Articles Tagged with employment attorney

Companies in California can no longer force workers as a condition of employment to sign away their right to have claims of discrimination, unfair pay or harassment resolved in a court of law as opposed to an arbitrator. There are a few exceptions, but the sweeping effect of  AB-51, signed into law by Gov Gavin Newsom, will have a significant impact on the landscape of future employment litigation in California.workplace arbitration agreements

As our Los Angeles employment attorneys can explain, mandatory employee arbitration agreements have had chilling effect when it came to worker rights and employer accountability. Not only are arbitration agreements costly for workers, they tend to end more favorably for employers, class action isn’t an option and it’s all confidential. A company could turn a blind eye to something like sexual harassment for years – and victims would never have the benefit of all the claims that came before them. And what if a worker refused to sign the arbitration agreement? They risked being fired – or never hired in the first place.

This is not to say arbitration has no place at all in resolving employer-employee disputes, but not when workers are forced to sign away their rights or risk giving up their job to someone who will. Continue reading

Employee rest periods and overtime are worker rights guaranteed in California by statute and overseen by regulators at the state’s Department of Industrial Relations. Although there are exceptions, most workers are guaranteed at least 10 minutes of rest for every 10 hours worked and must be paid overtime for every hour worked over 40. The laws are clear, and yet our employment wage and hour lawyers know far too many companies run afoul of them. employee rest breaks

Some large banks in the country have been accused – and made to pay – repeatedly for failures in providing employees with rest breaks or pay overtime as required by law – in California and other states.

Recently, a federal judge in New Jersey approved a $35 million settlement to current and former employees at Wells Fargo & Co. who were made to work unpaid overtime outside normal hours. That lawsuit was initially filed three years ago, with the financial firm’s accused of not paying for all hours worked and/or not paying overtime. Workers were reportedly forced to work off-the-clock in order to meet unrealistic sales targets that would be impossible to achieve in a typical 40-hour workweeks.

That same bank had previously been accused of rest break violations. Continue reading

A groundbreaking California employment bill will overhaul the way workers are designated for the purposes of workers’ compensation, liability, benefits, responsibilities and more. AB5, born of the rise of the so-called “gig economy,” has passed both the state Assembly and the Senate, and Gov. Gavin Newsom is expected to sign it. This will change the way California designates who is an employee, who is an independent contractor and the rights and responsibilities associated with each. employee misclassification

The law goes into effect on December 31st – but it’s as if all independent contractors/gig workers magically transform into employees all of the sudden. As our Orange County employment attorneys can explain, what this law does is codify last year’s California Supreme Court ruling in Dynamex Operations West, Inc. v. Superior Court of Los Angeles County.

Essentially, that ruling made it harder for employers to label workers as independent contractors instead of employees. Misclassification of an employee is one of the primary reasons for employment litigation in California.

How AB5 and Dynamex Makes the Contractor v. Employee Call

Both the court case and the new law differentiate employees from independent contractors using a three-part “ABC” test. Continue reading

A federal appellate court has requested the California Supreme Court clear up confusion about the state’s employee meal break and rest break laws, which often lead to wage theft claims. Employment attorneys in Orange County recognize this decision handed down by the court could have a significant impact on both employers and workers in the Golden State. wage and hour lawsuit

According to court records from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, Cole v. CRST Van Expedited, Inc., the primary questions the court seeks to answer are:

  • Whether the lack of a formal workplace policy on rest and meal breaks is a violation of state law.
  • Whether an employer’s failure to maintain records of rest and meal breaks results in the rebuttable presumption that they were not provided.

A rebuttable presumption in civil law is when the court assumes something to be true unless it is proven otherwise. An example of a rebuttable presumption in civil litigation would be that a driver in the rear of a rear-end collision is presumed negligent. (In criminal law, the best-recognized rebuttable presumption is that a defendant is innocent until proven guilty.)

In this employment law case, it would mean it could be presumed that meal breaks were not given (due to the lack of records) unless the employer can prove otherwise. Continue reading

Civil claims based on California employment law can be difficult to prove, particularly when they involve a case of alleged harassment, which often boils down to “he-said-she-said.” But whether we’re talking about harassment, wrongful termination or retaliation, plaintiffs will generally bear the proof burden. This is why for so many cases, witness statements prove critical.workplace harassment

One of the reasons witnesses are so essential is that they are, if not wholly unbiased, at least gaining less from the lawsuit than either of the involved parties. This is important in jury trials and even settlement negotiations, when it’s unclear who really has the stronger case.

For instance, plaintiff could argue that he was fired for making safety violations and that the performance-related reasons the company gave for the termination were nothing more than pretext. However, absent some solid proof, your Los Angeles employment attorney is going to need more than your word alone to prove this.

Similarly a restaurant manager’s sexual harassment of a young female waitress may be difficult to prove on her word alone. However, if co-workers attest to seeing it, that helps to substantially bolster the case. Continue reading

Los Angeles employment lawyers have been carefully watching developments in a California workplace retaliation lawsuit that raises new questions about the scope of protections afforded under federal labor laws. This could potentially endanger these protections – not only here in the Golden State, but across the country – if the National Labor Relations Board sides with the construction company employer in the dispute.workplace retaliation

Many employment law attorneys and scholars agree that a core safety net in all labor statutes – state and federal – is the understanding that litigation is a protected activity. This principle forms the foundation of labor laws that prohibit employers from retaliating against employees for filing a lawsuit for things like unlawful discrimination or wage and hour violations.

Relying on New U.S. Supreme Court Precedent

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This move comes after a legal technicality resulted in the dismissal of a gender inequality class action lawsuit brought by some 1,800 plaintiffs. Our Los Angeles gender discrimination lawyers know that it was not on merit that this case, filed in 2001, was dismissed in 2011.
But for many of those women, justice may never come. Some, including the primary plaintiff, are dead. Others have seen the statute of limitations run out on their claims. Some have been granted exception on those time limits since the case was reversed
The lead plaintiff lawyer in this case represented many of the others.
“We have unfinished business that we are determined to see to the end,” she told Law.com.

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Payroll processing companies can’t be held liable for the errors that employees of other firms claim resulted in their being shortchanged, the California Supreme Court ruled recently, reversing an appellate court’s decision. L.A. wage theft attorney

In a case that originated in Los Angeles Superior Court, employees filed a third-party claim for damages against the payroll company contracted by the worker’s employer. Defendant payroll company attorneys argued California’s Labor Code doesn’t allow employers to assign duty for accuracy in wage statements to third parties. Bloomberg reported in December an estimated there are 1,100 payroll process service companies statewide.

Los Angeles employment lawyers had been watching the case closely, knowing that if the high court ruled in plaintiffs’ favor, it would have meant those firms could be subject to liability in California wage-and-hour employment litigation. Continue reading

You may be unsure about whether a Los Angeles employment lawyer will be willing to take your discrimination case. It’s important to understand what constitutes discrimination (not all unfair treatment will qualify) and whether you have or could acquire the evidence necessary to establish a case. If you do have evidence you were treated unfairly in employment or hiring on the basis of being part of a class that is protected by anti-discrimination laws, then a Los Angeles employment attorney will probably want to speak to you. discrimination attorney

Employment lawyers do offer free initial consultations, so it is usually worth your time to reach out, explain your situation and arrange a meeting. A few things to keep in mind before you arrive.

Understanding Employment Discrimination

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Back in November, the U.S. Department of Labor rescinded the controversial Obama-era 80/20 Rule, dictating how restaurants paid tipped workers, barring employers from taking tip credit from workers who spend more than 20 percent of their time doing non-tipped work. Now, Orange County fair wage attorneys understand a federal judge for the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Missouri rejected the DOL’s guidance, finding it “unpersuasive and unworthy.”restaurant worker tips

The judge further stated that the Labor Department’s issuance of an opinion letter abruptly shifting gears on this issue after 10 years of consistently construing such regulation as limited by the 80/20 rule wouldn’t persuade the court to apply a new interpretation of litigation. Noting the DOL gave zero reasoning or evidence of any in-depth consideration for reversing its position, and it doesn’t stand up to the standard set by the U.S. Supreme Court, and characterized the November rule change as a “sudden surprise” and an “unjustified departure” from the agency’s previous guidance.

Per the Fair Labor Standards Act, 29 USC s. 201, employers must pay workers at least $2.13 hourly for their wages, then take a tip credit in order to make up the difference between the worker’s wages and federal minimum wage. The 80/20 rule arose because tipped workers were spending an extensive amount of time carrying out non-tip-generating duties, like rolling silverware or setting tables. The updated guidance from the DOL was that the agency was no longer going to limit the amount of time workers could spend performing those duties.  Continue reading