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Los Angeles Employment Law Blog

Employee misclassifications of truck drivers escalates to strike

Three major companies are feeling the effects of a truck driver strike. Pacific Transportation 9, TTSI and Green Fleet are all being accused of employee misclassifications, because the drivers are classified as independent contractors instead of employees. Two major ports in Los Angeles and Long Beach, California -- through which approximately 40% of all imports travel -- will be where more than 120 drivers will be protesting.

The drivers have been on strike over misclassifications three times previously, but each of the strikes had a definitive end date. Those strikes normally lasted up to 48 hours. With the aid of the Teamsters union, this time the drivers are claiming that they will not be going back to work until they have their needs met.

A former Yahoo employee claims sexual harassment against her boss

The director of engineering from Internet giant Yahoo is being sued by one of her former employees. The former principal software engineer for the California-based company has filed a sexual harassment claim against her previous boss. She claims that she was subjected to a sexually harassing work environment in order to keep her job. When she tried to put an end to the advances, she says she was ultimately fired.

In her suit, the plaintiff states that she began to work for Yahoo in Feb. 2013, and once she secured her position, her boss said that she would be moving into her apartment with her. She claims that if she had sex with her employer, she was told that she would have a bright future with Yahoo. She says that she was forced into having cybersex as well as oral sex on numerous occasions.

Tinder's co-founder accused of inappropriate comments: Lawsuit

Every employee deserves to be comfortable in the workplace and free from harassment. Unfortunately, many people in business are not cautious with the language that they use at work, and they may even sometimes speak disrespectfully to others by making inappropriate comments. If the remarks do not stop after a California employee asks for help, a business may end up with a sexual harassment lawsuit.

The former Vice President of Marketing for the company who created the Tinder dating app recently filed a sexual harassment complaint. She claims that she was subjected to indecent comments from the company's CEO and co-founder. The plaintiff claimed that she tolerated the offensive remarks for over a year before she felt forced to leave the company as a result of the harassment.

Possible sewer line scam resulted in a whistleblower claim

It is not always easy to do what is right, but when an employee speaks out about activity that he or she believes to be unethical, the company many not always be pleased about the findings. A lawyer who was once employed by a California city attorney's office has filed a claim because she believes she was retaliated against for being a whistleblower. She alleges that she uncovered illegal activity from 2002 to 2012 that cost $10 million to city taxpayers.

She reported that, for several years, plumbing salesmen from small companies were going to the doors of resident homes, telling them that their sewer lines were being damaged by tree roots from the city. The residents were told that their lines would be replaced for free, and in order to have the work completed, it would be necessary for them to file a claim with the city attorney's office for up to $10,000. Once the claims were paid, the people were to pay the plumbers for the work. Some people had a feeling that the offer was a scam and reported it. The plaintiff stated that she was notified by the FBI of the potentially illegal activity, which prompted her to send investigators to gather more information.

Cashier receives $180,000 after a disability discrimination claim

Many employees suffer from various illnesses but can still be gainfully employed. This requires a California employer to understand the illness, the side effects and what kind of reasonable accommodations must be made to help the worker. In some instances, if an employer is not properly educated, an employee may become the victim of disability discrimination.

A cashier for Walgreens was fired after she allegedly consumed a bag of chips without paying for them. The woman had alerted Walgreens that she was diabetic prior to her being hired. In her 18-year tenure, she did not have a disciplinary record prior to the event. The San Francisco Chronicle reported that Walgreens denied that there was any correlation between her actions and her diabetes. She was fired for company theft.

Sexually hostile work environment targeted by California bill

According to estimates, only about 18 percent of the people who work on farms are women. However, it is believed that they are consistently subjected to a sexually hostile work environment. Reportedly, women working on farms in California are routinely raped, verbally abused and/or otherwise sexually harassed.

Unfortunately, much of the abuse goes unreported. This is largely because all of these workers -- both men and women -- are threatened with the loss of their jobs if they fail to do exactly what they are told at all times. Many of the contractors who manage the workers on a day-to-day basis have no management or human resource training and use fear as a management tool.

Certain California workers could be targets for sexual harassment

As time and social standards progress, certain situations in the workplace would hopefully dissipate. Unfortunately, situations of sexual harassment still occur on a nationwide basis, including in California. Many individuals who face such harassment may not know how to handle the situation or may feel as if they need to keep quiet in order to maintain a job that they desperately need.

Certain individuals could potentially be at risk of facing such harassment. Parties who may be new to a position or are otherwise inexperienced in the workplace may be targeted because they may not know what to do about such a situation. As a result, the occurrence may go unreported. New workers are often not in positions of authority, and therefore, a harasser may not feel as if that person’s complaint will result in severe consequences.

Accusations of unpaid overtime made by California caregivers

Most employers are only too happy to pay their employees for a job well done. This includes not only the wage to which both parties agreed on upon hire, but can also include mandated meal and rest periods in addition to overtime payment. A group of caregivers here in California say that their employer owes them for unpaid overtime and committed several other infractions, and they are seeking damages in a class-action lawsuit.

Kindred Healthcare is at the center of a civil claim filed on behalf of several hundred employees who say that the company failed to pay proper wages or overtime and did not provide adequate -- or in some cases any -- breaks. The workers say that they were paid a flat amount for a shift no matter how long it was. Some of the employees were apparently working 24-hour shifts and not being paid overtime when they qualified for it.

Race discrimination case settled by California university

Even though America, in general, has come a long way when it comes to racial equality, there are still issues that come to light. While laws are in place to protect against race discrimination in the workplace, claims are still filed when there is evidence that the color of a person's skin affected their opportunities at work. A recent race discrimination case was settled by Chapman University in California.

The lawsuit was filed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission after a female professor at Chapman University claimed she was refused tenure because of her race. She was later discharged from her position in 2008. The lawsuit was initially dismissed, but upon appeal, Chapman agreed to settle the case.

Man claims disability discrimination for wearing tinted lenses

An employee who was hired by Securitas Security Services, Inc. to work for Kaiser Permanente International believes he was treated unfairly because he wore tinted glasses that were prescribed by his doctor. The man, who worked at the San Rafael, California, facility, is claiming disability discrimination because of the way he was treated when he wore the glasses. He was hired in 2010, but in 2011 he was diagnosed with a photosensitive disorder and was told that he needed to wear the lenses at all times by his doctor.

According to his complaint, things began to change when he needed to wear the lenses. He claimed that he was told by his employer several times that he was not permitted to wear them. The man had been trained to work in an emergency room, which gave him a higher rate of pay; however, once he began wearing the lenses, he claimed that he was no longer allowed to work in the emergency room, effectively demoting him.

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