Articles Posted in employment attorney

In a major victory for workers in California, state lawmakers passed the “Silenced No More Act,” granting workers who have suffered harassment or discrimination on-the-job to speak freely about it – even if they previously signed a non-disclosure agreement. Not only is this excellent news for those who have been directly impacted, but the effect is that secret settlements are no effectively barred. Los Angeles employment attorney

The measure, Senate Bill 331, amends Section 12964.5 of the Government Code, relating to civil actions. Specifically, it imbues workers with the right to discuss the abuse, harassment, and discrimination they endured at work. As our Los Angeles employment lawyers can explain, it also expands a previous prohibition on nondisparagement and confidentiality clauses that were overly broad.

The governor still has the option to veto, but if he signs it, the law will take effect at the start of 2022. Continue Reading ›

Few corporate arenas are immune from ageism and age discrimination in the workforce, but sales and retail settings are known to be some of the worst offenders.Los Angeles age discrimination lawyer

Recently, Reuters reported a federal class action age discrimination lawsuit had been filed against a drug maker, alleging the company only advertises its sales representative positions through college campus recruitment programs, and then fill the jobs with younger workers who were typically brought on initially as interns.

Plaintiffs allege the drug manufacturer is in violation the Age Discrimination and Employment Act, a federal law, as well as comparable state-level laws, which shield workers who are over the age of 40. In this case, workers in this protected age group were either deterred from filing for sales representative jobs or applied unsuccessfully, despite being more qualified than the younger individuals who were ultimately hired.

The company denies that managers were allegedly instructed to “not even bother” submitting candidates over 30 for consideration in sales position. Plaintiffs allege the company adopted hiring quotas about five years ago with the intention of packing their sales force with “early career professionals.” That’s a nice way of saying discriminating against older workers. Continue Reading ›

Are COVID-19 vaccine mandates legal in California? It’s a query increasingly being asked of our Los Angeles employment attorneys. California employer vaccine mandates

Employer vaccine mandates may soon become the norm, at least in California, if not beyond. Large employers – particularly those in California and New York – are moving to have their employees get vaccinated or tested regularly for COVID-19. Recently, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs mandated vaccines for its health care workers and President Joe Biden is expected to announce that all federal employees will be required to either be vaccinated or regularly tested. Masking mandates are also coming back into effect. As of right now, many private sector employers have stopped short of requiring vaccines as a condition of employment, but the growing thread of the Delta variant of the coronavirus may compel them to shift course. A growing number of L.A. bars and restaurants are going so far as to require patrons – let alone employees – to prove they are vaccinated.

Generally, employers can mandate vaccines, but it depends on where you live. Further, as a Los Angeles employment lawyer can explain, accommodations must be made for those with religious exemptions and disabilities, as well as those in unions.

The thinking behind these initiatives is that unless and until more people are vaccinated, infections, hospitalizations and deaths are likely to increase drastically across the country. With this, many major companies such as Lyft, Google and Facebook are requiring worker vaccines, as are universities. The only exceptions are those with medical or religious exemptions.

In response, we’re starting to see some employment lawsuits (wrongful termination) crop up. In Texas, for example, a hospital faced a lawsuit from more than 100 employees who were vaccine averse. There are also university students in Indiana who allege the school’s vaccine mandate is unconstitutional.

However, the history of vaccine mandates in the U.S. is actually a long one. Continue Reading ›

In a federal appeal involving a class action lawsuit alleging discriminatory medical inquiries and exams as a condition of hiring, the California attorney general has filed an amicus brief decrying these practices and outlining the state’s robust anti-discrimination laws. The AG also noted the possible repercussions – particularly for those with disabilities – if a lower court’s ruling is allowed to apply to all Californians.disability discrimination lawyer Orange County

The lawsuit, pending in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, alleges that a health care company – one of the biggest providers of occupational health services in the country – unlawfully required applicants to to answer “highly intrusive, non-job-related and discriminatory” questions about their health. These reportedly have included information on prospective applicants’ hair loss, menstrual issues, sexually-transmitted diseases, mental illness, HIV, hemorrhoids and disability status.

Such inquiries, state Attorney General Rob Bonta asserts, run contrary to the California Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) and underscore how potentially harmful pre-employment screenings can be.

The lawsuit, Raines v. U.S. Healthworks Medical Group, centers around an employer’s contract with a corporate third-party agent responsible for pre-employment screening. Plaintiffs allege that when they refused to answer certain questions, such as one relating to menstruation, offers of employment were revoked. Continue Reading ›

In the State of California, it is illegal for employers to discriminate against employees or applicants who are of a protected class. Common forms of workplace discrimination include those on the basis of race, religion, age, pregnancy, gender and medical conditions/disability. Employees or applicants who have been discriminated against in any aspect of employment can pursue a lawsuit against their employer for damages. workplace discrimination lawyer Los Angeles

As Los Angeles workplace discrimination lawyers, we don’t expect potential clients to be familiar with the process. In all likelihood, this is the first time you’ve ever even considered taking such action. Our dedicated, compassionate legal team is here to answer your questions and guide you through the process.

Here, we’re offering some general insight into how it works. Continue Reading ›

Now that there is a vaccine for COVID-19, an increasingly common question our Los Angeles employment lawyers are getting is whether employers can make employees get one. Los Angeles employment lawyer

The short answer is: Yes (probably). However, there are some caveats, and not all the relevant legal issues are clear-cut in this situation. What’s more, whether workplaces will actually fire workers who refuse probably depends on the employee’s industry, specific job, etc.

Guidance released by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission stated that employers can set forth a policy of mandatory vaccination if the need is job-related or if being unvaccinated would pose a direct risk to workers, customers or themselves. That’s an argument a whole lot of employers – from health care providers to grocery stores – could fairly make.

Still, there are likely two bases on which employees could object:

  • Potential exacerbation of an established medical condition or disability.
  • It goes against their sincerely-held religious beliefs.

Continue Reading ›

You can cut the corners of your sandwiches, but you can’t cut corners on employee meal breaks in California.

In a long-awaited decision, the California Supreme Court ruled that workplace policies of rounding out the start and end times of meal periods aren’t compliant with state law because they sometimes resulted in workers being underpaid their meal period premiums.Los Angeles employment lawyer

The court held in Donohue v. AMN Services, LLC that in cases where company records on their face appear to show noncompliance with meal period rules, there is a rebuttable presumption that the company was non-compliant. As our Los Angeles employment attorneys can explain, this means the burden of proof shifts from the plaintiff employees to the defendant employer.

In light of this recent ruling, employers in California would be wise to update their timekeeping policies and technology to ensure they are meeting the current demands of the law. Employees who believe there has been a violation of California’s meal period laws should promptly consult with an experienced wage and hour lawyer. Continue Reading ›

California is widely recognized as having some of the strongest worker protections in the country. Recently, a California appellate court ruled that these wage and hour laws can be applied in some cases even for non-state residents working for a non-California employer – so long as the work was primarily done in California and work operations were based here. Los Angeles employment lawyer

The case, Gulf Offshore Logistics LLC v. Superior Court, was decided in December by California’s Second Appellate District, Division Six. Plaintiffs were members of a crew of offshore oil platforms for defendants on a boat that was docked exclusively in California for over six years. Administrative functions at the company took place at their headquarters in Louisiana, which was also where the vessel was registered. During the course of their assignments, plaintiffs were compelled to travel between state, federal and international waters.

The lawsuit alleged violation of California’s wage and hour laws – specifically those pertaining to minimum wage compensation, overtime compensation, meal and rest breaks, accurate record-keeping and providing workers with wage statements. Defendants sought a summary judgment not on the merits, but rather on grounds that the proper venue for the case was Louisiana, not California. (Louisiana’s laws would also be much less favorable to employees.) Continue Reading ›

Employment activists in California are funding an analysis by legal research and policy managers at UCLA Labor Center to ascertain how feasible it might be to pass laws requiring “just cause” for employee termination to replace “at will” employment – at least in some industries. New York state recently passed a law requiring fast food industry employers to have “just cause” before terminating employees – a major shift from the standard “at will” employment that gives employers the power to terminate any employee at any time – and for most reasons, so long as it isn’t discriminatory and retaliatory.employment lawyer

Requiring “just cause” could potentially shield workers from firings that are unfair, arbitrary or retaliatory. In the case of the New York law, fast food employers will have to have a good reason to fire a worker, prove it if the worker contests it and establish systems of progressive discipline for most terminations. There is hope (or fear, depending on your viewpoint) that this same type of law could be passed in cities with progressive worker protections, or possibly statewide in a place like California. Continue Reading ›

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 ›

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