Articles Posted in employment attorney

A federal court in Pennsylvania recently ruled that a nuclear power plant did not violate public policy by firing an employee who tested positive for alcohol at work. The plaintiff in Bennett v. Talen Energy Corp. argued that he was not given an opportunity to participate in the Employee Assistance Program, which offers help with personal problems (including substance abuse), even though that option had been given to other employees after their first violation. wrongful termination attorney

The U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania ruled firstly that in that state (just as in California), employers have virtually unfettered right to terminate workers without cause because it’s an “at-will” employment state. However, barring a claim of discrimination or some whistleblower activity, the only cause of action plaintiff would have had here would be violation of public policy. Plaintiff argued the firing violated the public policy that encourages workers to get help for alcohol and substance abuse problems. The court, however, found that public policy exceptions to at-will employment in a situation like this would be extremely limited, and this case didn’t fit any of the previous case law exceptions. In other words, there is no rule or regulation the company violated by firing the employee for being drunk at work, even if it was a first offense.

This is in line with previous court decisions in similar cases. In 2016, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit ruled that while alcoholism and drug addiction can be considered disabilities under the American Disabilities Act, that doesn’t mean the employee can’t be fired for being drunk at work. What the ADA requires is that workers be given time off for treatment. What it does not mandate is that employers tolerate workers under the influence of alcohol or drugs on-the-job or that they allow workers to use on-the-clock. Continue reading

“No-rehire” clauses have long been boilerplate verbiage in employment lawsuit settlements. If you sue your employer for harassment or wage-and-hour violations or discrimination, you might well get compensation for your trouble – but you may still be out of a job. In California, that era is coming to an end. no rehire clause California

Starting Jan. 1, 2020, AB 749 will go into effect, stipulating that with only limited exception, all no-rehire provisions in employment settlement agreements will be considered void as a matter of law.

Gov. Gavin Newsom has signed the bill seeking to end this common practice, by which both sides agree to part ways, with the understanding the employee’s subsequent application won’t be considered or if by chance the worker is hired again, that employment can be automatically terminated. Continue reading

Female nurses at a home health care company in Wyoming will receive $50,000 as part of a settlement reached in an equal pay discrimination lawsuit. The nurses alleged a male nurse at the facility with less experience was paid more than female nurses with more experience.gender discrimination

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, responsible for enforcing workplace anti-discrimination laws, cited violations of both Title VII’s prohibition against discriminatory pay and the Equal Pay Act as basis for the lawsuit. As our Orange County gender discrimination lawyers can explain, both of these federal laws outlaw pay discrimination on the basis of sex. What’s more in this case, the company reportedly failed to take any corrective action even after receiving complaints from BOTH the female nurses AND the male counterpart who was paid more.

The home health care company, franchise of a national firm, is now closed, according to The Casper Star Tribune. Although this happened out-of-state, the federal laws at issue apply just as much here in California, and this problem is by no means limited to healthcare workers in Wyoming – even though it’s been 55 years since the Equal Pay Gap was passed. Continue reading

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

A groundbreaking California employment bill will overhaul the way workers are designated for the purposes of workers’ compensation, liability, benefits, responsibilities and more. AB5, born of the rise of the so-called “gig economy,” has passed both the state Assembly and the Senate, and Gov. Gavin Newsom is expected to sign it. This will change the way California designates who is an employee, who is an independent contractor and the rights and responsibilities associated with each. employee misclassification

The law goes into effect on December 31st – but it’s as if all independent contractors/gig workers magically transform into employees all of the sudden. As our Orange County employment attorneys can explain, what this law does is codify last year’s California Supreme Court ruling in Dynamex Operations West, Inc. v. Superior Court of Los Angeles County.

Essentially, that ruling made it harder for employers to label workers as independent contractors instead of employees. Misclassification of an employee is one of the primary reasons for employment litigation in California.

How AB5 and Dynamex Makes the Contractor v. Employee Call

Both the court case and the new law differentiate employees from independent contractors using a three-part “ABC” test. Continue reading

As longtime employment attorneys in California, we know that corporations can seem blind with greed, cutting corners on pay, discriminating and exploiting where it suits them. These things can be true, but it’s also true that most companies are comprised of individuals – including managers, supervisors and owners – who want to do the right thing, but find avoiding California employment lawsuits can be a significant challenge.employment attorney Los Angeles

Large companies are savvy enough to have lawyers on retainer to advise them of ever-changing employment expectations. However, small- and mid-sized companies may not have those kind of resources.

To avoid the landmine of potential employment litigation and retain your competitive advantage, our Orange County employment attorneys have some general tips for consideration. Legal advice specific to your circumstances should be sought from an experienced labor law attorney who can weigh the unique fact pattern of your company/case. Continue reading

The California Supreme Court ruled that a national news network employer’s termination of an employee could amount to protected activity under anti-SLAPP laws, even if ultimately those activity are deemed unlawful. At the very least, it’s going to mean careful evaluation of employment lawsuits against news organizations in California. discrimination lawyer Los Angeles

Plaintiff, who is black, alleged that as an employee, he suffered racial discrimination, retaliation and wrongful termination. The network argued the claim violates anti-SLAPP laws intended to shield businesses from frivolous lawsuits intended to chill speech or some other protected activity of public importance.

Analysts famed the case by considering whether a media company’s free speech right to decide who produces content that’s distributed to an audience of millions supersedes the employee’s right to a discrimination-free workplace. Based on the line of questioning, our Los Angeles employment discrimination attorneys surmise the court had no intention of effectively giving media organizations carte blanche reign to discriminate against their employees simply by citing the First Amendment and anti-SLAPP laws. But while that aspect of the case was remanded back to the lower court, that’s still no guarantee the worker will, especially given allegations of plagiarism, which for that industry, is often considered a fire-able offense.

Attorneys for the major network argued that editorial decisions included things like who to hire and which assignments should be given to whom. All of this, they said, is connected to furthering the mission of public speech, and thus the decision to fire the plaintiff producer should protected under anti-SLAPP laws.

Employment discrimination lawyers in Los Angeles and throughout the state had been watching closely how the case unfolded. Continue reading

An increasing number of tech-based software companies that hire workers in a non-traditional setting are facing down the potential of a wave of employment lawsuits – potentially class action litigation – because of the fact they have long likely been misclassifying workers. Employment attorneys for companies looking to ward off this potential expense are preemptively doling out checks. If cashed, these payments have the effect of a worker signing away any possible right to pursuit of a future claim.Los Angles employee misclassification worker

Workers are strongly advised against cashing these checks until reviewing their legal rights with a Los Angeles employee misclassification lawyer – because your claim to damages from an employee lawsuit may far exceed the amount on that check.

That’s because by designating drivers and others as “independent contractors” as opposed to employees, companies like Lyft, Uber and a new startup, Getaround Inc., are able to sidestep any duty to cover major expenses like retirement benefits, overtime, workers’ compensation and various liabilities to third parties for worker negligence. Companies also get away with denying routine rights, such as regular breaks and mealtimes. Collectively, this all adds up to significant coin. Continue reading

As longtime labor and employment attorneys, we represent individuals from all backgrounds. Recently, amid internal strife within the Democratic party, President Donald Trump stirred a firestorm of controversy when he called out four far-left Congresswomen (AKA “The Squad”), directing them to “go back” to the countries from which they/their ancestors came.national origin discrimination lawyer Los Angeles

The exact phrase used within his series of tweets was:

“Why don’t they go back and help fix the totally broken and crime infested places from which they came.”

The issue is not the fact that the president has some folks in an uproar, as this is nothing new.

EEOC Considers Comments in This Vein Evidence of Racial Discrimination

What our Los Angles racial discrimination employment lawyers can say is this:

Far in advance of this maelstrom, the federal agency responsible for enforcement of anti-discriminatory employment laws expressly noted a phrase very similar and in the same vein as that shared by the president, noting it to be the type of language that might violate federal anti-discrimination employment laws. Continue reading

The lunch time wars at Wal-Mart rage on. A class action Los Angeles labor and employment lawsuit over meal breaks has resulted in a $6 million verdict – and the introduction of something known as the “meal break discouragement theory.”employment attorney

In Hamilton v. Wal-Mart Stores Inc., plaintiffs alleged the mandatory security check through which they had to exit and enter during every break consumed so much time, the end result was workers were left with less than their legally protected right to a full half hour for meals during their shift. Beyond this, workers alleged it was overly-intrusive, embarrassing to be required to remove feminine hygiene products from their purses. Break rooms were noisy, crowded, uncomfortable places to be.

It wasn’t that they were ever denied the opportunity to take a meal break. They were, however, soundly discouraged from it. A jury agreed with them, and in April, awarded $6.1 million. Continue reading