Articles Posted in employment attorney

A recently-filed California workplace discrimination lawsuit alleges a former supervisor at Amazon ordered an employee to scour the social media platforms of job applicants, looking for information on their gender, ethnicity and race. When the employee raised concern about this (as well as the fact that she reportedly earned significantly less than male colleagues doing similar work). She was fired two months later. employment discrimination

Amazon has been criticized in the past for its lack of diversity. This was partially why the worker ascertained that what she was being asked to do was illegal, in violation of California’s anti-discrimination laws. Her lawsuit states that when she was fired, it was communicated to her that her direct supervisor had admitted to accessing job applicant social media accounts for the purpose of gleaning details about candidates’ ethnicity and race. The director who fired her also reportedly conceded that the claimant made less than male colleagues by that this simply “happens all the time” at the company. She was allegedly fired for failure to meet expectations (even though she’d been promoted within five months of joining the team).

Although the incident made headlines because it involved Amazon, the fact is incidents like this happen a lot more than one might think. Social media can prove incredibly useful for job recruiters in publicizing job openings, etc. LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and Twitter can be valuable in gathering information on prospective employees, and many companies use these outlets to conduct background checks on workers to ensure they are qualified for a certain position. However, it’s a fine line that has to be walked in terms of how those jobs are publicized and what type of information is being sought when recruiters access applicants’ social media pages. Continue reading

Discrimination in the hiring process has long been problematic in California workplaces. Allowing personal biases of employers and supervisors to play a role in who gets the job and who doesn’t is extremely problematic when the effect is systematic discrimination against applicants on the basis of their race, religion, age, gender, disability or other protected status. Yet it happens far too often. discrimination in hiring

Now, a new California bill seeks to address this with technology.

SB1241, formally the Talent for Competitive Hiring (TECH) Act would establish a new legal bar – a high one – to address discrimination in hiring with transparent written guidelines for companies to follow in their recruiting process. The ultimate goal is to create fairer hiring processes and more diverse work forces with the aid of technological tools. It was co-authored by Democrats from Los Angeles, Long Beach, Gardena and Carson.

Rather than leaning on one of a myriad of unregulated pre-screening software programs or even a hiring manager, the TECH Act would require adoption of a smart computer program equipped with agnostic filtering that would be routinely monitored. As our Los Angeles employment discrimination lawyers understand it, SB1241 is a “rules of the road” so-to-speak for hiring practices. The bill sponsors say the measure is necessary to tackle the widening opportunity gap that leads to ongoing socioeconomic inequality throughout the state. Continue reading

Employment discrimination, sexual harassment, retaliation and wrongful termination aren’t solely the problem of large corporations. It’s true that the federal discrimination lawsuits against Fortune 500 companies tend to make splashier headlines, especially when they conclude in multi-million dollar verdicts and settlements. But small businesses can be just as susceptible to these issues. employment lawsuit

Many small business owners are unprepared when these lawsuits are filed. The fact is that the bulk of litigation filed against businesses of all sizes involves employment disputes. About 40 percent of those are filed against smaller employers, with somewhere between 15 and 100 employees.

Employment lawsuits can more deeply affect a smaller employer, so it’s important for them not only to be insured, but also to be proactive in preventing disputes in the first place. That means knowing the law (including all the new employment laws that were passed in California recently), being sure there are clear policies and procedures in place to address problems and making certain those avenues for resolution are communicated to staff and supervisors. Continue reading

California may see an increase in workplace retaliation claims since Assembly Bill 749 , which bans no-rehire clauses with limited exception in employment dispute settlements, was enacted this month. Los Angeles employment attorney

Prior to the passage of this bill, it was common practice for companies to settle discrimination or harassment claims with employees with a settlement that included a no-rehire clause. These provisions can vary in scope, but usually indicated that any future application for employment by that person wouldn’t be considered, and if the worker was hired by chance, he or she would be terminated automatically.

The California Chamber of Commerce had argued the law wasn’t necessary because there were already existing laws against overly-broad no-rehire clauses (specifically, Business and Professional Code section 16600).

The new law, codified in the California Code of Civil Procedure section 1002.5, indicates that no agreement to settle an employment dispute should contain any provision that prohibits, prevents or otherwise restricts an aggrieved person who is settling from obtaining future employment with that employer or any parent company, division, affiliate, subsidiary or contractor. Companies can include no-rehire provisions in cases where the company made a good faith determination that the person signing committed sexual harassment or sexual assault OR where there was a legitimate (i.e., non-discriminatory, non-retaliatory) reason for firing that person. There is also an exclusion for severance agreements. Continue reading

A worker for Amway, a multi-level marketing company that sells home, health and beauty care products, is suing the company and alleging he and other sellers should be classified and paid as employees, rather than independent contractors. Los Angeles employee misclassification lawyer

Our Los Angeles employee misclassification attorneys are watching this case closely because it could impact a host of other similar types of business models, such as LuLaRoe, Young Living, Scentsy, Rodan + Fields, Avon Products, Herbalife and others.

Amway sells products like detergent and mouthwash, promoting itself as a means for sellers to become “small business owners.” They thrive on person-to-person sales. These types of companies have come under fire for reportedly predatory business models that require salespersons to buy several hundred or thousand dollars in products just to get started. In some cases, individuals have drained their savings and retirement accounts. The Federal Trade Commission has issued warnings about these types of pyramid schemes, but the companies remain in business.

Most of these companies refer to their salespersons as independent “participants,” “distributors” or “contractors.” But are they?

Not according to the plaintiff in the latest California employment lawsuit against Amway. Continue reading

Not all state or federal labor laws can be applied equally to all workers. For example, you may know that the U.S. Fair Labor Standards Act requires most employers to pay overtime for any hours worked in excess of 8 in a given day. But if you work in the public sector, the rules may be a bit different (or a lot different, depending on your job title). Los Angeles employment attorney

Employees for public agencies such as school districts, fire departments and public works agencies are not entitled to daily overtime by statute.

Still, there are some technicalities, so it’s always best to talk to a Los Angeles employment attorney if you aren’t sure. In some instances, public agency employers may not have violated state or federal law with regard to wage and hour requirements, but there could be violations of the collective bargaining agreement, and a claim could be filed under breach of contract laws. Continue reading

A new law enacted last year now in effect gives California workers three years in which to file a lawsuit under California’s Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) instead of just one. California AB9

Previously, an employee who alleged discrimination, harassment, retaliation or another claim under FEHA would have one year to file a file an administrative complaint, the prerequisite to filing a civil lawsuit. Aggrieved workers could either requires the state’s Department of Fair Housing and Employment (DFEH) issue an immediate Right to Sue Notice or else choose for the state to launch an investigation of the claim. As our Orange County employment attorneys can explain, such an investigation can take a year or more if those involved opt to participate in the state’s mediation program. The DFEH can then issue a Right to Sue Notice after the investigation is concluded, and employees had one year from that date to actually file a lawsuit.

AB9, also referred to as the Stop Harassment and Reporting Extension (SHARE) Act, extends the one-year deadline to filing a DFEH complaint to three years. The worker still has just one year from the date of receiving the DFEH’s Right to Sue Notice to actually file the lawsuit. That means it could be four years or more before a potential California employment lawsuit is filed. The new statue of limitations is six times longer than the federal standard. Continue reading

Roughly 70 workers at a private, non-profit museum in Los Angeles is facing a possible class action lawsuit for allegedly violating California’s WARN Act, which compels employers to offer at least a 60-day advance warning both to employees and local government agencies if there will be a plant closure, major relocation or mass layoff. As our Los Angeles labor lawyers can explain, the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act, found in California Labor Code 1400-1408LC, entitles workers denied this notification to receive back pay and benefits for the period of violation (the period by which their advance notice fell short of those 60 days). Los Angeles WARN Act lawyer

While most of the Golden State’s wrongful termination laws pertain to the rights of individual employees, the WARN Act protects workers fired/laid off in connection with a mass layoff (50 or more workers laid off within 30 days of each other), a company closure or relocation of substantial business activities to a physical location more than 100 miles away. The law only applies to companies that have employed 75 or more workers in the year preceding, and companies are exempted if the closure/layoffs/relocation is due to some act of war or physical calamity. It’s similar to the U.S. WARN Act, 29 USC;2104(a), but extends greater worker protections.

This kind of advance notice is key for workers and their families, who will need time to transition and adjust to employment loss and seek alternative income sources and/or job training while still providing for their family in the immediate future. The reason local government is included in this notification is that the California Employment Development Department has an established Rapid Response Team to aid both employers and employees in the midst of a mass layoff or company closing. They offer information about dislocated worker services available, unemployment insurance options, income support and assistance with job training and job searches. Continue reading

As an employee in California, you have rights under both state and federal law that protect you from harassment and discrimination based on your belonging to a protected classification. For example, if you are a woman paid substantially less than male colleagues doing the same work, that’s a form of gender discrimination on the basis of sex – a protected class. Los Angeles employment lawyer

In fielding hundreds of inquiries over the years from California workers whose rights are being violated on-the-job, our Los Angeles employment attorneys want to ensure as many people as possible understand what exactly harassment, discrimination and retaliation is and how to best address it.

What is Workplace Discrimination? 

Discrimination is adverse treatment by an employer against workers who fall into a protected class. California employers are prohibited from discriminating against employees on the basis of:

  • Race
  • Color
  • National origin
  • Religion
  • Gender (including pregnancy, childbirth and related medical conditions)
  • Disability
  • Age
  • Citizenship status
  • Genetic information
  • Marital status
  • Sexual orientation
  • Gender identity/expression
  • AIDS/HIV
  • Military/veteran status
  • Status as a victim of domestic violence, stalking or assault

This is much more extensive than the federal law, and some cities in California have their own rules that extend protections even further. Continue reading

Healthcare workers face an out-sized risk of physical harm on-the-job. The Occupational Safety & Health Administration reports that more than 75 percent of the 25,000 workplace assaults that occur annually in the U.S. occur in settings like hospitals, nursing homes and other social service settings. On average, health care workers are 20 times more likely to be injured in an act of workplace violence than other types of employees. The American Nurses Association reports 1 in 4 nurses has been physically assaulted by either a patient or a patient’s family member.healthcare worker violence protection

This was the basis for the introduction of H.R. 1309, the Workplace Violence Prevention for Health Care and Social Service Workers Act. The measure passed with notable bipartisan support in the House of Representatives (251-158). If passed, it would usher in the healthcare workplace violence prevention standards that already exist in California on a national level. However, it still has to make it through the Senate, and even if it does, officials with the Trump White House have said the president would veto it as written.

The American Hospital Association opposes the bill, with the executive vice president saying federal interests should instead be more focused on “research to identify best practices for different workplace settings and circumstances.” That information should then be disseminated to health care facilities to adopt as necessary, rather than requiring “a one-size-fits-all approach.”

However, the measure is strongly supported by numerous health care worker labor unions. Continue reading