Articles Posted in wage and hour lawsuit

Freelance journalists may soon be exempted from the controversial Assembly Bill 5, which went into effect Jan. 1st. The new law codified the California Supreme Court’s ruling in the Dynamex case, which established an “ABC test” for ascertaining whether workers are misclassified as independent contractors when in fact they should be receiving all the benefits of employment.employee misclassification

The law, introduced by Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez, has been the target of gig industry behemoths like Postmates, Lyft and Instacart. Freelance journalists, though, are another group that has been embroiled in a fight over AB5. Specifically, the law stipulates that a journalist who produces more than 35 submissions to a single entity should be considered an employee. But that, freelancers say, would effectively kill their career. Media companies, who increasingly can hire reporters and photographers who live and work anywhere, would be less inclined to hire writers from California – or cut them off at the 35-submissions mark.

Gonzalez said she had received extensive feedback from writers, photographers and journalists about how this would impact their ability to make a living, and said changes would be made to accommodate them, while still offering protection against employee misclassification. She indicated that amendments to the law would be introduced that would remove the submission cap. However, contractors still cannot replace employees. Contracts with freelance journalists would also need to expressly indicate the pay rate, payment deadline, individual’s copyrights to the work. Companies also won’t have the right to restrict freelancers from working for more than one outlet, and they can’t mainly perform their work on the business’s premises. Continue reading

It’s being touted as one of the most consequential bills that would bolster employees’ ability to organize that the U.S. has seen in 80 years. The Protecting the Right to Organize Act, H.R. 2474, is slated to go before the U.S. House of Representatives next week, where it’s likely to pass. Unfortunately, it’s unlikely to gain much traction in the Senate, but it does signal an increasing push toward progressive labor legislation.Orange County labor lawyers

If enacted, the PRO Act would alter decades-old federal labor laws to shift more power to workers. This would extend to situations involving:

  • Employer-employee disputes;
  • Penalties for companies proven to have broken labor laws (including retaliation against workers attempting to unionize);
  • Collective bargaining rights for hundreds of thousands of workers who currently don’t have them.

Right-to-work laws, which is exist in 27 states, would also be weakened under the PRO Act. Continue reading

The Trump administration recently loosened labor law protections by making it more difficult for franchise employees to sue corporations for wage theft under the joint employer rule. Those who work for subcontractors and staffing agencies will have a tougher time securing legal remedy for labor law violations. The new rule issued by the Department of Labor also makes it more challenging to prove that a corporation is responsible for the labor law violations committed by franchise owners and contractors. Los Angeles wage theft lawyer

The new rule, which is no surprise having been on the table since last April, are enacted under the administration’s supposition that reducing corporate regulation will stimulate economic growth. It’s been praised by business groups, but worker advocates and unions sharply oppose it.

Central to this rule was the question of whether a corporation can be considered the “joint employer” of a worker for a franchise. There have been numerous cases wherein large companies have been sued for labor law violations – including wage theft – that was committed by the owner of a franchise. What this rule does is set a higher standard for “joint employer.” As our Los Angeles wage theft lawyers can explain, the new rule stipulates that companies are considered joint employers only if they:

  • Hire
  • Fire
  • Supervise
  • Set pay
  • Maintain employment records

Continue reading

Workers at Disneyland in Anaheim, CA are done with the fun and games – at least when it comes to being allegedly underpaid. The California minimum wage lawsuit says the park’s employees aren’t being a living wage. As a result, many have been forced to sleep in their cars, struggle to feed their families and keep up with basic necessities. Orange County wage and hour lawyers

In the Orange County Superior Court lawsuit, the workers accuse the Walt Disney Corporation of unfair business practices and unlawful conduct. The minimum wage in the City of Anaheim is $15-an-hour by ordinance (it’s currently $12 hourly in the state of California).

The plaintiffs, representing some 400 employees at the park, are pursuing back wages, restitution and damages.

Our Orange County wage and hour lawyers aren’t the least bit surprised to hear this. A survey conducted of 5,000 Disney workers two years ago revealed that nearly 75 percent of the company’s employees don’t earn enough in wages to cover basic expenses every month. More than 50 percent said they’d been evicted from their homes. Two-thirds reported they weren’t sure where their next meal was coming from.

So why now? Continue reading

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, which sets precedent in California, affirmed a $54.6 million jury verdict in favor of Wal-Mart truck drivers for violation of California labor law. The retail giant challenged the earlier decision on numerous grounds, including improper application of the Federal Aviation Administration Authorization Act of 1994, the certification of the class and lack of jurisdiction. The federal appellate court rejected all of these in Ridgeway v. Wal-Mart, Inc., in effect reaffirming the state’s definition of what qualifies as compensable work. truck driver minimum wage

State labor laws stipulate that “hours worked” are to include all time a worker is subject to the company’s control and all time he/she is “suffered or permitted to work” – regardless of whether they actually do work. The drivers asserted the company didn’t pay them for time spent under the company’s control, such as during inspections, layovers and rest breaks. They sought damages, restitution and statutory penalties.

Prior to trial, plaintiffs were granted partial summary judgment on the minimum wage liability claims. Specifically, Wal-Mart wasn’t paying them for all their job duties. The company mandated that drivers take breaks without pay and controlled them during 10-hour layover time. By state law, they should have been entitled to receive minimum wage during these stretches. The trial court agreed that the company’s pay policy, if applied as written, would mean the drivers should be getting paid minimum wage during the times they were subject to their employer’s control. The question of whether the company actually violated the law, however, still had to go before a jury.

Jurors returned a verdict finding that in 7 of 11 disputed, non-paid tasks, the company violated state minimum wage laws. These tasks included layovers, rest breaks, pre-trip inspections and post-trip inspections. Continue reading

Southern California’s garment industry has in the past been accused of being one of the biggest wage theft offenders in the state. It’s been so bad in recent years that the California Labor Commissioner’s Office released a brochure specific to the problem for industry workers, noting that garment workers who aren’t paid for their work are entitled to file claims against all “guarantors” of wages, which includes the contractor that hired them as well as the manufacturers and in some cases the retailers. garment industry wage theft lawyer

The latest among these is a company called Fashion Nova. According to The New York Times, the L.A.-based online retailer with celebrity and influencer endorsements has found its niche of producing cheap clothing that looks much more expensive. It’s tailored to the Instagram crowd looking to keep their digs fresh every few weeks. Blowing a month or two’s expendable income on a pair of jeans isn’t an option for these consumers, explaining Fashion Nova’s rise in popularity.

But the U.S. Labor Department reports it’s the garment industry workers who ultimately pay the price. The DOL has found that the company is able to mass produce cheap clothing in the U.S. because the people actually sewing the garments are paid unlawfully low wages. Continue reading

A proposed class action lawsuit by so-called “trimmigrants” against a California cannabis company alleges that workers were compelled to work extended hours in difficult conditions without meal breaks, overtime pay or an accurate accounting of their wages. Los Angeles cannabis employment attorney

The workers, whose duties included growing, harvesting, bucking and hanging marijuana plants to dry before placing them in large freezers for shipment, were largely young immigrants, often undocumented. This, they say, was used by their employers to exploit them.

The 11-count complaint against the marijuana farming company asserts the company:

  • Compelled workers to toil 7-days-a-week for 12 hours daily;
  • Refused to provide rest or meal breaks, as required by law;
  • Declined to reimburse employees for work-related expenses such as travel and meals;
  • Provided workers with a flat $15-and-hour rate of compensation, no matter how many hours they worked;
  • Failed to keep reliable, accurate records of worker hours, in violation of FLSA’s mandates on proper record-keeping.

Continue reading

January 2020 will mean higher wages in 22 states for some 7 million workers, who can expect to earn more than $8 billion in additional income over the course of the year. Los Angeles wage and hour lawyer

The wages hikes are the result of legislation, inflation adjustments and ballot measures. Twenty states still use the federal minimum wage of $7.25.

In California, nearly 17 percent of the state’s workforce will be affected by a legislative increase of $1 to minimum wage earnings, bringing the state minimum wage to $13 effective January 1st. In all, nearly 3 million workers in the state can expect an annual increase of $4.3 billion. The average worker will bring home approximately $1,500 more per year.

Wage increases across the country ranged from $0.14-an-hour (Minnesota’s inflation adjustment) to the $1.50 higher minimum wage ceiling in New Mexico, thanks to legislative action.

The schedule for California minimum wage phase-in requirements per 2016’s SB3 that workers can expect an increase of $1 additional every year through 2023. For workers with 25 employers or fewer, that means $12/hr as of Jan. 1, 2020, $13/hr as of Jan. 1, 2021, $14/hr as of Jan. 1, 2022 and $15/hr as of Jan. 1, 2023. For workers employed by a company with 26 or more employees, it’s $1 higher than that for each year respectively, meaning next year the minimum wage for those workers will be $13/hourly, capping at $15/year in 2022. 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

A class action lawsuit on behalf of college football players alleges violations of minimum wage laws. Filed by a former university player who went on to play for the NFL and now the CFL, accuses the NCAA and many Division I schools of refusing to pay student athletes as they should.minimum wage law violation

The action – the latest in a string of wage and hour lawsuits against the NCAA by its athletes – follows a recent decision by the league to allow players to profit from their own name, likeness and image, the plaintiff says, isn’t enough. That decision came shortly after California passed a law allowing college athletes to sign endorsement deals. That could end up being a huge break for amateur players, but the reality is, those kind of offers are only going to be available to a select few players. Other students employed by the universities or the NCAA are paid – those who sell the popcorn, those who tear the tickets – why not the players on the field? For most of the players, these games aren’t hobbies – they’re the start of a career. Both training and games are taken on at no small physical risk and personal sacrifice.

The primary plaintiff in the case, who played for the school between 2013 and 2016, asserts that student athletes should be classified similarly to student employees, even more so than the work-study students who are hired to actually work at college games. In his statement, he insisted he wasn’t seeking hundreds of thousands of dollars for any one player, but that it seemed unfair that the NCAA – which brings in close to $1 billion annually – continues to insist the athletes be paid nothing at all. Continue reading