PREGNANT JACK IN THE BOX EMPLOYEE GETS FIRED, THEN GETS 1440 HOURS OF BACK PAY

LFECR FIGHTS FOR ANOTHER WIN —- THIS TIME TO WIN A SETTLEMENT & BACK PAY FOR CALIFORNIA MOTHER

The poorest workers in America are being stolen from the most,” says Saru Jayaraman, co-founder and co-director of the Restaurant Opportunities Center United. Paula Lopez, a pregnant, low-wage fast food worker at a California Jack In The Box recently had her wages stolen and her job taken.

Wage theft and Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) violations are rampant in the restaurant industry. Although all types of wage and hour violations and wrongful termination happen 1000’s of times a year, most violations go unpunished. Not this time.

The Jack In The Box franchise is paying the equivalent of 1440 hours in back pay to settle a matter involving long-time employee Paula Lopez who was allegedly a victim of wage theft and then fired when she was 5-months pregnant. Unlike the many California fast food workers that are unwitting victims of wage theft, Paula knew something was wrong. She decided to learn more about her rights and ask for help. Paula called Lawyers For Employee And Consumer Rights for a free case review.

5 MONTHS PREGNANT AND FIRED – HOW DOES THIS HAPPEN?

In her 5th month of pregnancy, Paula Lopez used a sick day to take a day off from work. The following day Paula was fired. Allegedly the Taco Bell franchise management staff where she worked knew that Paula was pregnant and knew that she was taking days off because she was pregnant. In most US workplaces, firing someone due to being pregnant is a violation.

According to the United States Department of Labor, The Family and Medical Leave Act entitles eligible employees of covered employers to take unpaid, job-protected leave for specified family and medical reasons.

DENIED MEAL AND REST BREAKS? IT’S CALLED WAGE THEFT

In addition to being fired unfairly, Paula was also not granted all of her lunch breaks or rest breaks. When fast-food restaurants deny an employee a meal or rest breaks, they are literally stealing money from employees. It’s called wage theft.

Wage theft is when an employer does not pay or underpays employees for time worked. Wage theft can be any of the following:

  • Employers paying less than the minimum wage
  • Paying employees the tipped minimum wage for non-tipped
  • Refusing to provide overtime pay
  • Failing to give workers meal breaks
  • Failing to give workers rest breaks
  • Requiring employees to do off-the-clock work

Wage theft permeates the restaurant industry, from fast-food restaurants to fine dining establishments. According to a recent New York Times editorial, the Department of Labor’s wage and hour division reported almost “84 percent of full-service restaurants it investigated had violated labor standards.”

FAST FOOD EMPLOYEES GET FIRED UNFAIRLY AND HAVE NO IDEA THEY MAY BE OWED MONEY

Fast food restaurants, restaurants of all kinds, will continue to steal wages from employees for one simple reason. They can get away with it.

According to the Institute For Policy Research, “Wage theft is concentrated among low-wage workers, especially women, minorities, non-U.S. citizens, and nonunion workers. An estimated 16.9 percent of low-wage workers experienced a minimum wage violation in 2013. On average, these workers lost nearly a quarter of their income to wage theft, earning $5.92 an hour, on average, versus the $7.68 an hour they would have earned if paid their state’s minimum wage. Certain groups—women, minorities, non-U.S. citizens, and nonunion workers—are all more likely to suffer from wage theft, highlighting its unequal effects.”

1440 HOURS OF BACK PAY FOR BEING FIRED?

Yes! LFECR helps 1000’s of California employees fight for their rights. LFECR helps employees that have been treated unfairly and may be owed money. The only way we can do that is if employees take action to learn their rights. If you or someone you know has been a victim of denied meal/rest breaks, wrongful termination, workplace discrimination, workplace sexual harassment, or any number of employment matters, contact LFECR for a free case review or visit our Facebook page for more information.

Fast food restaurants, restaurants of all kinds, will continue to steal wages from employees for one simple reason. They can get away with it.

Don’t let that happen!

 

 

 

 

 

WHILE MEAL BREAK MEANS MEAL, DOES REST BREAK MEAN REST?

California’s long-time ambiguity surrounding workers rights on meal and rest breaks.

It should be crystal clear…if you are on a meal or rest break, you don’t have to work.

Right?

Well.

It seems that here in California, with so many hard working employees, there is still some ambiguity regarding what an employer can or cannot require an employee to do during meal and rest breaks.

DID A 2014 CA SUPREME COURT DECISION MAKE IT BETTER OR WORSE?

– If you are on a meal break, and your boss needs you, are you obligated to respond?

– Are you obligated to work?

– Can your employer legally pull you off of a required rest break to work?

In 2014, the California Supreme Court decided that “Employers Must Relieve Employees of All Duty During Meal Periods But Need Not Ensure They Perform No Work.” In this decision, the Court noted that California employees must be “relieved of all duties” during their statutorily required 30-minute meal periods.

The specific questions came from a case called Brinker Restaurant Corporation v. Superior Court. The Brinker case was, at the time, one of many employment law based class action lawsuits pending in California. It centered on employees making the claim that the Brinker Restaurant Corporation had failed to provide the number of, and timing of, both meal breaks and rest periods as required by California state law.

HOWEVER, THE QUESTION REMAINED: DOES AN EMPLOYEE HAVE TO BE AVAILABLE TO WORK WHILE THEY ARE ON A BREAK?

In an effort to resolve ambiguity that arose from this case, and multiple others, the California Supreme Court further concluded that while an employer is required to dismiss an employee of all job responsibilities during a meal period (meal break), the employer does not have to guarantee that no work is done.

Thankfully, it seems that a 2016 decision by the same California Supreme Court MAY have clarified the, “Are employees on-call during a rest break” question…

On December 22, 2016, the California Supreme Court handed down an opinion in the Augustus v. ABM Industries case. Their decision, once and for all, answered this question:

“California law requires employers to relieve their employees of all work-related duties and employer control during 10-minute rest periods. The trial court’s summary adjudication and summary judgment orders were premised on this understanding of the law. Rightly so: Wage Order 4, subdivision 12(A) and section 226.7 prohibit on-duty rest periods. What they require instead is that employers relinquish any control over how employees spend their break time, and relieve their employees of all duties –– including the obligation that an employee remain on call. A rest period, in short, must be a period of rest. We accordingly reverse the Court of Appeal’s judgment on this issue.”

WHAT DOES THIS MEAN FOR EMPLOYEES?

It means that all California employees continue to have rights. And most importantly, that all California employees have the right to ask questions about their rights.

QUESTIONS ABOUT YOUR RIGHTS?

Employee advocates are standing by.

IF YOU GOT FIRED LIKE THESE PEOPLE, WHAT WOULD YOU DO?

MOST California employees either wait too long to contact an attorney. Or, they never do at all. The consequences can be expensive.

OVERWORKED WAREHOUSE WORKER – A 35-year old warehouse worker in central California works so much that he us unable to take his regular scheduled breaks. He has missed work breaks for years. One day, he complains to his boss. The next day he is fired.

PREGNANT SECRETARY – A 30-year old secretary in Southern California is excited about being 3-months pregnant. One day, she comes into work, sits her boss down, and tell him that she is pregnant. The next day she is fired.

UNDERPAID RESTAURANT DISHWASHER – A 40-year old dishwasher at an upscale restaurant in San Fransisco is constantly working overtime. Some weeks he will work as many as 20 hours of overtime…20! He’s a great employee, and his bosses love him, but they never pay him overtime. One day, just like the Warehouse Worker, he complains about this…The next day he is fired.

 

While none of these three people know each other, they may all share one thing in common.

They may have been all fired unfairly.

And… they my be owed money.

In the case of the Warehouse Worker, it’s very likely his employer engaged in what’s called a Wage and Hour Violation by not allowing him to take breaks. With the Pregnant Secretary, she may be owed money because she was fired due to her pregnancy. With our Dishwasher, he may be owed all of that overtime money the restaurant did not pay him.

WERE YOU RECENTLY FIRED? Do you know your employee rights? You’re not alone. Most Californians employees do not know that wrongfully terminated employees may be owed money.

WHAT’S THE GOOD NEWS? The good news is that there is an easy way for Warehouse Workers, Secretaries, Dishwashers, and most every California employee to learn their rights. If you have been wrongfully terminated, fired, or quit, and think you may have a case, feel free to call 888-739-3092 for a FREE CONSULT!