Jones Day Seeks to Have Gender Discrimination Plaintiffs Revealed

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Jones Day, a BigLaw firm, thinks gender discrimination plaintiffs should be forced to come forward and reveal themselves to the public. Following last year’s lawsuit filed by a former partner, Wendy Moore, alleging gender discrimination in pay at the firm, a new lawsuit was filed against the firm by six former associates. The new lawsuit also goes after the firm’s compensation system, but also makes claims in connection to the firm’s alleged “fraternity culture.”

The six former associates include two named plaintiffs (Nilab Rahyar Tolton and Andrea Mazingo) and four anonymous. The anonymous plaintiffs were permitted to use pseudonyms by U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia Chief Judge Beryl Howell. Now the Defendant in the case, Jones Day, is objecting to the anonymity of four of the plaintiffs.

The law firm argues that the court’s approval of the use of pseudonyms impugns Jones Day’s reputation by implying that they would retaliate against the anonymous plaintiffs involved in the suit if their identities were made known. They also argued that the pseudonyms prevent the public from thoroughly evaluating the plaintiffs’ allegations and credibility. Jones Day also brought up various problems connected to the case and the anonymity of the plaintiffs. The Defendant cited plaintiffs’ public relations strategy surrounding the lawsuit that made the anonymity particularly inappropriate. They also mentioned that the firm was not served with the official complaint, but the plaintiffs offered the document to the media before filing. The firm also brought up that the two named plaintiffs had already spoken to the press about their reasons for filing. Jones Day argued that for all the reasons mentioned, anonymity was unfair and prevented the firm and the public from determining the credibility of the plaintiffs and their claims.

As support for their arguments against anonymity in the case, Jones Day pointed to another BigLaw gender discrimination case brought against Morrison & Foerster. Jane Doe plaintiffs also filed the pregnancy discrimination case. In that case, the judge has already made comments that the plaintiffs cannot remain anonymous forever and stated that the plaintiffs in BigLaw gender discrimination cases were in the same position as plaintiffs in an employment litigation case.

If you need to talk to an experienced California employment law attorney about gender discrimination, pregnancy discrimination or any other form of discrimination in the workplace, please get in touch with Blumenthal Nordrehaug Bhowmik De Blouw LLP as soon as possible. We can help you determine your next step in protecting your rights and seeking compensation for damages.

Former MedMen CFO Files Wrongful Termination Lawsuit

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In the last month, three senior executives have left Culver City-based MedMen Enterprises Inc. Since January, the retail cannabis company has experienced the departure of close to 100 employees. Most recently, as announced in an April 19th, 2019 press release, MedMen General Counsel LD Sergi Trager and Chief Operating Officer Ben Cook resigned. MedMen Senior Vice President in charge of corporate communications, Daniel Yi, also left the company.

The departures of execs and employees followed a wrongful termination suit filed against the company in January by the former MedMen Chief Financial Officer James Parker. Parker claimed that he was stripped of his powers and left unable to fulfill his job duties in the workplace. Parker's wrongful termination lawsuit is currently pending in Los Angeles County Superior Court.

What is Wrongful Termination? Sometimes referred to wrongful dismissal or wrongful discharge, wrongful termination occurs when an employer terminates an employee's contract of employment in a way that breaches one or more terms of the contract of employment or a statute or provision or rule in employment law.

Bierman responded in February through a company blog post insisting that the claims made by Parker were malicious and an attention-getter and concluding that the lawsuit was without merit. He emphasizes the accusations made in the wrongful termination lawsuit filed by Parker went directly against the company's core values and that the workforce is one of the most diverse in any industry. MedMen has operations in numerous states, including California, Nevada, New York, Arizona, and Illinois. Third-quarter revenues projections were at $36.6 million for the period that ended March 30th. Final results are expected to be published by the company May 29th.

If you have questions about wrongful termination or if you have been a victim of wrongful termination, please get in touch with one of the experienced California employment law attorneys at Blumenthal Nordrehaug Bhowmik De Blouw LLP as soon as possible.

Allegations of Failure to Pay Accurate Overtime Lead to Class Action Lawsuit Against VNA Hospice

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A recent class action lawsuit filed against VNA Hospice and Palliative Care of Southern California alleges that the company violated numerous California Labor Laws by failing to provide employees with proper overtime pay for hours worked.

According to their website, VNA Hospice & Palliative Care of Southern California offers hospice and palliative care in the home of patients, skilled nursing centers, assisted living facilities, or independent living facilities. Every patient is different. That's why caregivers employed by VNA SoCal help to create custom medical care plans for patients, setting personal goals, and providing palliative care to help manage both pain and symptoms. VNA SoCal caregivers offer a wide range of services from hospice-care to home health care to private duty care to senior care and more.

VNA Hospice and Palliative Care of Southern California Allegedly:

•    Failed to compensate hourly employees with the proper amount of overtime pay.

•    Failed to provide California employees with meal breaks as required by state law.

•    Failed to provide California employees with rest periods as mandated by California Labor Code.

The class action overtime lawsuit was filed on March 29, 2019. The lawsuit is currently pending in San Bernardino County Superior Court for the State of California (Case No. CIVDS1909598). In the complaint, plaintiffs claim that the company paid their non-exempt employees' non-discretionary incentive wages that were created based on employee performance. Plaintiffs further allege that according to the law, the various incentive wages provided to VNA Hospice's employees should have been included in the hourly rates of pay that were used in calculating overtime rates for the employees. Allegedly illegal overtime calculations on the part of the company left other non-exempt employees at VNA Hospice receiving inaccurate overtime wages for overtime hours worked.

The complaint filed against VNA Hospice also seeks penalties related to missed meal breaks. VNA Hospice allegedly did not have a company policy in place that enabled employees to take full, off-duty, thirty-minute, uninterrupted meal breaks before the end of the 5th hour of a shift as required by law.

If you are not paid overtime wages as required by California Labor Law or if you have questions about what to do when you experience labor law violations in the workplace, please get in touch with one of the experienced California employment law attorneys at Blumenthal Nordrehaug Bhowmik De Blouw LLP.

Dodger Team Sued for Alleged Sexual Harassment

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The longtime Dodger usher, Vickie Gutierrez, is suing the team and her boss for alleged sexual harassment and backlash for reporting the behavior. The 72-year old claims that the situation has negatively affected her health.

Gutierrez filed suit in Los Angeles Superior Court naming defendants Los Angeles Dodgers LLC, Los Angeles Dodgers Holding Co. LLC and Shahram Ariane and seeking unspecified damages. According to Gutierrez's claims, Ariane was the 'Dodger's executive in charge of security for the stadium and Dodger management.

Violations Cited in the Complaint Include:

•       Retaliation: one of the most frequently alleged basis of discrimination as well as one of the most common discrimination findings.

•       Sexual Battery: Unwanted contact with an intimate part of the body for sexual arousal, gratification, or abuse.

•       Sexual Harassment: Unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical harassment of a sexual nature.

•       Sexual Discrimination: Sex or gender discrimination involves treating someone unfavorably because of their sex.

•       Hostile Work Environment: When discriminatory behavior in the workplace creates an environment that makes it difficult or uncomfortable for another person to complete their job duties.

•       Failure to Take Appropriate Preventive or Corrective Action: When a company or superior fails to make improvements to an 'organization's processes after a complaint is made to eliminate the cause of inappropriate behavior or undesirable situations.

•       Violation of State Business and Professional Code: The business and professional codes regulate business operation in California.

If you have been the victim of discrimination or harassment in the workplace, please 'don't hesitate. Get in touch with the experienced California employment law attorneys at Blumenthal Nordrehaug Bhowmik De Blouw LLP today so we can help you protect your rights on the job.

Settlement Reached with Former Port Hueneme Employee Who Filed Harassment Claim

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A former Port Hueneme employee claims she experienced harassment and discrimination in the workplace. Carmen Nichols, a former employee of Port Hueneme, filed a claim alleging both.

In response, Port Hueneme is to pay Carmen Nichols $550,000. While according to the terms of the settlement, Port Hueneme officially admits no wrongdoing, the settlement counts as a win. Nichols resigned from her position in August 2017 after being employed for 22 years. One month after she left, she filed a claim alleging misconduct by Hensley as well as other employees who allowed the Hensley’s harassment and discrimination of Nichols to continue.

In the complaint, Nichols alleged that City Council member Jim Hensley harassed and discriminated against her on numerous occasions beginning around January 2015 and continuing until she was finally forced to quit her job in August 2017. Harassment and discrimination aimed at Nichols were based on gender and race and was, in the words of Nichols, “continuous.” While opposing party claims Nichol has zero evidence of her claims, Nichols listed several instances of harassment and discrimination in her complaint.

Nichols claims that Hensley regularly referenced her looks, insinuated she wasn’t doing her job, opposed a pay raise for her when she was named for a promotion (even when she earned less than men in the same position), referenced her ethnicity (referring to her as a “Latina”), and openly expressed his dislike for Hispanics.

In a separate case citing Port Hueneme as Defendant filed by City Council member Jim Hensley, a judge found the federal lawsuit seeking monetary damages for lost wages and benefits related to his removal from some committees as well as emotional distress without merit. U.S. District Court Judge André Birotte Jr. granted the request for summary judgment. By granting the summary judgment, the judge essentially rules that Hensley’s claims were not strong enough to hold up in court and allow the case to move forward. Judge Birotte reviewed the Plaintiff’s pleadings as well as records of City Council meetings pertaining to the situation and determined there were no “genuine issues of material fact.” Hensley and his counsel feel the judge’s conclusion was inaccurate and plan to appeal.

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

$1.3 Million Settlement to Settle Glasswerks L.A. Unpaid Wages Lawsuit

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California employees claimed another victory in a recent unpaid wages lawsuit, Fajardo v. Glasswerks L.A. The commercial glass manufacturer agreed to pay $1.3 million to resolve the class action filed on behalf of workers who claim the company failed to pay overtime and provide meal and rest breaks.

The claims apply to employees working for Glasswerks L.A. between 2012 and 2018 and affects more than 1,000 current and former employees. Each will end up receiving approximately $800, but some will see as much as $2,400 as a result of the settlement. Plaintiffs in the case claim the company shorted them on overtime and failed to provide meal and rest breaks and required by California Labor Law. 

Parties settled the case through private mediation with few details offered to the public. In spite of the lack of information, the settlement supports the continued efforts of the California courts to protect the rights of employees and their legally protected pay.

According to California Labor Law, nonexempt employees are entitled to overtime when they work over eight hours in one day or 40 hours in one week. Nonexempt workers are entitled to a 30-minute uninterrupted, duty-free meal break when they complete more than 5 hours in a shift (on one workday) as well as a 10-minute uninterrupted, duty-free rest break for every 4 hours worked. While the rules seem straightforward, there are often complications. Most confusion regarding these specific labor laws come from the determining who is covered by the protections of the law and which hours count. For instance, independent contractors (rather than employees of the company) do not receive wage and hour law protections. Managerial employees are also exempt.

Another common issue for California wage and hour law involves determining which hours should be counted when determining how many hours an employee has worked in one workday or how many hours they have worked in one workweek. (According to the law, more than 8 hours in one day or more than 40 hours in one workweek require employees to provide overtime compensation). According to recent California court decisions, employers should include small amounts of off-the-clock work time when counting employee hours towards overtime totals. On-call time should also be included even when the employee is not required to be present on the job site. For instance, employees who are required to be on-call at night must be paid for their time even if the employee is asleep during their time on call. Employees asked to take care of simple tasks while on lunch break must have their time count toward wage and overtime calculations and payment.

If you have questions about why you are not receiving overtime pay you are due, or if you have experienced other California Labor Law violations in the workplace, please get in touch with one of the experienced California employment law attorneys at Blumenthal Nordrehaug Bhowmik De Blouw LLP. We have the experience you need on your side to protect your wage and hour rights and help you gain the compensation you deserve.

California Protection and Investigation Services, Inc. Faces Overtime Pay Allegations

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A class action overtime lawsuit recently filed in California (Case No. 19STCV14719) alleges that California Protection and Investigation Services, Inc. failed to pay overtime. Security guards employed at the company filed the proposed class action complaint against the security services company.

Plaintiffs in the suit claim that California Protection and Investigation Services, Inc. failed to provide meal and rest periods for employees.

The Proposed Class Action Against California Protection and Investigation Services, Inc.: Overtime Violations

•    The company failed to provide mandatory meal and rest breaks to security staff.

•    Failed and Continued to Fail to Accurately Calculate and Pay Employees for Overtime Hours

•    Intentionally and Knowingly Failed to Compensate Employees at the Correct Rate of Pay for Overtime as a Matter of Company Policy

According to the proposed class action’s allegations, California Protection and Investigation Services, Inc.’s security guards claim they were unable to take off duty meal breaks because their work schedules were too rigorous and did not allow for the required meal breaks.

To comply with California labor laws, employers must provide employees who work for more than five hours during a shift with a thirty-minute uninterrupted meal break before the end of the employee’s fifth hour of work. They must also provide the employee with a second uninterrupted meal break when an employee is working a shift of 10 hours. According to the complaint, the security company did not provide additional compensation to the security guards who forfeited their mandatory meal breaks even though additional compensation is required by law in this situation.

If you have questions about what to do when your employer is violating California Labor Code or if you are not being provided with proper overtime compensation, please get in touch with the experienced California employment law attorneys at Blumenthal Nordrehaug Bhowmik De Blouw LLP today.