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Earlier this year, the California Supreme Court issued a ruling with far-reaching impact to so-called “gig” employers, like Uber and Lyft. These and others with similar employment structures had argued that their drivers were NOT employees, but rather independent contractors. This ruling was a blow to these companies because when workers are classified as employees, they are entitled to receive benefits like minimum wage, regular breaks, overtime pay, protection from sexual harassment and workers’ compensation for injuries. Of course, all this cost the companies money, something they’d been desperately hoping to avoid.employment attorney

Now, according to Bloomberg, these companies are quietly lobbying Democrats in California, seeking a legislative means of overriding the state supreme court’s ruling in April. They’ve been pleading their case to members of the current governor’s cabinet, as well as with his presumed successor and members of the state legislature. They are hoping to either dull the impact of the court’s ruling (with executive action or through passage of a new law) or else scrap it entirely.

Our employee misclassification attorneys in Orange County recognize that such a move could have serious legal implications not only here in California, but potentially echoing throughout the country, as this is an issue with which many states are grappling.  The whole idea of the “gig economy,” which thrives on newer technology such as smartphone apps and constant internet connectivity, is one in which the laws are only now catching up and adapting to these newer features.  Continue reading

Two years after an initial complaint alleging age discrimination, a state records office has agreed to settle with a former applicant for $60,000. Plaintiff alleged the records office in Pennsylvania refused to hire him because he was 55 when he sought an appeals officer position. age discrimination lawyer

The complaint was filed with assistance from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), after the attorney, formerly employed by the Human Relations Commission for nearly two decades, sought a spot with the state records division.

In the midst of the interview, the director openly expressed concern that plaintiff would soon be retiring. A woman who had just turned 40 was later hired for the post, according to PennLive.comContinue reading

A woman once employed by Tiffany & Co. alleges the jewelry maker forced her out of work after she underwent surgery to remove her ovaries and breasts to avoid cancer.womenworking

Plaintiff filed a federal lawsuit asserting the company, based in New York, discriminated against her based on her age and gender after she had the surgeries, which her attorney described as “life-saving.” Prior to the surgery, plaintiff learned she carried a genetic mutation that put her at high risk of developing these specific type of cancers, according to You may recall two years ago, Actress Angelina Jolie revealed she had surgery to remove both breasts and her ovaries after discovering she had this same BRCA1 gene. Jolie’s mother, actress Marcheline Bertrand, died of ovarian cancer at age 56, while her grandmother died of it at age 45 and her mother’s sister died of the disease at the age of 61. Presence of the gene typically puts women at a 50 percent higher risk of developing breast or ovarian cancer.

Meanwhile, plaintiff in this employment lawsuit, filed in a U.S. District Court in Rhode Island, says that while she is seeking damages, she said she wants people to know the company treated her as if she’d done something wrong after she took decisive measures to save her own life. Continue reading

In State v. Maine State Employees Association, an employee with the state health and human services department was fired after a complaint that she had alcohol on her breath when meeting with a client. She was employed in this capacity from the mid 1980s to 2013 when she was terminated following this complaint.

kitchen-1484790Prior to her termination, she had been disciplined for drinking while on the job and entered into what the agency calls a “Last Chance Agreement.”  This occurred in 2002.  The agreement states that as condition of her continued employment, she would refrain from using or possession of any drugs or alcohol while she was being paid by her employer. In other words, she could not drink or use illegal drugs while she was on the clock. Continue reading

A former worker at a Mexican food restaurant chain has been awarded $550,000 – which includes punitive damages – after a federal jury in Washington D.C. found she was in fact discriminated for her pregnancy. pregnantwoman

Although the national chain, Chipotle, and its franchise owner had denied that it had fired the woman for her pregnancy, the jury opined this was in fact the reason for her termination from the job.

The case dates back four years. It was at that time in 2011 when plaintiff became pregnant while working at the fast-food restaurant. It was not long after she informed the manager of her pregnancy that he started acting out. He restricted her access to water. He also began giving her a hard time about bathroom breaks and informed her she needed to limit them. He even went so far as to say that anytime she needed to go to the bathroom, she had to announce it to every employee in the store, and further that he had to approve them so that her post could be covered. Continue reading

A UPS driver filed a lawsuit against United Parcel Service nine years ago, claiming she had been unfairly discriminated against. The case ended up reaching all the way to the Supreme Court before it was finally resolved through a settlement. pregnant-belly-1313787

A Los Angeles discrimination lawyer knows the Equal Opportunity Employment Commission has now issued new enforcement guidelines clarifying protections for pregnant workers. Even with this new clarity, employers may continue to violate the law and treat workers who are pregnant unfairly. Employees need to know what their rights are and should pursue legal action in cases where employers violate laws protecting pregnant women.

Pregnancy Discrimination Case Finally Settles

According to a recent news story from The Daily Californian, a large group of demonstrators were singing in protest at California Hall to protest University of California at Berkeley (UC Berkeley) and its decision to use contract-based workers instead of full-time employees on the campus.

on-the-quad-60945-mThis group of demonstrators said the university was being “super cheap” in their hiring practices and called on the university to hire more union workers to fill those jobs. This group of protesters included both workers and students, and they went to the chancellor’s office holding a cake that was decorated with the phrase, “I don’t always pay fair wages, but when I do it’s in Berkeley and Richmond.” The group also sang songs they had written for the protest. They were asking for fair wages, decent healthcare, and for the university to hire employees instead of using more contractors. Continue reading

Employees who turn in an application to an employer may not realize they have significant rights under federal law – even if they are not hired. Employers who decide to use consumer background checks, including criminal history or credit reports, to make a hiring decision must follow a very strict set of rules to do so.

First of all, they must inform you of their intent and get your permission. Your authorization for access to this information must be clear and separate from any other consent forms. In the event that an employer is not going to hire you because of what is turned up in reports, you must be given notice and time to rectify any mistakes.

These are only a few of the requirements set forth by the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), and an increasing number of employers are being held liable for violations. According to recent reports, Paramount Pictures is the most recent big offender in a string of class action lawsuits related to FCRA violations in the hiring process. The motion picture production company has been accused of failing to inform candidates of its intent to delve into their consumer, credit, and criminal histories. The class action alleges that there were very strict policies and practices that were not followed by the company.

The Sony privacy hack has drawn international attention and calls into question internet security for companies and employees. For employees who were victim to the security breach, legal questions remain. What are their rights? Can employees take legal action against an employer for a security breach? Thousands of employees suffered from the security breach when their social security numbers, birthdays, salaries, and even medical records were leaked online. In addition to the sheer loss of privacy, these employees are left vulnerable to identity theft and extortion. What next?

keyboard-1280072-mEmployees at Sony are likely to be successful if they file a lawsuit under California law and could even recover millions of dollars for their losses. California has some of the strictest protections regarding employee information disclosure in the country. The workers would have significant rights and opportunities to recover compensation from the company. Under state law, residents are protected against having their information disclosed by any company or other institution. Even though Sony did not intentionally disclose data, it may not have met its burden in protecting the data from exposure and disclosure by third-parties.

According to reports, hundreds of Sony employees had their medical information disseminated, including complaints about unpaid insurance claims and lists of the medical procedures they had performed. Under California’s civil code, individuals have the right to bring an action against any entity that negligently released confidential information. In addition to the immediate $1000 claims, they can also collect on direct damages for the breach of privacy. To defend itself against these allegations, Sony would have to prove that it met its burden in protecting workers’ data, though this has been hotly disputed since the data hack.

In the age of the Internet and Smartphones, more companies are allowing their employees to telecommute, in a coffee shop, from home, or even from the beach. The flexibility of telecommuting has proven to be a generous perk for employees as well as for independent contractors and freelancers. With all of the technological options, staying connected to an employer is easy and can be a benefit to both employees and companies. Employees get the flexibility benefit while employers get to cut back on overhead costs. A new issue for employees who have the option of telecommuting is the issue of wage and hour implications.

keyboard-1280072-mUnder the Fair Labor Standards Act (FSLA), wage and hour laws require employers to record the hours their non-exempt employees work and to ensure that those employees get proper breaks and rest. These requirements apply to telecommuting employees as employees who have traditional roles onsite or in an office. How do employers track hours for telecommuting employees? Can they be held liable for failing to comply with FSLA standards? Our Orange County wage and hour law attorneys are experienced in representing our clients and in staying abreast of legal trends in employment law. We understand the complexities faced by employees in a modern workforce and can help to ensure compliance in the best interests of employees.

Employers must be proactive in tracking the number of hours worked, as well as taking preventative action to ensure that employees are not working over their 40-hour work week. In the event that an employee is working overtime to meet job duties, employers can be held liable for overtime wages. For large classes of telecommuting employees, overtime can be a reality—and companies should not be able to evade responsibility for wages simply because that employee is working from home.