When a colleague makes more money than you do

June 6th, 2017|Wage and Hour|

Salaries and compensation are usually kept confidential at a private company. Unlike public or government employees, whose pay is often public record, the wages people earn are something nobody talks about. It seems intrusive, and uncomfortable. But in some cases, information is leaked even just standing around the water cooler. It wouldn’t be unheard of [...]

As if job interviews weren’t stressful enough: What a prospective employer can and cannot ask you under law

June 6th, 2017|General Labor Law|

You did it. Finally, that coveted job interview you’ve been waiting for comes to fruition. You do your research, practice answers to typical interview questions and bought a new suit. You’re going to nail it. But then, what starts out as a great interview turns uncomfortable. The person you meet with begins by asking you [...]

California’s minimum wage increases: What you should know

June 2nd, 2017|Wage and Hour|

Last March, the California Legislature approved a plan to raise the state’s minimum wage to $15 per hour by January 1, 2022. The move made the state the first in the country to significantly boost its pay and encouraged others to follow suit. Under the deal, crafted by lawmakers and labor leaders, California’s $10 minimum [...]

Should I file a discrimination claim under the FEHA or the EEOC?

February 24th, 2017|Uncategorized|

Most states have anti-discrimination laws. More than 20 offer protections based on sexual orientation and gender identity alongside race, religion, national origin, pregnancy and age. California is included in that list under the state’s Fair Employment and Housing Act. Federal law also prohibits discrimination. Its provisions are overseen and enforced by the Equal Employment Opportunity [...]

New California FEHA regulations: An overview

February 21st, 2017|Uncategorized|

California lawmakers over the years have made a handful of changes to the state’s Fair Employment and Housing Act, which protects employees on the basis of race, color, national origin, ancestry, religious creed, physical or mental disability, medical condition, marital status, sex, sexual orientation, age, or pregnancy and childbirth. The most recent revisions took effect [...]

Damages totaling $250,000 awarded to Costco employee in harassment suit

February 16th, 2017|Discimination, General Labor Law, Sexual Harassment, Wage and Hour|

A federal jury in December awarded $250,000 to a former Costco employee who had to file a restraining order against a male customer who was harassing and stalking her. The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the federal agency that oversees and enforces employment anti-discrimination laws, had accused Costco of failing to stop a man who [...]

Is my credit report the reason I can’t get a job?

February 14th, 2017|Uncategorized|

It’s a hill that feels impossible to climb: You have made some financial mistakes in the past, and your credit suffered as a result. Since then, you’ve gone back to school, worked hard and set some financial goals. Even so, you are having a tough time finding a higher-paying job, even though you interview well. [...]

California overtime laws: What you need to know

February 9th, 2017|Discimination, General Labor Law, Wage and Hour|

Nearly every worker older than 18 is entitled to overtime pay in California. State law mandates that employees cannot work more than eight hours per day, or 40 hours per week, without being paid overtime wages. What is the amount of overtime in California? Under state law, overtime is one-half times a worker’s regular rate [...]

Can I be fired for what I post online?

January 17th, 2017|Uncategorized|

Social media posts are protected under the First Amendment, as most of us know. But what people may not realize is that the Constitution only protects online freedom of speech when it comes to government involvement, not the actions of private companies. Employment in California, and most of the rest of the United States is [...]

What will be the top discrimination claims of 2016?

January 12th, 2017|Discimination, Sexual Harassment|

There’s no doubt that 2016 was a big year for news. The presidential race alone had to have triggered countless discussions around the water cooler. The Rio Olympics, the Orlando nightclub shooting and ISIS also were in the papers, on the TV news and online throughout much of the year. But what about workplace discrimination? [...]

Weed may be legal in California – but it can still get you fired

January 10th, 2017|Wrongful termination|

Nearly eight million Californians who cast ballots in the November election voted “yes” to a bill legalizing marijuana in the state. Proposition 64 made it legal for individuals to use and grow marijuana for personal use on Nov. 9; The sale and subsequent taxation of recreational marijuana goes into effect Jan. 1. But according to [...]

EEOC finds some background checks discriminatory

January 5th, 2017|Discimination|

Federal law prohibits racial discrimination in the workplace. A black employee passed over for a promotion in favor of a less-qualified white person, for example, might be the victim of workplace racial discrimination. But some people of color are discriminated against before they are hired. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has gone after companies whose [...]

Sexual harassment in 2016 goes outside the office

January 3rd, 2017|Discimination, Sexual Harassment|

It wasn’t so long ago that sexual harassment at work rarely went beyond office doors. An employee who felt offended or threatened could escape to the sanctuary of his or her own home. But that’s no longer the case. Welcome to sexual harassment in the technology age. Sexual harassment, like school bullying, can now follow [...]

Transgender discrimination in the workplace

December 29th, 2016|Discimination, Sexual Harassment|

A groundbreaking decision by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has found that discrimination based on gender identity violates the Civil Rights Act of 1964. In Macy v. the U.S. Department of Justice, a transgender police detective in 2010 applied for a job with the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. The job [...]

New State Law Aimed At Age Discrimination May Be Unconstitutional

December 19th, 2016|Uncategorized|

California’s entertainment industry is one of its most profitable sectors. Profits from Hollywood studios and other parts of the industry pour an estimated $294 billion into the state’s economy every year, and it is estimated that the entertainment industry employs one out of every ten Californians. While the industry is profitable, it is not without [...]

Is it Racial Discrimination to Fire an Employee for a Hairstyle? Federal Appellate Court Says No

December 16th, 2016|Uncategorized|

Certain hairstyles are traditionally associated with a certain race or ethnicity. In particular, hairstyles like cornrows, dreadlocks, and afros are associated with African American culture, and many individuals who wear these styles take great pride in using their hair to express their cultural identity and heritage. When a hairstyle is linked to a cultural identity, [...]

Can Your Employer Forbid You From Talking Politics At Work?

December 15th, 2016|Discimination, General Labor Law, Sexual Harassment|

While talking politics always has the potential to be contentious, this year’s election has brought out strong emotions in voters. To minimize the amount of conflict in the workplace, some employers have forbidden workers from discussing politics while on the clock. But is a restriction like this legal? Can an employer forbid you from voicing [...]

New Law Protects Employees’ Right to Have Legal Claims Heard Inside the State

December 14th, 2016|Uncategorized|

The state of California has the sixth-largest economy in the world. In 2015, the state recorded $2.42 trillion in gross domestic product, beating out the economies of France, India, and Brazil. The state’s success comes from the thriving entertainment and technology industries, and has continued to grow as the economy recovers from the country’s recession. [...]

NLRB Rules That Grad Students, Teaching Assistants Can Unionize

December 13th, 2016|Uncategorized|

  At any given time, there are thousands of graduate students across the country working as teaching and research assistants. These students may conduct college courses, perform research in a lab, or work with professors on special projects. In exchange, the grad students usually receive a relatively small stipend and course credit. For many graduate [...]

Can A California Employee File A Wrongful Termination Lawsuit After Legal Marijuana Use?

December 9th, 2016|Wrongful termination|

Medical marijuana has been legal in California for almost two decades. While it may be almost commonplace at the state level, it is still illegal according to the federal government. As a result, medical marijuana use is a murky area of employment law that is still undergoing change. Recently, a federal judge in California allowed [...]

What Tasks Are Minor? Calif. Supreme Court to Review De Minimus Wage Claims

December 7th, 2016|Uncategorized|

A worker is punching his time card with the automatic clock People who are not paid a salary and earn an hourly wage often have to perform small tasks before or after a shift at work. For instance, a server in a restaurant may be required to put on an apron and a [...]

Sexual orientation protected against discrimination

December 6th, 2016|Discimination, Sexual Harassment|

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the federal agency that interprets and enforces laws prohibiting discrimination, considers sexual orientation a consideration protected by the Civil Rights Act of 1964. A federal judge in Pennsylvania recently agreed. In November, U.S. District Court Judge Cathy Bissoon handed down an order denying a motion to dismiss a discrimination case [...]

Ninth Circuit Finds California Company Can’t Force Employees To Give Up Right To File Employee Class Action Claims

December 1st, 2016|Uncategorized|

In many employment contracts there lies an inconspicuous provision that many employees would never notice. It is known as an ‘arbitration agreement”. This clause states that by signing the agreement, the employee gives up his or her right to sue the employer in a class action lawsuit. Instead, the employee agrees to settle differences with [...]

New State Law Aimed At Age Discrimination May Be Unconstitutional

November 17th, 2016|Discimination|

California’s entertainment industry is one of its most profitable sectors. Profits from Hollywood studios and other parts of the industry pour an estimated $294 billion into the state’s economy every year, and it is estimated that the entertainment industry employs one out of every ten Californians. While the industry is profitable, it is not without [...]

Is it Racial Discrimination to Fire an Employee for a Hairstyle? Federal Appellate Court Says No

November 17th, 2016|Discimination|

Certain hairstyles are traditionally associated with a certain race or ethnicity. In particular, hairstyles like cornrows, dreadlocks, and afros are associated with African American culture, and many individuals who wear these styles take great pride in using their hair to express their cultural identity and heritage. When a hairstyle is linked to a cultural identity, [...]

Can Your Employer Forbid You From Talking Politics At Work?

November 15th, 2016|General Labor Law|

With the presidential election around the corner, politics are on many people’s minds. While talking politics always has the potential to be contentious, this year’s election has brought out strong emotions in voters. To minimize the amount of conflict in the workplace, some employers have forbidden workers from discussing politics while on the clock. But [...]

New Law Protects Employees’ Right to Have Legal Claims Heard Inside the State

November 10th, 2016|General Labor Law|

The state of California has the sixth-largest economy in the world. In 2015, the state recorded $2.42 trillion in gross domestic product, beating out the economies of France, India, and Brazil. The state’s success comes from the thriving entertainment and technology industries, and has continued to grow as the economy recovers from the country’s recession. [...]

NLRB Rules That Grad Students, Teaching Assistants Can Unionize

November 8th, 2016|Wage and Hour|

At any given time, there are thousands of graduate students across the country working as teaching and research assistants. These students may conduct college courses, perform research in a lab, or work with professors on special projects. In exchange, the grad students usually receive a relatively small stipend and course credit. For many graduate students, [...]

Fox News Settles Allegations of Sexual Harassment for $20 Million

November 3rd, 2016|Sexual Harassment|

21st Century Fox, the parent company of Fox News, recently announced that the company had agreed to pay $20 million to former news anchor Gretchen Carlson to settle allegations of sexual harassment she made against former CEO Roger Ailes. 21st Century Fox also offered a public apology to Carlson and praised her performance at the [...]

Can A California Employee File A Wrongful Termination Lawsuit After Legal Marijuana Use?

November 1st, 2016|Wrongful termination|

Medical marijuana has been legal in California for almost two decades. While it may be almost commonplace at the state level, it is still illegal according to the federal government. As a result, medical marijuana use is a murky area of employment law that is still undergoing change. Recently, a federal judge in California allowed [...]

New Overtime Rules Go Into Effect For Agricultural Workers

October 27th, 2016|Wage and Hour|

For many people, the state of California brings to mind sunny beaches, perfect weather, wine tours and celebrity sightings. The majority of the state, however, much more rural and agricultural than it is portrayed in the media. Due to California’s long growing season and favorable soil conditions, the state provides much of the country’s produce. [...]

What Tasks Are Minor? Calif. Supreme Court to Review De Minimus Wage Claims

October 25th, 2016|Uncategorized|

People who are not paid a salary and earn an hourly wage often have to perform small tasks before or after a shift at work. For instance, a server in a restaurant may be required to put on an apron and a name tag before clocking in for a shift. For years, judges and employers [...]

Ninth Circuit Finds California Company Can’t Force Employees To Give Up Right To File Employee Class Action Claims

October 22nd, 2016|Class Action|

In many employment contracts there lies an inconspicuous provision that many employees would never notice. It is known as an ‘arbitration agreement”. This clause states that by signing the agreement, the employee gives up his or her right to sue the employer in a class action lawsuit. Instead, the employee agrees to settle differences with [...]

Innocent Fun or Sexual Harassment? How to Know When Your Employer Crosses the Line

August 31st, 2016|Discimination, Sexual Harassment|

On average, Americans spend a third of their lives at work. When so much of our lives is spent with the same group of colleagues, it can be difficult to know when friendships or harmless flirting crosses the line into sexual harassment. If your work environment is getting uncomfortable, it is important to learn more [...]

When Is The Deadline To File A Claim For Wrongful Termination?

August 29th, 2016|Discimination, General Labor Law, Wrongful termination|

The phrase “wrongful termination” applies when an employee has been fired or forced to quit or resign for illegal reasons. If you believe that you were wrongfully terminated, you are required to file a claim within a certain amount of time. If you miss the deadline, your claim will be barred and you will not [...]

When Must Your Employer Reimburse You For Business-Related Expenses?

August 26th, 2016|General Labor Law, Wage and Hour|

In California, employees are entitled to be reimbursed if they incurred expense or losses on behalf of their employer or during their regular work duties. For instance, California law gives workers the right to be reimbursed for things like equipment, training, travel, uniforms, or other work materials. If you are required to spend money in [...]

Gretchen Carlson Files Sexual Discrimination Lawsuit Against Head of Fox News

August 24th, 2016|Discimination, Sexual Harassment, Wrongful termination|

Fox news journalist Gretchen Carlson has filed a sexual harassment and retaliation lawsuit against Roger Ailes, the chairman and CEO of the company after alleging that she was fired for refusing to participate in a sexual relationship with him. Carlson joined Fox News in 2005, where she worked as a television journalist for 11 years. [...]

Class Action Lawsuit Accuses California State Agency of Systemic Gender Discrimination

August 22nd, 2016|Class Action, Discimination, General Labor Law|

A group of California women have filed a discrimination lawsuit against the entire California workers’ compensation system, alleging widespread and systemic discrimination in the way women are compensated for injuries that occur at work. The case, Page et al. v. Parisotto et al. alleges that the workers’ compensation system routinely attributes work-related injuries to the [...]

Ninth Circuit Says Employees Sharing Passwords May Be Criminal

August 19th, 2016|General Labor Law, Wrongful termination|

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit recently held that using a co-worker’s password to access an employer’s computer databases can be considered a criminal action. The case, United States v. Nosal, has been winding through the court systems for almost a decade, and provides insight into what types of employee actions violate [...]

U.S. Supreme Court Addresses Statute of Limitations for Employee Discrimination Claims

August 17th, 2016|Discimination, Wrongful termination|

The U.S. Supreme Court recently address the issue of when the statute of limitations begins to run for civil servants who want to file a discrimination claim against their employer. The Court held 7-1 that the statute of limitations begins on the date of the action which was alleged to be discriminatory. The case involved [...]

Live-In Vs. Live-Out Employees: Your Rights To Overtime

August 15th, 2016|General Labor Law, Wage and Hour|

A live-in employee like a home health care aide or a nanny has different rules and employee rights when it comes to overtime pay. These workers live inside their employers’ home in order to provide round-the-clock care or assistance. Even though domestic workers may live with their employers, they are not required to be on [...]

Can Employees Waive Their Right to Bring A Class Action Lawsuit?

August 8th, 2016|Class Action, General Labor Law|

It is not uncommon for an employment contract to include various terms that dictate how disputes between an employer and an employee should be resolved. Many employment agreements contain arbitration clauses that force workers to settle most types of disputes outside of court in front of a neutral arbitrator. The contract may also dictate which [...]

Gov. Brown Drops Plan to Curb Wage and Hour Litigation

August 5th, 2016|Wage and Hour|

California’s governor recently dropped a large portion of his plan aimed at curbing wage-and-hour lawsuits across the state. In January, Governor Brown had asked the legislature to amend the Private Attorneys General Act (PAGA) which allows employees to file a lawsuit for alleged California Labor Code violations if the state declines to act. Under PAGA, [...]

Could You Be Fired For Being Too Attractive?

August 3rd, 2016|Discimination, Sexual Harassment|

Physically attractive people reap many benefits. Research has shown that people view attractive individuals to be smarter and more confident than others, and good looking people tend to be hired faster and promoted more often in the workplace. While attractiveness has its benefits, it also has its downsides. Multiple people around the country have alleged [...]

Cal. Supreme Court to Review Overtime Rate Calculations

August 1st, 2016|Wage and Hour|

The California Supreme Court has agreed to review a recent decision determining how overtime is calculated in the state. In Alvarado v. Dart Container Corp. of California, the California 4th District Court of Appeal addressed a gap in state law about how employers could calculate overtime on bonuses. The issue in the case involves non-discretionary [...]

What is Wrongful Termination for At-Will Employees?

July 29th, 2016|General Labor Law, Wrongful termination|

In California there are two types of workers: at-will employees and contract employees. Most workers are at-will employees, meaning that they do not have a contract to work for a specified period of time. In order to fire a contract employee, an employer must have good cause under the terms of the contract. For instance, [...]

Can You Get Fired For Dating A Coworker?

July 27th, 2016|Discimination, General Labor Law, Sexual Harassment|

Americans who work full-time spend more hours per week in the office than they do anywhere else. It is not surprising then that workplace romances are common and many people meet their significant other or spouse while at work. While a workplace romance is often exciting and entertaining for the employees involved, many employers frown [...]

Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act Protects Employees From Another Level of Employment Discrimination

July 25th, 2016|Discimination, General Labor Law|

The Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA) is a federal statute that was enacted in 2008 to protect employees and other individuals from being discriminated against on the basis of his or her genetic information. As genetic testing gets more advance, it is becoming more common for people to have their genetic information tested. For example, [...]

Department Of Labor Expands Sex Discrimination Protections For Federal Contractors

July 22nd, 2016|Discimination, General Labor Law, Sexual Harassment|

A federal contractor is a person or company that provides services to the federal government. Since the government does not employ its own army of construction workers, every time the government wants to build something it needs to hire a federal contractor. For instance, suppose that the government wants to build a new building. The [...]

Accommodations for Nursing Mothers: What Must Your Employer Do Under California Law?

July 20th, 2016|Discimination, General Labor Law, Wrongful termination|

New mothers know that breast milk provides the best nutrition for their infants. After returning to work from maternity leave, most mothers will need to pump breast milk during working hours in order to avoid pain and keep their milk from drying out. Employers are required to make accommodations for nursing women in the workplace. [...]

California Tightens Restrictions on Smoking in the Workplace

July 18th, 2016|General Labor Law|

California has led the country in anti-smoking legislation for decades. Recently, the state changed its smoking laws and significantly increased the number of businesses and employers which are required to provide a smoke-free working environment. The new law also raises the smoking age from 18 to 21. The new law will cover almost all employers, [...]

Ninth Circuit Clarifies Rules for “Rounding” Employee Hours

June 17th, 2016|Wage and Hour|

Is your employer required to pay you for every minute that you work, or is your company allowed to round your hours up or down? The United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit recently considered this question, and clarified how employers are allowed to keep track of their employees’ time. The case of [...]

What To Do If You’re Asked An Illegal Interview Question

June 15th, 2016|Discimination|

Interviewing is stressful enough without fielding questions that make you uncomfortable. If you are a job seeker, it is important to know what types of questions are illegal, and what you should do if they are asked. During a job interview, potential employers are not allowed to discriminate against applicants based on race, gender, religion, [...]

30% of Female Doctors Report Sexual Harassment At Work

June 13th, 2016|Discimination, Sexual Harassment|

In fields traditionally dominated by men, like engineering, medicine, and law, female employees have made great strides in leveling the playing field. However, women still face a disproportionate amount of gender discrimination in Los Angeles and sexual harassment, regardless of their level of education. According to a survey reported in the Journal of the American [...]

Lowe’s Settles ADA Accommodation Lawsuit, EEOC Issues Guidance

June 10th, 2016|Discimination, Wage and Hour|

On May 9, 2016, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) released new guidance on employer-provided unpaid leave as a reasonable accommodation under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Under the ADA, employees with disabilities must be granted “reasonable accommodations” that will allow the employees to complete their duties on the job. According to the EEOC, [...]

Is It Still Retaliation If You’re Fired For Something You Didn’t Do?

June 8th, 2016|Discimination, Wrongful termination|

All employees have certain rights, and exercising these rights shouldn’t be grounds for getting fired. For example, employees cannot be punished for making discrimination complaints or speaking up about sexual harassment. In addition to these rights, public-sector employees can also participate in free speech or political activities outside of work without fear that their opinions [...]

Caregiver Discrimination Lawsuits Up by 269% in Past Decade

June 6th, 2016|Discimination, Wrongful termination|

When a person needs to care for a sick child, disabled family member, or a new baby, both state and federal law allow that person to take time off work without worrying about whether they will lose their jobs. Through the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) and other laws, many employees are guaranteed a certain [...]

EEOC & OSHA Clarify Their Positions on Transgender Rights in the Workplace

June 3rd, 2016|Discimination, Sexual Harassment|

Transgender rights and accommodations have been in the news every day for months. The debate over how transgendered people should be treated in the workplace and in public areas has reached such an uproar that both the Equal Opportunity Employment Commission (EEOC) and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) have issued or re-issued guidelines [...]

Can An Employer Ask A Potential Employee About His Or Her Criminal Record?

June 2nd, 2016|Discimination, General Labor Law|

Nearly one in four Americans have some type of criminal record. Whether it is a misdemeanor arrest for a youthful indiscretion or a more serious felony offense, any type of criminal record can hurt job seekers in their search for employment. California law provides multiple types of protections for job seekers with a criminal past. [...]

Changes Coming Soon To Federal Overtime Exemption Rules

June 1st, 2016|General Labor Law, Wage and Hour|

The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) dictates which employees must be paid overtime, and which employees are exempt from the overtime rules. Last year, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) issued proposed changes to the FLSA rules regarding overtime, and these rules were submitted for review in March of 2016. The DOL is expecting the [...]