Articles Tagged with Wage and hour lawyer

Tens of thousands of California fast-food workers at corporate-owned McDonald’s restaurants in California will be getting a cut of the $26 million class action lawsuit over years-old allegations of wage theft. Los Angeles wage theft lawyer

On average, each employee can expect to receive about $330, though some may have as much as $4,000 coming to them.

Business Insider reports the lawsuit was first filed seven years ago, with the corporation accused of engaging in numerous illegal practices to scam workers of fair wages, including:

  • Not paying all wages when they were due.
  • Not providing rest and meal breaks for workers.
  • Not paying overtime wages.
  • Not paying minimum wages.

Continue Reading ›

A group of California freelance journalists are suing the state over an independent contractor law that goes into effect Jan. 1, 2020, alleging it threatens free speech as well as their livelihood by requiring anyone who submits more than 35 pieces of content annually for a company to be considered an employee. In response, some companies like VOX Media have laid off workers en masse – or blacklisting California writers to hire those in other states. California employee misclassification lawyer

Plaintiffs in American Society of Journalists and Authros v. Becerra assert that AB5 was drafted with the mindset that most writers and reporters are working in the traditional newspaper print model. The reality today is most journalists and producers of content are working in the digital realm, which operates quite differently.

Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez (D-San Diego), the driving force behind AB5, said that while she sympathizes with legitimate freelancers who may have lost substantial income as a result of this measure, she likened media corporations that exploit workers to vultures. In other words, these weren’t good jobs anyway.

In fact, as our Los Angeles wage and hour lawyers know, some of these companies were already facing litigation for alleged employee misclassification. In one case, a writer who worked as a “site manager” for Deadspin wrote five articles weekly, managed other writers, policed the comment section and took directives from the media company’s management. For all this, she was compensated $125 monthly, which breaks down to about $6-an-hour – well below the minimum wage. But as an “independent contractor,” she wasn’t entitled to minimum wage. The reality is this kind of arrangement was probably illegal under existing employment law. AB5 makes it easier to hold these businesses accountable, and it’s not even the first of its kind in the country. Continue Reading ›

Employee rest periods and overtime are worker rights guaranteed in California by statute and overseen by regulators at the state’s Department of Industrial Relations. Although there are exceptions, most workers are guaranteed at least 10 minutes of rest for every 10 hours worked and must be paid overtime for every hour worked over 40. The laws are clear, and yet our employment wage and hour lawyers know far too many companies run afoul of them. employee rest breaks

Some large banks in the country have been accused – and made to pay – repeatedly for failures in providing employees with rest breaks or pay overtime as required by law – in California and other states.

Recently, a federal judge in New Jersey approved a $35 million settlement to current and former employees at Wells Fargo & Co. who were made to work unpaid overtime outside normal hours. That lawsuit was initially filed three years ago, with the financial firm’s accused of not paying for all hours worked and/or not paying overtime. Workers were reportedly forced to work off-the-clock in order to meet unrealistic sales targets that would be impossible to achieve in a typical 40-hour workweeks.

That same bank had previously been accused of rest break violations. Continue Reading ›

Although federal labor laws cut employers a break when it comes to payment of “de minimus” work – that which is “trivial,” and only takes just a few minutes. In other words, the de minimum rule employers can compel workers to complete a minimal amount of work off-the-clock, rather than making them clock back in for an occasional couple minutes here-and-there.Los Angeles employment lawyer

However, a California Supreme Court decision last year held that defense was not applicable in the Golden State, as our lawmakers and courts expressly sought to provide greater protection for workers compared to federal law.

The state high court’s ruling in Troester v. Starbucks has proven a precedent, on which another federal appellate court ruling has been based. Continue Reading ›

Does California’s Wage Order 7 require retailers to pay employees required to call ahead two hours before their “on-call shift,” even if those workers aren’t required to come in to work? That was the question recently at issue in the case of Ward v. Tilly’s Inc., wherein a California appellate court (in a divided opinion) reinstated a class action lawsuit against an Orange County retailer for alleged failure to do so. Orange County wage and hour lawyer

According to the complaint, workers say they were required to call in two hours before each previously-scheduled “on-call shift.” Orange County wage and hour lawyers know this is common practice among retailers, designed to optimize scheduling in an industry where staffing needs can fluctuate not only seasonally, but weekly, daily and sometimes hourly.

In this case, the employer in question did not consider those employees who called in an told not to report to work as having “reported for work” within the meaning outlined by the relevant Wage Order 7. The employees disagree.

The trial court sided with the employer and dismissed the claim, finding the only way an employee could “report for work” was by physically showing up for work at the store.  Continue Reading ›

Following a recent Southern California labor strike of nearly 2,000 subcontracted orange pickers from one of the largest fruit companies in the U.S., Los Angeles wage and hour attorneys are looking even more closely at this industry, wherein an increasingly substantial number of workers are employed by third-party labor contractors, rather than the farm companies themselves. As far as agricultural workers go, those in California enjoy some of the best labor law protections in the country. However, workers employed by these third-party firms are often exempted from some of the required protections they’d otherwise enjoy under state law, including overtime pay.Los Angeles farm worker rights attorney

Much of it comes down to power disparities, the wink-and-nod regulators give to the companies that fulfill demand for undocumented workers and loopholes many farms have long exploited.

This most recent strike began after one of the state’s top citrus producers slashed the price-per-bin pay on mandarins harvested. Previously, they were primarily focused on so-called “clementines,” which are smaller, but then shifted more harvest work to the larger mandarins. The rate-per-bin was dropped from $53 to $48. The company told The Los Angeles Times this was due to a “seasonal shift,” but a farm union spokesman stated employees had always been paid the same per-bin rate, regardless of the variety they were picking. 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 ›

A judge in California has ruled on an employment lawsuit, ruling in favor of the airline in finding out-of-state workers with limited attendance in the state aren’t entitled to protections under California’s wage-and-hour laws. airplane

The class action litigation, to which four flight attendants had been a party to, alleged their airline employer had violated California’s Labor Code. They argued that because they were frequently stationed in the state and because state law governs their scheduled work for that pay period, they should be entitled to the benefits that come with that.

However, the judge favored the employer, finding the workers were hardly ever in California, which meant they weren’t eligible for California’s legal workplace protections – specifically, the wage and hour laws. Further, the fact that the airline is not headquartered in the state bolstered the defense.  Continue Reading ›

California has some of the best state-level worker protection laws in the country. It’s something Andrew Pudzer always opposed in his adopted state, where the Midwest lawyer moved and succeeded in building up a once-failing fast-food chain.cook

Pudzer, President Donald Trump’s pick for Secretary of the U.S. Labor Department, was an outspoken critic of the tight workplace regulations in California. These included mandatory rest breaks, which he asserted were unfair particularly in the restaurant industry as he complained it meant businesses were understaffed just as the rush of customers were coming in. He argued that the laws passed to protect hourly workers resulted in a “nanny state,” which he said flew in the face of capitalism.

But Pudzer’s company displayed time and again exactly why laws are needed to protect our workers. Ultimately, his business ended up paying out millions of dollars for class action lawsuits that alleged wage-and-hour theft and other workers’ rights laws. He is CEO of a restaurant group that franchises, licenses and operates several fast-food chains, including Hardee’s and Carl’s Jr. 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 ›

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