Articles Posted in wage and hour lawsuit

Owners of Southern California Thai restaurants have been cited for  Los Angeles wage theft, allegedly depriving workers of more than $1 million in wages, according to state labor regulators. The companies are accused of failure to pay minimum wage (less than $5 hourly versus the state minimum of $11) and frequently requiring them to work 10 hour shift without ensuring each were granted state-mandated work breaks.wage theft attorney Los Angeles

Nearly two dozen workers at these restaurants – located in Baldwin Park, Arcadia and North Hollywood – reportedly were paid a flat rate of $50 for a standard 10- to 11.5-hour shift. The California Department of Industrial Relations, which began investigating the trio of restaurants in August of last year, reported at no time during these shifts were workers given the opportunity to eat a meal or sometimes even just sit down for a few minutes.

Unfortunately, as our Los Angeles wage theft attorneys are all too keenly aware, wage theft in Southern California is rampant. The state DIR reports there were more than 34,000 wage theft complaints just last year alone – but that is widely speculated to be a very low estimate. It’s not unreasonable to presume that for every case of California wage theft that’s reported, there are probably a dozen more than aren’t. This is especially true when we factor in undocumented workers, particularly since this White House has assumed power, with raids often targeting the least vulnerable rather than the companies that hire them. Continue reading

In most California wage and hour employment lawsuits, the entity held accountable by wronged workers is their (sometimes former) employer. Agents of your employer (typically, the owner) are in charge of paying those wages, but generally aren’t deemed responsible if there is a violation of law to do so. In fact, two California Supreme Court decisions in recent years (Reynolds v. Bement and Martinez v. Combs) affirmed this fact. But now, a California appellate court has ruled the lines of liability for unfair wages may not be so black-and-white. It may in fact be possible for supervisors and/or fellow employees deemed responsible to pay both civil penalties and your attorneys’ fees. overtime wage theft L.A.

The case in question, Atempa v. Pedrazzani, before the California Court of Appeal, Fourth Appellate District, Division One, weighed a case filed under the state’s unique Private Attorney General’s Act (allowing wronged workers to sue for labor violations on behalf of the state and keep 25 percent of the verdict or settlement).

Persons Acting on Behalf of Employer Can Be Liable for California Wage Theft Continue reading

A quick internet search reveals dozens of jobs are listed at Amazon’s distribution and fulfillment center in Irvine, California (right here in Orange County) ranging from warehouse fulfillment to Whole Foods Shoppers. But there may be a reason such positions are constantly in rotation. Recently, Business Insider reported more than 200 delivery drivers are suing both Amazon and one of its third-party courier companies, TL Transportation, over claims of wage theft / unpaid wages.wage lawsuit

Orange County employment law attorneys have seen allegations of labor law violations by employees and designated independent contractors for the e-commerce giant and its partners piling up in recent years. Plaintiff lawyers say the company is using third-party contractors for its delivery posts in order to avoid legal liability for violations of state wage and hour laws. Third-party courier firms like TL, plaintiffs say, are tiny and thinly-capitalized, meaning they are unable to pay up when workers are cheated of rightful wages and mandated work breaks.

Just last month, a federal judge ruled this third-party courier’s pay system – which involved a flat rate for all delivery drivers, regardless of hours worked – failed to pay drivers properly, particularly with regard to overtime hours. It’s unclear precisely what Amazon’s liability will be in this, but our employee rights attorneys understand the class action lawsuit seeks to hold both firms accountable for willfully crafting an employment and pay structure that skirts labor laws and skimps on rightful pay. Continue reading

The California Supreme Court ruled that employers in the state cannot invoke the federal de minimis doctrine to avoid paying workers for required duties they perform off-the-clock.clock1-300x225

This California wage theft class action lawsuit filed by a Starbucks employee who alleged the store was requiring him to work for several minutes each shift without being paid. When multiplied by the minimum wage, this work amounted to more than $100 over the course of 17 months.

In granting summary judgment in favor of the employer, the trial court relied on the 1946 U.S. Supreme Court ruling in Anderson v. Mt. Clemens Pottery Co., wherein the court concluded that “a few seconds or minutes of work beyond the scheduled working hours… may be disregarded.” The basic concept is that the courts do not concern themselves with “trifles.” Federal courts have held that it can be applied in cases where small amounts of wages that would otherwise be compensable can be excused when they are difficult to administratively record.

The California Supreme Court reversed, noting the de minimis rule doesn’t apply here.  Continue reading

California Supreme Court has ruled that employers must pay hourly employees for tasks that are performed off the clock, no matterwage theft how menial. The case at hand involved Starbucks Corp. and a shift supervisor who claimed the company was taking advantage of outdated laws that allowed for some responsibilities to be completed after workers have clocked out, according to a report from Wall Street Journal.

Plaintiff filed a lawsuit in 2012 describing the tasks he was responsible for completing after he had already clocked out for the night, including not only activating an alarm system and locking the door, which would be typical tasks expected after clocking out, but also transmitting sales records to corporate. He said over time, these extra minutes after each shift add up. After a dismissal and an appeal of the case in the lower courts, the state Supreme Court agreed employers should be responsible for compensating employees for work done during this time. Employers have long been hiding behind standards that give leeway where leeway is no longer needed to pocket incalculable savings over time. Continue reading

Disneyland Resort in Anaheim, Calif., has spread a bit of its magic to its workers by agreeing to increase minimum wage to $15 perwage dispute hour by January 2019. At the time of the announcement, minimum wage for park workers was $11 an hour, which will be bumped to $13.25 for the remainder of the year. To ensure the wages keep up with the times, minimum wage will increase again by mid 2020 to $15.45 per hour, and will continue to increase for workers near minimum income by 3 percent every year, according to a CBS MoneyWatch report.

The change comes after months of negotiations with nine labor unions advocating for higher pay for employees at Disneyland and California Adventure Park. Data on park employees from a study funded by park unions showed roughly one in 10 Disneyland workers had experienced homelessness recently. The study also showed 73 percent of respondents did not earn enough for basic expenses, including food, gas, or rent. The problem of low wages is compounded by long commutes and sporadic work hours that make it difficult to supplement income in any significant way. With roughly 30,000 employees, these numbers are significant.

Park representatives said this will be one of the highest entry minimum wages in the country, beating the scheduled gradual increase of minimum wage in Los Angeles and the state of California. Minimum wage in L.A. is currently $13.25 per hour for businesses with more than 25 employees and is scheduled to hit $15 per hour in 2020. California is scheduled to reach $15 in 2022. Continue reading

Minimum wages recently went up in a number of cities across California, including Los Angeles as part of a minimum wageplanned implementation of gradual increases. In 2015, city council established a new citywide minimum wage and put L.A. on a schedule to reach $15 per hour by 2020. This would be applicable for businesses with 26 or more employees, with smaller companies given an extra year to reach $15. The minimum wage is set to go up on July 1 each year, with this year hitting $13.25, or $12 for businesses with 25 or fewer employees. In 2022, the minimum will continue to adjust based on cost of living as determined by Consumer Price Index.

Many other cities also raised their hourly minimum wages at the beginning of July, according to UC Berkeley, who has built an inventory of minimum wage ordinances across the U.S. California changes as of July 1 include: Belmont, $12.50; Emeryville, $15.69 (56 or more employees), $15 (less than 56 employees); Malibu, $13.25 (26 or more employees), $12 (less than 26 employees); Milpitas, $13.50; Pasadena, $13.25 (26 or more employees), $12 (less than 26 employees); San Francisco, $15; San Leandro, $13; and Santa Monica, $13.25 (26 or more employees), $12 (less than 26 employees). Continue reading

In-N-Out Burger Inc. employees should be allowed to wear buttons in support of higher minimum wage, employee rightsaccording to a recent ruling from a federal appeals court. A panel with the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals recently unanimously upheld a decision by National Labor Relations Board in a case regarding employees at In-N-Out Burger wearing Fight for $15 buttons. The company tried to ban the buttons arguing they interfered with the company’s image, which includes a very specific uniform and a dress code that prohibits wearing pins or stickers. The company also claimed the buttons could pose food safety concerns, but NLRB and the panel said that was not enough reason to restrict workers’ rights and that doing so was in violation of federal law, according to a report from Reuters.

Fight for $15 is an organization that supports unions and pushes for higher minimum wage, especially among fast-food workers across the country. The National Labor Relations Act of 1935, protects the right of workers to join a union and encourages collective bargaining. It also holds firm against practices by employers deemed harmful to the general welfare of workers. What does all of this have to do with employees wearing buttons?

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According to a recent news article from CBS Local Los Angeles, workers at Disneyland Resort are organizing demonstrations to protest what they are calling unfairly low wages. This demonstration involves a protest outside of the resort and the presentment of a petition to the company CEO demanding higher wages for their hard work for the amusement park.

sex discriminationA representative for the workers said their petition contains over 117,000 signatures and it began circulating when United States Senator Bernie Sanders was in Anaheim to discuss the wage issue there and other wage issues across the nation. Higher wages for working Americans has been one of the main issues for Mr. Sanders during his bid for the 2016 Democratic presidential nomination and he has continued his efforts on this front as a senator when he lost in primaries to Hillary Clinton.  Continue reading

The California Division of Labor Standards Enforcement is attempting to chip away at the state’s ongoing wage theftwage theft problem through a series of investigations throughout the state. Officials recently cited seven restaurants in the Bay Area for stolen wages totaling more than $10 million. Over $5 million of that total came from 133 workers at one restaurant, according to an article from SFGate. Additionally, six residential facilities in Los Angeles were issued citations totaling $7 million in recent months, and a Los Angeles restaurant was charged $500,000. In Chino, a fitness and weight loss chain was cited $8.3 million. Violations included counting tips toward minimum hourly wage, withholding overtime payments, and not paying split-shift premiums.

As our employment attorneys can explain, California minimum wage as of Jan. 1, 2018, is $11 per hour for places of employment with more than 25 employees, and $10.50 per hour for employers with 25 or fewer employees. The state is in the middle of a gradual increase process, with wages going up incrementally each year until they reach $15 per hour in 2023. In many states, restaurant workers have a different minimum hourly wage than other workers that is provided by their employer, so long as their tips bring them up to at least the standard hourly minimum wage. But in California, restaurant owners are not allowed to use tips as a credit toward their employees’ minimum wage. Servers must be compensated with full minimum wage, plus all the tips they earn. If a California employer holds back any tips or applies tips toward their hourly wage, it is considered wage theft. Continue reading