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Los Angeles Employment Law Blog

Accommodating an employee with cancer

The Americans with Disabilities Act prohibits discrimination against employees with disabilities, such as cancer.

If an employee is diagnosed with cancer, the company may have to provide reasonable accommodation as a means of allowing the person to continue working his or her job.

Farmworkers receive settlement for long-term sexual harassment

Farmworkers in California have long suffered from under-reported sexual harassment in the fields. A recent settlement involving 10 agricultural workers in the Central Valley could signal a shift in this culture of abuse. The settlement, offered by dried fruit processor Zoria Farms, will provide the sexual harassment victims with more than $300,000, ending a long-term inquiry into the company's employee conduct.

This harassment case dates back to 2007, when the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission alleged that supervisors at the fruit company began making unwanted advances toward female workers. Those women were allegedly subject to unwelcome touching, kissing, and inappropriate comments, with supervisors soliciting the victims for dates or sex.

Former McDonald's employees claim age discrimnation in firing

A 63-year-old woman along with six of her co-workers have filed a lawsuit in Los Angeles Superior Court against McDonald's Restaurants of California Inc. The six woman and one man are suing the company alleging that they were all fired because they are over the age of 40. The lawsuit, which seeks unspecified damages, alleges wrongful termination, age discrimination and the intentional infliction of emotional distress.

The lawsuit stems from an incident that began back in 2012, when a new manager came on board at the restaurant on Parthenia Street. According to the complaint, the female manager reportedly began cutting back on the hours of the older workers that were employed at the restaurant in an effort to make them quit. The complaint states that she also refused to let them take their breaks at their scheduled times.

Information on genetic discrimination

Title II of the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act of 2008 makes it illegal for an employer to discriminate against an applicant or employee on the basis of genetic information.

Genetic information can include information regarding genetic testing by an employee or applicant, as well as those associated with family members. Family medical history is part of genetic information as it is often used as a means of determining if a person is at risk of developing a particular condition.

Are Uber drivers employees or contractors?

Over the past year, the value of Uber has gone through the roof. While this may be good news for company founders, the drivers that "make or break" the service continue to face a variety of questions.

Many drivers continue to claim that they are Uber employees, not contractors. Thanks to a recent ruling by California's Labor Commission, these drivers are closer than ever before to reaching employee status. The commission recently ruled that Uber drivers should be considered employees of the company, not independent contractors.

What you should know about filing a wage claim

Although there are some exceptions to the minimum wage laws, unless you are one of the exceptions, your employer is legally obligated to pay you at least the federal minimum wage or the minimum wage that is mandated by a state. This amount is determined by whichever wage amount is higher. If you qualify for minimum wage, but find that your employer is paying you less than the legally-mandated amount, by law you can file a lawsuit or make a wage claim against your employer.

Interestingly, employers sometimes try to find ways to get around paying minimum wage. It is important to realize that in most cases, an employer cannot use tips to reduce minimum wage, nor can they decrease the amount you are paid to cover the cost of your uniform or to maintain it. There is one exception to this though. An employee can agree in writing that an employer can reduce the amount of minimum wage paid if the employee is provided meals and lodging.

Gay rights advocates turn attention to workplace discrimination

Although the Supreme Court has yet to decide whether or not same-sex marriage is protected by the constitution, that hasn't stopped gay rights groups from expecting a victory. Meanwhile, as they await the official court ruling sometime later this month, they are already looking ahead for their next big fight -- getting laws passed on the federal level to ensure protection in the workplace against discrimination of gays and transgenders.

While California already has a state law in place that explicitly bans discrimination due to sexual orientation and gender identity, gay rights groups such as Freedom For All Americans are planning to soon push for federal protection at a national level. This protection would include 28 states that currently do not have any type of statues in place and would explicitly ban the discrimination of gays and transgenders in the workplace nationwide.

The federal labor department is serious about sexual harassment

The Department of Labor continues to play a big role in preventing sexual harassment in the workplace. While the agency will never be able to completely end such behavior, it can take certain steps to help raise awareness.

Although laws continue to change in hopes of preventing such behavior in the workplace, people remain the same. For this reason, there is always the chance that sexual harassment could rear its ugly head. When this happens, the victim is put in an unenviable position. Not only can this impact the way the person does his or her job, but it can make him or her feel uncomfortable at times.

Are you legally required to take a lunch break in California?

Although most employees usually look forward to taking a lunch break and getting away from their job for a little while, there are also those who would rather work through their lunch and stay on the clock. This can sometimes be a problem for employers, however, who fear that by allowing an employee to do so, they are perhaps breaking the law.

While this may actually be the case in some states, it is not the case in California. Due to a ruling by the California Supreme Court back a few years ago, a nonexempt, hourly employee can actually choose to work through their lunch period and receive compensation.

PennySaver being investigated for violation of labor laws

According to California's Labor Commissioner, the PennySaver is being investigated with regard to questions of whether the company violated labor law when it laid off nearly 700 employees without any notice.

Company executives called a meeting with approximately 200 workers to notify them that they would not receive a final paycheck or payment for accrued vacation days.