viewed by many as a victory for individual liberties. Continue reading

A longtime agent in Tennessee has filed a lawsuit against Los Angeles-headquartered Agency for the Performingemployment lawyers Arts alleging a hostile work environment and seeking to be released from his contract. The lawsuit was filed in the U.S. District Court, Middle District of Tennessee. Plaintiff claims executives at the agency have tried to edge him out and take his clients, sent hostile and abusive emails to him, and threw him into a wall during an argument, according to a report from Tennessean. The agent alleged an internal inquiry into the events led to a vague response from the company, essentially calling on all parties involved to follow the rules and get along. Plaintiff found this conclusion unacceptable, and believes APA’s tolerance of a hostile work environment frees him of his contract, which is set to expire in 2019. Continue reading

In a 5-4 decision, the U.S. Supreme Court made it significantly harder for workers to join together to stand up against their employer.employment lawyers The highest court in the land determined it is permissible for employers to include language in hiring contracts banning employees from joining class-action lawsuits, according to an ABC News report. This disheartening revelation flies in the face of the 1935 National Labor Relations Act, which was drafted to protect employees’ rights to organize and take collective action to fight for their own interests.

The supporting justices seemed to favor instead the Federal Arbitration Act of 1925, which validates arbitration clauses, making it legal for employers to bind an employee’s right to sue their employer as a term of employment. This forces employees who have signed an arbitration agreement to address their grievances without filing a lawsuit. Instead, they would have to handle disputes individually through a third party arbitrator, often hired by the company whose actions are in question. Continue reading

We’ve heard all too many stories since the emergence of the #MeToo movement about women who wanted to come forward with theirwhistleblower attorneys accounts of workplace sexual misconduct, but their companies had created loopholes that made it nearly impossible or too risky to go public. One former Uber employee is kicking down some of those barriers and working alongside the California Assembly to make it happen.

The former Uber engineer drew national attention when she previously wrote a blog post about alleged sexual harassment and questionable practices within the company, according to Tech Crunch. Her courage to speak up led to the resignation of Uber’s then CEO last summer. Now the ex-employee is supporting a bill that will help women in situations like hers to be able to seek public legal action. Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzales Fletcher (D-San Diego) introduced AB-3080, a bill that addresses one of the major ways companies try to silence internal complaints: forced arbitration.

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One of the best ways workers can shield themselves from discriminatory practices at work is through the use of organized resistance to unscrupulous practices by employers.  When a worker’s rights have been violated, there may be the possibility of taking legal action but many labor unions strive to prevent such violations before they occur.

racial discriminationAccording to a recent news article from People’s World, the Los Angeles chapter of the American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO), has pledged to renew their efforts to form an “inseparable resistance to illegal and otherwise unfair employment practices” committed by various employers in Los Angeles and across California. Continue reading

According to a recent news article from Society for Human Resource Management, an employee in California has filed a lawsuit against his former employer claiming he was fired for being “too gay.”  He was working in executive management for the company prior to being terminated, according to his complaint.

Employment LawyerIn his complaint, employee claimed his was openly gay when he was hired in 1997.  He worked for the company for 10 years in various management jobs. In 2007, he was given a new job as the manager for diversity and inclusion.  This was not only a new job for him, but a newly created position within the company. Continue reading

According to a recent news article from The Los Angeles Times, the prevailing wage for construction workers in California is at the forefront of a growing debate over housing.  This is a fairly complex issue when we look at the definition of the prevailing wage and how it works in practice.

LA employment lawyerThe prevailing wage is the leading wage paid to construction workers in our region. There is a prevailing wage for each of the 25 different types of construction workers.  For example, the common wage of masonry workers is the prevailing wage for that class of worker.  There is a prevailing wage for all other construction trades, such as plumbers or electricians. Continue reading