Articles Tagged with employment lawyer

A California landmark law requiring benchmark levels of racial, ethnic, and LGBT diversity on corporate boards was ruled unconstitutional by a Los Angeles court. Los Angeles employment lawyer

The lawsuit, filed by the conservative legal group Judicial Watch, alleged that the state law, signed last year, violated California’s constitutional equal protection clause. The law compelled the corporate boards of any publicly-traded company with main executive offices in California to have at least one member from an underrepresented community. In this case, “underrepresented” was defined as someone who is Black, Latino, Asian, Native American, Pacific Islander, or LGBT.

The Los Angeles Superior Court did not explain its reasoning in declaring the law unconstitutional.

Attorneys for the state argued that the law did not discriminate against or grant preferential treatment to any group or individual on the basis of race, sex, color, ethnicity, or national origin. Rather, companies were required to include at least one board member of an underrepresented community (if they did not already have one) or add a seat that included one. Boards with 4-9 directors were required to have at least two members of underrepresented communities. Three would be required for boards with 10 or more. Companies that failed to comply with the law could face fines of anywhere from $100,000 to $300,000.

A report issued earlier this year by the secretary of state revealed that less than half (300 of 700) companies were in compliance. However, about 50 percent of boards never submitted a disclosure statement, so it may well have been more.

However, as our Los Angeles employment attorneys can explain, no company was ever actually fined and no tax money was ever spent enforcing the law. Perhaps part of the reason is that it was always expected to face challenges. Yet when the law was passed, in the wake of the May 2020 murder of George Floyd by police in Minnesota, many companies issued statements indicating support for and commitment to diversity among their ranks. Few actually followed through. Continue Reading ›

California racial discrimination at utility workplaces is the basis for a new employment lawsuit filed by two former employees.California racial discrimination lawsuit

According to ABC-7 News, the two plaintiffs – both attorneys – alleged that despite being in one of the most diverse regions of the state, the company’s legal department hasn’t hired a minority candidate in more than 16 years. It hasn’t hired an African American candidate in more than 22 years, they say.

Plaintiff one said she’d worked at the company nearly two decades when the second plaintiff, a Black woman, interviewed for a position in the company’s legal department. Despite being unanimously ranked as the No. 1 candidate for the position, she was passed over for the job. That prompted the longtime employee to file an internal complaint alleging racial discrimination.

About a year later, the prospective employee was invited to apply again. This time, she was hired. However, during her time at the company, she alleges she was subject to a significant degree of racial discrimination. Among her examples:

  • She was given a heavier work load than other, similarly-situated employees who were white.
  • She was denied equal opportunity to attend training and other employment benefits.
  • She was not given an office, as similarly-situated white colleagues were.
  • Her office supplies came from the junk drawer or even garbage bin, while white employees were given permission to order new supplies.

The impact, she said, was being denied the basic ability to do her job. Continue Reading ›

Taking aim at the use of quotas at warehouse distribution centers in California, Assembly Bill 701 requires companies with sizable warehouse distribution centers to disclose pace-of-work standards and quotas to workers either upon hire. As our Los Angeles employee rights attorneys can explain, companies are being required to provide a written description of each quota to which the employee is subject – including:

  • Quantified number of tasks to be performed/materials to be produced/handled within a defined period of time.
  • Any potential negative consequences that could result from failure to meet that quota. Los Angeles employee rights attorney

By regulating warehouse performance metrics, state lawmakers have sought to hold huge warehouse conglomerates, such as Amazon, accountable for logistics facilities quotes that many argue make these workspaces unsafe.

The bill faced sharp opposition from business interests, but nonetheless passed and was approved by the governor. The measure is intended to empower warehouse workers against unsafe quotas set by algorithms. High workplace injury rates have been closely associated with unreasonable productivity goals. Continue Reading ›

A California non-profit wage theft lawsuit was settled recently for $170,000, according to Palo Alto Weekly. The organization is responsible for providing street cleaning services in communities around the Bay area. The class action claim was filed by a former employment specialist at the group, who alleged that she and others were routinely denied fair wages. Los Angeles wage and hour lawyer

According to the wage and hour lawsuit, the workers were not paid for overtime, denied break and lunch time compensation, and received late wage payments post-termination or resignation. Additionally, workers alleged employee misclassification, categorizing some workers as salaried and thus “exempt” from overtime pay under the California Labor Code. The pay rate for “salaried” employees, plaintiffs asserted, fell below the statutory level that would qualify them as exempt employees.

As our Los Angeles wage and hour lawyers can explain, California labor laws do apply to non-profit agencies, unless the individual in question is a volunteer, not an employee. As of Jan. 1, 2021, the statewide minimum wage in California is $14 hourly for companies with 26 or more employees and $13 hourly for those with 25 for fewer. However, some local ordinances set forth higher minimum wage rate than state law. For example, the minimum age in Los Angeles is $15 hourly for companies with 26 or more employees and $14.25 hourly for those with fewer. Where local minimum wage rates higher than state rates, employers must comply with the local law. Continue Reading ›

A bill aimed at empowering workers to come forward about employment discrimination and harassment was introduced in the California state senate recently. Specifically at issue are provisions of non-disclosure agreements many workers are compelled to sign when settling employment lawsuits or simply as a condition of employment. The Silenced No More Act would statutorily ban such provisions in settlements that involve cases of discrimination or abuse. Los Angeles employment attorney

Sponsor of the bill Sen. Connie Levya told CNN that it is unacceptable for companies to effectively place a gag order on workers who have been victims of discrimination, harassment or assault. The idea is not just to give these workers back their voices, but also to serve as a means of accountability against perpetrators and corporations that cover for them.

The measure builds on an earlier #MeToo era law called the STAND Act, which was passed three years ago. That law prohibits settlement agreements that bar workers from speaking up about employment sexual harassment and abuse. The SNMA would extend those prohibition to other forms of workplace discrimination and harassment, including those based on race, sexual orientation, religion, etc.

Employment Lawsuits Often Deal With Intersectional Problems

Continue Reading ›

As cities and schools across California and the U.S. are preparing to reopen, employers are requiring workers to return to in-person interactions – despite the fact that we are still in the grips of a global pandemic. Further, as Kaiser Health News reports, some employees are being compelled to sign a waiver of liability – agreeing not to sue their employer if they catch COVID-19 or suffer any injury from it while working there. In Irvine, CA, a teacher who refused to sign the waiver was fired within a week. “They said it was my choice to sign the paper, but it wasn’t really my choice. I felt so bullied.” Los Angeles employment lawyer

We encourage employees to discuss their concerns with a Los Angeles employment lawyer before signing any such waiver or if you have been fired as a result of refusing to sign one. Note that last year, California lawmakers passed AB-51, which bars employers from mandating workers or prospective employees sign away their right to pursue legal claims or benefits as a condition of employment. It also forbids employers from terminating any worker who refuses to sign it. That law is being challenged in court by a number of business interest groups, but for now, it stands.

Reports of employers requiring their workers to sign these liability waivers have been sporadic, probably because they know these agreements won’t hold up in court. In addition to AB-51, there is the fact that there is clearly a power imbalance between employers and employees/prospective workers – especially at a time when so many people are unemployed. Continue Reading ›

A Black employee for Facebook, represented by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, has alleged in a complaint he experienced racial discrimination at the firm, being denied promotions and pay raises and receiving unfair evaluations, despite “excellent” work performance. Meanwhile, two job applicants say they were denied the opportunity to work for the company – despite being qualified – because of their skin color.Los Angeles racial discrimination

According to the Associated Press, the employee was employed as an operations program manager at the social media firm. Facebook said it is committed to investigating allegations of racism. The AP reports that like many Silicon Valley companies, Black workers are underrepresented, accounting for less than 4 percent of the total number of Facebook employees and only 1.5 percent of the company’s technical workers.

Allegations of racial discrimination have been leveled before at the company. Although CEO Mark Zuckerberg declared last month that, “Black lives matter,” previous employees say the tech firm hasn’t made racial diversity a priority. Continue Reading ›

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled that some employees of religious schools, social service centers and hospitals will not be allowed to sue for employment discrimination, due to the ministerial exception. The 7-2 decision (with two liberal justices siding with the conservative majority) pointed to a unanimous ruling eight years ago that found “ministers” could not sue churches for employment discrimination. Los Angeles employment discrimination lawyer

But this ruling not only solidified that previous ruling, it expanded the protections these companies have against nondiscrimination litigation. The ministerial exception holds that the First Amendment protects churches and other religious organizations from government interference in employment decisions of “ministers” because, as Chief Justice John Roberts concluded, that would strip the church over control of those who personify its beliefs. But the question the court didn’t answer in 2012 was who, exactly, was a minister? Here, the majority decided that teachers are among those who can be considered”ministers,” in turn opening the door for countless other employees.

Los Angeles employment discrimination lawyers recognize that this was a significant blow to the hundreds of thousands of employees who work for these organizations (by some estimates, there are more than 300,000 private school teachers alone). Continue Reading ›

Discrimination in the hiring process has long been problematic in California workplaces. Allowing personal biases of employers and supervisors to play a role in who gets the job and who doesn’t is extremely problematic when the effect is systematic discrimination against applicants on the basis of their race, religion, age, gender, disability or other protected status. Yet it happens far too often. discrimination in hiring

Now, a new California bill seeks to address this with technology.

SB1241, formally the Talent for Competitive Hiring (TECH) Act would establish a new legal bar – a high one – to address discrimination in hiring with transparent written guidelines for companies to follow in their recruiting process. The ultimate goal is to create fairer hiring processes and more diverse work forces with the aid of technological tools. It was co-authored by Democrats from Los Angeles, Long Beach, Gardena and Carson.

Rather than leaning on one of a myriad of unregulated pre-screening software programs or even a hiring manager, the TECH Act would require adoption of a smart computer program equipped with agnostic filtering that would be routinely monitored. As our Los Angeles employment discrimination lawyers understand it, SB1241 is a “rules of the road” so-to-speak for hiring practices. The bill sponsors say the measure is necessary to tackle the widening opportunity gap that leads to ongoing socioeconomic inequality throughout the state. Continue Reading ›

Employment discrimination, sexual harassment, retaliation and wrongful termination aren’t solely the problem of large corporations. It’s true that the federal discrimination lawsuits against Fortune 500 companies tend to make splashier headlines, especially when they conclude in multi-million dollar verdicts and settlements. But small businesses can be just as susceptible to these issues. employment lawsuit

Many small business owners are unprepared when these lawsuits are filed. The fact is that the bulk of litigation filed against businesses of all sizes involves employment disputes. About 40 percent of those are filed against smaller employers, with somewhere between 15 and 100 employees.

Employment lawsuits can more deeply affect a smaller employer, so it’s important for them not only to be insured, but also to be proactive in preventing disputes in the first place. That means knowing the law (including all the new employment laws that were passed in California recently), being sure there are clear policies and procedures in place to address problems and making certain those avenues for resolution are communicated to staff and supervisors. Continue Reading ›

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