Employment activists in California are funding an analysis by legal research and policy managers at UCLA Labor Center to ascertain how feasible it might be to pass laws requiring “just cause” for employee termination to replace “at will” employment – at least in some industries. New York state recently passed a law requiring fast food industry employers to have “just cause” before terminating employees – a major shift from the standard “at will” employment that gives employers the power to terminate any employee at any time – and for most reasons, so long as it isn’t discriminatory and retaliatory.employment lawyer

Requiring “just cause” could potentially shield workers from firings that are unfair, arbitrary or retaliatory. In the case of the New York law, fast food employers will have to have a good reason to fire a worker, prove it if the worker contests it and establish systems of progressive discipline for most terminations. There is hope (or fear, depending on your viewpoint) that this same type of law could be passed in cities with progressive worker protections, or possibly statewide in a place like California. Continue Reading ›

The hotel industry has been hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic. The Chateau Marmont in Hollywood is no exception, so it was no great shock when hundreds of employees were laid off in the wake of tanking bookings. But in the months since, speculation has increased that the layoffs may have been more of a calculated effort to tamp down unionization efforts by staffers, several of whom allege flagrant workplace racial discrimination, sexual harassment and retaliation. racial discrimination

The Hollywood Reporter published an investigation into these claims against the landmark hotel late last year after speaking to more than 30 employees. In a recent follow-up, the publication revealed several employment lawsuits have been filed against the company and former CEO, who himself was accused of sexual misconduct by at least five employees.

The story is notable because dozens of employees broke the hospitality industry’s widely accepted code of silence to shine a light on what they say was longstanding racial discrimination and sexual misconduct that managers and owners were complicit in brushing aside, if not in perpetuating it themselves. The former owner firmly denied the allegations, but now will have to answer to some of them in court. Continue Reading ›

Unlawful gender and racial bias against women and Asians in the hiring process at Google will cost the company $2.6 million. Additionally, the U.S. Department of Labor is requiring the tech giant to review its practices for hiring and pay, fund an independent study on is own gender pay equity and provide the government routine updates on its efforts to reduce gender pay equity.employment attorney

The lawsuit came about as part of a federal government contractor audit of numerous Google sites in California, Washington state and New York. That analysis revealed numerous indicators that the company was not in compliance with an executive order that prohibits discrimination in federal contractor hiring and wages.

The analysis indicated that over a three-year span starting in 2014, the company paid female engineers in numerous offices (including in California) substantially less than male engineers for the same jobs. Further, evidence indicated the company discriminated against women and Asian applicants applying to be engineers at several California sites. Continue Reading ›

Employers would be wise to carefully comb through their online job solicitations to ensure they are accessible to those who are visually impaired or blind. This is true even if you aren’t primarily operating in California. Failure to do so could result in significant financial damages, as well as loss of customers and a stain on their reputation. This was underscored recently in a California disability employment lawsuit, Thurston v. Fairfield Collectibles of Georgia, LLC, filed by a California resident against a Georgia company.disability discrimination employment

According to court records, plaintiff was blind and a resident of California. She sued the business for not providing her with full and equal access to its website, which she claimed was in violation of the state’s disability discrimination law. Specifically, she alleged a violation of the Unruh Civil Rights Act.

This does pertain specifically to employment law, but rather to the right to full and equal accommodations, advantages, facilities, privileges and services in all business establishments of any kind whatsoever. Discrimination on the basis of gender, race, color, religion, ancestry, national origin, disability, medical condition, genetic discrimination, marital status, sexual orientation, citizenship, primary language or immigration status. The UCRA further indicates that any violation outlined in the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is also a violation of the UCRA. Continue Reading ›

One of the most significant changes in federal racial discrimination cases came with the 2020 U.S. Supreme Court decision in Comcast Corp. v. National Association of African American-Owed Media, et al. News of this precedent was largely eclipsed by the onset of the coronavirus pandemic in the U.S., but the impact will be significant in future racial discrimination employment lawsuits. racial discrimination lawyer

For those who may not be familiar,  42 U.S.C. § 1981 of the Civil Rights Act bars race discrimination that is intentional in all forms of contracting. That includes employment. The conflict among lower courts in deciding these cases was whether a plaintiff needed to prove that race discrimination was just one motivating factor among several for the adverse employment action, or whether plaintiff needed to show that race was the “but for” cause. With a “but for” standard, plaintiffs need to prove the adverse outcome wouldn’t have happened “but for” the defendant’s wrongful conduct.

The U.S. Supreme Court heard oral arguments in November 2019 and issued their decision in March 2020. They held that plaintiffs in Section 1981 cases must meet the “but for” causation standard. Continue Reading ›

Millennials are often derided in popular culture as being overly consumed by the digital age and largely defined as the entitled youth. But as of January 1, 2021, the oldest among them (born in 1981) turned 40. As our Los Angeles age discrimination lawyers can explain, that’s old enough to file claims under the Age Discrimination in Employment ACT (ADEA) of 1967.age discrimination

Just like every other generation before them, millennials aren’t forever young. In fact, age discrimination is already facing some millennials – women in particular. We may see this become a pivotal battleground as the nation recovers from the economic crisis of coronavirus, given that discrimination is often worse during and immediately after periods of recession.

Of course, most people who are just turning 40-years-old aren’t going to bear the brunt of age discrimination in the workforce. Still, those who will tend to see it first are women. Continue Reading ›

California provides numerous protections for workers’ wage and hours. Most employers strive to pay their workers fair wages for the hours they work, but end up making mistakes and violate these laws. As our Orange County wage and hour lawyers can explain, even unintentional violations can have serious consequences for the business and owner. Companies have a legal obligation to be aware of their duties. Orange County employment lawyer

Here, we outlined the Top 3 Wage and Hour Mistakes made by employers. Continue Reading ›

As we usher in a new year, many will remember 2020 as a year of significant challenges. In the arena of employment law, we recognize that America’s workplaces have long been plagued by discrimination and harassment. In the last 20 years, virtually all of the country’s biggest companies have paid to settle at least one claim of sexual harassment and/or discrimination. That’s according to Good Jobs First, and bear in mind: Those are only the cases that were publicly reported.gender discrimination lawyer

Federal and state laws prohibit sex-based harassment and discrimination. Despite this, companies in the U.S. still only pay women $0.082 on average for every dollar men are paid. Black women are paid even less. This wage gap has budged very little since 2000.

The U.S. EEOC in 2019 received more than 70,000 complaints of discrimination on the basis of sex, age, religion, race and disability. More than 7,500 complaints of sexual harassment were made during that time.

One positive thing about 2020 was that it gave further rise to the #MeToo and #BlackLivesMatter movements, empowering workers to increasingly turn to courts for employer accountability for violations of civil rights, discriminatory work practices and work environments. Some of those claims over last three years have involved huge companies paying multi-million dollar settlements in cases that made big headlines.

Here, we take a look back at the highest profile sexual harassment and gender discrimination cases of 2020.

Amazon. Amazon was hit with numerous employment lawsuits in 2020. In February, a former manager in charge of hiring sued after she says her boss asked her to comb applicants’ Facebook and Instagram accounts to glean information about their race and gender. When she complained, she says, she was fired. The company was also accused of harassment and retaliation after demoting and later denying promotion to a transgender man after he revealed his pregnancy.

Bloomberg LP. The media company was accused of allowing the longtime and widespread sexual harassment of ex-CBS host Charlie Rose. Eight women worked for or aspired to work for the host in the 90s, 2000s and 2010s. Rose’s show aired on both PBS and Bloomberg TV. Although some of the plaintiffs in the case against Bloomberg have already settled with CBS, they allege Bloomberg was complicit. Rose owned his own production company, but operated within Bloomberg headquarters. Many operations for Rose’s company (including payments and benefits) were managed by Bloomberg. The employees now suing Bloomberg say they were jointly employed both by Rose and Bloomberg, a point likely to be hotly contested.

Disney. A gender-based pay discrimination lawsuit filed in 2019 is still ongoing, and was joined by several other former employees last year. Ten executives in all allege rampant gender pay discrimination as of March 2020. The newest claim alleged that her $75,000 starting salary at the company was far less than a male colleague’s starting salary. She further alleged she was passed over on promotions, given smaller raises on average and dissuaded from discussing gender discrimination complaints with the CEO by a top female executive.

FOX News. Former host Ed Henry was accused of a violent sexual assault of a former producer. Another employee alleged Henry sexually harassed her, as did several other high-profile hosts. The network was reportedly made aware of these claims, but did nothing to intervene or stop them. Henry is no longer employed by the network. It was just a few years ago that the network settled with Gretchen Carlson for $20 million over claims of sexual harassment by the company’s former chairman, Roger Ailes.

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A number of new California employment laws will go into effect in January 2021. Employers should keep abreast of their responsibilities, while workers should maintain an understanding of their rights. Here, our Los Angeles employment attorneys break down some of the most impactful new measures pertaining to employee leave, pay, discrimination and classification.Los Angeles employment lawyer

AB 2399 – Paid Family Leave for Active Military Duty. This bill, signed in September and effective Jan. 1, 2020, extends the definition of Paid Family Leave under the state’s Unemployment Insurance Code to include coverage for active military members and their families. Previously, the state’s Paid Family Leave Program provides wage replacement benefits for workers who need to take time off to care for a seriously ill immediate family member or to bond with a new child right after birth or adoption. Now, the law allows for a qualifying exigency related to the active duty or call to active duty of one’s spouse, domestic partner, child or parent in the U.S. Armed Forces. Continue Reading ›

Going up against a large employer when you’ve been discriminated against can be daunting, especially when your condition arises from a work-related injury. An experienced Los Angeles employment lawyer can help guide you through the process of seeking justice and fair compensation.disability discrimination

Recently, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit (which has jurisdiction over California) reinstated an FMLA  and disability discrimination lawsuit filed by a Nevada woman against a large box chain retailer employer.

The case of Hazelett v. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. began with a work injury. Plaintiff worked as an order-filler at one of the store’s distribution centers near her home when she injured her foot on-the-job. She filed for workers’ compensation and later, a leave of absence. During her work-related disability, the store offered her a temporary alternate duty assignment. The form for that assignment indicated that if she refused that assignment, her disability benefits could be suspended or denied due to noncompliance. However, the reassignment they offered was a far distance from her home and required her to work into the wee hours of the morning. Meanwhile, her work injury was such that she could not drive. No public transportation would be available to take her home after her shift, unless she paid for a taxi, which she couldn’t afford. She called out sick each day she was absent, thinking they were excused, as they were all related to her workers’ compensation injury. Yet on the day she filed for leave under the U.S. Family and Medical Leave Act, she was fired for excessive absences.

(FMLA is a federal law allowing up to 12 weeks of protected, unpaid leave in a 12-month period for the birth of a child/placement of adoption, care of a spouse/child/parent who has a serious health condition or a serious health condition rendering employee unable to perform the essential functions of his/her job.)

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