Articles Tagged with Orange County employment lawyer

Equal pay rights in California are guaranteed under both state and federal laws that promise to protect employees from disparate wages paid on the basis of gender or race.

Recently, the U.S. Women’s National Soccer team reached a $22 million proposed settlement in a class action equal pay lawsuit against the U.S. Soccer Federation. The settlement stemmed from a longtime legal dispute filed eight years ago alleging federal equal pay violations by five higher-profile members of the women’s national team. Each said that as a member of the women’s team, they were paid thousands of dollars less than their male counterparts – at virtually every level of the competition. This was followed by a 2019 lawsuit filed by 28 players alleging female players were consistently paid less than their male counterparts – despite consistently showing up the men’s team on field performance. That claim was filed months after the U.S. men’s soccer team failed to qualify for the World Cup, while the women’s team won its second tournament in a row. Amid the chants in the crowd were demands for, “Equal pay!” California equal pay act

In 2020, a federal court dismissed the claim by the women’s team that they were paid less for the same work (among other parts of their claim), finding there were key differences in the contract structurers of the men’s team versus the women’s team. Other aspects of the women’s team claims pertaining to working conditions were settled out-of-court a few months ago. Several of the players then filed an appeal on the equal pay claims, arguing the judge failed to analyze the rates of pay or the fact that women needed to win more often than men to receive the same bonuses. The $22 million settlement is the result of that appeal.

Our Los Angeles equal pay attorneys recognize that the settlement amount was only one-third the amount players initially sought, but it still amounts to a significant victory. It also opens the door to discuss what types of California equal pay claims are valid, and what they can entail.

The California Fair Pay Act

Continue Reading ›

A former human resources employee of Amazon not only won $300,000 in a California employment lawsuit alleging disparate treatment, she was also awarded $2 million in attorneys’ fees.Los Angeles employment lawyer

The Orange County Register reports the Los Angeles Superior Court granted the 34-year-old plaintiff nearly $2.5 million in attorneys’ fees in a hearing following a favorable verdict in October on claims of wrongful termination, retaliation, failure to engage in the interactive process, and violation of the California Family Rights Act. (She did not prevail on other claims for disability discrimination and pregnancy discrimination.) The attorneys’ fees awarded are about $1 million less than what plaintiff’s lawyers sought, but far more than the $630,000 defense lawyers argued they should receive.

According to court records, plaintiff testified during the trial that her bosses at an Amazon Fresh facility in Southern California were initially supportive when she asked for accommodations to help her get through pregnancy-related bouts of nausea and morning sickness. However, when she asked for additional coaching that would allow her to be more effective, they became less receptive and ultimately shut her down.

Plaintiff was pregnant with her third child, and “didn’t want to be labeled a complainer” – or especially to lose her job.

Attorneys for her former employer argued that plaintiff arbitrarily – and systematically – began not showing up to work after announcing her pregnancy three months after being hired. Her supervisors alleged she missed 20 days over a six-month period, though she allegedly never sought permission and, in some cases, failed to tell her supervisors or co-workers that she wouldn’t be there.

Plaintiff, who is from Santa Ana, reportedly asked for severance – and then rejected it and chose not to work – after she was informed there would be an investigation into her conduct, defense lawyers said.

Plaintiff, however, maintains she powered through months of nausea and back pain during her commute to show up for work every day – yet was fired just days before she was scheduled to take her maternity leave. This was despite her bosses saying they would support her working from home, noting she could carry out the same tasks on a laptop at home as she normally did at the office. The only thing she’d really miss out on was in-person meetings, but the communication systems in place at Amazon made it easy for her to still participate – and help employees as she normally did, while still working remotely.

However, when she returned from taking some medical leave, her boss reportedly seemed upset with the frequency of her medical appointments. The boss urged yoga and positivity – but seemed reticent to accommodate doctor visits. He also questioned whether she was even legally entitled to the amount of maternity leave she planned to take. Then, days before she was scheduled to begin her maternity leave, she was fired.

Now, she has not only prevailed in her California employment lawsuit, but has been awarded attorney’s fees as well.

When Are Employment Lawsuit Defendants Responsible for Attorneys’ Fees?

Continue Reading ›

California provides numerous protections for workers’ wage and hours. Most employers strive to pay their workers fair wages for the hours they work, but end up making mistakes and violate these laws. As our Orange County wage and hour lawyers can explain, even unintentional violations can have serious consequences for the business and owner. Companies have a legal obligation to be aware of their duties. Orange County employment lawyer

Here, we outlined the Top 3 Wage and Hour Mistakes made by employers. Continue Reading ›

Employers in California have a fair amount of discretion when it comes to whether to hire or fire someone for use of illegal substances. But what of legal substances? Orange County employment lawyer

Our Orange County employment lawyers know the question has gotten thornier as more states have legalized marijuana and since hemp-dervived CBD (the non-intoxicating cannabis compound) was legalized at the federal level with the 2018 Farm Bill.

As long as marijuana remains illegal under federal law, employers will likely retain the right to fire employees who test positive for the drug in routine screenings (so long as the screening process isn’t applied in a way that is discriminatory to any protected group). That’s not to say employers are wise to continue with such a policy, given the growing public acceptance for recreational and medicinal use of the drug. Strict no tolerance policies could result in companies losing valuable talent for no good reason. But they’d still technically be within their right to do it. They are also within their rights to prohibit marijuana on their premises, even if an employee uses the drug for medicinal purposes.

The rights of employees who use CBD (cannabidiol) products is a bit murkier. We’re just now beginning to see courts weigh in on worker rights where CBD is concerned. Continue Reading ›

Back in November, the U.S. Department of Labor rescinded the controversial Obama-era 80/20 Rule, dictating how restaurants paid tipped workers, barring employers from taking tip credit from workers who spend more than 20 percent of their time doing non-tipped work. Now, Orange County fair wage attorneys understand a federal judge for the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Missouri rejected the DOL’s guidance, finding it “unpersuasive and unworthy.”restaurant worker tips

The judge further stated that the Labor Department’s issuance of an opinion letter abruptly shifting gears on this issue after 10 years of consistently construing such regulation as limited by the 80/20 rule wouldn’t persuade the court to apply a new interpretation of litigation. Noting the DOL gave zero reasoning or evidence of any in-depth consideration for reversing its position, and it doesn’t stand up to the standard set by the U.S. Supreme Court, and characterized the November rule change as a “sudden surprise” and an “unjustified departure” from the agency’s previous guidance.

Per the Fair Labor Standards Act, 29 USC s. 201, employers must pay workers at least $2.13 hourly for their wages, then take a tip credit in order to make up the difference between the worker’s wages and federal minimum wage. The 80/20 rule arose because tipped workers were spending an extensive amount of time carrying out non-tip-generating duties, like rolling silverware or setting tables. The updated guidance from the DOL was that the agency was no longer going to limit the amount of time workers could spend performing those duties.  Continue Reading ›

As 2018 nears to a close, Orange County employment attorneys are looking ahead to California labor law changes in 2019. Also, it’s not a bad idea to review for employers to review recent case law precedents and best practices and for employees to educated themselves on key facts regarding their rights and the most common types of employment lawsuits. California labor law 2019

If you have questions regarding a specific California employment law issue, our dedicated legal team at The Nassiri Law Group is available to meet for free initial consultations. Our Labor and Employment Practice Areas range from wrongful termination to sexual harassment to Family Medical Leave Act violations and a host of discriminatory practices.

2019 Wage Law Changes in California

Let’s start with changes in wage laws. A new law passed in 2016 requires incremental minimum wage increases annually in the Golden State. Last year, per the California Department of Industrial Relations, companies with 25 or fewer employees were required to pay a minimum hourly wage of $10 while those with 26 or more employees were mandated to pay $10.50. This year, both increased by $0.50 hourly. Next year, it raises to $11 hourly for smaller employers and $12 hourly for bigger companies. By 2023, the minimum wage in California will be $15 hourly. Be aware that where federal, state or local wage laws apply, the employer is required to abide the stricter standard that is most beneficial to the employee. Minimum wage is the same for minors as adults and for full-time as well as part-time employees. If you rely on tips, companies cannot use your tip credit toward your minimum hourly wage, and unlike federal law set by the Fair Labor Standards Act, California law requires employers pay the full state minimum wage before tips.  Continue Reading ›

California has long been an economic powerhouse. And while layoffs have been consistently declining since the end of the Great Recession, the reality is some workers are still facing the possibility of being let go. As our Orange County employment attorneys can explain, companies in the Golden State that fall under the California Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification (WARN) Act have specific responsibilities – in addition to those offered employees under federal law – to give proper notice to workers and their families in the event of an impending layoff.Orange county employment lawyers

Specifically, affected employees, as well as state and local representatives, are entitled to at least two months (60 days) of advance notice of a plant is closing, relocation or mass layoff. Corporations obligated under this provision are those that employ 75 or more employees – full or part-time. The federal rule for WARN only includes workers who have been with the company at least 6 of the 12 months prior to the date of required notice. If a plant closing or relocation involves 50 or more employees in a 30-day span – regardless of the percentage of that workforce – they need to give notice. (Relocation is defined as any move that is 100 miles away or more). Continue Reading ›

Partisan tensions across the U.S. have gone from a long-simmer to near-boiling in recent months. Although most Americans define their politics as somewhere in the middle, an increasing number feel compelled to draw hard lines in the sand and publicly denounce or support certain candidates, policies or ideals. However, doing so could put you at odds with your employer. California employment attorneys have been fielding an uptick in queries on wrongful termination and just how far First Amendment free speech protections shield workers and their right to independent political views and expression.San Bernardino wrongful termination attorney blog

In an out-of-state case making headlines, a former city government employee has filed a discrimination lawsuit alleging he was fired because of his vocal support of the Republican president, which he expressed by wearing a red “Make America Great Again” hat to work and in discussions with co-workers. He is asserting violation of his First Amendment free speech and Fourteenth Amendment equal protection rights, as well as discrimination based on age (59) and race (white).

The short of it is that while employment retaliation for a worker’s political activity is not covered under federal anti-discrimination laws, California statute is more stringent. The Bill of Rights in the U.S. Constitution protects citizens from free speech infringement by the government. It does not extend this protection to the workforce. What’s more, the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2010 ruling in Citizens United v. FEC means companies can freely endorse and campaign for political candidates and even try to influence a worker’s vote. They cannot, however, demand that you choose a certain candidate. Continue Reading ›

Employment lawsuits have been on the rise for the last several years, with complaints ranging from sexual harassment to wage-and-hour disputes. Some of these cases have involved massive settlement agreements. It’s likely this trend will continue, though the success could be curbed if the new U.S. Supreme Court justice swings the court toward decisions that tend to favor arbitration agreements and the prohibition of class action employment lawsuits.workers2

As The Associated Press recently reported, the SCOTUS recently accepted review of three cases that center on the viability of arbitration agreements in workplace disputes. Such agreements require workers to use a private arbitrator to resolve grievances, rather than avail themselves of the courts.

The question is whether this deprives workers of due process. Private arbitrators tend to come down on the side of the business, and even those cases decided in favor of the worker tend to result in modest awards in comparison to what they might receive if they had prevailed in court. Plus, arbitrators don’t have to follow the law and proceedings aren’t public, which can strip the employer of any real incentive to change the underlying offensive action in the future. Continue Reading ›

A California technology company is facing down claims of racial discrimination against employees, who are the subject of a lawsuit alleging white men were given preference over minorities with similar qualifications.computer

USA Today reports the U.S. Department of Labor is suing Oracle America, a technology systems company that is accused of paying its white, male workers more than others and discriminating against non-white applicants in the course of its hiring and recruiting efforts. The DOL asserted the company is barred from engaging in discriminatory practices, especially because it receives hundreds of millions of dollars as a contractor for the federal government.

The company vehemently denies the allegations, arguing they are wholly without merit and motivated by politics. The firm is responsible for manufacturing much of the hardware and software utilized by federal government agencies. Continue Reading ›

Contact Information