Articles Posted in wage and hour lawsuit

A janitorial company in Anaheim is being sued by the state of California for allegedly paying some 150 works just $400 monthly in wages over the past four years. As the Orange County Register reports, that is far below the minimum wage, which is why California Attorney General Xavier Becerra reports the firm has become a top priority for his office.wage and hour theft

The janitorial firm reportedly serves an estimated 80 major retailers throughout Southern California, including Toys R Us, Burlington Coat Factory and JoAnne’s Fabrics. These retailers, however, are not accused of any wrongdoing because they contract the work to a Pennsylvania-based firm that specializes in subcontracting such services. As our employment law attorneys can explain, this kind of subcontracting arrangement is typical in the retail sector as well as others, as it shields them from wage-and-hour lawsuits. Wage theft and other claims are common in these industries, and affected workers range from janitors (as in this case) to garment workers.

But while the retailers did not directly employ the workers, Becerra was quoted by the Register as saying he hopes the lawsuit puts large retailers and other firms on notice about such practices. Even if workers aren’t getting a paycheck from the retailer, they are still working within their facilities and in furtherance of their business, and that may be grounds to establish some level of responsibility. Continue reading

Wage and hour disputes in Los Angeles are an increasingly common complaint. Employers sometimes cut corners to avoid paying workers the full amount. In some instances, workers are mis-classified as independent contractors rather than employees, depriving them of receipt of important benefits, such as workers’ compensation and overtime pay.

This is increasingly becoming problematic in this digital age, as a recent case out of Northern California highlights. The San Francisco Chronicle reports an employee of a major online retailer is claiming the employer is not giving breaks and not paying overtime at his employment location.

employment discrimination lawyersOf course, it is possible for employers to make an honest clerical error and short a paycheck merely by accident. However, even then, the employee should be able to point out the mistake and get the issue resolved fairly quickly.  If the employer is not willing to promptly correct the payroll issue, this is a good sign there may be bigger problems at hand. Continue reading

Recent projections by economists indicate that the job growth currently enjoyed in Southern California will slow dramatically in the coming years. This is problematic for employees, who are already at a disadvantage in negotiating the employment relationship. Employers, who traditionally hold a stronger bargaining position, are further strengthened in a job market which favors employers. Nonetheless, employees still have workplace rights which must be protected. Learn more about how a Southern California employment lawyer can protect employees’ rights in a tough job market.employment law attorneys

The Job Projections

The Orange County Register reports that economists from California State University at Fullerton have recently released projections for job growth across Southern California during the next three years. While 2016 saw an expansion of 2.6 percent in payroll jobs, 2017 is projected to see only 1.6 percent, and 2018 growth is estimated at 1.7 percent. 2019 payroll jobs are estimated to grow at only 1.9 percent. While these percentages may seem small, they represent thousands of jobs, and thousands of families which depend on the income from those jobs. The economists found no obvious trigger for the current drop in employment.

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Employee misclassification is a major violation of California labor law that happens far to often. The issue is whether a worker is an actual employee or an independent contractor. An employee works for an employer and is under the direct supervision of the employer, manager, or supervisor.

employment rights lawyersEmployees are told how to do the job, and most if not all aspects of the job performance are governed by the employer.  The employee also is entitled to benefits including health care and, if they work more than 40 hours in a pay week, are entitled to overtime assuming they are paid by the hour as opposed to being on salary.  Continue reading

A new report finds that the number of science, technology, engineering and mathematics jobs available in the Bay Area will soon vastly outpace the number of skilled workers who are available to fill such jobs. On the surface, this appears to be good news for STEM workers, who will soon have a wider range of job opportunities available to them. However: such market conditions can also place greater pressure on employees once they have been hired, and increase the potential for wage and hour disputes. These conditions can also increase the potential for workers to be misclassified as independent contractors. Learn more about the projections for the STEM market, and how a California employment attorney can help STEM employees  negotiate the working conditions to which they are legally entitled.Orange County employment lawyers

The Projections

The San Francisco Business Times examined the future of California’s STEM job market by analyzing a series of statistics. In May 2015, the California Employment Development Department reported that there were twice as many online job postings for STEM jobs as the number of unemployed STEM workers. This current scenario is likely to be exacerbated in the coming years by a series of factors. First, California is projected to add about 200,000 STEM jobs over the next five years, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics and reports issued by the State of California. Next, many STEM employees will soon age out of the job market. Over half of California’s STEM employees face retirement in the next five to ten years. Finally, STEM jobs require advanced degrees that greatly narrow the field of suitable applicants. For reference: 33% of the working population in California holds college degrees, but 75% of STEM jobs will require a bachelor’s degree or higher. Continue reading

California has long been a pioneer of worker’s rights, and state law protects workers from many types of discrimination beyond those prohibited by federal law (such as religion and gender). The California Labor Code also lists many situations in which an employee is entitled to take time off work without being terminated or retaliated against. Many employees may not know that victims of domestic violence and sexual assault have employment rights under California. Now, a new law expands the duty of employers to advise employees of these rights.employment law attorneys Continue reading

Mistreatment of immigrant employees unfortunately happens all too often, as some employers take advantage of workers’ lack of English skills and fear of potential deportation. Holding these firms accountable for such discrimination is a primary goal of our L.A. employment discrimination lawyers. employment discrimination

One’s immigration status or language skills should have no bearing on the way a company treats its workers.

Recently in Illinois, two restaurants and an employment agency were ordered to pay nearly $215,000 in back wages and penalties to a number of immigrant workers who were both mistreated and underpaid. Defendants in the matter – a sushi restaurant, a hibachi restaurant and an employment agency in Chinatown – are all expected to abide the consent decree. A judge will be in charge of overseeing the execution of the settlement, which partly requires the businesses to make a notable change in their employment practices.  Continue reading

An exotic dancer wishing to pursue a class action wage-and-hour lawsuit against her former employer will not be compelled to arbitrate her claim – despite previously signing an arbitration agreement prior to employment.wage and hour lawyer

According to the decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, the arbitration clause plaintiff signed is not applicable to a proposed class action that asserts the strip club employer misclassified dancers as independent contractors rather than employees. In a unanimous ruling, justices determined the agreement was only applicable for claims that arose under her employment agreement – not statutory claims such as a wage-and-hour lawsuit.

Misclassification of workers is a serious and ongoing problem, leading to workers being underpaid and denied many important benefits of employment. Misclassification involves the practice of labeling workers as independent contractors, as opposed to employees. The benefit for employers with this, as noted by the National Conference of State Legislatures, is they avoid paying unemployment and other taxes on workers, and also from covering them on workers’ compensation insurance and unemployment insurance.  Continue reading

Conflicts between state and federal law have long been a problem for employers. This is more than a mere inconvenience: at times, it can remove safety rules which protect workers and prevent employers from incurring liability. A new law moving through Congress would remove safety protects in the most dangerous industry for American workers. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, truck drivers recorded more fatal injuries in 2015 than any other occupation.employment rights lawyers

The Mercury News reports that the bill was written by Representative Jeff Denham, and would prevent states from setting their own rules for truck drivers’ work hours. Thus California would be prohibited from enforcing its own transportation safety laws, which require a thirty-minute meal break after five hours of work, and a ten-minute rest break after four hours of work. Instead, truck drivers driving through California would be subject to federal trucking regulations, which only require a thirty-minute meal break after eight hours of driving. Lobbyists claim that, while at least twenty states have set their own rest break laws, the bill is largely aimed at curbing the influence of California law in the trucking industry. It is also worth noting that Representative Denham’s campaigns have received more than $193,000 from the trucking industry since he first ran for Congress in 2010. Continue reading

Employees are often placed at a disadvantage in workplace litigation due to the superior bargaining power of their employers. Thus, when an employer violates workplace laws, a common strategy for plaintiffs is to gather together a group of employees who have suffered from the same violation in order to file a class action lawsuit. By forming a group, the plaintiffs increase their financial power in litigation, as well as their bargaining power during settlement negotiations.class action employment lawsuits

A new case decided by the California Supreme Court on July 13, 2017 makes it easier for plaintiffs to find other employees who may have been impacted by workplace violations. In a rare unanimous decision, the Court determined that a plaintiff does not need to show that his or her case has merit before gaining access to the employer’s records for employee contact information. Instead, this information must be provided at the onset of litigation, before the court either makes a determination of merit, or certifies a class of plaintiffs (which must occur before class action litigation can proceed).

JD Supra reports that the decision made only two small concessions to employee privacy concerns. First, the Court ratified a rule of case law which allows employers to notify affected employees about the potential release of their information and opt out of having their information released. Second, the Court also endorsed a prohibition against employee contact information being disclosed outside of the confines of a specific lawsuit.  Continue reading