A popular video game maker is attempting to narrow the definition of the California sex discrimination law as defined by state law to exclude temporary workers. So far, the effort isn’t going well, as a Los Angeles Superior Court judge provisionally denied the employer’s request. Still, that isn’t a final ruling, so it’s still possible the question could be revived – or ultimately appealed. Los Angeles sexual harassment lawyer

Activision, which makes games like Call of Duty, Crash Bandicoot, World of Warcraft, and Tony Hawk Pro Skater, has been the target of a tidal wave of gender discrimination claims. Our Los Angeles sexual harassment lawyers have been monitoring the legal developments, and this case in particular was filed by the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing on behalf of female workers.

The company alleges the state erroneously expanded the employment lawsuit recently when it filed an amended complaint that included not only current and former female employees, but temporary employees and contingent workers. Lawyers for the defense say they were never notified of the state’s investigation into these workers before litigation was filed. This, the attorneys say, was a violation of the company’s due process rights. Continue Reading ›

Fitness equipment and media company Peloton is accused of wage and hour violations in a California employment lawsuit, a proposed class action that was filed in Los Angeles Superior Court and which the company is trying to have removed to federal court.

The complaint was filed shortly after the 1st of the year and alleges Peloton violated numerous elements of the California Labor Code due to failure to pay fair wages and issuing inaccurate wage statements. Peloton employment lawsuit

As our Los Angeles employment attorneys understand it, the plaintiff was a hourly, non-exempt sales associate for about 6 years. He alleges the company denied him fair wages and other benefits during those six years.

More specifically, the nine-count complaint alleges: Continue Reading ›

Late last year, the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) announced there would be a ramped-up effort to identify and address violations of the state’s so-called “ban-the-box” law, more formally known as the Fair Chance Act. The statute was enacted four years ago as an amendment to the state’s Fair Employment and Housing Act, and bars employers with five or more employees from directly or indirectly asking about, seeking disclosure of, or even considering the conviction history of an applicant until after the applicant is extended a conditional job offer. This includes asking questions about it on job applications (typically a yes-no question with boxes that can be checked – hence the “ban the box” language). Los Angeles employment lawyer

The law also does not allow employers to indicate on their job listings that they won’t consider job applicants with criminal history. If you see a job advertisement in California with language like, “Must have a clean record,” or “No felons,” it probably violates the ban the box law.

Despite the well-publicized passage of this statute, state regulators continue find non-compliant advertisements and other hiring materials, particularly online. In fact, the DFEH reported that in just one day spent reviewing online job ads with technology designed to facilitate mass searches. In that single day, the agency uncovered more than 500 ads containing illegal statements, indicating job seekers with criminal backgrounds wouldn’t be considered. The agency apparently decided against penalizing the offending employers, and instead issued notices of violations and warnings to remove the unlawful portions of their ads.

As our Los Angeles employment lawyers can explain, the legal consequences for failure to comply with the Fair Chance Act can include not only the remedies pursued by FEHA, but compensatory damages, punitive damages, and attorney’s fees from the prospective employees adversely impacted.

California Ban the Box FAQ

California’s ban the box law is commonly misunderstood by job applicants and employers alike. The law is intended to give ex-offenders a chance to have a prospective employer review their application based on their qualifications, without simply being automatically disqualified because they have a criminal record. It became effective Jan. 1, 2018. Continue Reading ›

Workplace bullying is understood to be repeated, harmful mistreatment of one or more employees (targets) which can include conduct that is:

  • Threatening
  • Humiliating
  • Intimidating
  • Interfering with work. California workplace bully

The Workplace Bullying Institute explains that examples can include work sabotage, isolation, harm to reputation, demeaning behavior, and abusive supervision. The think tank estimates 60 million Americans are impacted by workplace bullying, with anywhere from 19-44 percent having been directly bullied. Nearly 1 in 5 have witnessed bullying behavior on the job. Of those who are targets, nearly 30 percent say nothing. Only 17 percent report seeking formal resolution – with the failure to report likely stemming from employers’ lack of responsiveness, real or perceived.

But what are your legal options? As our Riverside employment attorneys can explain, California does not have an anti-workplace bullying law in place, unfortunately. That doesn’t necessarily mean you’re out of luck.

Targets of workplace bullying may have grounds for legal action in California if the conduct violates the state’s workplace harassment or discrimination laws, such as those set forth in the California Fair Employment Act (FEHA). Workplace bullying violates the law when it is based on a protected category to which a victim belongs. Continue Reading ›

Claims of whistleblower retaliation filed under labor laws in California are going to be weighed by the standard set forth in that law, rather than the more stringent burden-shifting test that was laid out in the 1973 case of McDonnell Douglas Corp. v. Green. This was the recent ruling of the California Supreme Court in the case of Lawson v. PPG Architectural Finishes, Inc.California whistleblower retaliation lawyer

As our Riverside worker retaliation lawyers can explain, Labor Code section 1102.5 stipulates that employers can’t make or enforce any rule that prevents an employee from whistleblowing. Employers also cannot retaliate against a worker for whistleblowing. Whistleblowing is defined as the disclosure of information to a government or law enforcement agency when the employee has reason to believe the disclosure reveals a violation of state or federal law by the company.

In the following provision of the law, Labor Code section 1102.6, which went into effect in 2004, lawmakers stipulated that once the worker establishes a prima facie case that retaliation for whistleblowing was at least one contributing factor of the negative employment action, the proof burden is then on the employer, who must prove by clear and convincing evidence it would have happened for legitimate, independent reasons, regardless of the employee’s whistleblowing.

But despite this seemingly straightforward law, some California courts weighing whistleblower retaliation cases have been instead applying the proof burden set in the McDonnell Douglas ruling. This standard was established in the context of handling Title VII discrimination claims. The latter test – widely acknowledged to be much more employer-friendly than the standard set forth in California Labor Code – requires that once the employee proves unlawful retaliation, the employer can evade liability by simply showing the adverse action was taken for reasons that were non-retaliatory and legitimate. The employee still bears the burden of proving the reason the employer gave was merely a pretext for illegal retaliation.

The Lawson ruling is considered a victory for future plaintiff/employees. Continue Reading ›

The California Fair Employment and Housing Act, commonly called FEHA, forbids employers to discriminate against employees or job applicants on the basis of their position in a protected class. Protected classes include race, religion, color, ancestry, national origin, mental disability, physical disability, medical condition, genetic information, gender (including pregnancy, childbirth, breastfeeding, or related medical conditions), gender identity, sex, gender expression, sexual orientation, marital status, age (for those 40 and older), or veteran/military status.Riverside employment lawyer

As our Riverside employment attorneys can explain, those who have experienced the adverse impact of workplace discrimination in California can pursue accountability through the civil justice system by filing a lawsuit. Working with an experienced employment law team is essential.

Here, we discuss the basic steps for filing a California employment discrimination lawsuit.

Knowing Whether You Were Discriminated Against

The first step is assessing whether discrimination took place. Employers generally recognize that discrimination can lead to an employment lawsuit, so those who engage in it are often careful to avoid putting anything in writing or saying anything obvious to the job candidate or employee. Most workplace discrimination is subtle. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t signs.

An experienced employment law firm can help you make a case for employment discrimination by showing that certain groups were treated differently than others. It might also be established by showing there was an abrupt alteration in attitude toward an employee once the employer learned of the worker’s status in the protected group. Some indicators of workplace discrimination include: Continue Reading ›

In California, it is unlawful for employers to discriminate against employees on the basis of their race or ethnicity. Workers targeted by discrimination ore harassment on these bases may have grounds to pursue a civil lawsuit for damages against their employer. Los Angeles racial discrimination lawyer

Racial discrimination is not a new problem in this country, but it’s been gaining greater awareness in recent years, with companies of all sizes facing repercussions for race-based harassment, discrimination, and retaliation.

Tesla is among the larger companies to face California racial discrimination lawsuits from former employees. You may recall that last year, a federal jury awarded $137 million a Black former employee of the car company, finding the company had ignored the severe racist abuse he endured for years from co-workers.

Now, the company says that it’s bracing for a civil complaint filed by the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing, which disclosed the notice of litigation in its annual regulatory filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Continue Reading ›

Nondisclosure agreements, sometimes also referred to as confidentiality clauses, are written legal contracts between employers and employees, drafted with the purpose of laying out binding terms and conditions. These can include provisions like prohibitions on disclosing confidential and proprietary information. However, as our Los Angeles employment attorneys can explain, they are too often used in ways that many believe exploit the power imbalance between workers and employers. In some cases, employees have been compelled to sign away their right to pursue claims for wrongdoings like sexual harassment in the workplace. They may also include non-disparagement clauses that prohibit workers from speaking negatively about the company. Where NDAs are found to be overly-broad in scope, they may be deemed unenforceable. employee nondisclosure agreements California

Recently, a California judge ruled that the confidentiality agreements required of Google’s employees were too broad – in violation of the state’s labor laws. The ultimate impact of that decision is more workers and ex-workers may find it easier to speak openly about these firms.

The Washington Post reports the case in question involved a Google employee who took the company to court, arguing the nondisclosure agreement the company asked him to sign blocked him from talking about his job to other potential employers. Effectively, he argued, this amounted to a non-compete clause. Such provisions are unlawful in California. A Superior Court judge sided with the employee on this point, though declined to make a decision on allegations these NDAs also prohibited whistleblowing and worker exchange of wage information – also illegal in California. Continue Reading ›

Both federal and state anti-discrimination laws cover most employers in California. These laws prevent employers from firing or taking other adverse action against workers on the basis of their gender, race, ethnicity, pregnancy, nationality, disability, etc. However, as our Riverside employment lawyers can explain, religious institutions – including schools – are often protected by something known as the ministerial exception. What sometimes throws people is that:

  • One does not need to be an actual minister – or even administrator – for the exception to be applicable.
  • The ministerial exception may protect religious institutions from claims of employment discrimination that aren’t solely about religious discrimination.ministerial exception California

The California Supreme Court in the past has expressed empathy for employees at religious institutes (mostly schools) unable to sue for employment discrimination under the law when they’d otherwise be able to, but for the ministerial exception. It remains a significant barrier to some claims.

Recently, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit affirmed a lower court’s dismissal of a racial harassment, discrimination, and retaliation claim by a California Catholic high school principal, who the court found qualified as a minister under the ministerial exception. Continue Reading ›

A finding of California employer retaliation has resulted in a $150 million verdict against an insurance company accused of firing a former executive for the firm as he prepared to testify in a discrimination case against them. It’s believed to be the largest verdict in Los Angeles County and the third-largest of its kind in the state. jury verdict California employment law

The Los Angeles jury issued the verdict in Rudnicki v. Farmers Insurance Exchange following less than 60 minutes of deliberations.

According to Reuters, the employment lawsuit was filed in 2017, with plaintiff alleging he was scapegoated amid allegations of gender pay disparities at the company.  He’d been employed by the firm nearly four decades, but was abruptly terminated just prior to a class action settlement, stemming from a lawsuit filed by female attorneys at the firm alleging a major gender discrimination gap in pay.

The former executive, who’d once served as the firm’s senior vice president, said the company had been concerned about what he might reveal about their gendered pay practices if he testified in that case. They reportedly blamed him for unlawful conduct and terminated him in an effort to discredit him. He alleged unlawful retaliation and wrongful termination in violation of California’s labor laws.

Lawyers for the defendant insurer insisted the plaintiff was fired because he:

  • Was making sexist, inappropriate comments to coworkers.
  • Failed to take appropriate action when female employees brought to light the underrepresentation of women in management at the firm.
  • Failed to properly handle/preserve pertinent legal documents, in accordance with company policy.

Jurors no doubt eyed critically the fact that the firing came almost immediately after he was deposed in the gender discrimination lawsuit, providing testimony that supported the plaintiffs’ allegations that the insurer’s pay practices were discriminatory against attorneys who were female. He was expected to testify to the same at trial. The case was later settled for $4 million.

Cooperating and assisting in a legal proceeding regarding discrimination is protected activity. Firing or retaliating against an employee for engaging in such proceedings is illegal, considered to be wrongful termination and retaliation. Continue Reading ›

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