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Los Angeles California Consumer Law Blog

Ride-sharing giant facing federal probe

The ride-sharing giant Uber, which has a presence in Los Angeles and other parts of California, is reportedly under scrutiny from the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, or EEOC, for its hiring and other practices.

The allegation seems to be that the company is systemically engaging in gender discrimination. However, to be fair, the EEOC has made no comment on its investigation and will not even confirm they are in the process of doing so. The EEOC has not filed any actions against Uber as a result of this investigation.

When do I get my overtime pay?

When you work overtime in California, you expect your employer to pay you the overtime money you earned as soon as possible. This money is important to you and your family, and often means the difference between getting some little extras and having to forego them. But when exactly do you get your overtime pay?

In general, your employer must pay you your overtime pay at the same time you get your regular pay. For instance, if you get paid twice a month, your first paycheck, which you must receive by the 10th of the month, should represent the work you did, including overtime, between the 16th and the end of the previous month. Your second paycheck, which you must receive by the 26th of the month, should represent the work you did, including overtime, between the first and the 15th of the current month.

Protection from retaliation under federal law

As this blog has discussed on previous occasions, employees in Los Angeles enjoy the protection of both federal laws and separate California laws that may offer California employees protection above and beyond what the laws of the United States require.

Among other things, the federal law protects employees from employer retaliation when they either oppose violations of federal anti-discrimination laws or assist with a federal investigation in to an employer's alleged violations.

California city pays more than $400,000 to settle overtime claim

The City of San Diego, has agreed to pay $442,000 in damages to several helicopter medics to resolve their claims that they were not paid overtime despite the fact that they were assigned to work for 56 hours every week.

As many Los Angeles residents know, the standard work week is 40 hours, and employers who insist on longer hours must pay time-and-a-half under federal law.

Review of rights under the Americans with Disabilities Act

Among other groups of employees, those who have a documented disability may be protected under a federal law, the Americans with Disabilities Act, or ADA.

This law, which applies to employers in the private sector who have more than 15 employees, is enforced by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, or EEOC. It should be noted, moreover, that California may have its own set of laws that apply to a disabled person's employment situation, and those laws are enforced by state regulators.

Issues related to layoffs and age discrimination

A previous post on this blog talked about how a major international company recently found itself in legal hot water because of its recent layoffs. Specifically, former employees over 40 have alleged the company engaged in age discrimination by systemically weeding out older employees via layoffs while actively recruiting younger employees.

The story illustrates some important points about layoffs that Los Angeles employees should be aware of.

How to prevent breach of contract as a freelancer

Many individuals, particularly those in Los Angeles, have taken the gig economy by storm. The number of people relying on freelance work has grown in recent years, and while it can be convenient, it can also present some legal challenges. 

As a freelancer, you may encounter a client who refuses to pay you after you have already done the work. It can be difficult to recover those funds, and you cannot get the time back you spent on the project. Fortunately, there are steps you can take to prevent this or to get your money after the fact.

IBM sued, facing scrutiny for layoff practices

IBM, a technology company known at one point in time as "Big Blue" and as a manufacturer of personal computers, has had to trim its work force as the marketplace gets more competitive. While layoffs are a natural part of a business's life cycle, in this case, some are accusing the nationally known company of using their layoffs as a way to weed out older workers, which is a form of age discrimination.

One former employee is suing on this basis. The man, who is 60, worked at the firm for almost 25 years. He alleges that his performance evaluations were always at least satisfactory and often indicated that he had done better than expected at his job.

At-will termination is not a free pass for employers

People in the Los Angeles area who hear the phrase, "employment at-will," may get the idea that an employer can fire someone on the spot, without warning, for any reason or even no reason at all. While this may have been true in former days, there are now important limits to the employment at-will rule that benefit California workers by giving them some additional protection from losing their jobs unfairly.

For instance, as this blog has discussed before, both our state and the federal government prohibit unlawful discrimination in the workplace and require a minimum wage. Other laws prohibit employers from retaliating against employees who exercise their rights under a federal or state law, for example, by reporting a workers' compensation claim.

Court changes landscape of employee classification

A recent opinion by the California Supreme Court applied what media outlets were described as a new legal test that employers will have to use when determining whether their workers are truly employees or independent contractors. Under this new test, which only applies when it comes to wage and hour violations, an employer who wants to classify a worker as an independent contractor has to establish that its worker is, legally and in practice, free to determine how to do his or her work. The employer can only be concerned with the end result.

Moreover, the employer will have to show that the worker is doing something that is not the same as the business in which the employer is engaging. Finally, the independent contractor has to be in the habit of performing his or her trade for other customers.

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Law Offices of Allan A. Sigel, P.C.

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