Articles Tagged with Los Angeles employment lawyer

Are COVID-19 vaccine mandates legal in California? It’s a query increasingly being asked of our Los Angeles employment attorneys. California employer vaccine mandates

Employer vaccine mandates may soon become the norm, at least in California, if not beyond. Large employers – particularly those in California and New York – are moving to have their employees get vaccinated or tested regularly for COVID-19. Recently, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs mandated vaccines for its health care workers and President Joe Biden is expected to announce that all federal employees will be required to either be vaccinated or regularly tested. Masking mandates are also coming back into effect. As of right now, many private sector employers have stopped short of requiring vaccines as a condition of employment, but the growing thread of the Delta variant of the coronavirus may compel them to shift course. A growing number of L.A. bars and restaurants are going so far as to require patrons – let alone employees – to prove they are vaccinated.

Generally, employers can mandate vaccines, but it depends on where you live. Further, as a Los Angeles employment lawyer can explain, accommodations must be made for those with religious exemptions and disabilities, as well as those in unions.

The thinking behind these initiatives is that unless and until more people are vaccinated, infections, hospitalizations and deaths are likely to increase drastically across the country. With this, many major companies such as Lyft, Google and Facebook are requiring worker vaccines, as are universities. The only exceptions are those with medical or religious exemptions.

In response, we’re starting to see some employment lawsuits (wrongful termination) crop up. In Texas, for example, a hospital faced a lawsuit from more than 100 employees who were vaccine averse. There are also university students in Indiana who allege the school’s vaccine mandate is unconstitutional.

However, the history of vaccine mandates in the U.S. is actually a long one. Continue Reading ›

In a federal appeal involving a class action lawsuit alleging discriminatory medical inquiries and exams as a condition of hiring, the California attorney general has filed an amicus brief decrying these practices and outlining the state’s robust anti-discrimination laws. The AG also noted the possible repercussions – particularly for those with disabilities – if a lower court’s ruling is allowed to apply to all Californians.disability discrimination lawyer Orange County

The lawsuit, pending in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, alleges that a health care company – one of the biggest providers of occupational health services in the country – unlawfully required applicants to to answer “highly intrusive, non-job-related and discriminatory” questions about their health. These reportedly have included information on prospective applicants’ hair loss, menstrual issues, sexually-transmitted diseases, mental illness, HIV, hemorrhoids and disability status.

Such inquiries, state Attorney General Rob Bonta asserts, run contrary to the California Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) and underscore how potentially harmful pre-employment screenings can be.

The lawsuit, Raines v. U.S. Healthworks Medical Group, centers around an employer’s contract with a corporate third-party agent responsible for pre-employment screening. Plaintiffs allege that when they refused to answer certain questions, such as one relating to menstruation, offers of employment were revoked. Continue Reading ›

The State of California can begin enforcing a labor law geared to combat employee misclassification that trucking companies say will force them to eliminate the use of independent owner-operators. The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that a judge in San Diego was wrong to hand down an injunction barring the state’s labor commissioner from enforcing the 2019 Assembly Bill 5.Los Angeles employee misclassification lawyer

The statute codified the 2018 ruling in Dynamex Operations W. v. Superior Ct. by the California Supreme Court, formalizing the so-called “ABC Test” of ascertaining when a person is an employee or an independent contractor.

As our Los Angeles employment attorneys can explain, employee misclassification has long been a serious problem in California, with companies intentionally classifying workers wrongly as independent contractors rather than employees to avoid responsibility for things like minimum wage, required breaks, workers’ compensation insurance coverage and more. Continue Reading ›

Now that there is a vaccine for COVID-19, an increasingly common question our Los Angeles employment lawyers are getting is whether employers can make employees get one. Los Angeles employment lawyer

The short answer is: Yes (probably). However, there are some caveats, and not all the relevant legal issues are clear-cut in this situation. What’s more, whether workplaces will actually fire workers who refuse probably depends on the employee’s industry, specific job, etc.

Guidance released by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission stated that employers can set forth a policy of mandatory vaccination if the need is job-related or if being unvaccinated would pose a direct risk to workers, customers or themselves. That’s an argument a whole lot of employers – from health care providers to grocery stores – could fairly make.

Still, there are likely two bases on which employees could object:

  • Potential exacerbation of an established medical condition or disability.
  • It goes against their sincerely-held religious beliefs.

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 ›

Employment activists in California are funding an analysis by legal research and policy managers at UCLA Labor Center to ascertain how feasible it might be to pass laws requiring “just cause” for employee termination to replace “at will” employment – at least in some industries. New York state recently passed a law requiring fast food industry employers to have “just cause” before terminating employees – a major shift from the standard “at will” employment that gives employers the power to terminate any employee at any time – and for most reasons, so long as it isn’t discriminatory and retaliatory.employment lawyer

Requiring “just cause” could potentially shield workers from firings that are unfair, arbitrary or retaliatory. In the case of the New York law, fast food employers will have to have a good reason to fire a worker, prove it if the worker contests it and establish systems of progressive discipline for most terminations. There is hope (or fear, depending on your viewpoint) that this same type of law could be passed in cities with progressive worker protections, or possibly statewide in a place like California. Continue Reading ›

A number of new California employment laws will go into effect in January 2021. Employers should keep abreast of their responsibilities, while workers should maintain an understanding of their rights. Here, our Los Angeles employment attorneys break down some of the most impactful new measures pertaining to employee leave, pay, discrimination and classification.Los Angeles employment lawyer

AB 2399 – Paid Family Leave for Active Military Duty. This bill, signed in September and effective Jan. 1, 2020, extends the definition of Paid Family Leave under the state’s Unemployment Insurance Code to include coverage for active military members and their families. Previously, the state’s Paid Family Leave Program provides wage replacement benefits for workers who need to take time off to care for a seriously ill immediate family member or to bond with a new child right after birth or adoption. Now, the law allows for a qualifying exigency related to the active duty or call to active duty of one’s spouse, domestic partner, child or parent in the U.S. Armed Forces. Continue Reading ›

For nearly a quarter century, California has banned affirmative action programs that allow consideration of gender or race in public employment, contracting and university admissions. In the most recent election, California voters decided overwhelmingly to reject a ballot initiative that would have reversed this. Only one of the state’s 58 counties voted to approve Prop. 16, which was ultimately defeated by a margin of more than 2 million votes statewide. Los Angeles gender discrimination lawyer

As our Los Angeles employment attorneys can explain, that means that for now, California will continue to be just one of 10 states that bar gender- and race-based programming benefitting those well-documented to be at a disadvantage in these arenas. Continue Reading ›

A former employee of the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative (CZI), the $80 billion philanthropic company Facebook Founder Mark Zuckerberg launched with his wife, pediatrician Priscilla Chan, has filed a complaint alleging racial discrimination. The worker, who is Black, worked for the company for two years, beginning in the fall of 2018.racial discrimination lawyer

The complaint alleges that while CZI speaks a big game of diversity and valuing employees of all backgrounds, Black workers are paid less, valued less, marginalized and denied opportunities within the firm. While non-Black employees are encouraged and supported in their advancement efforts, Black employees are slapped with an “aggressive” label and shut down. When Black workers expressed these concerns to superiors, the company responded defensively rather than accepting responsibility and trying to address the problems, the complaint alleges.

CZI is the company into which the Zuckerbergs have funneled 99 percent of their Facebook stock, to be used for charitable causes. In June, shortly after the death of George Floyd, Zuckerberg posted that CZI has given more than $40 million annually for a number of years to organizations committed to addressing racial injustice. Continue Reading ›

As we enter into the holiday season (no matter how different it may look this year than in year’s past), our Los Angeles employment lawyers decided this was a good time to review employer obligations for holiday pay, hours, time off requests and more.Los Angeles employment lawyer

The following are frequently asked questions pertaining to holiday work:

  • Is my employer required to give me time off for the holidays if I ask? Not in California. The only exception is a religious holiday accommodation (more on that later). Any time that you work on the weekend or a holiday will be treated the same as if you were working any other day. As noted by the California Department of Industrial Relations, your employer is under no obligation to give you paid holidays (though depending on the type of business, many do as an employment perk). Furthermore, your employer is not required to close its business on any holiday (though many do for select holidays, like Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Eve and/or New Year’s Day). Continue Reading ›
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