Articles Tagged with employment lawyer Los Angeles

It’s been more than two years since the COVID-19 pandemic shuttered many offices. For many white-collar workers, that has meant getting creative with office space – in cramped basements and cluttered bedrooms. It has also meant carving out new social norms between employees and employers. One of those involves the blurred lines when it comes to reimbursement for work-related expenses while working from home. As Los Angeles employment lawyers, we’ve noted an increasing number of up-and-coming California employment lawsuits are focused on this front. Los Angeles employment lawyer

Recently, the Los Angeles Times reported on this phenomenon, saying there are dozens of pending cases in Southern California stemming from incidents like:

  • Unpaid, work-related telephone and internet fees.
  • Extra energy needed to head/cool a home during business hours.
  • Office supply needs that were previously picked up by the employer.

For the average worker, it can all add up to between $50 and $200 monthly in extra expenses. That may not sound like a lot, but compounded by the number of workers at home, and companies that saw some significant savings due to work-from-home may now need to pay the piper. If we take that same average employee and compile the total amount of they’ve incurred in expenses due to the work-from-home arrangement, the Times anticipates it’s somewhere around $5,000 each.

In addition to these types of expenses, some workers are seeking reimbursement for lost rental revenue. That is, they allege they have lost out on rental income opportunities because they had to utilize their home office space for their own employment.

We recognize that while work-from-home has been an option for some individuals long before the pandemic, many companies were thrust into the arrangement suddenly, and with little blue print of how all the particulars were going to work. When presented with evidence that their employees are being underpaid, some companies will simply ask for the bill and cover it. Others may take a little more persuasion, but it does appear that at least half of these lawsuits are being settled pre-trial – with terms favorable to plaintiff employees. 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 ›

You can cut the corners of your sandwiches, but you can’t cut corners on employee meal breaks in California.

In a long-awaited decision, the California Supreme Court ruled that workplace policies of rounding out the start and end times of meal periods aren’t compliant with state law because they sometimes resulted in workers being underpaid their meal period premiums.Los Angeles employment lawyer

The court held in Donohue v. AMN Services, LLC that in cases where company records on their face appear to show noncompliance with meal period rules, there is a rebuttable presumption that the company was non-compliant. As our Los Angeles employment attorneys can explain, this means the burden of proof shifts from the plaintiff employees to the defendant employer.

In light of this recent ruling, employers in California would be wise to update their timekeeping policies and technology to ensure they are meeting the current demands of the law. Employees who believe there has been a violation of California’s meal period laws should promptly consult with an experienced wage and hour lawyer. Continue Reading ›

When an award-winning news producer was fired from his job at CNN, the company claimed it was due to plagiarism. The former employee filed a lawsuit saying that reason was pretextual and he was a victim of racial discrimination and retaliation. CNN fired back that the case should be dropped because to decide otherwise would be a violation of the company’s First Amendment rights under anti-SLAPP laws. That motion was initially granted. The case was appealed up to the California Supreme Court, which ruled last year the claim might be subject to dismissal under the state’s anti-SLAPP law – specifically the company’s right to exercise editorial control over its news content. However, the case was remanded to determine if plaintiff’s underlying claim had merit enough to proceed in spite of that concern. racial discrimination lawyer

Now, a California appellate court has ruled in Wilson v. CNN that plaintiff’s claim has the minimal amount of merit to proceed. The case now proceeds to trial.

As our Los Angeles racial discrimination attorneys can explain, anti-SLAPP laws are intended to dismiss early on lawsuits without merit when they are filed against persons or organizations for the exercise of First Amendment rights (freedom of speech, the press, religion, peaceable assembly and to petition the government for redress of grievances). SLAPP stands for Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation. Anti-SLAPP laws were passed in response to a trend of lawsuits filed in retaliation to intimidate or silence critics and opponents who speak out publicly. In a lot of those cases, the underlying legal theories (tortious interference, defamation, etc.) were actually secondary to the true intent, which was to silence public opposition. Continue Reading ›

Working with an experienced Los Angeles employment lawyer, it is absolutely possible to prevail in a California employment lawsuit. The amount of damages (monetary compensation) you receive as a result of winning your case will depend on a myriad of factors. Because your attorney is probably working your case on a contingency fee basis (paid a portion of awarded damages if outcome if successful, paid nothing if not), he or she is likely to consider and discuss all of this with you before you even begin the process, as potential valuation of a case can determine whether it’s worth pursuing in the first place.employment attorney L.A.

Your Los Angeles employment lawyer can explain, there are two basic types of damages that can be awarded in California employment lawsuits involving discrimination or unfair wages. These are compensatory and punitive.

Compensatory damages will cover workplace discrimination victims for out-of-pocket expenses and actual losses. These involve both tangible losses like the amount of wages lost, medical expenses required or job search costs incurred. It may also involve intangible losses like mental anguish or loss of life enjoyment. Punitive damages, on the other hand, are intended to penalize the employer whose actions are deemed reckless and malicious.

Some examples of compensatory damages awarded in California employment lawsuits (including discrimination and wage-and-hour) include:

  • Lost wages/benefits
  • Costs for retraining/job search
  • Compensation for physical pain, emotional distress, loss of professional reputation, etc.
  • Attorney’s fees

Continue Reading ›

For subjecting employees to religious discrimination at work with its haircut policy, package delivery company UPS has agreed to pay $5 million. Los Angeles religious discrimination attorneys understand company uniform policy was that males who interacted with customers maintain hair above collar length and never grow a beard (no facial hair below the lip). The problem with this, according to numerous former employees and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, is that this rule conflicted with their faith, which required them to keep their hair and beards uncut.Los Angeles religious discrimination attorney

Business Insider reports the policy was specific to workers who had interactions with customers. Beards and long hair were allowed, however, for those employees who worked positions that were back-of-the-house. This put advancement limitations on employees from a number of religious faiths, including:

  • Islam
  • Rastafarianism
  • Orthodox Christianity
  • Sikhism
  • Native American religions

Each of these faiths has provisions that instruct men – either always or sometimes – to maintain long hair and facial hair. Applicants, employees and former employees were often forced to choose, the EEOC said, whether they should go against the teachings of their religion or whether they really wanted to land or keep that UPS job (or hoped to advance any further in it than stocking). Some applicants were told, “No haircut, no job.” Requests for accommodation by these men were rejected.  Continue Reading ›

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