A high-profile federal lawsuit alleges Harvard discrimination against Asian Americans students may allow an opening for a conservative-leaning U.S. Supreme Court to strike down affirmative action. The legal strategist who filed the lawsuit on behalf of those students oversees a group that is expressly anti-affirmative action. On behalf of the students, he asserts the Ivy League schools discriminate against Asian American students by capping the number of admissions of these students (which may include those who are Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander).racial discrimination

Proponents of affirmative action policies say race-conscious admission and hiring is necessary for all students of color – including Asian Americans – in order to fight back against long-held inequality in higher education and the job market.

Plaintiffs are alleging that the so-called “model minority myth,” which holds Asian Americans to be overwhelmingly successful, both in academics and professionally, is harming them in this instance and beyond. They argue that Asian American students do have overall better academic performances, but are rejected for the purpose of racial balancing by the school in order to admit black, white and Latina/ Latino students who are less qualified. Furthermore, not all Asian Americans fit this “model minority” stereotype, which obscures the fact that there are very low graduation rates among some ethnic subgroups of Asian Americans, including those who identify as Vietnamese, Hmong, Bhutanese, Bangladeshi, Burmese, Filipino, Southeast Asians and Cambodian Americans. Meanwhile, Chinese, Taiwanese and Korean Americans enroll and graduate at much higher rates. Continue reading

A U.S. District Court in Los Angeles has awarded $350,000 to a plaintiff in a racial discrimination lawsuit, finding an airplane manufacturer fostered a hostile work environment and failed to prevent race-based harassment and further was negligent in its hiring, supervision and retention of employees who committed such acts. Although the company, Boeing, denies the allegations and is weighing its options to appeal the verdict, five similar lawsuits against the company are pending – each alleging racial discrimination. racial discrimination lawyer

As detailed by The Press-Telegram, one of the incidents highlighted in the case at trial occurred at a workroom table at a facility in El Segundo, where a white co-worker tied a noose with a strand of rope and then tossed it to the plaintiff seated nearby. Plaintiff, who is black, caught it. He would later say he felt directly threatened, given U.S. history involving the lynching of African Americans. Another time, he said the same co-worker “joked” more than once about plaintiff being at the zoo for a “family reunion.” Once, while working on a top-secret security clearance project building satellites for the U.S. government, he said his colleagues nicknamed him after a pet chimpanzee. He was later humiliated to learn someone had put a piece of tape on his back with the offensive nickname on it – and that he’d walked around with it for hours without anyone telling him.

He and other plaintiffs said they feared (and still do) the possibility of retaliation.  Continue reading

A California age discrimination lawsuit filed by four women laid off after decades of working for a job placement center say they were treated unfairly due to their age. age discrimination attorney

While the company attributed layoffs last year to budget constraints, the women – all over 40 – said they were all in upper managerial roles at the firm when the layoffs occurred, followed shortly thereafter by hiring younger replacements. Those employees who remained after the layoffs were then given raises of 10 percent. NBC-4 Los Angeles reported in one case, a younger woman with less experience than one of plaintiffs became a supervisor. Another alleged the director asked if she would be retiring anytime soon. One said she felt pressured to return to work early from her medical leave (during which she was undergoing chemotherapy treatments), indicating at one point, because it didn’t seem her supervisors believed the severity of the situation, that she felt compelled to open her shirt and show her scars to her supervisors.

The case is further complicated because the company contracts with Los Angeles County (specifically the Department of Workforce Development, Aging and Community) and receives local, state and federal funds to to provide workforce services to youth, adults and seniors. The County is not named as a defendant in the California age discrimination lawsuit. Plaintiffs say they not only want to be compensated for their losses, but to protect current employees from facing the same fate in the future. Continue reading

Earlier this year, the California Supreme Court issued a ruling with far-reaching impact to so-called “gig” employers, like Uber and Lyft. These and others with similar employment structures had argued that their drivers were NOT employees, but rather independent contractors. This ruling was a blow to these companies because when workers are classified as employees, they are entitled to receive benefits like minimum wage, regular breaks, overtime pay, protection from sexual harassment and workers’ compensation for injuries. Of course, all this cost the companies money, something they’d been desperately hoping to avoid.employment attorney

Now, according to Bloomberg, these companies are quietly lobbying Democrats in California, seeking a legislative means of overriding the state supreme court’s ruling in April. They’ve been pleading their case to members of the current governor’s cabinet, as well as with his presumed successor and members of the state legislature. They are hoping to either dull the impact of the court’s ruling (with executive action or through passage of a new law) or else scrap it entirely.

Our employee misclassification attorneys in Orange County recognize that such a move could have serious legal implications not only here in California, but potentially echoing throughout the country, as this is an issue with which many states are grappling.  The whole idea of the “gig economy,” which thrives on newer technology such as smartphone apps and constant internet connectivity, is one in which the laws are only now catching up and adapting to these newer features.  Continue reading

A trucking association representing trucking companies in 11 states is petitioning the U.S. Department of Transportation to intervene in an ongoing legal challenge over state-mandated truck driver breaks.employment misclassification lawyer

The group, Western States Trucking Association, has also filed a lawsuit over the owner-operator status, arguing these two issues impact all trucking carriers operating California – no matter where they are based.

The petition submitted to the DOT last month asks for a declaration that truck drivers hauling overweight and over-sized loads are subject to the federal hours of service rules, which (they argue) should supersede the state’s mandated break requirements. The complaint names as defendants the California Department of Industrial Relations as well as the state attorney, and seeks to a nullification of the state supreme court’s ruling that (they say) effectively “eliminates the use of owner-operators, even on-truck motor carriers,” from the trucking industry. 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

Another man in a position of prominence in the entertainment industry has been accused of multiple counts of sexual harassment. Chairman and Chief Executive Officer ofsexual harassment CBS Corp., Les Moonves, has been accused by six women of multiple acts of sexual misconduct and retaliation after the women spoke out, according to an investigative report in The New Yorker. Other employees also came forward describing a culture within the network that allegedly regularly protected men who were accused of sexual misdeeds while paying off their accusers.

The women described a pattern of abuses beginning in the 1980s through the past decade, all with similar notes. Several alleged Moonves touched them inappropriately or forcibly kissed them during business meetings. A couple were threatened to play nice or it would mean their careers. All reported life becoming more difficult after they rejected the executive’s advances, with his hostile behavior affecting their careers either by them getting fired or their job trajectory being derailed.

The accusations are part of the ongoing wave of the #MeToo movement, which has been crashing on the shores of American businesses over the past year. This was seen most notably with the story of Harvey Weinstein, Hollywood producer accused of a long-running pattern of sexual misconduct toward women who worked with him in the movie industry. In addition to several criminal charges filed against Weinstein, he finds himself at the bottom of a growing pile of lawsuits related to his alleged behavior. 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

California’s Department of Fair Employment and Housing has ruled against Forever 21 Retail, Inc. as a result of the misclassification laywerscompany’s alleged policy forbidding language other than English. The complaint, filed in San Francisco Superior Court, resulted from three employees at Forever 21’s flagship store in San Francisco who said they were reprimanded for speaking Spanish in what they were allegedly told was an “English only” environment. The employees further claimed management retaliated against them with harassment, hostility, and reduction of work hours after they complained about the rule, according to an article from KGET out of Bakersfield.

Defendant was ordered to pay $90,000 to each complainant, as well as severance packages and plaintiff legal fees. The chain of stores was also ordered to immediately end policies that enforce rules about not speaking languages other than English. Continue reading