Articles Tagged with wage and hour lawsuit

Our Los Angeles employment lawyers have been following the case of Grande v. Eisenhower Medical Center, which involves a dispute by a nurse against both a staffing agency (which hired her) and the staffing agency’s client (a medical center where she worked). The interesting thing about this case is that while the nurse had settled an employment class action lawsuit against the staffing agency, she continued pursuing a case against the medical center. Los Angeles employment lawyer

The medical center argued that this was not allowed because the prior class action settlement freed the staffing agency “and its agents” from future liability. However, the California Supreme Court has just ruled that the nurse may continue with her second class action lawsuit against the staffing agency’s client.

That ruling is noteworthy because it does not allow companies to sidle away from responsibility for labor law violations just by using a staffing agency.

According to court records, the plaintiff was employed by a nurse staffing agency who arranged for her to work at a hospital in Riverside. Wage and hour law violations at the hospital were what ultimately led to litigation. 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 ›

A hospital is asking the California Supreme Court to dismiss an employment lawsuit filed by a travel nurse who has already settled with the agency that directly hired her. The court’s decision in Grande v. Eisenhower will have potential implications for the hundreds of thousands of California workers employed by staffing agencies. travel nurse lawsuit California

There are an estimated 1.7 million traveling nurses employed in the U.S., a figure that’s grown substantially in recent years given how much more registered nurses and other health care professionals can make when they work with these agencies.

Our Orange County employment lawyers know the question here will be whether travel nurses – and others who work contract positions through agencies – will have grounds to take legal action against both the agency and the company where they worked.

According to court records, plaintiff worked for the agency at a hospital she said denied her required meal and rest breaks earned, wages for certain time frames when she worked, and overtime wages. She was a plaintiff in a class action lawsuit against the travel agency that assigned employees to hospitals throughout the state of California. The traveling nurse agency ultimately settled with the class – including this nurse. She received $162, as well as a class representative incentive bonus of $20,000. When the settlement was signed, she executed a release of all claims against the agency.

About a year later, plaintiff filed a second class action lawsuit – based on the same labor law violations – except this time, the defendant was the hospital where she worked. The hospital had not been a party to the previous lawsuit. The staffing agency intervened in the case, and insisted plaintiff could not bring a separate lawsuit against the hospital because all claims relating to this conduct had been settled with them in the previous class action.

The trial court ruled in turn limited questions as to the propriety of the lawsuit, and found that the hospital wasn’t released as a party under the previous settlement agreement nor was it in privity with the agency, and thus could not avail itself of the doctrine of res judicata (the principle that a case of action can’t be litigated more than once if it’s already been judged on its merits).

Attorneys for the hospital filed a writ of mandate and the staffing agency appealed. The California Court of Appeals in a 2-1 decision affirmed the trial court and denied the petitions of the two companies.

Now the question is before the California Supreme Court. Continue Reading ›

Fitness equipment and media company Peloton is accused of wage and hour violations in a California employment lawsuit, a proposed class action that was filed in Los Angeles Superior Court and which the company is trying to have removed to federal court.

The complaint was filed shortly after the 1st of the year and alleges Peloton violated numerous elements of the California Labor Code due to failure to pay fair wages and issuing inaccurate wage statements. Peloton employment lawsuit

As our Los Angeles employment attorneys understand it, the plaintiff was a hourly, non-exempt sales associate for about 6 years. He alleges the company denied him fair wages and other benefits during those six years.

More specifically, the nine-count complaint alleges: Continue Reading ›

The expectation when we accept a job is that our pay will increase incrementally the more experience and value we provide to the company. But as our Orange County wage and hour lawyers can explain, pay reductions can occur – and they aren’t necessarily illegal. Orange County wage theft attorney

Whether you are an hourly or salaried employee in California, you are entitled to receive the agreed-upon, legal rate of pay for the work you’ve already done. Bosses have the discretion to reduce hourly pay and salary rates just as they can raise them. What they should not do, however, is reduce pay without giving advance notice to the employee. Employees should have the option to decline to continue working at such a rate. Just as an employee can’t force an employer to pay them a higher rate without consent, an employer can’t force an employee to work for a rate to which they didn’t agree. Once the work is complete, the employer must pay the last agreed-upon rate.

Further, that agreed upon rate can’t in any case be lower than the California minimum wage. As of Jan. 1, 2022, the minimum wage for companies with 25 or fewer employees is $14/hr, and $15/hr for companies with 26 or more employees.

When Would a Company Reduce Worker Pay?

Ideally, worker pay would only go up. However, the reality of business sometimes is that employers must reduce expenses in order to stay in business. Or sometimes, employees aren’t meeting expectations, and it’s costing the company money.

The two main reasons companies reduce pay:

  • The business is having revenue issues and is faced with the decision to either cut employee pay or shut down. Many employees will prefer to be paid at lower rates than lose their jobs, but it’s important that employers provide notice of the change so employees can make an informed choice for themselves.
  • A significant job change, namely demotions, warrants reduced pay. When a worker is demoted, the previous rate of hourly pay or salary may be above the reasonable rate for the new position.

All this said, a company cannot refuse to pay you the agreed-upon rate for hours you’ve already worked. Continue Reading ›

The California Supreme Court is slated to decide a case expected to settle a long-running debate on whether waiting time penalties are recoverable for meal and rest break violations. Orange County employment lawyer

Employers, employees and labor law attorneys should be closely watching the case of Naranjo v. Spectrum Security Services, Inc. Petition for review of the case came after the Court of Appeal affirmed in part and reversed in part the original trial court judgment.

The state high court is being asked to resolve two primary questions:

  • Does a violation of California Labor Code Section 226.7 (requiring premium wage payment for meal and rest period violations) give rise to additional claims for paystub penalties and waiting time penalties when companies pay an employee regular wages for breaks?
  • What interest rate applies for unpaid premium wages under the law?

As our Orange County wage and hour lawyers can explain, it has to do with what additional penalties are owed when employers fail to meet their legal pay obligations to workers deprived of meal and rest breaks, as afforded under the law.

How This California Employment Law Case Arose

This is a class action lawsuit filed by the primary plaintiff on behalf of himself and other current/former employees of a private security company (government contractor) who alleged that violations of meal break and rest break laws entitled them also to derivative remedies under laws pertaining to wait time penalties and pay stub penalties. 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 ›

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 ›

Workers at Disneyland in Anaheim, CA are done with the fun and games – at least when it comes to being allegedly underpaid. The California minimum wage lawsuit says the park’s employees aren’t being a living wage. As a result, many have been forced to sleep in their cars, struggle to feed their families and keep up with basic necessities. Orange County wage and hour lawyers

In the Orange County Superior Court lawsuit, the workers accuse the Walt Disney Corporation of unfair business practices and unlawful conduct. The minimum wage in the City of Anaheim is $15-an-hour by ordinance (it’s currently $12 hourly in the state of California).

The plaintiffs, representing some 400 employees at the park, are pursuing back wages, restitution and damages.

Our Orange County wage and hour lawyers aren’t the least bit surprised to hear this. A survey conducted of 5,000 Disney workers two years ago revealed that nearly 75 percent of the company’s employees don’t earn enough in wages to cover basic expenses every month. More than 50 percent said they’d been evicted from their homes. Two-thirds reported they weren’t sure where their next meal was coming from.

So why now? Continue Reading ›

For the most part, business liability insurance policies do cover the cost of defense and settlements in numerous types of employee lawsuits. It usually comes down to the exact language in the policy, but coverage is often extended for claims of sexual harassment, wrongful termination and discrimination. This is of paramount concern to employers, but it’s also relevant to employee plaintiffs in employment litigation because if the insurer doesn’t cover it, the employer will be directly responsible. If the damage award is sizable enough and the company small enough, it could mean you’ll have difficulty collecting on the damage award in your employment lawsuit. wage and hour lawsuit

This is especially pertinent to those filing a claim for violation of California’s wage and hour laws. Many employer liability insurers don’t carry coverage for this type of claim in California. Wage and hour claims are often explicitly cited as an exclusion or else businesses pay a premium for coverage.

However, a recent California Court of Appeal decision paved the way for more wage and hour claims to be covered by employer liability insurers. In Southern California Pizza Company, LLC v. Certain Underwriters at Lloyd’s, London, the appellate panel ruled that wage and hour claims against a pizza shop (for failure to reimburse for reimbursable expenses) was not barred under the business’s policy exclusion on wage and hour claims.

Why? Continue Reading ›

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