Articles Tagged with California wage and hour lawyer

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

A wage-and-hour lawsuit filed in Texas by a nurse at a large hospital alleges the health system docks the pay of nurses each shift for 30 minutes, but they aren’t actually allowed a 30-minute meal break. Instead, nurses are expected to remain on duty for the duration of their shift. nurse

According to the Houston Chronicle, plaintiff is seeking class-action status for her and 4,000 other nurses who she says should be paid for the time they spend with patients on “phantom” lunch breaks. The lawsuit was filed in a federal court in Houston. Plaintiff asserts the hospital system’s payroll program automatically takes out 30 minutes for meal periods every shift, even though nurses don’t actually get 30 minutes uninterrupted in any given shift. Instead, nurses have to be available the entire shift to care for and attend to patients.

In California, the Department of Industrial Relations holds that companies can’t force an employee to work more than five hours in a given day without providing the worker meal breaks of at least 30 minutes. The only exception is if the worker’s entire work day is no more than six hours. In that case, the meal break can be waived – but only if both the employer and employee mutually consent to it. Further, workers are entitled to a second, 30-minute meal break after 10 hours, except if the employee is going to be working no more than 12 hours and there is mutual consent from both employee and company. (Some variations exist within the motion picture industry.) Continue reading

Authorities in charge of investigating wage theft tend to avoid making generalizations about an entire industry. However, state and federal investigators have recently spoken out forcefully against what they say is a serious and growing problem for California workers: wage theft and other employee abuses at elderly care facilities.oldhands

It’s an industry that tends to employ workers who are poor and often illegal. That means they are more likely to be extorted and abused.

Case-in-point: Florinda Yambao. The 63-year-old woman owned numerous residential nursing homes throughout Contra Costa County. Last year, she was convicted of tax fraud, insurance fraud and theft. She had  defrauded workers of hundreds of thousands of dollars in pay and then, the court ruled, committed tax fraud in order to cover it all up. She was placed on probation and ordered to pay $1 million  in restitution to her victims. Continue reading

According to a recent news article form the National Law Review, the California state legislature has just passed Assembly Bill 465 (AB 465), which prohibits the use of mandatory employment agreements by employers in the state. With the bill having passed, it is up to the governor to sign the law by the middle of October or challenge it

job-concept-1445172-4-mThe new law would effect any employment arbitration agreements entered into, renewed, or revised after the first of next year. There is also a provision in the new law making it illegal for an employer to retaliate against or threaten any employee for refusing to sign an arbitration agreement. Continue reading

Efforts at both the state and federal level have boosted the level of workplace protection for home health aides, nannies and other domestic workers.elderly

Our Costa Mesa wage and hour attorneys understand that two separate measures will extend minimum wage and overtime protection to these workers, many of whom historically had been treated under the law as little more than “babysitters.”

Advocates for low-wage workers say such measures will go far in ensuring that these workers – primarily female minorities – will be treated equally under the law.

As the U.S. Supreme Court begins another session this month following its summer recess, there are a number of pending cases that could have a significant impact on labor and employment law. uscapitol

While our Costa Mesa wage and hour lawyers want to be hopeful about the outcome of these cases, the reality is that the court did not hand out many decisions that favored workers during the last term.

The 2012-2013 term resulted six-out-of-six “wins” for employers. These decisions aided employers in a number of ways. In general, those included making it easier to win cases against them, discouraging such cases from being filed in the first place, making it tougher to obtain class action status and clearing the way for more cases to be decided via arbitration, which is generally considered more favorable to the business than the worker.

California has always been a trailblazer. work

The latest new territory involves being the first state to raise hourly minimum wage rates to double digits – $10-an-hour by 2016, per a bill that recently received Gov. Jerry Brown’s signature. In the interim, the rate will graduate to $9 hourly by next summer.

While this is good news, we fully anticipate this change will coincide with a rise in California wage and hour lawsuits.

It is one of the largest providers of elder care in the country.

Emeritus Senior Living facilities boast hundreds of locations across the country, thousands of workers and rake in millions in profits. samaritan

And yet, as our Costa Mesa wage and hour dispute attorneys understand, when it came time to providing adequate compensation to those trusted to care for our most vulnerable citizens, the for-profit health care provider did everything it could to skirt employment laws and boost its bottom line.

A class action lawsuit has been filed on behalf of California workers employed at a popular, nationwide burger chain, accused of break and overtime violations.grilledsausagepatties

This suit joins previous litigation filed on behalf of current and former employees of a Mexican fast food chain.

Our Costa Mesa overtime attorneys know that chain operations, particularly those that employ low-wage, low-skill workers, tend to be prone to this type of violation because they believe they can get away with it.