The California Labor Commissioner's Office filed a lawsuit in August against a construction company after it was alleged that 175 workers were willfully misclassified and for other wage violations. Allegations include the failure to pay overtime, the failure to provide proper wage statements and the failure to allocate pay for sick leave.
Employers in California and across the United States should be aware of changes that took place in June 2017 regarding the regulation of independent contractors and joint employment. The new Department of Labor under President Trump has rejected the Administrator's Interpretations established under Obama. While these changes are not law and do not affect an employer's legal responsibilities, they may indicate a shift in priorities with the new DOL.
Employers in California might worsen their position in some legal cases regarding the Fair Labor Standards Act if plaintiffs can prove that retaliation took place. FLSA complaints from employees generally involve failures to pay minimum wage or overtime. Negative actions, such as job termination or demotion, applied to employees after filing a legal complaint might expose employers to paying damages for emotional distress as well as back pay.
Many California employers use timekeeping software to track their employees' hours. While timekeeping software may simplify record keeping for employers, flaws in the software could lead to wage and hour law violations. A new study appearing in the Yale Journal of Law and Technology showed evidence that the misuse of timekeeping software could lead to illegal modifications on employees' timesheets.
California residents may already know that Wells Fargo and some of its high-ranking executives now have a third lawsuit against them as a result of unethical practices tied to the bank's consumer and retails divisions. The lawsuit alleges the defendants were aware that the value of Wells Fargo's stock was inflated and that they continued to present the stock to employees as a prudent investment option.
Some California employees who are pursuing a lawsuit against their employer may have another option besides finding an attorney to work on a contingency basis. Litigation financing is the practice of funding a lawsuit. In exchange, the investor gets a portion of the recovery. If the litigation is unsuccessful, it is not necessary to repay the investor. Both plaintiffs and defendants may benefit from litigation financing, and investors work with both companies and individuals.
Many California residents visit online review portals like Yelp or Angie's List before choosing a restaurant or hiring a plumber, and the information age has given ordinary people the ability to make their feelings known to a vast audience. Online ratings and reviews have changed the way the nation dines, shops and does business, but the Internet also allows unhappy employees to post accounts of workplace harassment or mistreatment.
In the event that an employee says something bad about an employer's product, it would seem logical that the employer could take action. However, the type of action and when that action could be taken has been limited by several court decisions. In a March 2016 case, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 8th Circuit ruled in that two employees of a Jimmy John's franchisee could not be fired for implying that the company's sandwiches were possibly being made by sick employees.
According to California employment law, some employers who maintain staff in that state are required to post updated notices about Fair Employment and Housing Act rules. Employers subject to FEHA may have to comply regardless how big or small their in-state work forces are, as Fair Employment and Housing Council regulations define the size of a company based on all of their workers, not just those in the state.
The U.S. Department of Labor has announced two changes to the Fair Labor Standards Act that will take effect in 2016. California workers might want to be aware of changes to overtime pay to maintain an understanding of when they should receive extra earnings. The purpose of these changes is to minimize the risk of workers who are entitled to overtime being misclassified because of their salaries.