Articles Posted in employment attorney

A number of new California employment laws will go into effect in January 2021. Employers should keep abreast of their responsibilities, while workers should maintain an understanding of their rights. Here, our Los Angeles employment attorneys break down some of the most impactful new measures pertaining to employee leave, pay, discrimination and classification.Los Angeles employment lawyer

AB 2399 – Paid Family Leave for Active Military Duty. This bill, signed in September and effective Jan. 1, 2020, extends the definition of Paid Family Leave under the state’s Unemployment Insurance Code to include coverage for active military members and their families. Previously, the state’s Paid Family Leave Program provides wage replacement benefits for workers who need to take time off to care for a seriously ill immediate family member or to bond with a new child right after birth or adoption. Now, the law allows for a qualifying exigency related to the active duty or call to active duty of one’s spouse, domestic partner, child or parent in the U.S. Armed Forces. Continue Reading ›

As we enter into the holiday season (no matter how different it may look this year than in year’s past), our Los Angeles employment lawyers decided this was a good time to review employer obligations for holiday pay, hours, time off requests and more.Los Angeles employment lawyer

The following are frequently asked questions pertaining to holiday work:

  • Is my employer required to give me time off for the holidays if I ask? Not in California. The only exception is a religious holiday accommodation (more on that later). Any time that you work on the weekend or a holiday will be treated the same as if you were working any other day. As noted by the California Department of Industrial Relations, your employer is under no obligation to give you paid holidays (though depending on the type of business, many do as an employment perk). Furthermore, your employer is not required to close its business on any holiday (though many do for select holidays, like Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Eve and/or New Year’s Day). Continue Reading ›

The COVID-19 pandemic has had a significant impact on workplaces across the country. Non-essential businesses were shuttered for weeks or months, workplace policies changed and many employers and employees alike have been affected somehow. wrongful termination lawyer

California employment lawsuits were prevalent enough even in better times, but the pandemic is what we call a “workplace agitator.” It’s something that impacts a wide swath of people in a negative way, contributing to the kind of economic and personal stress that can heighten underlying workplace tensions.

It’s no surprise then that many Los Angeles employment attorneys are noting an uptick in employment-related claims, especially because there may be newly-acquired legal rights or requirements that employers may potentially violate.

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 ›

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