Labor Violations at California Winery
According to a Februrary 24, 2015 release by the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL), an Orlando-based labor contractor will pay $163,227 for violations of the Migrant and Seasonal Agricultural Worker Protection Act (MSPA) and the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). The contractor, Manuel Quezada, provides labor crews to Roederer Estate, a 33-year old winery located about 125 miles north of San Francisco. All told, 60 migrant workers will receive $99,953 in back wages under the MSPA, and $63,274 in wages and damages under the FLSA.
MSPA and FLSA
According to DOL reports, Quezada has provided labor crews to Roederer Estate for the last ten years for grape harvesting, pruning and nut harvesting around the northern California area.
Quezada was cited for violations that occurred at
In Jazmina Gerard v. Orange Coast Memorial Medical Center, three health care workers sued their hospital employer for alleged Labor Code violations and related claims. On appeal, their primary complaint was a hospital policy that illegally let health care employees waive their second meal periods on shifts longer than 12 hours. Statute requires two meal periods for shifts longer than 12 hours but an order of the Industrial Welfare Commission (IWC) authorizes employees in the health care industry to waive one of those two required meal periods on shifts longer than 8 hours. The principal issue before the California Court of Appeal concerned the validity of the IWC order.
Notice of Proposed Rulemaking regarding Sex Discrimination by Federal Contractors
Kicking off a year expected to be a year filled with regulatory changes, the United States Department of Labor (USDOL) issued its proposed new regulations regarding sex discrimination by federal contractors. On January 28, 2015, the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) announced a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking updating the rules that govern how federal contractors and subcontractors prohibit sex discrimination. The proposal would rescind outdated guidance, align requirements with prior amendments to Title VII, established legal precedent, and better address the realities of today’s workplaces. OFCCP’s proposed rule deals with a variety of barriers to equal opportunity and fair pay, including pay discrimination, sexual harassment, hostile work environments, a lack of workplace accommodations for pregnant women as well as gender identity and family caregiving discrimination.
California Assembly Bill 1897 Took Effect January 1, 2015
Assembly Bill 1897, designed to protect temporary workers from California labor code violations, was originally signed by California Governor Jerry Brown in September 2014. The law imposes new joint liability for companies whose labor subcontractors violate wage and workplace safety laws. For example, if a temp agency violates California labor law, the company that hired the temp agency can also be liable for those California employee violations.
Purpose of AB 1897
This new law is designed to address issues that exist in industries that typically outsource their employment to temp agencies and staffing firms. As the Office of Legislative Counsel noted in the bill’s preamble, the purpose of AB 1897 is…
[To] require a client employer to share with a labor contractor all civil legal responsibility and civil liability for all workers supplied by that labor contractor for the payment of wages and the failure to obtain valid workers compensation coverage…[as well as]…prohibit a client employer from shifting to the labor contractor legal duties or liabilities under workplace safety provisions with respect to workers provided by the subcontractor.
In addition to shared liability for violations cited above, Section 2810.3(e) of the bill includes
EEOC Releases Fiscal Year 2014 Enforcement and Litigation Data – EEOC Statistics
On February 4, 2015, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) released its Fiscal Year 2014 breakdown of discrimination charges. The Fed’s latest fiscal year ran from Oct. 1, 2013 to Sept. 30, 2014–a time period in which the commission received 88,778 charges of workplace discrimination.
According to the EEOC, the comprehensive set of fiscal year 2014 private sector data tables provide detailed breakdowns for the 88,778 charges of workplace discrimination the agency received during the fiscal year.
Analysis by the Commission revealed the number of charges filed decreased compared with recent fiscal years, due in part to the government shutdown during the reporting period. The EEOC release stated, “While charge filings were down overall compared to the previous fiscal year, first quarter charge filings–which included the period of the shutdown–were 3,000 to 5,000 less than the other quarters.”
In California labor lawsuit, U.S. District Judge Cormac J. Carney approves settlement that was previously rejected just one month earlier. The result–more than 3,000 class members are to receive an estimated sum of $1.6 million.
Lead plaintiff Nikola Lovig worked for Sears Roebuck & Co.’s (Sears) for one year before filing his California labor lawsuit in April 2011. Lovig was one of the company’s in-home service technicians who traveled between the homes of customers to repair various Sears appliances and products.
Lovig’s lawsuit was filed in US District Court for the Central District of California and accused Sears of 1) failing to pay minimum wage and overtime, 2) withholding payment for paid vacation days after employees quit, 3) failing to provide adequate meal and rest breaks, 4) failing to reimburse employees for expenses, and 5) issuing incomplete wage statements. The alleged actions are violations of the California Labor Code and the California Business & Professions Code.
Antitrust Class Action
Google, Apple, Intel and Adobe are close to reaching a settlement in an antitrust class action lawsuit for a reported $415 million.
There are 64,000 current and former workers are involved in the class-action lawsuit which alleges the four companies violated California labor laws by conspiring against their own employees. The complaint goes back to 2005, when Apple co-founder Steve Jobs asked Google CEO Eric Schmidt to stop poaching Apple workers.
According to a Jan. 14, 2015 New York Times report, this settlement proposal has increased from an earlier offer of $324.5 million, an amount that U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh rejected last August, when she agreed with one of the five plaintiffs, a former Adobe engineer. The former Adobe employee protested the amount, arguing that it wasn’t enough money given the wealth of the companies and the scale of their collusion – their “non-poach” agreements. The plaintiffs figured that affected workers would end up with only a few thousand dollars each.
Anti-Defamation League Regional Board Chair Eric Kingsley Speaks about Anti-Semitism at Shomrei Torah Synagogue
On January 27th, Anti-Defamation League (ADL) Regional Board Chair Eric Kingsley and Associate Regional Director Matthew Friedman participated in a three-part series sponsored by Shomrei Torah Synagogue. Their presentation, titled, Hatred, Bigotry and Anti-Semitism, covered anti-semitism in Los Angeles, the U.S. and the World.
According to the ADL post (link here), Kingsley explained details of various countries including those with the highest and lowest index of anti-Semitism and those with highest rates of ignorance or misinformation about the Holocaust.
In the heels of Iskanian v. CLS, the 2nd Appellate District took up the case of Fowler v. CarMax. The CarMax case had a storied history having previously reversed the trial court on a Gentry issue, the California Supreme Court then denied review but the United states Supreme Court granted defendant writ of cert and remanded the case to the appellate court. In light of Iskanian the court for different reasons reversed in part the trial court ruling regarding the PAGA claims. Law 360 covered our case in the January 29th newsletter of which a link is here. I also tried to sell them my car this week and they low balled me, so there.
To further discuss this PAGA related case, and/or the latest in employment law, or a potential claim on your behalf, feel free to contact leading California employment lawyers at Kingsley & Kingsley. Call toll-free at (888) 500-8469 or click here to contact us via email.
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