Articles Tagged with wage and hour lawsuit

Mistreatment of immigrant employees unfortunately happens all too often, as some employers take advantage of workers’ lack of English skills and fear of potential deportation. Holding these firms accountable for such discrimination is a primary goal of our L.A. employment discrimination lawyers. employment discrimination

One’s immigration status or language skills should have no bearing on the way a company treats its workers.

Recently in Illinois, two restaurants and an employment agency were ordered to pay nearly $215,000 in back wages and penalties to a number of immigrant workers who were both mistreated and underpaid. Defendants in the matter – a sushi restaurant, a hibachi restaurant and an employment agency in Chinatown – are all expected to abide the consent decree. A judge will be in charge of overseeing the execution of the settlement, which partly requires the businesses to make a notable change in their employment practices.  Continue reading

An exotic dancer wishing to pursue a class action wage-and-hour lawsuit against her former employer will not be compelled to arbitrate her claim – despite previously signing an arbitration agreement prior to employment.wage and hour lawyer

According to the decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, the arbitration clause plaintiff signed is not applicable to a proposed class action that asserts the strip club employer misclassified dancers as independent contractors rather than employees. In a unanimous ruling, justices determined the agreement was only applicable for claims that arose under her employment agreement – not statutory claims such as a wage-and-hour lawsuit.

Misclassification of workers is a serious and ongoing problem, leading to workers being underpaid and denied many important benefits of employment. Misclassification involves the practice of labeling workers as independent contractors, as opposed to employees. The benefit for employers with this, as noted by the National Conference of State Legislatures, is they avoid paying unemployment and other taxes on workers, and also from covering them on workers’ compensation insurance and unemployment insurance.  Continue reading

A yoga company has agreed to settle claims of unfair wages and failure to meet minimum wage obligations for $1.65 million, according to Bloomberg, which detailed the proposed settlement.yoga

The case, before the California Northern District Court in San Francisco, stemmed from allegations by students that they were paid to clean the studios in exchange for free or discounted memberships.

The situation sheds light on how “bartering” can be inherently unfair to one side, and also legally pretty tricky. There is no provision of state or federal law that allows companies to draw up minimum wage obligations with in-kind payments, like the ones extended by this studio. Employees must be paid at least the minimum wage.  Continue reading

Workers hired to clean up asbestos are dealing with one of the most dangerous substances in the world. Asbestos exposure is known to cause latent diseases such as lung cancer, asbestosis and mesothelioma. These conditions can be aggressive and, in the case of mesothelioma, is terminal. The substance was used in so many building and construction materials in the last century, and its removal in renovation and demolition requires specially-trained crews who must be meticulous in their safety precautions.asbestos

Now, prosecutors are alleging that a group of these workers was denied proper wages and benefits. The case is emerging from the Boston, Mass. area, where many of the older buildings are riddled with these cancerous fibers. The region is going through a construction and renovation boom, and that means asbestos removal and demolition contractors are very busy right now. But the U.S. Justice Department asserts that is no excuse for cutting corners when it comes to workers’ wages.

Asbestos abatement jobs in the state totaled nearly 26,000 last year, which was a 65 percent uptick just over what it was five years ago. This boom will continue so long as renovations and demolitions of older structures continue.  Continue reading

When we see a product that says, “Made in the USA,” we assume that means the workers who brought that product into being were treated and paid fairly. But unfortunately, as a recent study by the U.S. Department of Labor reveals, that is not necessarily true – especially if the product we’re talking about is clothing made in L.A. sewing

The report notes that there are more than 40,000 people – mostly immigrant women – who work in clothing factors to the east and south of downtown Los Angeles. The U.S. Labor Department’s report indicates that many of those workers are paid far less than what they are legally entitled to receive. The government agency says long hours by workers typically don’t amount to overtime, as required by federal law for any worker who toils more than 40 hours weekly. Additionally, some worker are paid by the piece, which means they sometimes earn far less than even minimum wage. In some cases, factors, including TJ Maxx, Forever 21 and Ross, are paying worker as little as $3 an hour for their work.

The report indicated that 85 percent of the garment industry companies studied were in violation of federal record keeping and minimum wage laws. There were more than 660 investigations that involved some 5,160 workers over the course of three years. That amounted to an estimated $8.1 million in stolen wages. Continue reading

Donald Trump will be officially sworn into office in just two days. On that very same day, Senate committees will either vote to approve his top cabinet nominees or vote to advance the appointment to the full Senate. Other nominees may be considered in the following days. One of those will be fast-food executive Andrew Puzder, who has been a vocal critic of increases in minimum wage and an opponent of rules that would make more workers eligible to receive overtime pay. Trump has nominated him to serve as Secretary of the Labor Department. executive

Puzder is the CEO of CKE restaurants, which is the parent company that oversees burger chains Carl’s Jr. and Hardee’s. He is a staunch supporter of lowering corporate taxes and taxes on the wealthy, as well as loosening regulations for businesses in the hopes of job creation. He also strongly opposes the Affordable Care Act.

Now for some, these all sound like good ideas. For others, the fear is they will collectively be disastrous for the average American worker. But no matter where you stand on the political aisle, it should be of some concern that Puzder, who will be in charge of enforcing the Department of Labor’s rules, was a violator of those rules not so very long ago.  Continue reading

For denying fair wages to hundreds of truck drivers in California, retail giant Wal-Mart will have fork over $54 million in damages. The company may also face additional penalties from the state for violating California labor laws. truck

A federal jury decided a class action lawsuit recently in favor of hundreds of drivers who worked for the company between October 2005 and October 2015. They had been seeking $72 million in damages, so this verdict fell somewhat short, but legal experts agree was a plaintiff victory nonetheless. Additional penalties and damages could push the total amount owed by the firm well past the $150 million mark. The amount of those civil penalties will be determined by a judge.

The seven jurors ruled the company did not properly pay wages to its drivers in adherence to state law for certain activities, including washing and inspecting their trucks and during layovers. Most of the damages claimed by the workers were for the time spent during layovers.  Continue reading

For allegedly conspiring with other studios to “fix” the wages of workers to an artificially low rate, the DreamWorks animation company has agreed to pay $50 million. artists

DreamWorks filed a motion for a preliminary settlement in U.S. District Court, which if accepted would be the largest sum to date in a case that raises issues about the employment practices of all Hollywood animation studios.

The proposed settlement considered two others approved earlier this year involving Sony Pictures and Blue Sky Studios (owned by Twentieth Century Fox), which each agreed to pay visual effects producers and animators a combined $19 million for similar allegations of wage-fixing. These agreements stem from a class action lawsuit filed two years ago by a senior character effects artists for DreamWorks as well as a clothes and hair technical director for Sony. More plaintiffs later joined the action, alleging the animation studios conspired together to fix the wages and keep career opportunities stagnant for animators, software engineers, digital artists and other workers with technical expertise. Others named in the lawsuit include Lucasfilm, Pixar, ImageMovers Digital and Disney.  Continue reading

Amazon is working to shift its logistics duties away from parcel services like UPS and FedEx and more toward trucking company contractors. But now, the e-commerce company is facing legal challenges from those truck drivers who allege in their wage lawsuit that Amazon is a joint employer because of the level of control Amazon has over these workers.trucks

We saw this same legal reasoning in a recent California federal lawsuit against McDonald’s Corp., which agreed to pay a franchisee’s workers $3.75 million to settle a wage-and-hour class action lawsuit filed by workers who alleged the company had joint employer status because it controlled so many elements of the job. Meanwhile, McDonald’s has another case pending before the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), which is considering allegations of unfair labor practices as the joint employer of workers at franchise locations.

As the U.S. Department of Labor has laid out, joint employment exists when a worker is employed by two or more employers, such that the employers are responsible – individually and jointly – to comply with laws ensuring worker rights. Determining whether a company is a joint employer can be a complex process, and it involves an analysis of issues like:

  • Does the other employer supervise, control or direct the work?
  • Do employers share supervisory authority over workers?
  • Do employers treat employees as a pool of workers available to both?
  • Do they share customers or clients?
  • Is the employee’s work integral to the other employee’s business?
  • Are employer operations intermingled?

Continue reading

Starbucks Corp. baristas objecting to company policy to withhold taxes from their pay based on estimated tips – rather than actual tips – will have to take their dispute to state court. tipjar

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit decided in Fredrickson v. Starbucks Corp. that it lacked subject matter jurisdictions over plaintiff’s claims. Specifically, the federal-state comity doctrine – which is the idea that courts shouldn’t act in a way that demeans the jurisdiction, laws or judicial decisions of another jurisdiction – would prohibit the federal court from awarding any type of damages on the state-tax component of these claims. The federal tax component of the claim couldn’t be severed, justices ruled, so the entire action had to be decided in state court.

It’s a set back for the three plaintiffs, who filed the class action wage dispute lawsuit in Oregon.  Continue reading