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If believe you have been subject to employment discrimination, harassment, wrongful termination, or retaliation at work, your path to justice can go one of two ways: Filing your own lawsuit or handing the case over the California Civil Rights Department. Sometimes, you opt for the latter and might still end up suing, but you could also skip the state’s involvement and go straight to court. Los Angeles employment lawyer

How do you decide which route to go?

You might be best served by scheduling a free consultation with at least one or possibly a couple of Los Angeles employment attorneys. Have the basic facts of your case ready to run through. They can’t give you legal advice unless/until they are hired, but they can probably provide you with information to help you make an informed choice about which option makes the most sense in your case. And these conversations are confidential.

Do I Have to File a Complaint With Human Resources?

In some situations, yes.

Doing so may not be necessary if the company refused to hire you. It also may not be necessary if you were discriminated against based on your position in a protected class (race, ethnicity, nationality, religion, disability, gender/gender identity, sexual orientation, age over 40, pregnancy or related condition, etc.).

However, it may depend on the particulars of your situation and whether part of your claim involves harassment and/or retaliation. Continue Reading ›

A recent decision by a California appellate court offers insight into how companies can comply with workplace seating requirements, as mandated by state labor law. In Meda v. AutoZone, the California Court of Appeals, Second District, Division Three, ruled that while these cases are inevitably going to be fact-intensive with numerous factors at issue, there is a measure of commonsense employers should employ when deciding when they can reasonably and meaningfully provide workers with seating. Los Angeles employment lawyer

The case in question was filed under the California Private Attorney General’s Act (PAGA), which allows private citizens to step in the shoes of the state’s attorney general in order to pursue legal action for violation of state labor law.

According to court records, the defendant retailer, an auto shop store, did not offer cashiers and parts counter workers with adequate seating when (according to plaintiffs) they easily could have. California requires companies to offer workers their seats that are suitable when the nature of the work reasonably permits it.

In response, the defendant store argued that it did offer two raised chairs (adequate in height to use the counter at those work stations), and these seats were available to all workers – plaintiff included.

Plaintiff, however, argued that while the chairs were placed in those locations, workers were given to understand they were only available as an accommodation (for pregnancy, disability, etc.), and that at no time did the company tell other workers that they were free to use these seats.

The trial court sided with the employer, finding that simply providing these chairs was adequate enough to meet the state law requirement on seating. Continue Reading ›

Most people are aware that state and federal anti-discrimination laws protect them from adverse employment actions on the basis of certain protected classes, such as race, gender, disability, and age. However, fewer know that per a legal doctrine known as associational discrimination, employers may also be barred from discrimination against workers based on a relationship they have with a member of a protected class. Los Angeles employment lawyer

Employers can be held liable for associational discrimination as well as associational retaliation. Such claims can be filed under provisions of the Americans With Disabilities Act (federal), as well as the California Fair Housing and Employment Act (FEHA). The ADA explicitly bars excluding or denying equal jobs/benefits to a person who is qualified on the basis of a known disability. It also prohibits discrimination of a qualified person based on their relationship to or association with someone who has a disability.

Associational discrimination laws can also be filed under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which shields workers on the basis of gender, religion, national origin, and race. As our Los Angeles employment discrimination attorneys can explain though, this law doesn’t expressly bar associative discrimination like the ADA does. However, numerous courts have upheld associational discrimination is applicable under Title VII. In fact, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit recently affirmed such a case, joining numerous other federal appeals courts in reaching this conclusion. Continue Reading ›

A restaurant owner and reality television star is facing a class action for California wage theft and meal break violations at the West Hollywood establishment. She and her husband/co-owner are accused of violating numerous state labor laws by failing to pay minimum wage or overtime, refusing to give employees pay stubs, not paying gratuities that were earned and not providing adequate breaks as required by law.Los Angeles wage theft attorney

According to E! News, the plaintiff (filing on behalf of herself and others) alleges that her employers at SUR failed to follow the law for at least one of the last four years. Plaintiff was employed at the upscale establishment for three months, ending in January. While there, she was a hostess, tasked with answering phones, confirming reservations and seating patrons.

This is the second labor lawsuit that has been filed against the owners of SUR in recent months. Late last year, another former employee filed their own class action lawsuit alleging California labor law violations. That worker, a non-exempt employee for three months, was employed not only at SUR but also at the owners’ other restaurants, Tom Tom and Pump Restaurant Lounge. He too alleges that for the last four years, workers were denied minimum wages and overtime, proper meal and rest breaks, accurate wage statements or pay stubs at the end of their employment. Continue Reading ›

There are many aspects of the COVID-19 pandemic’s impact that are unprecedented in modern history. One thing that isn’t so new is the tendency for people to seek a scapegoat. During the Black Plague of the 1300s, many blamed Jews. When cholera broke out in the U.S. during the 1800s, ire turned to immigrants of Irish descent. When an epidemic of polio was spreading across the U.S., many pointed the finger at Italian immigrants. With the novel coronavirus, the scapegoat has become people of Asian descent.Los Angeles racial discrimination lawyer

COVID-19 is believed to have originated in China, and unfortunately this has resulted in discrimination and even aggression against those with physical attributes typically attributed to people from Asia.

Los Angeles racial discrimination attorneys know there are already reports of bullying and harassment against Asian and Asian American workers. We’re are anticipating more will be reported in the weeks and months ahead. Apparently so does the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), which recently indicated it would be specifically tracking COVID-19-related claims. This will help create more than just anecdotal evidence of the trend. Continue Reading ›

As employers throughout California are tackling unprecedented challenges brought about by the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, it’s inevitable that mistakes will be made. However, employers would do well not to exacerbate their financial woes by erring when it comes to employee pay, sick leave and wrongful termination. California employment lawyer

Outlined here are the top legal missteps our Orange County employment lawyers see companies making in the coming weeks and months. Continue Reading ›

When an award-winning news producer was fired from his job at CNN, the company claimed it was due to plagiarism. The former employee filed a lawsuit saying that reason was pretextual and he was a victim of racial discrimination and retaliation. CNN fired back that the case should be dropped because to decide otherwise would be a violation of the company’s First Amendment rights under anti-SLAPP laws. That motion was initially granted. The case was appealed up to the California Supreme Court, which ruled last year the claim might be subject to dismissal under the state’s anti-SLAPP law – specifically the company’s right to exercise editorial control over its news content. However, the case was remanded to determine if plaintiff’s underlying claim had merit enough to proceed in spite of that concern. racial discrimination lawyer

Now, a California appellate court has ruled in Wilson v. CNN that plaintiff’s claim has the minimal amount of merit to proceed. The case now proceeds to trial.

As our Los Angeles racial discrimination attorneys can explain, anti-SLAPP laws are intended to dismiss early on lawsuits without merit when they are filed against persons or organizations for the exercise of First Amendment rights (freedom of speech, the press, religion, peaceable assembly and to petition the government for redress of grievances). SLAPP stands for Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation. Anti-SLAPP laws were passed in response to a trend of lawsuits filed in retaliation to intimidate or silence critics and opponents who speak out publicly. In a lot of those cases, the underlying legal theories (tortious interference, defamation, etc.) were actually secondary to the true intent, which was to silence public opposition. Continue Reading ›

2019 has been a banner year for worker rights in California. One important development that might have gotten lost in the shuffle amid all the rest was the passage of AB738 in September. Effective Jan. 1, 2020, home daycare providers will have the right to form, join and participate in unions. Our Los Angeles employment attorneys know this is a right home-based child care providers have been pursuing for almost two decades. In the lead up to Governor Newsom’s signing the bill, there had been five gubernatorial vetoes of similar bills. Los Angeles employment lawyers

As reports, most of the workers in the industry are women of color who own and operate their own businesses. Yet some lawmakers in the past had taken to routinely calling them “babysitters.” These workers comprise roughly half of the state’s 200,000 early childhood education workers

One of the main reasons they wanted to unionize was to gather bargaining power to finally address subsidized payments – both the amount and method. Reimbursement for individual childcare workers is low to start. When the government steps in to subsidize daycare payments for low-income families, it’s below market rate. On top of that, the way these workers are paid is complex and ultimately problematic because it often results in some workers not being paid for months at a time. Earning enough to survive – let alone run a business, pay taxes, etc. – can be very difficult.

The Economic Policy Institute reports that most of the more than 27,000 licensed family child care providers in California barely earn minimum wage. Unions will allow these workers to better negotiate compensation with the government, as well as other entities like health insurance companies, liability insurance companies, etc. Continue Reading ›

The Los Angeles technology company perhaps best known for its launch of video game League of Legends, has agreed to settle the California class action gender discrimination lawsuit for $10 million. The settlement, which is still pending court approval, will apply to roughly 1,000 women who worked at Riot Games between November 2014 and the date the settlement is finalized. Each employee’s exact cut will depend on how long they worked for the company and whether they were an employee or independent contractor. Los Angeles gender discrimination lawyers

Our Los Angeles gender discrimination lawyers understand the workers sued Riot Games, the $1.6 billion company owned by Chinese firm Tencent, alleged violations of the California Equal Pay Act as well as pervasive sexual harassment and gender discrimination.

The lawsuit was filed after a series of in-depth investigations, starting with a piece from gaming website Kotaku. Continue Reading ›

A group of California freelance journalists are suing the state over an independent contractor law that goes into effect Jan. 1, 2020, alleging it threatens free speech as well as their livelihood by requiring anyone who submits more than 35 pieces of content annually for a company to be considered an employee. In response, some companies like VOX Media have laid off workers en masse – or blacklisting California writers to hire those in other states. California employee misclassification lawyer

Plaintiffs in American Society of Journalists and Authros v. Becerra assert that AB5 was drafted with the mindset that most writers and reporters are working in the traditional newspaper print model. The reality today is most journalists and producers of content are working in the digital realm, which operates quite differently.

Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez (D-San Diego), the driving force behind AB5, said that while she sympathizes with legitimate freelancers who may have lost substantial income as a result of this measure, she likened media corporations that exploit workers to vultures. In other words, these weren’t good jobs anyway.

In fact, as our Los Angeles wage and hour lawyers know, some of these companies were already facing litigation for alleged employee misclassification. In one case, a writer who worked as a “site manager” for Deadspin wrote five articles weekly, managed other writers, policed the comment section and took directives from the media company’s management. For all this, she was compensated $125 monthly, which breaks down to about $6-an-hour – well below the minimum wage. But as an “independent contractor,” she wasn’t entitled to minimum wage. The reality is this kind of arrangement was probably illegal under existing employment law. AB5 makes it easier to hold these businesses accountable, and it’s not even the first of its kind in the country. Continue Reading ›

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