Infosys Facing Allegations of Failure to Pay Overtime

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A former employee of Infosys, Anuj Kapoor, filed an overtime lawsuit against the company. It is not the first and will likely result in a US Department of Labor investigation. Kapoor was involved with a CVS project in Rhode Island and filed suit against the company in June. Kapoor alleges that Infosys made him work over 1,000 hours of overtime without providing him with overtime pay.

Kapoor, plaintiff, alleges that he worked an estimated 1,084 overtime hours for the company between May 2015 and June 2017 and that they were over and above his weekly 40 hours. He also alleges that the overtime hours worked resulted in zero compensation. Not only was not provided accurate overtime wages, but he was not provided any wages for the additional hours at all.

Kapoor isn’t the only employee of Infosys who has made this type of allegation against Infosys. Infosys has run into overtime claims before. The company paid $26 million in 2008 to the California Division of Labor Standards Enforcement. The payment settled a previous investigation into allegations of unpaid overtime.

The company, Infosys, denies the allegations. They not only insist that Kapoor’s allegations are unfounded, but they state that they will defend themselves in the action. Infosys’ spokesperson states that they comply with employment law throughout the United States. Additionally, the Defendant noted that the current case based on Kapoor’s allegations has no connection to past allegations and that the decade-old case in California has no relevance to the current case.

Infosys is not the only Indian IT company that has faced overtime lawsuits from their employees. Wipro, another Indian IT company, was sued by one of their employees for unpaid overtime. In the current regulatory environment in the United States, lawsuits and complaints are definitely raising concerns and companies operating in “gray areas” are finding that allegations cannot be ignored or easily swept aside.

If you need help seeking overtime pay from your employer or if you have questions about overtime regulations, please get in touch with one of the experienced California employment law attorneys at Blumenthal Nordrehaug Bhowmik De Blouw LLP.

Did Misclassifying Drivers as Contractors Save Uber $500M?

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In recent news, a lawsuit claims that the popular ridesharing firm, Uber, saved more than $500 million by misclassifying their drivers as independent contractors. The California class action seeks justice in response to Uber allegedly ignoring a previous ruling issued earlier in the year.

The class action lawsuit was brought to California federal courts on behalf of local business, Diva’s Limousine. The suit alleges that Uber unfairly stole business from traditional taxi service-based companies by using deceitful methods and unethical tactics that purposefully skirted around the law. According to the complaint, Uber low-balled drivers’ wages in order to increase the company’s profit margin through misclassification of drivers as independent contractors rather than employees.

The plaintiff claims that these deceitful methods/tactics are a workaround that goes against the ruling issued previously this year by the California Supreme Court in the case Dynamex Operations West, Inc. v. Superior Court. The plaintiff also claims that by ignoring the previous ruling to misclassifying drivers, Uber stands to avoid payment of approximately $9.07 per hour in expenses/benefits to their drivers (i.e. minimum wage, mandated breaks, unemployment compensation, social security, Medicare, etc.)

Uber employees across the world have been fighting this particular battle and it has not been an easy fight. Late in 2017 a London tribunal classified drivers as employees. This directly conflicted with rulings in US courts where the opposite was believed to be true. Uber is currently appealing a lawsuit in Brazil resulting in similar findings. A Philadelphia courtroom ruled earlier this year that the provisions under the Federal Fair Labor Standards Act prevented UberBlack drivers from being classified as employees. This was the first ruling of its kind; classifying Uber drivers as non-employees under federal law.

If you have questions about misclassification or if you have been misclassified by your employer, please get in touch with one of the experienced California employment law attorneys at Blumenthal Nordrehaug Bhowmik De Blouw LLP.

Scope of Gender-Discrimination Lawsuit Against Salk Limited by Judge

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In recent news, a California judge limited the scope of a gender-discrimination lawsuit filed against by Salk Institute for Biological Studies by cancer researcher, Beverly Emerson, by throwing out a retaliation claim. The judge dismissed the claim on August 30, 2018.

The claim was made by molecular biologist Beverly Emerson. She claimed that the Salk Institute for Biological Studies in La Jolla, California purposefully let her contract expire in December 2017 because she filed a gender-discrimination lawsuit. (The gender-discrimination lawsuit was filed by Emerson in July of that same year).

A key piece of evidence for Emerson’s retaliation claim was an email from the institute’s former president, Elizabeth Blackburn. In the email Blackburn suggested the litigation could hurt Emerson’s career, but the court ruled this email as confidential material that should not be presented before jurors. Emerson alleges gender-discrimination based on systemic bias at Salk that resulted in limited pay, limited professional advancement, and limited access to resources and funding for research.

In the course of the August 17th hearing in San Diego, California, the Salk Institute’s legal counsel argued that most of the cited events that occurred during Emerson’s 30 years at the institute happened too long ago to be included in the suit (i.e. a delayed promotion). According to California state law people have only one year to file a lawsuit including charges of gender discrimination after an event or incident occurs, unless they have proof to present that the gender discrimination was a continuing occurrence.

Emerson’s legal counsel responded with instances that illustrated just such a pattern of recurring gender bias. Judge Eddie Sturgeon noted that when viewing the evidence as a whole, the court “cannot conclude as a matter of law that there is no continuing violation.” Emerson’s gender-discrimination suit is scheduled for trial on December 7th.  

If you are experiencing discrimination in the workplace or if you have questions about workplace discrimination, please get in touch with one of the experienced California employment law attorneys at Blumenthal Nordrehaug Bhowmik De Blouw LLP.

AT&T Faces Sales Representative Overtime Lawsuit

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An AT&T/Charter retail store employee, Andrew Prizler, filed a lawsuit (Prizler v. Charter Commc’n, Inc., S.D. Cal., No. 3:18-cv-01724) alleging that his overtime pay was miscalculated because the sales commissions and bonuses were not accurately included in the calculations. 20 of Charter’s appearances in federal court in the past 5 years (3.3%) were for wage and hour cases. For AT&T, it’s 216 cases (10.9%).

When a company calculates an employee’s overtime pay rate, federal law requires that commissions and bonuses be counted in as part of their regular rate of pay. The regular rate of pay is multiplied by one-and-a-half. When an employer does not include amounts that should be included in the “regular rate of pay,” it can significantly decrease their overtime pay rate.

Prizler, the plaintiff, filed suit on July 27th in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California. The proposed class action was filed on behalf of all other retail employees with AT&T/Charter who earn commissions and/or bonuses. (The lawsuit also named two Charter subsidiaries: Spectrum and Time Warner Cable).

When asked about the lawsuit, an AT&T spokesperson responded that the defendant was reviewing the complaint and the allegations claimed by the plaintiffs in the case. They also stated that their policy is to always follow the law – including wage and hour laws. Charter did not respond when asked for comments regarding the suit.

If you have questions about overtime pay calculation or if you feel you aren’t being paid the overtime you deserve, please get in touch with one of the experienced employment law attorneys at Blumenthal Nordrehaug Bhowmik De Blouw LLP.

California Patent Attorney Loses Discrimination and Wrongful Termination Suit

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A patent attorney, Geneva Lai, claiming wrongful termination recently lost her lawsuit against Silicon Valley firm LegalForce RAPC. The wrongful termination suit was tossed by a California judge. The attorney claims she was fired for challenging an allegedly biased revenue requirement that was imposed on women working at the Firm. After hearing the arguments, Santa Clara Superior Court Judge James L. Stoelker ruled in favor of the Defendant, noting that the law firm stated they had fired the attorney, in part, for creating a fake client.

The judge issued a written tentative decision before the hearing, but after hearing oral arguments during the June 26th hearing, he stated the matter needed additional consideration. On Friday, the judge dismissed the plaintiff’s gender discrimination claims, retaliation claims and wrongful termination claims.

According to court documents, the firm hired Lai as a patent attorney in September of 2015. The Firm had three others working in their patent department at the time: Raj Abyhanker (law firm principal), Laura Figel, and Oscar Au. Abhyanker met with the team in April 2016 and advised Lai and Figel they would need to start finding their own clients. According to LegalForce, Lai failed to meet the new revenue requirement, so they ended her employment. There were also questions about a client that Lai said she had secured.

The judge noted that there was an investigation regarding whether or not Lai made up a client that ended up hitting the target goal set by the Firm. The judge noted that when an employee is attempting to “game the system” in that way, it’s hard to ignore.

In the initial, written tentative decision, the judge said he was inclined to toss the plaintiff’s cause of action for unlawful sex discrimination because the roles of Lai and Figel at the Firm were different than Au’s role at the Firm. He was not a licensed attorney. Therefore, it was not an act of discrimination to impose the new revenue requirement just on the two women. Lai could not establish that a male employee at the firm in a similar work position was treated more favorably.

The judge also found that Lai failed to support her cause of action for unlawful retaliation in the workplace and wrongful termination claims.

If you need to talk about retaliation in the workplace of if you are struggling with workplace discrimination, please get in touch with an experienced California employment law attorney at Blumenthal Nordrehaug Bhowmik De Blouw LLP.

$3.9M Settlement Agreed on in Golden Corral Overtime Lawsuit

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In recent news, the Golden Corral Corporation has recently agreed to settle a wage and hour lawsuit. The wage and hour lawsuit was filed by Golden Corral workers who alleged that they were denied overtime pay during mandatory training for the company. The company agreed to settle for $3.9 million. This agreement came after the workers alleged the company was in violation of both state and federal labor law when they denied their workers overtime payment when they completed overtime for training.

Originally, the suit alleged that the Defendant, Golden Corral Corp., failed to provide compensation to their assistant managers for company training. Instead, they were given lump sums. The proposed settlement awaits approval from an Ohio federal judge. The proposed settlement would resolve the alleged FLSA violations against Golden Corral. The claimant is also requesting class certification so workers eligible to join the class can choose whether or not to join. This would allow them to choose whether or not to release their claims.

Robert S., the lead plaintiff, filed the proposed class action wage and hour lawsuit in January 2017. He alleged that Golden Corral wrongfully denied him and other workers in his situation overtime for training. The lump sum they were paid instead was distributed for each training week, even though the training hours amounted to more than 40 hours per week the majority of the time.

Businesses are required to pay their non-exempt employees 1.5 times their hourly rate when they work over 40 hours in one week or over 8 hours in one day. This is regulated by federal labor law. In addition to the regulations set down by federal labor law, each state also has labor policies in place to protect employees from this type of workplace abuse. In the Golden Corral case, plaintiffs claim the company wrongfully denied their employees proper compensation for all hours worked, which is in violation of the FLSA as well as state labor law.  In the aftermath of the legal trouble, Golden Corral adjusted their practices, now paying their managers in training an average of between $628.71 to $5,882 per week – amounts which are determined

Golden Corral reportedly has already changed its ways in wake of the claim, paying their managers in training an average of between $628.71 to $5,882 per week.

If you have questions about mismanagement of your plan’s funds or if you suspect your employer of ERISA violations, please get in touch with one of the experienced California employment law attorneys at Blumenthal Nordrehaug Bhowmik De Blouw LLP.

Class Action Lawsuit Over Lowe’s Weak Fund for 401(k)

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Employees of Lowe’s hardware store who participate in the 401(k) plan claim that the company chose a weak fund that lost plan members money. Benjamin Ritz, plaintiff, alleges that he had all his retirement funds invested with Lowe’s. He further claims that he was financially injured due to Lowe’s choice to move over $1 billion from eight other investment funds into one other fund: Hewitt Growth Fund. Lowe’s made this move on the advice of Aon Hewitt Investment Consulting Fund. Ritz also claims that if Lowe’s had not moved the funds, plan participants would have made $100 million more.

Ritz further claims that this situation represents a violation of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA). Ritz seeks damages for himself and other plan participants who were similarly affected by Lowe’s funds transfer. Ritz would like to force the companies to pay for the participants’ losses, force Hewitt to disgorge profits related to the transfer of funds and stop Lowe’s from further investments in the Hewitt Growth Fund in the future.

According the ERISA class action lawsuit, Lowe’s moved the plan funds on the advice of Aon Hewitt Investment Consulting, the owner of the Hewitt Growth Fund. Plaintiffs claim that this behavior was self-serving. They were encouraging the transfer to support the fund, which was exhibiting poor performance. The plaintiff claims that Hewitt put its own interests ahead of the interests of plan participants, which is in violation of ERISA. The plaintiff also alleges that Lowe’s should have been more vigilant – considering quality and reliability of the information received from the advisor, particularly considering Hewitt’s conflict of interest.

The company’s plan reportedly has approximately $5.2 billion in assets, 250,000 participants and has been taking investment advice on their 401(k) plans since 2009.

If you have questions about mismanagement of your plan’s funds or if you suspect your employer of ERISA violations, please get in touch with one of the experienced California employment law attorneys at Blumenthal Nordrehaug Bhowmik De Blouw LLP.