Articles Posted in employment attorney

In the first AB5 enforcement lawsuit over California wage and hour violations, the state labor commissioner alleges that a gig-economy car wash company in Southern California is breaking the law by misclassifying workers as independent contractors when in fact they are employees. It’s the same argument that has been made in numerous employment lawsuits against gig economy giants like Uber and Lyft. employee misclassification

As our Los Angeles employee misclassification attorneys can explain, this issue has become so problematic because employees who are wrongly classified as independent contractors lose out on a host of employment benefits, including minimum wages, overtime, health insurance, tax breaks and underpayment of things like Social Security, Medicare, etc.

The defendant in this action, MobilWash, uses an app to offer on-demand car wash and detailing services. Customers can order the services, pay for them and provide a tip all through their phone. Workers use their own vehicles and supplies, go to the customer’s vehicle and provide the cleaning services. They must purchase their own uniforms, insurance, cleaning equipment and supplies and gas. Workers are not reimbursed for travel time or business expenses – as they would be if they were employees. Further, the company charges a $2 transaction fee for every tip the workers receive, something the labor commissioner says is illegal.

Recently, the Orange County Register editorial board posited that if the arrangement wasn’t working for those involved, it wouldn’t be successful. The labor commissioner says that’s not a solid legal argument, and that if a worker puts in 10 hours daily for six days each week, they’re entitled to more than $1,500 in weekly wages (which includes minimum wage plus overtime), something they aren’t receiving. The board argued that such companies are never going to operate like traditional factories, with workers spending 10 consecutive hours daily, clocking in and out, when the whole concept of the service is being on-demand. Continue Reading ›

As cities and schools across California and the U.S. are preparing to reopen, employers are requiring workers to return to in-person interactions – despite the fact that we are still in the grips of a global pandemic. Further, as Kaiser Health News reports, some employees are being compelled to sign a waiver of liability – agreeing not to sue their employer if they catch COVID-19 or suffer any injury from it while working there. In Irvine, CA, a teacher who refused to sign the waiver was fired within a week. “They said it was my choice to sign the paper, but it wasn’t really my choice. I felt so bullied.” Los Angeles employment lawyer

We encourage employees to discuss their concerns with a Los Angeles employment lawyer before signing any such waiver or if you have been fired as a result of refusing to sign one. Note that last year, California lawmakers passed AB-51, which bars employers from mandating workers or prospective employees sign away their right to pursue legal claims or benefits as a condition of employment. It also forbids employers from terminating any worker who refuses to sign it. That law is being challenged in court by a number of business interest groups, but for now, it stands.

Reports of employers requiring their workers to sign these liability waivers have been sporadic, probably because they know these agreements won’t hold up in court. In addition to AB-51, there is the fact that there is clearly a power imbalance between employers and employees/prospective workers – especially at a time when so many people are unemployed. Continue Reading ›

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled that some employees of religious schools, social service centers and hospitals will not be allowed to sue for employment discrimination, due to the ministerial exception. The 7-2 decision (with two liberal justices siding with the conservative majority) pointed to a unanimous ruling eight years ago that found “ministers” could not sue churches for employment discrimination. Los Angeles employment discrimination lawyer

But this ruling not only solidified that previous ruling, it expanded the protections these companies have against nondiscrimination litigation. The ministerial exception holds that the First Amendment protects churches and other religious organizations from government interference in employment decisions of “ministers” because, as Chief Justice John Roberts concluded, that would strip the church over control of those who personify its beliefs. But the question the court didn’t answer in 2012 was who, exactly, was a minister? Here, the majority decided that teachers are among those who can be considered”ministers,” in turn opening the door for countless other employees.

Los Angeles employment discrimination lawyers recognize that this was a significant blow to the hundreds of thousands of employees who work for these organizations (by some estimates, there are more than 300,000 private school teachers alone). Continue Reading ›

A prominent, national law firm is facing a growing number of lawsuits pertaining to its secretive compensation system that former attorneys say hides systematic pay discrimination against women. Some of those include claims, filed in 2018, included plaintiffs who worked for the firm in California, as the ABA Journal reported. gender discrimination

In that case, the lawsuit alleges there was an enforced “code of silence” with regard to pay and productivity wherein partners kept compensation information confidential. That left female attorneys out in the cold, unable to discover or attempt to equalize their pay. Guidelines at the firm were reportedly changed to discourage – but not outright forbid – discussions of pay among partners and employees.

Recently, a U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia denied the law firm’s motion to dismiss these lawsuit, though the court did dismiss several of the pregnancy discrimination claims. Continue Reading ›

Unemployment has been soaring in California and throughout the country in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. Even as employees return to work, there have been numerous concerns raised about work safety, discrimination during layoffs and wage and hour disputes. Our Los Angeles employment attorneys predict a significant uptick in worker lawsuits against employers who violated their rights or treated them unfairly. Los Angeles employment lawyers

Several class actions are currently pending against government employers, salons and manufacturers, and it’s expected there will be more of these also. So far, most class action litigation to arise from the pandemic has come from the consumers, many of whom have been fighting for refunds or accusing some companies of price gouging. Ultimately though, employment litigation will likely surpass this. Continue Reading ›

Sweeping closures of California businesses due to the COVID-19 pandemic left millions of Californians unemployed. Now, as the curve of coronavirus cases has flattened and state officials have announced measures that will allow more businesses to reopen, Los Angeles employment lawyers have been receiving questions about what rights workers have in returning. L.A. employment lawyers

These include questions about what personal protective equipment employers are required to provide, what to do if they don’t feel safe returning and what to know if their employer retaliates for reporting unsafe conditions.

Safety First – COVID-19 Protection at Work

All California employers are required to provide a reasonably safe workplace. As outlined in Section 5(a)(1) of the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers have a general duty to provide every worker with a place of employment that is free from recognized hazards that are causing or are likely to cause death or serious harm. Continue Reading ›

The COVID-19 pandemic has raised a host of questions for employees and employers about what the wage and hour rules are for things like paid sick leave, reporting time pay, predictive scheduling and reimbursement for reasonable business expenditures. Orange County wage and hour lawyer

The pandemic has left the California and U.S. economies in a free fall, with California’s Employment Development Department receiving almost 2 million unemployment insurance claims within just three weeks. As noted by the San Jose Mercury News, the Great Recession in 2008 resulted in a total of 2.2 million unemployment claims. It’s unclear how long these unemployment claims will last, and small businesses have been hit particularly hard.

Our California wage and hour lawyers in Orange County know, these unprecedented times have many asking whether the same wage and hour rules apply. Continue Reading ›

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 ›

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