Articles Tagged with Los Angeles employment lawyer

A restaurant owner and reality television star is facing a class action for California wage theft and meal break violations at the West Hollywood establishment. She and her husband/co-owner are accused of violating numerous state labor laws by failing to pay minimum wage or overtime, refusing to give employees pay stubs, not paying gratuities that were earned and not providing adequate breaks as required by law.Los Angeles wage theft attorney

According to E! News, the plaintiff (filing on behalf of herself and others) alleges that her employers at SUR failed to follow the law for at least one of the last four years. Plaintiff was employed at the upscale establishment for three months, ending in January. While there, she was a hostess, tasked with answering phones, confirming reservations and seating patrons.

This is the second labor lawsuit that has been filed against the owners of SUR in recent months. Late last year, another former employee filed their own class action lawsuit alleging California labor law violations. That worker, a non-exempt employee for three months, was employed not only at SUR but also at the owners’ other restaurants, Tom Tom and Pump Restaurant Lounge. He too alleges that for the last four years, workers were denied minimum wages and overtime, proper meal and rest breaks, accurate wage statements or pay stubs at the end of their employment. Continue Reading ›

In the first AB5 enforcement lawsuit over California wage and hour violations, the state labor commissioner alleges that a gig-economy car wash company in Southern California is breaking the law by misclassifying workers as independent contractors when in fact they are employees. It’s the same argument that has been made in numerous employment lawsuits against gig economy giants like Uber and Lyft. employee misclassification

As our Los Angeles employee misclassification attorneys can explain, this issue has become so problematic because employees who are wrongly classified as independent contractors lose out on a host of employment benefits, including minimum wages, overtime, health insurance, tax breaks and underpayment of things like Social Security, Medicare, etc.

The defendant in this action, MobilWash, uses an app to offer on-demand car wash and detailing services. Customers can order the services, pay for them and provide a tip all through their phone. Workers use their own vehicles and supplies, go to the customer’s vehicle and provide the cleaning services. They must purchase their own uniforms, insurance, cleaning equipment and supplies and gas. Workers are not reimbursed for travel time or business expenses – as they would be if they were employees. Further, the company charges a $2 transaction fee for every tip the workers receive, something the labor commissioner says is illegal.

Recently, the Orange County Register editorial board posited that if the arrangement wasn’t working for those involved, it wouldn’t be successful. The labor commissioner says that’s not a solid legal argument, and that if a worker puts in 10 hours daily for six days each week, they’re entitled to more than $1,500 in weekly wages (which includes minimum wage plus overtime), something they aren’t receiving. The board argued that such companies are never going to operate like traditional factories, with workers spending 10 consecutive hours daily, clocking in and out, when the whole concept of the service is being on-demand. Continue Reading ›

Recently, presumptive Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden unveiled a broad plan to confront systemic racism and promote racial equity. The former vice president’s Racial Equity Plan is part of a larger Build Back Better economic proposal. This newest element – support of the BE HEARD Act – addresses workplace inequalities that are known to disproportionately impact minorities.Los Angeles racial discrimination lawyer

BE HEARD (Bringing an End to Harassment by Enhancing Accountability and Rejecting Discrimination in the Workplace), or H.R. 2148 has drawn praise from social justice advocates – yet earned the sharp ire of corporate interest groups. Essentially, it would (among other things) prohibit workplace harassment and discrimination under federal law – regardless of how many employees a company has – and require harassment training. It would further seek to address sexual harassment of tipped employees (a well-established problem) by requiring the cash wages paid to these workers be steadily increased until they meet the minimum wage for other workers.

As staunch regulatory critic Hans Bader wrote in the National Review, “(Under this plan), even the tiniest of employers would be saddled with unlimited legal liability for discrimination or harassment committed by an employee.” He added the law would alter the definition of sexual harassment in a way that would make small businesses vulnerable to liability for “trivial actions of their workers.”

As a longtime Los Angeles employment lawyer experienced in handling cases of racial discrimination and sexual harassment, I would note first that it’s a misconception that California employment lawsuits are or have ever been easy to win. Part of what this new law would do is establish a new liability standard for workplace harassment that “fulfills the Congressional intent” (as meticulously laid out in prior legislative action and case law) of providing broad protection from workplace discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, sex (including sexual orientation, gender identity, pregnancy, childbirth, a medical condition related to pregnancy or childbirth and sex stereotype), national origin, age, disability, genetic information and uniformed service status. Note the recognition of sexual orientation and gender identity – statuses that have protection in California, but not nationally. 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 ›

It’s being touted as one of the most consequential bills that would bolster employees’ ability to organize that the U.S. has seen in 80 years. The Protecting the Right to Organize Act, H.R. 2474, is slated to go before the U.S. House of Representatives next week, where it’s likely to pass. Unfortunately, it’s unlikely to gain much traction in the Senate, but it does signal an increasing push toward progressive labor legislation.Orange County labor lawyers

If enacted, the PRO Act would alter decades-old federal labor laws to shift more power to workers. This would extend to situations involving:

  • Employer-employee disputes;
  • Penalties for companies proven to have broken labor laws (including retaliation against workers attempting to unionize);
  • Collective bargaining rights for hundreds of thousands of workers who currently don’t have them.

Right-to-work laws, which is exist in 27 states, would also be weakened under the PRO Act. Continue Reading ›

Roughly 70 workers at a private, non-profit museum in Los Angeles is facing a possible class action lawsuit for allegedly violating California’s WARN Act, which compels employers to offer at least a 60-day advance warning both to employees and local government agencies if there will be a plant closure, major relocation or mass layoff. As our Los Angeles labor lawyers can explain, the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act, found in California Labor Code 1400-1408LC, entitles workers denied this notification to receive back pay and benefits for the period of violation (the period by which their advance notice fell short of those 60 days). Los Angeles WARN Act lawyer

While most of the Golden State’s wrongful termination laws pertain to the rights of individual employees, the WARN Act protects workers fired/laid off in connection with a mass layoff (50 or more workers laid off within 30 days of each other), a company closure or relocation of substantial business activities to a physical location more than 100 miles away. The law only applies to companies that have employed 75 or more workers in the year preceding, and companies are exempted if the closure/layoffs/relocation is due to some act of war or physical calamity. It’s similar to the U.S. WARN Act, 29 USC;2104(a), but extends greater worker protections.

This kind of advance notice is key for workers and their families, who will need time to transition and adjust to employment loss and seek alternative income sources and/or job training while still providing for their family in the immediate future. The reason local government is included in this notification is that the California Employment Development Department has an established Rapid Response Team to aid both employers and employees in the midst of a mass layoff or company closing. They offer information about dislocated worker services available, unemployment insurance options, income support and assistance with job training and job searches. Continue Reading ›

“No-rehire” clauses have long been boilerplate verbiage in employment lawsuit settlements. If you sue your employer for harassment or wage-and-hour violations or discrimination, you might well get compensation for your trouble – but you may still be out of a job. In California, that era is coming to an end. no rehire clause California

Starting Jan. 1, 2020, AB 749 will go into effect, stipulating that with only limited exception, all no-rehire provisions in employment settlement agreements will be considered void as a matter of law.

Gov. Gavin Newsom has signed the bill seeking to end this common practice, by which both sides agree to part ways, with the understanding the employee’s subsequent application won’t be considered or if by chance the worker is hired again, that employment can be automatically terminated. Continue Reading ›

An increasing number of tech-based software companies that hire workers in a non-traditional setting are facing down the potential of a wave of employment lawsuits – potentially class action litigation – because of the fact they have long likely been misclassifying workers. Employment attorneys for companies looking to ward off this potential expense are preemptively doling out checks. If cashed, these payments have the effect of a worker signing away any possible right to pursuit of a future claim.Los Angles employee misclassification worker

Workers are strongly advised against cashing these checks until reviewing their legal rights with a Los Angeles employee misclassification lawyer – because your claim to damages from an employee lawsuit may far exceed the amount on that check.

That’s because by designating drivers and others as “independent contractors” as opposed to employees, companies like Lyft, Uber and a new startup, Getaround Inc., are able to sidestep any duty to cover major expenses like retirement benefits, overtime, workers’ compensation and various liabilities to third parties for worker negligence. Companies also get away with denying routine rights, such as regular breaks and mealtimes. Collectively, this all adds up to significant coin. Continue Reading ›

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 ›

The overwhelming majority of American corporations listed in the Fortune 500 have settled at least one employment discrimination or sexual harassment lawsuit, according to a corporate industry study by a national accountability and development think-tank. Good Jobs First reports these included both individual employment lawsuits as well as class action claims, with 189 large firms like Bank of America and Coca-Cola and Walmart paying out nearly $2 billion in settlements and penalties since 2000 – roughly 35 percent of those stemming from private lawsuits (as opposed to those filed by the EEOC or Federal Contract Compliance Programs). Private lawsuits accounted for 79 percent of the $2 billion in payouts. Those are only the cases in which settlements were disclosed. employment discrimination attorney Los Angeles

The big business that has paid the most in disclosed employment discrimination claims is Bank of America, which has paid approximately $210 million in settlements. Coca-Cola is a close second at $200 million, Novartis in third at $183 million, Morgan & Stanley fourth at $150 million and Abercrombie & Fitch rounding out the top five at $90 million. Of the parent companies that disclosed employment lawsuit penalties, 40 percent were involved in more than one case.

Walmart had the largest number of cases, but had paid out less than the others in the last 20 years – 52 million. The study authors note this likely would have been much higher if Walmart v. Dukes, a 2011 U.S. Supreme Court case had a different outcome. In that case, a female Walmart worker filed for class certification alleging gender discrimination, alleging some 1.6 million former and current employees of the company qualified for the class. In a split 5-4 decision, the high court reversed the Ninth District’s ruling and determined the workers didn’t have enough in common for class certification.  Continue Reading ›

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