Articles Posted in employment attorney

Late last year, the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) announced there would be a ramped-up effort to identify and address violations of the state’s so-called “ban-the-box” law, more formally known as the Fair Chance Act. The statute was enacted four years ago as an amendment to the state’s Fair Employment and Housing Act, and bars employers with five or more employees from directly or indirectly asking about, seeking disclosure of, or even considering the conviction history of an applicant until after the applicant is extended a conditional job offer. This includes asking questions about it on job applications (typically a yes-no question with boxes that can be checked – hence the “ban the box” language). Los Angeles employment lawyer

The law also does not allow employers to indicate on their job listings that they won’t consider job applicants with criminal history. If you see a job advertisement in California with language like, “Must have a clean record,” or “No felons,” it probably violates the ban the box law.

Despite the well-publicized passage of this statute, state regulators continue find non-compliant advertisements and other hiring materials, particularly online. In fact, the DFEH reported that in just one day spent reviewing online job ads with technology designed to facilitate mass searches. In that single day, the agency uncovered more than 500 ads containing illegal statements, indicating job seekers with criminal backgrounds wouldn’t be considered. The agency apparently decided against penalizing the offending employers, and instead issued notices of violations and warnings to remove the unlawful portions of their ads.

As our Los Angeles employment lawyers can explain, the legal consequences for failure to comply with the Fair Chance Act can include not only the remedies pursued by FEHA, but compensatory damages, punitive damages, and attorney’s fees from the prospective employees adversely impacted.

California Ban the Box FAQ

California’s ban the box law is commonly misunderstood by job applicants and employers alike. The law is intended to give ex-offenders a chance to have a prospective employer review their application based on their qualifications, without simply being automatically disqualified because they have a criminal record. It became effective Jan. 1, 2018. Continue Reading ›

Workplace bullying is understood to be repeated, harmful mistreatment of one or more employees (targets) which can include conduct that is:

  • Threatening
  • Humiliating
  • Intimidating
  • Interfering with work. California workplace bully

The Workplace Bullying Institute explains that examples can include work sabotage, isolation, harm to reputation, demeaning behavior, and abusive supervision. The think tank estimates 60 million Americans are impacted by workplace bullying, with anywhere from 19-44 percent having been directly bullied. Nearly 1 in 5 have witnessed bullying behavior on the job. Of those who are targets, nearly 30 percent say nothing. Only 17 percent report seeking formal resolution – with the failure to report likely stemming from employers’ lack of responsiveness, real or perceived.

But what are your legal options? As our Riverside employment attorneys can explain, California does not have an anti-workplace bullying law in place, unfortunately. That doesn’t necessarily mean you’re out of luck.

Targets of workplace bullying may have grounds for legal action in California if the conduct violates the state’s workplace harassment or discrimination laws, such as those set forth in the California Fair Employment Act (FEHA). Workplace bullying violates the law when it is based on a protected category to which a victim belongs. Continue Reading ›

The California Fair Employment and Housing Act, commonly called FEHA, forbids employers to discriminate against employees or job applicants on the basis of their position in a protected class. Protected classes include race, religion, color, ancestry, national origin, mental disability, physical disability, medical condition, genetic information, gender (including pregnancy, childbirth, breastfeeding, or related medical conditions), gender identity, sex, gender expression, sexual orientation, marital status, age (for those 40 and older), or veteran/military status.Riverside employment lawyer

As our Riverside employment attorneys can explain, those who have experienced the adverse impact of workplace discrimination in California can pursue accountability through the civil justice system by filing a lawsuit. Working with an experienced employment law team is essential.

Here, we discuss the basic steps for filing a California employment discrimination lawsuit.

Knowing Whether You Were Discriminated Against

The first step is assessing whether discrimination took place. Employers generally recognize that discrimination can lead to an employment lawsuit, so those who engage in it are often careful to avoid putting anything in writing or saying anything obvious to the job candidate or employee. Most workplace discrimination is subtle. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t signs.

An experienced employment law firm can help you make a case for employment discrimination by showing that certain groups were treated differently than others. It might also be established by showing there was an abrupt alteration in attitude toward an employee once the employer learned of the worker’s status in the protected group. Some indicators of workplace discrimination include: Continue Reading ›

A new year on the horizon, there are numerous new California employment laws for workplaces to ensure they follow. These range from expanded family leave to heightened workplace safety rules to minimum wage boosts.

Minimum Wage Increases

For starters, on the very first day of the year, Jan. 1st, the required minimum wage rate in California will be kicked up to $15 hourly among businesses with 26 or more employees. Those with fewer workers will be required to pay at least $14 hourly.Los Angeles employment lawyer

Dozens of California jurisdictions, however, have their own minimum wage requirements. For instance, minimum wage in Los Angeles was already at $15 hourly as of 2021, applicable to anyone who works at least two hours (including remotely) within a one-week period in the unincorporated areas of Los Angeles. In Sonoma, the rate is $16 hourly for large employers. In Los Altos, the minimum wage is increasing next year from $15.65 hourly to $16.40 hourly. In Menlo Park, it’s going up to $15.65 at the start of the year. The employee’s employment status, where they live or where the business is headquartered doesn’t determine whether the minimum wage applies.

A Wage Order is supposed to be placed in a conspicuous spot in every job site, clearly showing both the federal and state minimum wages. Both employers and employees would do well to double check whether any more stringent minimum wage rules apply in their city or county jurisdiction. Where there is a conflict between local, state, or federal minimum wages, employers must pay the rate that is most beneficial to employees.

Note: You cannot waive your right to minimum wages. They are required by law. Continue Reading ›

Fairness and equality are cornerstone ideals in America, but not every employer embodies or enforces them. However, does unfair treatment alone mean you can take legal action against your employer? Los Angeles employment lawyer

As our Los Angeles employment attorneys can explain, the viability of a California employment lawsuit depends on a myriad of factors, including:

  • The exact nature of the adverse action and how substantially you were impacted.
  • Whether the motivation for the adverse action was – in whole or in part – a protected characteristic or activity.
  • The strength of the evidence you have of the employer’s unlawful motivation for the adverse action. (This includes whether others similarly situated were treated the same way or differently.)
  • When these adverse actions were taken.

This is not to say you need to have every single detail in order for your initial consultation with an employment attorney, but it’s a good idea to have basic answers so that your attorney knows where to start.

What Are Protected Characteristics and Actions? 

The simple fact of being slighted at work isn’t necessarily cause for litigation. In general, it must involve certain characteristics or actions that are protected by law.

  • Examples of protected statuses include: Religion, Race, Age (over 40), Disability, Sex, Gender/Gender Identity, Marital Status, Ancestry, Veteran Status, Military Status, Medical Condition, Genetic Information, Color, or Pregnancy/Any Related Condition.
  • Examples of protected activities include: Serving on a jury, Taking necessary family leave, Attending court and/or seeking care as a victim of a crime, Sharing your salary/wage information with others, Participating in a workplace complaint, Taking time off to fulfill first responder duties, Exercising lactation rights, and Whistleblowing.

These aren’t necessarily exhaustive lists; it’s best to consult with an attorney if you aren’t sure whether your unfair treatment was unlawful.

Is All Unfair Workplace Treatment Unlawful?

No, not all unfair workplace treatment in California is against the law. California is an at-will state when it comes to employment law. That means your employer can fire you for almost any reason without consequences. However, the exceptions arise when those adverse actions are taken as a result of some protected status or action.

So for example, if you are fired because of your age, but you are under the age of 40, your age is not a protected characteristic under the law. It’s not fair, but it’s not illegal. Continue Reading ›

A longtime employee of Sea World in San Diego alleges she was not only wrongfully terminated, but that she provided more than four decades of unpaid overtime with the company’s full knowledge. As experienced Los Angeles employment lawyers, we recognize that even with full proof of these facts, plaintiff may not be able to collect compensation for unpaid overtime beyond what she was shortchanged in the last three – possibly four – years. That’s not to say evidence of it can’t be submitted to the court to illustrate a long and intentional pattern. However, the California statute of limitations on employment claims is generally just three years. In some cases, you may have even less time to take action. wage and hour law statute of limitations California

“Wage and hour” is the shorthand we use for legal actions pertaining to an employer’s responsibility to fairly compensate workers for wages, meal breaks, rest breaks, reimbursement of expenses, proper recordkeeping and other basic benefits outlined in California statute.

Per Code of Civil Procedure 338 CCP, the statute of limitations for wage and hour lawsuits is three (3) years from the date when the most recent violation occurred. That said, you may be able to “reach back” possibly as far back as four (4) years for things like unpaid wages, interest and other kinds of valuable penalties imposed by law. This extended reach back provision is applicable when you include a claim under the state’s Unfair Competition law, as outlined in the state’s Business & Professions Code, section 17208.

An attorney will be able to tell you exactly how much time you have left to pursue a California wage and hour claim, but it’s usually better not to delay if possible.

Note: Claims of California employment discrimination were only recently extended to the three-year window. Previously, the window of time was even narrower (one year from termination – or the end of alleged discriminatory conduct). AB 9, which went into effect in January 2020, extended the amount of time employees had to file charges of discrimination with the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing to three years. The new law allows is six times longer than requirements under federal law. Specifically, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) requires that anti-discrimination claims be filed within 180 calendar days from the day the discrimination took place. This is extended to 300 days if a state/local agency enforces a law prohibiting employment discrimination on the same basis. (There are slightly different rules for age discrimination, which is not extended if it is only local – not state – law that bars age discrimination.)  Continue Reading ›

A new garment worker wage protection law passed in California is expected to have reverberations throughout the entire fashion industry nationally, and perhaps globally.Los Angeles employment rights attorney

Senate Bill (SB) 62, also now known as the Garment Worker Protection Act, alters the way employees in the garment manufacturing industry are paid. Specifically, it prohibits companies from paying its garment manufacturing workers by the piece or unit or by piece rate, except when such a payment arrangement is approved as a result of a collective bargaining agreement. Instead, garment manufacturers must be paid no less than the applicable minimum wage. The law also broadens the definition of who is part of the clothing making industry for the purposes of enforcing wages. The definition now includes not only direct employers, but brand guarantors (those who contract with other firms to have garments made).

Garment makers and contractors who breach their duties as employers under the law may be subject to statutory, per-employee damages for every pay period. Continue Reading ›

Taking aim at the use of quotas at warehouse distribution centers in California, Assembly Bill 701 requires companies with sizable warehouse distribution centers to disclose pace-of-work standards and quotas to workers either upon hire. As our Los Angeles employee rights attorneys can explain, companies are being required to provide a written description of each quota to which the employee is subject – including:

  • Quantified number of tasks to be performed/materials to be produced/handled within a defined period of time.
  • Any potential negative consequences that could result from failure to meet that quota. Los Angeles employee rights attorney

By regulating warehouse performance metrics, state lawmakers have sought to hold huge warehouse conglomerates, such as Amazon, accountable for logistics facilities quotes that many argue make these workspaces unsafe.

The bill faced sharp opposition from business interests, but nonetheless passed and was approved by the governor. The measure is intended to empower warehouse workers against unsafe quotas set by algorithms. High workplace injury rates have been closely associated with unreasonable productivity goals. Continue Reading ›

California wage theft has cost a construction company more than $1.7 million in fines by the state Labor Commissioner’s Office. The fines stem from alleged failure to pay workers, resulting in overtime and minimum wage violations.Los Angeles wage and hour attorney

As our Los Angeles wage theft attorneys can explain, companies that steal fair wages from their workers have increasingly been the target of state regulators and labor authorities. Employees who have been victimized by wage theft do have legal recourse, and should consult with an experienced employment lawyer.

In this case, according to FOX 5 San Diego, the construction company in question reportedly failed to pay employees properly as they worked on jobs at both residential and construction projects. It’s purported that 265 workers were impacted by these unfair practices.

The labor commissioner launched an investigation into alleged wage and hour violations starting three years ago, when workers first began reporting they were only being paid for 40 hours of work a week, despite consistently working overtime on mixed-use construction projects in both Los Angeles and San Diego.

The company is reportedly appealing the citations, which allocated $1.6 million in payments to the workers. The Labor Commissioner’s Office will hold a hearing to determine whether the citations will be affirmed, modified or dismissed.

It should be noted that just because a company agrees to pay workers a flat rate doesn’t mean they should be denied pay for overtime hours they earned. California labor laws are in place to protect workers. It’s imperative that workers track their hours and how much they are paid so that they can take action against an employer that swindles them. Continue Reading ›

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 ›

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