Articles Posted in employment attorney

Big changes have arrived in the state of California in the new year, many of which will have a direct impact on employers and their employees. employment laws

The San Francisco Chronicle recently documented a run-down of the biggest additions to state law and how they will change life in California in 2018 and beyond.

The list included everything from the new recreational cannabis laws, protections for women in the workplace, as well as employee rights for criminals.

While some of these changes have obvious and direct effects on the workplace, others are less clear, particularly the legalization of recreational marijuana, which quickly has turned into one of the biggest stories of the year. Continue reading

For many California residents, employment discrimination is an all too common part of life, with experiences ranging from subtle biases to outright threats, violence or loss of opportunities to advance.Employment Dsicrimination Lawyers

Certain groups receive the brunt of this treatment more than others: Women, the elderly, people of color, LGBTQ community members, those from certain foreign nations or followers of some religions. But the discrimination compounds for people who fit more than one of these categories. This inter-sectional discrimination can be seen in particular among people in a racial minority group as well as the LGBTQ community.

According to a recent poll by the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, NPR, and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, people of color said they had been discriminated against at twice the rate as white respondents for being LGBTQ when applying for jobs, as well as in police interactions. Continue reading

“Gig” employment, also known as the, “sharing economy,” has exploded across the country, with increasingly more services following in the footsteps of the likes of Uber and Grubhub. These businesses often use appsCalifornia Employment Attorney to connect workers with customers for one-time services. These companies amass an eager base of workers who sign up for shifts as able, delivering groceries, transporting passengers, and more.

Many workers view gig employment as a flexible and easy way to earn extra money, while employers view it as a cheap way to staff a robust labor pool.

However this dynamic has led to a growing number of employee misclassification lawsuits as the debate comes to a boil as to whether these workers are independent contactors or employees (with all the rights that employees receive). Continue reading

Employee misclassification is a major issue faced by workers in Orange County and in the Greater Los Angeles area.   This is an issue taken very seriously by the state as the legislature passed Senate Bill 459 in 2011 to provide penalties to employers for willfully misclassifying employees.  This law is enforced by the California Department of Industrial Relations (DIR), and there are fines of no less than $5,000 and no more than $25,000 per offense.

California employment lawyersEmployee misclassification involves the act of willfully treating an employee as an independent contractor for the purpose of avoiding the payment of overtime wages, workers’ compensation, and employment benefits afforded to full-time employees.  This is a serious violation that occurs frequently in many industries including farming, and the newer so-called “on demand” or “gig” economy.  Continue reading

Labor contracts can involve very complicated issues.  When dealing with unions, there is the use of collective bargaining to create contracts that bind the employer and the employees. As the nation increasingly moves toward a so-called “right-to-work” system in many jurisdictions, employers are doing whatever they can to take that collective power away from employees.  According to a recent news article from The Los Angeles Times, the California State Supreme Court has just issued a ruling that allows the state to essentially force farm workers and unions to enter in binding agreements.employment attorney

To understand this issue, it is necessary to look at the recent history, and how this all came about. For the past several decades, the largest produce company in the state and the United Farm Workers union had been fighting about whether the union could be de-certified. There have been many cases and arbitration agreements over the past 20 or so years on this issue.  Continue reading

Recently, California enacted legislation designed to remove some of the traditional barriers to employment.  The new law bans most employers from asking about criminal history and past salary history in an initial application.  Once an applicant has been offered a position, a criminal background check may be performed for certain occupations, but the idea behind the law is to put all applicants on equal footing during the hiring process.  It is far too easy for an employer to skip over an applicant with a criminal history.  The ban on asking about salary history is designed to require employers to make a salary offer based upon the demands of the position and the strength of the applicant. If the prospective employer knows how much an applicant was making before, they would know the base amount an employee took in the past and this would let them make a lower offer in many cases.

employment law attorneysAs is discussed in a recent article from the Los Angeles Times, that stated reason for banning asking  about salary history, among others, is to narrow the gender gap in pay.  To get an idea of the actual pay gender gap, we can look to data from the Institute for Women’s Policy Research which shows that while women make up nearly half of the entire workforce, the gap is still very much in existence and women earn on average, 80 cents on the dollar as compared to a man in the same or similar job.  Continue reading

Wage and hour disputes are one of the most prevalent issues handled by Los Angeles employment attorneys.  Yet another California wage-and-hour dispute was reported by LA Weekly, which revealed workers at high-dollar resort allege being financially swindled by their employer.

employee misclassificationThese workers, all employed in the restaurant and hospitality industry, allege that while working on the more than 100-acre, ritzy Los Angeles area resort they were forced to cut meal periods shorter than the allotted time, clock in for less time than they were actually working and forced to take shuttles from their employee parking area to the resort without compensation, even though this was a very time consuming process and no alternative was offered.  Continue reading

It is hard enough to get a job these days even with a perfect record. Applicants with a criminal conviction on their record may find it nearly impossible.  Fortunately, pursuant to a new state law, most California employers in California will not be able to make any inquiries into an applicant’s criminal history.  There is a also a new California employment law that will prohibit employers from asking about an applicant’s past salary history.

California employment lawyersAs reported in a recent news article from The National Law Review, there are three new laws in California that once in effect, will require most employers in the state to modify their hiring practices. One of these is Assembly Bill 1008 (AB 1008), which prohibits employers from making inquiries into applicants criminal histories by the human resources department and any employment recruiters prior to an offer of employment. Continue reading

The recent case of James Damore has raised serious issues about politics and free speech in the workplace. Damore was a Google engineer who circulated a highly controversial “anti-diversity manifesto” among his co-workers. Among other things, the manifesto claimed that the gender gap in the technology field was due to biological gender differences which made women less suited for the work. When the manifesto became public and went viral online, Google fired Damore for violating its Code of Conduct. CNBC reports that Damore compared being a conservative at Google to being gay in the 1950s. He claims he was fired for “wrong think,” and that anyone with conservative viewpoints is marginalized at Google. Google CEO Sundar Pinchai, in advising Google employees of Damore’s dismissal, issued a statement saying that,“To suggest a group of our colleagues have traits that make them less biologically suited to that work is offensive and not OK. It is contrary to our basic values and our Code of Conduct.”Los Angeles employment attorneys

Politics are a particularly heated issue in current American culture. There is perhaps no point in history at which Americans have been more deeply and fundamentally divided over every possible ideological viewpoint. Foreign affairs, public policy, national security, religion, workplace equality, immigration, gender equality, and many other issues have caused physical violence to erupt between previously peaceful factions of society. How can employers maintain the peace of a healthy working environment while still respecting employee’s rights to their personal opinions?

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Funding and maintaining pension programs has become a serious problem for public employers across the nation. The bankrupt city of Detroit made headlines in 2014 when it settled with its underfunded public pension fund, and drastically reduced benefits to thousands of former city employees. The New York Times reports that the presiding bankruptcy judge called the deal “miraculous”. Now, the ugly reality of underfunded public pension programs has hit California as well.California public pension lawyer

The Mercury News reports California’s new state budget projects nearly $206 billion in “unfunded liabilities for the state’s two public pension systems.” What this means is that former state employees are entitled to $206 billion of benefits that the state simply cannot pay. CalPERS, the state employee retirement fund, manages close to $330 billion in assets. It is the largest public pension fund in the nation. And yet, it is only funded at approximately 65 percent of the total amount of its obligations to former state employees.   

Nearly half of this $206 billion deficit has been added in just the past eight years. The exponential nature of these retirement benefit payments have turned the underfunding into financial time bomb. Unfortunately, public pension funding is not an easy issue for state politicians to tackle. Budget cuts, increased taxes, and reallocation of limited financial resources are unpopular measures which can wait until someone else takes office. But this waiting is exactly what caused the crisis that California now faces.   Continue reading