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!

 

 

 

 

 

CALIFORNIA 2018 – THE YEAR OF WAGE THEFT, WORKERS RIGHTS, AND FIRED EMPLOYEES GETTING FINANCIAL JUSTICE!

WAGE THEFT: MOST CALIFORNIA EMPLOYEES HAVE NO IDEA THAT THEIR EMPLOYER IS STEALING THEIR WAGES…

WHAT IS WAGE THEFT?

In broad terms, wage theft is the non-payment or underpayment of employees for hours worked, whether intentional or not. It can include any of the following:

  • Employers paying out less than the minimum wage
  • Paying employees the tipped minimum wage for non-tipped work (e.g. Paying a server $2.13 per hour for doing side work like polishing silverware or cleaning glasses)
  • Refusing to provide overtime pay
  • Failing to give workers meal breaks
  • Requiring employees to do off-the-clock work

A truly shocking report came out in 2018. The report detailed that many top U.S. corporations—from Walmart to Bank of America to AT&T—”have fattened their profits by forcing employees to work off the clock or depriving them of required overtime pay,” based on a review of labor lawsuits and enforcement actions. “Wage theft goes far beyond sweatshops, fast-food outlets, and retailers. It is built into the business model of a substantial portion of corporate America.”  Among the dozen most penalized corporations-

  • Walmart, with $1.4 billion in total settlements and fines…
  • Fedex with $502 million.
  • Bank of America ($381 million)
  • Wells Fargo ($205 million)
  • JPMorgan chase ($160 million)
  • State Farm Insurance ($140 million)

It’s not only large Fortune 100 companies that steal employee’s wages, smaller business like restaurants are also some of the largest thieves…

HOW DO RESTAURANTS GET AWAY WITH WAGE THEFT?

Wage theft permeates the restaurant industry, from fast food to fine dining. Though some cities and states have taken steps to protect workers, the problem is rampant: 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 between 2010 and 2012 had violated labor standards,” and those included wage and tip violations.” From failing to pay overtime to not giving meal breaks, there are numerous ways for employers to cheat workers out of money.

  • Wage theft: more than three-quarters (77%) of 337 restaurant employees surveyed have been victims of wage theft by their employers during the past year, and a third said it happens regularly. Restaurants’ varying systems of distributing tips are confusing and open to abuse.
  • Break violations & fraud: nearly a quarter of our sample said employers made them falsely record taking unpaid
  • Meal breaks. More than 80% reported violations of their legal rights to breaks, either working more than 6 hours without having a meal break or being prevented or discouraged from taking rest breaks.
  • Time theft & unstable schedules: most workers surveyed get their work schedules less than a week in advance and 85% get less than two weeks’ notice. Other common practices, such as on-call and open-ended scheduling, rob employees of their personal time.
  • Sick time & health: more than three-quarters (78%) of workers in the sample have gone to work when they’re sick, injured, or in pain, and 65% have done so repeatedly. Only 11% reported having any paid sick time, and only 17% get any health insurance from their jobs.
  • Discrimination:  wage theft most often targeted women, latinos, and “back-of-the-house” staff.

Among 337 San Diego County restaurant employees surveyed, 77% reported that employers had stolen their wages in at least one way during the past year. A third (33%) of the sample said their earnings were stolen by their employers regularly (always or often).

EMPLOYEE RIGHTS: DO YOU KNOW YOUR RIGHTS?

If you think that your employer has violated your rights let us start helping you immediately! Have you been wrongly fired or harassed? Not paid overtime? Forced to work through your breaks? Not reimbursed for business expenses? If the answer is yes to any of these questions — or you think your employer has otherwise violated your rights — let Lawyers for Employee and Consumer Rights help you recover money or other compensation you may be owed.

California’s workplace protection laws are among the country’s strongest. It was California that pioneered laws requiring that workers take uninterrupted meal and rest breaks in 1916. Other states and federal courts still look to California when defining workers’ rights and setting the rules employers must play by.

This is a summary of the most common employer violations that might entitle you to receiving money compensation, getting your job back, or making an employer follow the law. Many employees are experiencing violations of federal or California workplace-fairness laws without even knowing it. Oftentimes, though, workers rightly sense that something is wrong with the way employers are treating their workers.

One of our lawyers will help determine if you have a claim by phone. Or, contact us through ou ONLINE CHAT. There is no charge for speaking with our lawyers. Everything you tell us is strictly confidential.

QUESTIONS?

Learn more about your employee rights. Lawyers for Employee and Consumer Rights (LFECR) is a leading California employment law firm. With 40+ remote attorneys, LFECR is able to work on behalf of clients anywhere in California. Fired unfairly? Your free consult awaits! Call 888-625-0959. IM our Facebook page.

 

 

 

 

CALIFORNIA WAGE THEFT—–WHAT WORKERS NEED TO KNOW

Most California workers have no idea they may be victims of wage theft.

According to the UCLA Institute for Research on Labor and Employment’s report “Wage Theft and Workplace Violations in Los Angeles”, Los Angeles is the wage theft capital of the country.

 

The survey found that low-wage workers in Los Angeles regularly experience violations of basic laws that mandate a minimum wage and overtime pay and are frequently forced to work off the clock or during their breaks.

First, what is “wage theft”? According to the UCLA Labor Center, “Wage theft is the illegal practice of not paying workers for all of their work including; violating minimum wage laws, not paying overtime, forcing workers to work off the clock, and much more. It is a major problem statewide. In Los Angeles alone, low-wage workers lose $26.2 million in wage theft violations every week–making it the wage theft capital of the country.”

Now, let’s dive a little deeper into the UCLA report:

http://irle.ucla.edu/old/publications/documents/LAwagetheft-Milkman-Narro-110.pdf

WHO IS MOST AFFECTED BY WAGE THEFT?

  • Approximately 17% of all workers in L.A. County work in low-wage industries and frequently experience violations of minimum wage, overtime and break-time laws;
  • Wage theft affects two thirds of the 750,000 low-wage workers in L.A. County;
  • The average worker loses more than $2,600 to wage theft – 15% of their annual income;
  • Workers in low-wage industries are most exposed to wage theft, including those employed by garment, cafeteria, fast-food, retail and residential construction businesses as well as those working as janitors and in restaurants or households.

MINIMUM WAGE VIOLATIONS

  • Almost 30 percent of the L.A. workers sampled were paid less than the minimum wage in the work week preceding the survey, a higher violation rate than in New York City, but with no statistically significant difference from Chicago.
  • The minimum wage violations were not trivial in magnitude: 63.3 percent of workers were underpaid by more than $1.00 per hour.

OVERTIME VIOLATIONS

  • Among all L.A. respondents, 21.3 percent worked more than forty hours for a single employer during the previous work week and were therefore at risk for an overtime violation. Over three-fourths (79.2 percent) of these at-risk workers were not paid the legally required overtime rate by their employers.
  • Like minimum wage violations, overtime violations were far from trivial in magnitude. Those L.A. respondents with an overtime violation had worked an average of ten overtime hours during the previous work week.

OFF-THE-CLOCK VIOLATIONS

  • Nearly one in five L.A. respondents (17.6 percent) stated that they had worked before and/or after their regular shifts in the previous work week and were thus at risk for off-the-clock violations. Within this group, 71.2 percent did not receive any pay at all for the work they performed outside their regular shift.

MEAL AND REST BREAK VIOLATIONS

  • Among all L.A. respondents, 89.6 percent worked enough consecutive hours to be legally entitled to a meal break. However, more than three-fourths of these at-risk workers (80.3 percent) experienced a meal break violation in the previous work week. The L.A. meal break violation rate was higher than that found in New York City, but Chicago had the lowest rate of the three cities.
  • California law requires employers to provide workers ten-minute rest breaks during each four-hour shift (or two ten-minute rest breaks in a standard eight-hour shift). However, this requirement is often violated. The survey found that 81.7 percent of respondents eligible for rest breaks were either denied a break entirely or had a shortened break during the previous work week.

HAVE YOU BEEN FIRED? HAVE YOU QUIT? ARE YOU OWED MONEY?

Lawyers for Employee and Consumer Rights (LFECR) is a leading California employment law firm. With 40+ remote attorneys, LFECR is able to work on behalf of clients anywhere in California. Fired unfairly? Your free consult awaits! Call 888-625-0959. IM our Facebook page. Follow us on Twitter, Instagram, Medium, LinkedIn, our blog and check out our YouTube videos! Have a great day!

THE SUPREME COURT JUST !@#%’ED CALIFORNIA WORKERS

Yet again, the little guy, the individual worker, is being robbed of his or her rights.

This time the thief is the highest federal court of the United States, the Supreme Court of the United States.

On May 21st, the Supreme Court of the United States ruled on the Epic Systems Corp v. Lewis case. The 5-4 decision the Court handed down held that the Federal Arbitration Act of 1925) overrules the National Labor Relations Act of 1935).

Let’s look at some recent workers rights class-action lawsuits:

– In 2016, because of labor law violations regarding California fast food workers, McDonald’s paid $3.75 million dollars to settle a labor lawsuit.

– In 2017, female employees of Walmart filed a complaint in federal court, in Florida, related to the company’s pay and promotion practices, alleging years of gender discrimination.

– In 2017, restaurant chain Panera faced a class-action overtime suit claiming employees were not paid overtime wages they say they were owed when they worked as assistant managers.

The above cases were all strengthened because they were filed as class-action lawsuits.

WHAT IS A CLASS-ACTION LAWSUIT?

A class-action lawsuit is an “important and valuable part of the legal system because they permit the fair and efficient resolution of legitimate claims of numerous parties by allowing the claims to be aggregated into a single action against a defendant that has allegedly caused harm.”

Class-action lawsuits also empower individual employees to join a “class” of wronged individuals.

WHAT JUST HAPPENED TO IMPACT CALIFORNIA RESTAURANT WORKERS?

With a recent Supreme Court ruling, these class-action cases may be a thing of the past.

WHAT DOES THE RULING MEAN?

The 5-4 decision means that the class-action waivers found in arbitration agreements, as well as other clauses that require employees to arbitrate their claims individually, are enforceable and do not violate the NLRA.

HUH? BUT WHAT DOES THIS MEAN FOR WORKERS!

It means that the days of employees joining class action lawsuits against an employer may be gone.

It means that arbitration agreements may bar employees – individually or as a class – the access to the court system

If an employer violates wage and hour laws, or other labor laws like discrimination, unsafe work environments, and the like, that employees will only be able to bring claims as individuals, and not as a class.

It means that when California restaurants violate wage or other labor laws, employees will only be able to bring claims up individually, in arbitration, and not as a class.

Already this case is having ramifications as thousands of Chipotle workers could be shut out of wage-theft lawsuit by new supreme court ruling

Many agree that this ruling is an appalling affront of employee rights.

WHY IS THIS A VICTORY FOR EMPLOYERS?

This case is seen as a victory for employers because it could significantly reduce the number of claims brought against them, and because historically, cases in arbitration favor the employer over the employee.

MOST CALIFORNIA EMPLOYEES DO NOT KNOW THEIR RIGHTS!

That’s the unfortunate reality. Most California employees think that just because they work in an “at-will” stare that they have no rights. Nothing could be further from the truth.

WHAT SHOULD EMPLOYEES DO IF THEY HAVE BEEN WRONGFULLY TERMINATED?

Learn more about your employee rights. Lawyers for Employee and Consumer Rights (LFECR) is a leading California employment law firm. With 40+ remote attorneys, LFECR is able to work on behalf of clients anywhere in California. Fired unfairly? Your free consult awaits! Call 888-625-0959. IM our Facebook page. Follow us on IG, Medium, or LinkedIn, 

Have a great day!

“SUPREME COURT DECISION DELIVERS BLOW TO WORKERS’ RIGHTS” — NPR

U.S. Supreme Court just delivered a major blow to workers!

Supreme Court Decision Delivers Blow To Workers’ Rights

People wait in line to enter the U.S. Supreme Court last month. The court sided with businesses on not allowing class-action lawsuits for federal labor violations.

Mark Wilson/Getty Images

Updated at 7:08 p.m. ET

In a case involving the rights of tens of millions of private sector employees, the U.S. Supreme Court, by a 5-4 vote, delivered a major blow to workers, ruling for the first time that workers may not band together to challenge violations of federal labor laws.

Writing for the majority, Justice Neil Gorsuch said that the 1925 Federal Arbitration Act trumps the National Labor Relations Act and that employees who sign employment agreements to arbitrate claims must do so on an individual basis — and may not band together to enforce claims of wage and hour violations.

“The policy may be debatable but the law is clear: Congress has instructed that arbitration agreements like those before us must be enforced as written,” Gorsuch writes. “While Congress is of course always free to amend this judgment, we see nothing suggesting it did so in the NLRA — much less that it manifested a clear intention to displace the Arbitration Act. Because we can easily read Congress’s statutes to work in harmony, that is where our duty lies.”

Ginsburg dissents

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, writing for the four dissenters, called the majority opinion “egregiously wrong.” She said the 1925 arbitration law came well before federal labor laws and should not cover these “arm-twisted,” “take-it-or-leave it” provisions that employers are now insisting on.

She noted that workers’ claims are usually small, and many workers fear retaliation. For these reasons, she said, relatively few workers avail themselves of the arbitration option. On the other hand, these problems are largely by a class-action suit brought in court on behalf of many employees.

The inevitable result of Monday’s decision, she warned, will be huge underenforcement of federal and state laws designed to advance the well-being of vulnerable workers. It is up to Congress, she added, to correct the court’s action.

In his oral announcement, Gorsuch took the unusual step of elaborately rebutting Ginsburg’s dissent, which is five pages longer than the majority’s opinion.

A green light for employers

The ruling came in three cases — potentially involving tens of thousands of nonunion employees — brought against Ernst & Young LLP, Epic Systems Corp. and Murphy Oil USA Inc.

Each required its individual employees, as a condition of employment, to waive their rights to join a class-action suit. In all three cases, employees tried to sue together, maintaining that the amounts they could obtain in individual arbitration were dwarfed by the legal fees they would have to pay. Ginsburg’s dissent noted that a typical Ernst & Young employee would likely have to spend $200,000 to recover only about $1,900 in overtime pay.

The employees contended that their right to collective action is guaranteed by the National Labor Relations Act. The employers countered that they are entitled to ban collective legal action under the Federal Arbitration Act, which was enacted in 1925 to reverse the judicial hostility to arbitration at the time.

Employment lawyers were elated. Ron Chapman, who represents management in labor-management disputes, said he expects small and large businesses alike to immediately move to impose these binding arbitration contracts to eliminate the fear of costly class-action verdicts from juries. “It gives employers the green light to eliminate their single largest employment law risk with the stroke of a pen,” he said.

Implications for #MeToo

Labor law experts said Monday’s decision very likely will present increasing problems for the #MeToo movement, and for other civil rights class actions claiming discrimination based on race, gender and religion. There is no transparency in most binding arbitration agreements, and they often include nondisclosure provisions. What’s more, class actions deal with the expense and fear of retaliation problems of solo claims. As Ginsburg put it, “there’s safety in numbers.”

Yale Law professor Judith Resnick observed that the decision applies to all manner of class actions. “What this says is that when you buy something, use something, or work for someone, that entity can require you to waive your right to use public courts,” she noted.

Cornell University labor law professor Angela Cornell expects the number of these litigation waivers to skyrocket now. “What we see is the privatization of our justice system,” she said.

A study by the left-leaning Economic Policy Institute shows that 56 percent of nonunion private sector employees are currently subject to mandatory individual arbitration procedures under the 1925 Federal Arbitration Act, which allows employers to bar collective legal actions by employees.

The court’s decision means that tens of millions of private nonunion employees will be barred from suing collectively over the terms of their employment.

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!