Changing Landscape of California Employment Law

As the court system makes various rulings with regard to workplace discrimination potential plaintiffs and their lawyers are forced to adjust the way they approach cases.


In 2011, the United States Supreme Court made it more difficult for plaintiffs to bring successful class-action workplace discrimination lawsuits. However, there are other avenues for employment litigation in California and throughout the United States.

The actions by the Supreme Court have not eliminated recourse for plaintiffs. In fact, plaintiffs have only decided to change tactics. Now, according to lawyers in the field, more wage and hour complaints are being filed.

These complaints typically charge that the employer has somehow shortchanged workers by failing to pay what they owe, shorting them on overtime pay, or misclassifying them to avoid paying proper wages.

According to statistics there has been a 10% increase in wage and hour suits filed in 2012. No slowdown is predicted in 2014.

Most experts argue that wage-and-hour claims are really the best course of action right now because of worker-friendly laws in states such as California.

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has changed the legal landscape for attorneys in the labor and employment area as well. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has become increasingly aggressive with an even smaller staff.

As a result of budget cuts and a hiring freeze the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission lost employees but still won more money for mistreated workers (over 370 million) than any other year the agency’s history.

According to statistics provided by the United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission there were over 93,000 charges of discrimination in the private sector in FY 2013.

In addition to the 93,000 plus charges that were filed a full 97,252 charges were resolved and the average time it took staff to complete an investigation and reach a resolution was reduced by 21 days.

Experts do not expect to see a change any time soon – in fact many agree there will be an increase in the year 2014.

A recent decision by the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals held that courts cannot review an employers challenge as to whether adequate efforts were made to settle and employment dispute prior to filing a lawsuit.

The result of this ruling for aggrieved employees is that the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission does not have to complete a very significant effort to reconcile the disagreement between an employer and employee before proceeding to litigation.

Other areas of employment law will continue to provide avenues for plaintiffs in labor and employment litigation.

Whistleblower protections will likely continue concerning workers use of social media.

Costa Mesa employment lawsuits can be filed with assistance from the Nassiri Law Group, practicing in Los Angeles, Riverside, and Orange County. Call 949.375.4734.

Additional Resources:

Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. v. Dukes et al., No. 10-277 (2010).

EEOC Issues FY 2013 Performance Report , Press Release, December, 2013.

More Blog Entries:

California Worker Wins Wrongful Termination Lawsuit, January 1, 2014, Los Angeles Employment Lawyer Blog

LGBT Workplace Discrimination Statistics, December 30, 2013, Los Angeles Employment Lawyer Blog

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