Articles Tagged with Wage and hour lawyer

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

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

A wage-and-hour lawsuit filed in Texas by a nurse at a large hospital alleges the health system docks the pay of nurses each shift for 30 minutes, but they aren’t actually allowed a 30-minute meal break. Instead, nurses are expected to remain on duty for the duration of their shift. nurse

According to the Houston Chronicle, plaintiff is seeking class-action status for her and 4,000 other nurses who she says should be paid for the time they spend with patients on “phantom” lunch breaks. The lawsuit was filed in a federal court in Houston. Plaintiff asserts the hospital system’s payroll program automatically takes out 30 minutes for meal periods every shift, even though nurses don’t actually get 30 minutes uninterrupted in any given shift. Instead, nurses have to be available the entire shift to care for and attend to patients.

In California, the Department of Industrial Relations holds that companies can’t force an employee to work more than five hours in a given day without providing the worker meal breaks of at least 30 minutes. The only exception is if the worker’s entire work day is no more than six hours. In that case, the meal break can be waived – but only if both the employer and employee mutually consent to it. Further, workers are entitled to a second, 30-minute meal break after 10 hours, except if the employee is going to be working no more than 12 hours and there is mutual consent from both employee and company. (Some variations exist within the motion picture industry.) 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

Many workers in this digital age are familiar with the pings and rings of their smartphones, alerting them to work-related issues after work hours. Most assume it’s simply a part of the job, and few file for overtime compensation related to these expected duties. officerholdingcellphone

But that may change, depending on the potential precedent set by a case slated for bench trial this month. Allen v. Chicago, before the U.S. District Court in the Northern District of Illinois, Eastern Division, is one of the first of its kind to proceed to the trial phase. That’s because most similar cases are settled out-of-court before going to trial.

This class action employment lawsuit was filed by a police sergeant on behalf of himself and other similarly situated individuals who worked at the Chicago Police Department. Continue reading