Employees May Choose to Use Vacation Instead of FMLA or CFRA Leave for Medical Absences
The Ninth Circuit (California) recently held in Escriba v. Foster Poultry Farms, Inc. that an employee can choose to use vacation instead of leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) or California Family Rights Act (“CFRA”) for an otherwise FMLA or CFRA-qualifying event.
The employee, Maria Escriba, worked for Foster Farms’ processing plant in Turlock, California for eighteen years. Upon hearing her father in Guatemala was ill, she requested and received permission from her supervisor to take two weeks of vacation leave to go to Guatemala to provide care. Later, Ms. Escriba’s supervisor suggested that if she needed more time off she needed to contact the Human Resources department. Escriba did not contact HR, but proceeded to ask a facility superintendent for one or two more weeks of leave, in addition to her two weeks of vacation. He replied that he could not grant such leave, but told her to obtain a doctor’s note or consult with Human Resources. Again, she failed to do so.
The UCL Practitioner was kind enough to allow my report of the arguments in Iskanian to be reported on her web site. The link to the post is here.
My comments are below:
I attended the argument in Iskanian v. CLS on April 3, 2014. It was exhilarating. What fun to be there as part of this historic day. To start the day Justice Baxter gave a very moving tribute to Justice Kennard and honored her 25 years of service on the court. The argument itself was as expected, but so much better. While many prognosticated about the likely result in the case, hearing the Justices ask very robust questions was fascinating. All the Justices except Justice Baxter participated in the questioning, but as expected Justice Liu dominated the proceedings.
Focus on Exemptions for Administrative and Professional Employees
President Obama recently directed U.S. Secretary of Labor Thomas E. Perez to “modernize and streamline” the Department of Labor’s (DOL) “white collar” overtime exemption regulations at 29 C.F.R. Part 541. The first two paragraphs of the memorandum clearly state the President’s focus of regulatory changes.
“The Fair Labor Standards Act (the “Act”), 29 U.S.C. 201 et seq., provides basic rights and wage protections for American workers, including Federal minimum wage and overtime requirements. Most workers covered under the Act must receive overtime pay of at least 1.5 times their regular pay rate for hours worked in excess of 40 hours per week.
Please read about our recent case article at LawyersandSettlements.com
Case: Rein Faces California Wage and Hour Class Action Lawsuit by Gyu-Kaku Restaurant Employees
The following is an excerpt of the article:
Los Angeles, CA: A wage and hour class action lawsuit has been filed against Reins International California Inc, a subsidiary of Reins International, which owns the Gyu-Kaku chain of restaurants. The lawsuit alleges the defendant failed to properly compensate its managers in training. (continue reading)
The case is Justin Kim et al. v. Reins International California Inc et al., in the
Discrimination Claims Down Nearly Six Percent
According to data released by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), discrimination claims fell by nearly 6% in Fiscal Year 2013. The drop in discrimination charges is based on a comparison to the previous fiscal year (Oct. 1 to Sept. 30). The data was reported as a supplement to the EEOC’s most recent Performance and Accountability Report.
The EEOC received a total of 93,727 private sector charges of discrimination in FY 2013, a 6,000 charge decrease from the prior three fiscal years; however, it is still one of the top five fiscal years in terms of number of charges received by the agency.
Misclassification of truckers as “independent contractors” violates state and federal labor and tax laws
A report released last month indicates about 49,000 of the nation’s 75,000 port truck drivers were misclassified as independent contractors, violating state and federal labor and tax laws, including provisions covering wage-and-hour standards, income taxes, unemployment insurance, union-related matters and workers’ compensation.
The joint study was conducted by the National Employment Law Project, Change to Win Strategic Organizing Center and the Los Angeles Alliance for a New Economy. According to the report released February 19, 2014, port drivers filed about 400 complaints with the state’s Division of Labor Standards Enforcement for wage theft violations arising from the misclassification. Penalties in 19 cases already adjudicated averaged $66,240 per driver. Claims in reviewed pending complaints average a little over $127,000 per driver.
San Francisco Mayor Signs Fair Chance Ordinance to Help Prevent Discrimination
Just over one month ago, San Francisco Mayor Edwin M. Lee signed San Francisco’s Fair Chance Ordinance to help prevent discrimination. The ordinance “bans the box” on employment applications and restricts private employers’ ability to use criminal history information. In an effort to prevent discrimination, the new ordinance bars most employers and housing providers from (1) asking applicants to disclose their criminal background in the application process, and (2) using criminal background history or records in the employment or housing selection process. Applications for jobs where criminal history is relevant – such as child care or law enforcement – are exempted from the application ban.
Verdicts from various California Courts, and settlements between the employee and employer, illustrate the risk of retaliation liability and retaliation claims that arises in the wake of employee complaints about mistreatment. Even in cases where employers prove that a discrimination, harassment or other employment claim lacks merit, the employers may still be found liable because the complainant suffered adverse employment consequences after complaining.
A review of recent jury verdicts and settlements from workplace retaliation cases clearly demonstrate that an employee who files a complaint in good faith (even if it turns out to be unfounded) is protected from retaliation.