Articles Tagged with Los Angeles employment attorney

A California wage lawsuit has yielded an increase in pay for California’s guest farmworkers and U.S. farmworkers in 2022. Los Angeles employment attorney

The wage increase is based on the USDA’s annual survey findings on farm labor, which are used to ascertain the rate of pay for seasonal, temporary agricultural workers in farms across California and the U.S. through the H-2A program. The H-2A program allows U.S. employers or agents who meet specific regulatory criteria to bring foreign nationals to the U.S. to fulfill seasonal agricultural jobs. Here in California, there are tens of thousands who work in these positions.

Wages for farmworkers are based on the USDA’s yearly analysis of farmworker pay across various regions of the U.S. However as our Orange County wage and hour employment attorneys can explain, this latest wage increase was frozen by former President Donald Trump, who sought to help farmers recover from lost profits and fallow fields following the early 2020 shutdowns of the COVID pandemic. The action would have locked in federal minimum wages for H-2 visa farmworkers, with the intention of saving growers roughly $1.6 billion over the course of a decade. Trump’s freeze was lauded by top agricultural companies, who said the move was critical in keeping their farms running and grocery stores stocked in a situation that otherwise would have significantly disrupted food supply chains.

On the worker side, though, the action was broadly derided. For one thing, growers were boasting significantly higher profit margins. For example, farmers of plants and livestock in Fresno County alone indicated a record year for gross total production, valued at nearly $8 billion. Furthermore, farmworkers were officially designated during the pandemic as essential workers – meaning they risked their lives to work. Farmworkers already are among the lowest paid workers in the U.S.

California alone has over 3,000 certified H-2A slots, accounting for more than 10 percent of these positions nationally. Employers typically offer these workers the absolute bare minimum wage. Those are the workers that are going to benefit from this wage adjustment, which on average nationally is expected to go up 6 percent next year compared to this year’s rates.

Companies that work with H-2A employees are required to pay the state’s minimum wage, but that can’t be lower than the Adverse Effect Wage Rate (AEWR), which is the average wages for crop/livestock workers in a given region. H-2A workers in California earned $14.77 last year. Next year, they’ll be earning $17.51. 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 ›

California wage theft has cost a construction company more than $1.7 million in fines by the state Labor Commissioner’s Office. The fines stem from alleged failure to pay workers, resulting in overtime and minimum wage violations.Los Angeles wage and hour attorney

As our Los Angeles wage theft attorneys can explain, companies that steal fair wages from their workers have increasingly been the target of state regulators and labor authorities. Employees who have been victimized by wage theft do have legal recourse, and should consult with an experienced employment lawyer.

In this case, according to FOX 5 San Diego, the construction company in question reportedly failed to pay employees properly as they worked on jobs at both residential and construction projects. It’s purported that 265 workers were impacted by these unfair practices.

The labor commissioner launched an investigation into alleged wage and hour violations starting three years ago, when workers first began reporting they were only being paid for 40 hours of work a week, despite consistently working overtime on mixed-use construction projects in both Los Angeles and San Diego.

The company is reportedly appealing the citations, which allocated $1.6 million in payments to the workers. The Labor Commissioner’s Office will hold a hearing to determine whether the citations will be affirmed, modified or dismissed.

It should be noted that just because a company agrees to pay workers a flat rate doesn’t mean they should be denied pay for overtime hours they earned. California labor laws are in place to protect workers. It’s imperative that workers track their hours and how much they are paid so that they can take action against an employer that swindles them. 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 ›

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 ›

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 ›

California may see an increase in workplace retaliation claims since Assembly Bill 749 , which bans no-rehire clauses with limited exception in employment dispute settlements, was enacted this month. Los Angeles employment attorney

Prior to the passage of this bill, it was common practice for companies to settle discrimination or harassment claims with employees with a settlement that included a no-rehire clause. These provisions can vary in scope, but usually indicated that any future application for employment by that person wouldn’t be considered, and if the worker was hired by chance, he or she would be terminated automatically.

The California Chamber of Commerce had argued the law wasn’t necessary because there were already existing laws against overly-broad no-rehire clauses (specifically, Business and Professional Code section 16600).

The new law, codified in the California Code of Civil Procedure section 1002.5, indicates that no agreement to settle an employment dispute should contain any provision that prohibits, prevents or otherwise restricts an aggrieved person who is settling from obtaining future employment with that employer or any parent company, division, affiliate, subsidiary or contractor. Companies can include no-rehire provisions in cases where the company made a good faith determination that the person signing committed sexual harassment or sexual assault OR where there was a legitimate (i.e., non-discriminatory, non-retaliatory) reason for firing that person. There is also an exclusion for severance agreements. Continue Reading ›

The state’s new worker classification law takes effect on Jan. 1st. Those behind the AB5 legislative effort know it was an uphill battle – but it appears the fight isn’t over yet. Court cases challenging the law are piling up, some companies are saying they simply won’t cooperate (likely to lead to more litigation) and there is a looming multimillion-dollar ballot initiative gearing up for next November. employee misclassification lawyer

Our Los Angeles employee misclassification attorneys will be watching these developments closely to see how these disputes unfold.

AB5 is going to make it more difficult for companies to label their workers as independent contractors rather than employees. Legislators backing the measure pointed to mounting evidence that companies are improperly classifying workers as independent contractors to avoid the added expenses of things like workers’ compensation benefits, health insurance, minimum wage, overtime, unemployment insurance, the right to unionize and other benefits to which employees (but not independent contractors) are entitled.

Employer preparations for AB5 should already be well underway. If you operate a small business and still aren’t sure about whether your operations fall under the umbrella of AB5 or if so, how to restructure your employment model, it’s imperative that you contact a longtime employment law firm to help protect your legal interests. Some companies have been able to find creative workarounds that satisfy employees as well as their bottom line. This can include using staffing agencies, having contractors form an LLC (to qualify for a business-to-business exemption) and other strategies.  Continue Reading ›

As an employee in California, you have rights under both state and federal law that protect you from harassment and discrimination based on your belonging to a protected classification. For example, if you are a woman paid substantially less than male colleagues doing the same work, that’s a form of gender discrimination on the basis of sex – a protected class. Los Angeles employment lawyer

In fielding hundreds of inquiries over the years from California workers whose rights are being violated on-the-job, our Los Angeles employment attorneys want to ensure as many people as possible understand what exactly harassment, discrimination and retaliation is and how to best address it.

What is Workplace Discrimination? 

Discrimination is adverse treatment by an employer against workers who fall into a protected class. California employers are prohibited from discriminating against employees on the basis of:

  • Race
  • Color
  • National origin
  • Religion
  • Gender (including pregnancy, childbirth and related medical conditions)
  • Disability
  • Age
  • Citizenship status
  • Genetic information
  • Marital status
  • Sexual orientation
  • Gender identity/expression
  • AIDS/HIV
  • Military/veteran status
  • Status as a victim of domestic violence, stalking or assault

This is much more extensive than the federal law, and some cities in California have their own rules that extend protections even further. Continue Reading ›

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