Articles Posted in employment attorney

A worker for Amway, a multi-level marketing company that sells home, health and beauty care products, is suing the company and alleging he and other sellers should be classified and paid as employees, rather than independent contractors. Los Angeles employee misclassification lawyer

Our Los Angeles employee misclassification attorneys are watching this case closely because it could impact a host of other similar types of business models, such as LuLaRoe, Young Living, Scentsy, Rodan + Fields, Avon Products, Herbalife and others.

Amway sells products like detergent and mouthwash, promoting itself as a means for sellers to become “small business owners.” They thrive on person-to-person sales. These types of companies have come under fire for reportedly predatory business models that require salespersons to buy several hundred or thousand dollars in products just to get started. In some cases, individuals have drained their savings and retirement accounts. The Federal Trade Commission has issued warnings about these types of pyramid schemes, but the companies remain in business.

Most of these companies refer to their salespersons as independent “participants,” “distributors” or “contractors.” But are they?

Not according to the plaintiff in the latest California employment lawsuit against Amway. Continue reading

Not all state or federal labor laws can be applied equally to all workers. For example, you may know that the U.S. Fair Labor Standards Act requires most employers to pay overtime for any hours worked in excess of 8 in a given day. But if you work in the public sector, the rules may be a bit different (or a lot different, depending on your job title). Los Angeles employment attorney

Employees for public agencies such as school districts, fire departments and public works agencies are not entitled to daily overtime by statute.

Still, there are some technicalities, so it’s always best to talk to a Los Angeles employment attorney if you aren’t sure. In some instances, public agency employers may not have violated state or federal law with regard to wage and hour requirements, but there could be violations of the collective bargaining agreement, and a claim could be filed under breach of contract laws. Continue reading

A new law enacted last year now in effect gives California workers three years in which to file a lawsuit under California’s Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) instead of just one. California AB9

Previously, an employee who alleged discrimination, harassment, retaliation or another claim under FEHA would have one year to file a file an administrative complaint, the prerequisite to filing a civil lawsuit. Aggrieved workers could either requires the state’s Department of Fair Housing and Employment (DFEH) issue an immediate Right to Sue Notice or else choose for the state to launch an investigation of the claim. As our Orange County employment attorneys can explain, such an investigation can take a year or more if those involved opt to participate in the state’s mediation program. The DFEH can then issue a Right to Sue Notice after the investigation is concluded, and employees had one year from that date to actually file a lawsuit.

AB9, also referred to as the Stop Harassment and Reporting Extension (SHARE) Act, extends the one-year deadline to filing a DFEH complaint to three years. The worker still has just one year from the date of receiving the DFEH’s Right to Sue Notice to actually file the lawsuit. That means it could be four years or more before a potential California employment lawsuit is filed. The new statue of limitations is six times longer than the federal standard. Continue reading

Roughly 70 workers at a private, non-profit museum in Los Angeles is facing a possible class action lawsuit for allegedly violating California’s WARN Act, which compels employers to offer at least a 60-day advance warning both to employees and local government agencies if there will be a plant closure, major relocation or mass layoff. As our Los Angeles labor lawyers can explain, the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act, found in California Labor Code 1400-1408LC, entitles workers denied this notification to receive back pay and benefits for the period of violation (the period by which their advance notice fell short of those 60 days). Los Angeles WARN Act lawyer

While most of the Golden State’s wrongful termination laws pertain to the rights of individual employees, the WARN Act protects workers fired/laid off in connection with a mass layoff (50 or more workers laid off within 30 days of each other), a company closure or relocation of substantial business activities to a physical location more than 100 miles away. The law only applies to companies that have employed 75 or more workers in the year preceding, and companies are exempted if the closure/layoffs/relocation is due to some act of war or physical calamity. It’s similar to the U.S. WARN Act, 29 USC;2104(a), but extends greater worker protections.

This kind of advance notice is key for workers and their families, who will need time to transition and adjust to employment loss and seek alternative income sources and/or job training while still providing for their family in the immediate future. The reason local government is included in this notification is that the California Employment Development Department has an established Rapid Response Team to aid both employers and employees in the midst of a mass layoff or company closing. They offer information about dislocated worker services available, unemployment insurance options, income support and assistance with job training and job searches. Continue reading

As an employee in California, you have rights under both state and federal law that protect you from harassment and discrimination based on your belonging to a protected classification. For example, if you are a woman paid substantially less than male colleagues doing the same work, that’s a form of gender discrimination on the basis of sex – a protected class. Los Angeles employment lawyer

In fielding hundreds of inquiries over the years from California workers whose rights are being violated on-the-job, our Los Angeles employment attorneys want to ensure as many people as possible understand what exactly harassment, discrimination and retaliation is and how to best address it.

What is Workplace Discrimination? 

Discrimination is adverse treatment by an employer against workers who fall into a protected class. California employers are prohibited from discriminating against employees on the basis of:

  • Race
  • Color
  • National origin
  • Religion
  • Gender (including pregnancy, childbirth and related medical conditions)
  • Disability
  • Age
  • Citizenship status
  • Genetic information
  • Marital status
  • Sexual orientation
  • Gender identity/expression
  • AIDS/HIV
  • Military/veteran status
  • Status as a victim of domestic violence, stalking or assault

This is much more extensive than the federal law, and some cities in California have their own rules that extend protections even further. Continue reading

Healthcare workers face an out-sized risk of physical harm on-the-job. The Occupational Safety & Health Administration reports that more than 75 percent of the 25,000 workplace assaults that occur annually in the U.S. occur in settings like hospitals, nursing homes and other social service settings. On average, health care workers are 20 times more likely to be injured in an act of workplace violence than other types of employees. The American Nurses Association reports 1 in 4 nurses has been physically assaulted by either a patient or a patient’s family member.healthcare worker violence protection

This was the basis for the introduction of H.R. 1309, the Workplace Violence Prevention for Health Care and Social Service Workers Act. The measure passed with notable bipartisan support in the House of Representatives (251-158). If passed, it would usher in the healthcare workplace violence prevention standards that already exist in California on a national level. However, it still has to make it through the Senate, and even if it does, officials with the Trump White House have said the president would veto it as written.

The American Hospital Association opposes the bill, with the executive vice president saying federal interests should instead be more focused on “research to identify best practices for different workplace settings and circumstances.” That information should then be disseminated to health care facilities to adopt as necessary, rather than requiring “a one-size-fits-all approach.”

However, the measure is strongly supported by numerous health care worker labor unions. Continue reading

An employer’s failure to pay wages in accordance with an employment contract – even if what’s paid is in excess of the minimum wage – can now be penalized with fines and restitution orders by the California Labor Commissioner. wage and hour lawyer

That’s thanks to SB 688, a newly-passed measure that amends California Labor Code Ch. 723 s. 1197.1, which goes into effect next month.

“Contract wages,” as explained in the bill/statute, are wages based upon an agreement between a company and a worker for regular, non-overtime hours that is in excess of the applicable minimum wage.

Los Angeles labor law attorneys can explain that under existing law, employers (or those acting as officers/agents) who fail to pay a worker less than minimum wage can be subject to citation and penalties from the Labor Commissioner. However, that power of enforcement does not extend when workers are paid in excess of minimum wage – yet should be paid more according to their employment contract. Continue reading

Independent contractors are entitled to far fewer rights under California employment law than employees or in some cases even job applicants. In filing an employment lawsuit against a company, one must establish they are an employee or prospective employee.employee misclassification Los Angeles

But as our Los Angeles employment attorneys know well, misclassification of employees as independent contractors is rampant. It’s often left to the court’s to decide.

Recently, a California appellate court ordered a new trial in the case of a worker who was technically a temp agency employee, but who took on a supervisory position for five years at the shoe care manufacturing company with which the temp agency contracted. Although the temp agency cut her checks, it was the manufacturer that had the direction and control of her day-to-day work. This, the court ruled, made her an employee for purposes of relief for alleged discrimination and wrongful termination under California’s Fair Employment and Housing Act.

Independent Contractor v. Employee

There is no set definition of the term “independent contractor,” which is why courts and enforcement agencies are often asked to consider the fact pattern of each case where employment status is a possible issue. The Division of Labor Standards Enforcement begins with the presumption that a worker is an employee, but it is one that can be rebutted by the employer. Continue reading

There are many federal and California laws that protect employees from discrimination and retaliatory action. It’s important when pursuing your claim to file under the proper cause of action to ensure the greatest change of success. That’s why it’s so important to choose an Orange County employment attorney with a wealth of experience and a verifiable track record of success. racial discrimination

Recently in Sacramento, a man sued a local baseball club for racial discrimination, alleging the club refused to hire him on the basis of his race. His complaint alleged common tort law violations under the Unruh and Ralph Civil Rights Acts, and further committed unfair business practices as outlined under Business and Professions Code section 17200.

The trial court dismissed his claim after finding that while failure or refusal to hire a prospective employee on the basis of race is a violation of public policy (including both the state Constitution as well as the General Code), the proper remedy through the California Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA). Were he an employee, he might have found resolution in a common law tort, but as an applicant, the claim needed be filed under FEHA. The California Court of Appeal, Third Appellate District affirmed.

It might seem a ridiculous technicality, but claims must be properly stated at the outset in order for courts to properly consider them. A slight misunderstanding of California’s employment statutes and case law could end up costing you valuable time. Improperly state your claim and you might run the risk of being forever barred from continuing to pursue it if you’re too late to file again before the statute of limitations runs out. Continue reading

California employees have the right to be paid – in full and on time. Yet wage theft is still a prime source of labor law violations in this state.

That’s why lawmakers enacted AB 673, amending Chapter 716, Section 210 of the Labor Code. wage and hour lawyer

Existing law provides for a civil penalty – both additionally and entirely independent from all other fines or penalties – on anyone who fails to pay the wages of every employee. The law also includes a provision that bars differential pay or pay schedules on the basis of gender. It allows for the state Labor Commissioner to recover that penalty as part of the hearing that’s held to recover any unpaid wages/penalties or independent from the civil action. A portion of those penalties go to a specific fund in the Labor and Workforce Development Agency for the express purpose of educating workers about state labor laws. The rest goes to the State Treasury/General Fund.

AB 673 allows for the workers who have been affected to bring an action to recover certain penalties against employers who failed to pay them. Continue reading