Articles Tagged with Orange County employment lawsuit

Chicken doesn’t come cheap. Or at least, not for the workers who toil to process it for the masses. chicken

A new report by Oxfam America asserts workers in U.S. poultry processing plants risk high rates of injury, illness, difficult working conditions and unsympathetic bosses. But perhaps the worst offense, the one that is the greatest assault on their dignity as human beings: Lack of access to adequate restroom breaks.

This takes a toll on all workers, but women especially. Routinely, the workers say they are denied requests to use the restroom. Supervisors not only deny or ignore their requests, they mock them for it. They threaten punishment. In some cases, they threaten to fire them. Workers told researchers it was not uncommon for them to wait up to an hour or more after making the request. Even when acquiesced, the supervisors usually set a time frame in which they must return.

Horrifyingly, workers say they are forced to wear diapers that allow them to urinate and defecate where they stand on the assembly line. They reduce the amount of liquids they drink – sometimes to a dangerous degree – so they won’t risk needing to use the restroom at work. They endure pain and discomfort and worse, serious health problems as a result of these violations of basic human rights.  Continue Reading ›

Professional cheerleaders are now recognized by California law as “employees,” entitled to minimum wages and overtime pay. It also provides them with sick leave, meal breaks and a host of other labor protections that are available to the team and other staffers. cheerleader

Now, instead of classifying them as “independent contractors,” they are deemed “employees,” with all the rights and benefits that title affords.

The legislation that changed their status, AB202, was signed by Gov. Jerry Brown after being introduced by Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez. She was motivated by a wage-and-hour lawsuit filed by the Oakland Raiderette cheerleaders. Gonzalez said short-changing women in any profession should not be tolerated, and cheerleaders were being treated as glorified volunteers. This was despite the long hours, extensive control the team had over almost every aspect of cheerleaders’ lives and the fines that were levied for minor infractions, such as gaining more than four pounds or forgetting to bring pom-poms to practice. Continue Reading ›

One of the ways companies frequently attempt to skirt overtime wage laws is to wrongly classify workers as exempt. They may fudge the definition of the job, or in some cases, simply look for any available legal loophole and stretch it to fit the situation. highwaywyoming

The recent case of  McMaster v. Eastern Armored Servs., Inc. is one in which an employer avoided paying overtime based on the Motor Carrier Act exemption. Employer was able to cite this act, at least for a time, because the worker’s duties were split, as were the type of vehicles she drove.

Let’s start by explaining that the Fair Labor Standards Act requires almost all employers to pay overtime wages to hourly workers. Professional motor carriers are generally exempt from this mandate, but a recent Congressional act waives the exemption for motor carrier workers who, either in whole or in part, operate vehicles weighing less than 10,000 pounds. The worker in this case argued she fell within the exception to the exemption – and the U.S. Court of Appeal for the Third Circuit sided with her, ordering the company to pay back wages for the all the overtime she was previously denied.

The California Chamber of Commerce recently came out with an informational bulletin describing the top things employers do to get sued. SONY DSC

Employment attorneys in Orange County know that there are of course situations in which employment law violations stem not from maliciousness or greed, but rather from a misunderstanding or misapplication of the law. It doesn’t make it any more acceptable to the employee who has been wronged. However, perhaps incorporating a greater amount of education might serve to reduce the number of employees who are improperly denied overtime, base wages and breaks.

In identifying the most common employer wage and hour law offenses, the chamber starts with the classification of workers. Employers may surmise that workers would prefer a constant salary. By labeling a worker exempt, an employer can avoid having to pay overtime and can avoid having to offer certain meal and res breaks.

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