Articles Tagged with California employment attorneys

Gender discrimination in the technology sector has long been a problem which female Californians have simply had to endure. The anti-diversity manifesto by a former Google engineer is just the latest in a long line of more subtle disparities in the treatment of women employed in the technology industry. Now, a proposed bill by California Senator Hannah-Beth Jackson aims to address sexual harassment in venture capital.sexual harassment attorneys

Forbes reports the bill would make an almost imperceptible change to California’s current sexual harassment statute. By adding a single word – “investor” – venture capital relationships would be added to the employment relationships which are protected from sexual harassment by the California Labor Code. Yet this single word could make a world of difference to the women who find it difficult to both access venture capital and maintain employment within the technology sector. For decades, the imbalance of power lead to “rampant harassment of women entrepreneurs”. It is only recently that media attention has shed light on the problem and inspired action on the issue. Continue reading

Funding and maintaining pension programs has become a serious problem for public employers across the nation. The bankrupt city of Detroit made headlines in 2014 when it settled with its underfunded public pension fund, and drastically reduced benefits to thousands of former city employees. The New York Times reports that the presiding bankruptcy judge called the deal “miraculous”. Now, the ugly reality of underfunded public pension programs has hit California as well.California public pension lawyer

The Mercury News reports California’s new state budget projects nearly $206 billion in “unfunded liabilities for the state’s two public pension systems.” What this means is that former state employees are entitled to $206 billion of benefits that the state simply cannot pay. CalPERS, the state employee retirement fund, manages close to $330 billion in assets. It is the largest public pension fund in the nation. And yet, it is only funded at approximately 65 percent of the total amount of its obligations to former state employees.   

Nearly half of this $206 billion deficit has been added in just the past eight years. The exponential nature of these retirement benefit payments have turned the underfunding into financial time bomb. Unfortunately, public pension funding is not an easy issue for state politicians to tackle. Budget cuts, increased taxes, and reallocation of limited financial resources are unpopular measures which can wait until someone else takes office. But this waiting is exactly what caused the crisis that California now faces.   Continue reading

In the current American political climate, immigration has become a heated – and often violent – issue. This conflict has implications beyond splashy front-page news stories. Employers may soon face significant legal hurdles to sponsor non-citizen employees. Both bringing foreign workers to the United States, and maintaining their residencies once they are here, is likely to become far more difficult in the coming months.California employment lawyers

Specific Policy Changes

The Trump Administration has targeted several specific immigration programs in furtherance of the President’s “America First” campaign theme. One such program is Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (“DACA”). KQED reports that nearly 223, 000 young immigrants have been granted residency and employment privileges under the program since DACA was enacted in 2012. The brainchild of the Obama Administration, DACA has become a target of criticism by both Trump and the Republican party. A group of GOP officials is even threatening to sue the federal government if Trump does not rescind DACA by September 5. 2017. Continue reading

Employers can encounter many different types of whistleblowers in their daily operations. Most people imagine the classic example of a low-level employee who alerts federal authorities to embezzlement, fraud, or other white collar crimes. But these types of blatant offenses are increasingly rare. Whistleblowers can bring attention to a wide variety of far more subtle violations. These can all expose the unprepared employer to legal liability, poor public relations, and other damaging consequences.California whistleblower lawyers

Whistleblowers have rights under both state and federal law. The California Labor Code prohibits employers from retaliating against employees who report a violation of the law to government authorities.  Similarly, the federal Occupational Health and Safety Act also prohibits retaliation against employees who report violations of the Act. Employers who do not appropriately respond to whistleblower complaints may therefore face both state and federal liability – in addition to administrative consequences (such as the loss of a business license) and bad publicity. Continue reading

New data indicates that the California job market – and thus, the state’s overall economy – is slowing. California employers collectively reduced fourteen hundred jobs across the state in June 2017. According to the Los Angeles Times, this is the second month in 2017 in which the state has posted job losses. April 2017 saw an even greater decrease in California’s employment market. Job growth in 2017 is significantly lower than California’s 2016 job growth.California employment lawyers

There are many causes to these job losses. Economic consultant Chris Thornberg posits that there are jobs available, but many workers simply cannot afford to live in California. A shortage of available housing has increased California’s notoriously high home prices and rental rates even further. This is certainly true of Silicon Valley: The New York Post reports that many technology companies are expanding operations outside of the pricey area. While Silicon Valley has experienced job losses over the past five years, both Seattle and Austin are experiencing job growth in the technology sector. The Press-Enterprise even speculates on whether California is experiencing another “tech bubble”, and the state’s ability to survive a burst of such an economic bubble. The fact that many technology firms are slowly leaving the state is not a positive sign for the technology industry, not the state’s overall economy. Continue reading

Employees are often placed at a disadvantage in workplace litigation due to the superior bargaining power of their employers. Thus, when an employer violates workplace laws, a common strategy for plaintiffs is to gather together a group of employees who have suffered from the same violation in order to file a class action lawsuit. By forming a group, the plaintiffs increase their financial power in litigation, as well as their bargaining power during settlement negotiations.class action employment lawsuits

A new case decided by the California Supreme Court on July 13, 2017 makes it easier for plaintiffs to find other employees who may have been impacted by workplace violations. In a rare unanimous decision, the Court determined that a plaintiff does not need to show that his or her case has merit before gaining access to the employer’s records for employee contact information. Instead, this information must be provided at the onset of litigation, before the court either makes a determination of merit, or certifies a class of plaintiffs (which must occur before class action litigation can proceed).

JD Supra reports that the decision made only two small concessions to employee privacy concerns. First, the Court ratified a rule of case law which allows employers to notify affected employees about the potential release of their information and opt out of having their information released. Second, the Court also endorsed a prohibition against employee contact information being disclosed outside of the confines of a specific lawsuit.  Continue reading

Sexual harassment is a problem faced by many employers. But what is less often understood is the role that company culture can play in fostering sexual harassment in the workplace – and protecting its perpetrators. Without understanding the systemic causes of sexual harassment, employers cannot adequately eradicate it within their businesses, nor protect themselves from the liability attendant to sexual harassment claims. Occupations which have been traditionally filled by a male-dominate workforce are particularly susceptible to legal claims of sexual discrimination and harassment.sexual harassment lawyers

The Technology Sector Becomes an Example of What Not to Do

Other male-dominated industries can learn from the legal and publicity problems faced by the technology sector. For years, Silicon Valley has been a microcosm of sexual harassment culture. Wired magazine describes the prevalence of sexual harassment in Silicon Valley as being an “open secret.” This open secret is a culture that has lasted for decades, and has not been changed by human resource policies, nor by extensive litigation and judgments against behemoth employers. The culture of male dominance is simply too pervasive to respond to a few settlements that pale in comparison to the massive profits of large tech companies. Continue reading