When news broke in 2014 that the much-beloved ’90s sitcom “Friends” would be re-released in its entirety on Netflix, fans were ecstatic. However, when they started actually watching those 10 seasons, many were struck by how unfriendly many of the story arcs and punchlines were to minorities, homosexuals and women. But perhaps what was most striking for many people was the fact that so much of America could be so blind to those undertones. This same sort of realization is apparent when we wonder why it was that so many prior to the #MeToo movement tolerate toxic workplaces for so long. Los Angeles sexual harassment attorneys know we need look no further than that same set, where a former writers’ assistant filed a sexual and racial harassment claims. Warner Bros. fought back hard in Lyle v. Warner Bros. Television et al., ultimately backed by Hollywood’s top brass in an amicus brief filed with the California Supreme Court.Los Angeles sexual harassment lawyers

What was especially interesting about this case was the fact that defendants actually didn’t deny much of what plaintiff alleged: Sexually coarse, vulgar and demeaning language, “off-color banter,” and even masturbatory gestures and doodles. All of this, however, they claimed was not impropriety and definitely not harassment. It was, rather, a necessary part of the creative writing process. In the amicus brief, filmmakers and executives argued that to decide the case in plaintiff’s favor would have had a chilling effect on free speech, and that writers needed to be free to share their darkest and most private thoughts without fearing legal reprisal.

In 2006, the California Supreme Court didn’t just dismiss plaintiff’s case; justices unanimously agreed with the argument of “creative necessity.” That is, those in creative careers have the right to demean women, even pretending to masturbate (so long as it wasn’t aimed at someone particular), and that individuals who choose to work on a creative team “should not be allowed to complain that some of the creativity was offensive.” Continue reading

Partisan tensions across the U.S. have gone from a long-simmer to near-boiling in recent months. Although most Americans define their politics as somewhere in the middle, an increasing number feel compelled to draw hard lines in the sand and publicly denounce or support certain candidates, policies or ideals. However, doing so could put you at odds with your employer. California employment attorneys have been fielding an uptick in queries on wrongful termination and just how far First Amendment free speech protections shield workers and their right to independent political views and expression.San Bernardino wrongful termination attorney blog

In an out-of-state case making headlines, a former city government employee has filed a discrimination lawsuit alleging he was fired because of his vocal support of the Republican president, which he expressed by wearing a red “Make America Great Again” hat to work and in discussions with co-workers. He is asserting violation of his First Amendment free speech and Fourteenth Amendment equal protection rights, as well as discrimination based on age (59) and race (white).

The short of it is that while employment retaliation for a worker’s political activity is not covered under federal anti-discrimination laws, California statute is more stringent. The Bill of Rights in the U.S. Constitution protects citizens from free speech infringement by the government. It does not extend this protection to the workforce. What’s more, the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2010 ruling in Citizens United v. FEC means companies can freely endorse and campaign for political candidates and even try to influence a worker’s vote. They cannot, however, demand that you choose a certain candidate. Continue reading

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

Educational institutions that receive federal funding – including colleges and universities – are bound by federal mandate (specifically, Title IX) to both report incidents of sexual violence and to track patterns of sexual assault, sexual misconduct and other behaviors that may result in a hostile working or educational environment for women – which impacts not only their physical safety and mental/ emotional health, but frequently their financial status and career prospects.sexual harassment attorney Los Angeles

Yet our L.A. sexual harassment attorneys have women on campus victimized time and again – students, adjunct professors, graduate assistants, tenured professors, deans. Universities not only fail to protect them, but in some cases further victimize them with poor policy and failure to follow the law, spurring more than a few California Title IX lawsuits in recent years.

The process by which higher education institutions handle these claims has come under scrutiny as the Trump administration and the U.S. Education Department, headed by Betsy DeVos, has proposed a new set of official policy rules on sexual assault and harassment. As The New York Times reported, if the rules become law, the result will be:

  • Narrower definition of sexual harassment;
  • School accountability allowable only when alleged conduct occurs on campus and only when formal complaints are filed first through proper authorities;
  • Heightened standard for legal standard that defines whether schools acted appropriately (no longer “preponderance of the evidence in determining suspension or expulsion, but rather the evidentiary standard of the school’s choice);
  • Compelling an informal mediation resolution process.

Meanwhile, more of these claims are filed almost every day. Continue reading

Those who suffer from mental illness, especially a severe one, may be no stranger to difficulties with employment. You should know, however, there are certain legal protections that prevent your employer from taking adverse action against you solely because of your condition. bipolar worker termination lawyer

One bail bond services company in Southern California discovered this recently, having settled a disability discrimination lawsuit for $110,000. The settlement was reached more than a year after the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission filed its complaint, asserting the company discriminated against the worker when it fired her without attempting to provide reasonable accommodation – as required by the law – when she requested a leave of absence to obtain medical attention for her untreated bipolar disorder. This, the EEOC alleged, was a violation of federal law – specifically the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990. Continue reading

What started as a California racial discrimination wrongful termination lawsuit filed by a physician has on appeal broadened employee rights of refusal in so-called “no rehire clauses” in settlement.wrongful termination lawyer Los Angeles

The case, Golden v. California Emergency Physicians Medicine Group, had previously been before the 9th DCA, but the appellate court weighed it once more to consider whether an employee could lawfully be ordered to sign an employment lawsuit settlement that would restrict future employment with the former employer/ defendant.

The answer is: It depends. In this case, some of the factors that came into play were the size and reach of defendant’s corporation, as well as the fact that the restriction included a provision that plaintiff would be at risk for termination even if his current employer or another in the future contracted with his former employer. For instance, if his former employer – a partnership of 2,000 doctors providing services to emergency rooms and 160 other facilities in 10 states – contracted to provide, say anesthesiology services with a hospital wherein plaintiff was working, his employment would be in jeopardy. That, said the court, violated his rights as outlined in BPC Section 16600.

As Los Angeles wrongful termination attorneys can explain, this is something we may see be highly relevant in future California employment law cases against large corporate defendants, particularly for professionals in specialized fields. 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

California disability discrimination in employment happens when an employer takes unfavorable action (or no action at all) an employee or applicant because of his or her disability, despite the fact they are qualified for the job.  As noted by the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing, companies also aren’t allowed to treat a worker – prospective or otherwise – any differently just because they have a history of a disability or the employer’s belief or perception of a disability. The same is true if the employee or applicant has some type of relationship with someone who has a disability. disability discrimination attorney

Not only this, but as our Los Angeles disability discrimination attorneys can explain, employers are obligated to extend reasonable accommodations in the event the worker or employee has a disability, the only exception being that to do so would be a source of undue hardship (i.e., significant expense or difficulty for the employer).

Failure to do follow the law can result in a disability discrimination lawsuit, with compensatory and possibly punitive damages paid to plaintiff, as well as government fines for violation of state law. Continue reading

In many ways, our Rancho Cucamonga employment attorneys understand we cannot address the rampant problem of sexual harassment in the workplace without also addressing retaliation. That’s because historically – and even often today – exposure of harassment, assault and other bad behavior almost always has consequences for victims and allies alike. We refer to these as “retaliation” because they are acts taken by the employer or management as “punishment” for bringing the wrongdoing to light. sexual harassment lawyer Rancho Cucamonga

This is part of what is alleged in a recent Rancho Cucamonga sexual harassment lawsuit, filed by numerous young female workers say they were targeted for gender-based harassment – and then retaliated against when they reported it. This is according to a California employment lawsuit filed by the Equal Opportunity Commission against Del Taco chain restaurant, as the Daily Bulletin reports.

Filed in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California, the sexual harassment and retaliation claim asserts that the fast food chain broke federal law firstly when no fewer than three male workers (including at least two in supervisor positions, such as shift leader) targeted plaintiffs with sexual comments and physical touching that were both unwanted and inappropriate. These incidents occurred at a single restaurant dating back to at least 2014, and many of the female workers who suffered these episodes at work were minors at the time, according to the complaint. Continue reading

There is an unfortunate stereotype perpetuated in the technology sector that older workers can’t be effective with newer tech. That the younger employees the fresher the ideas and the greater opportunities for the firm to thrive.employer attorney Riverside California

Such sentiments have been revealed time and again in California age discrimination lawsuits against tech companies in Silicon Valley.

The latest class action age discrimination lawsuit is against technology firm IBM, filed on behalf of three former employees in North Carolina and Georgia, filed in a federal court in New York. Plaintiffs – all between the ages of 55 and 67 – allege the company systematically discriminated against older workers by laying them off disproportionate to the younger employees and also by declining to hire them for other positions that were open in the company. One of the workers had been employed at the firm for 15 years, while the other two had worked for the company more than three decades. Continue reading