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Employment Law Archives

Class action employment claims may be settled for $415 million

A group of class action claims dealing with employee rights are finally coming to an end, if a federal judge in California approves the settlement amount. The consolidated cases were ready for trial this spring against Silicon Valley giants Apple, Google, Intel and Adobe, the remaining companies that did not previosly settle. The employment claims demand reparations for an alleged conspiracy by the big high tech companies to not hire away each other's engineers.

California high court upholds on-call workers' employment claims

The Supreme Court of California has unanimously ruled that workers who must be on call at a work site must be paid for their waiting time, even if they're watching television or sleeping. The employment claims were made through a class-action lawsuit filed by security guards employed by a California company with 1500 employees. The decision will reportedly have statewide impact, in that the same principles will likely apply to a variety of other on-call workers, including, for example, in-home domestic workers.

Class-action employment claims settled against big publisher

Many companies have traditionally gotten a lot of valuable hours from summer interns and paid them a pittance or sometimes nothing. These situations have in some cases become the subject of class-action employment claims, in California and other states. One industry in which the practice may be particularly unfair is in the magazine publishing field.

Lawsuit claims Merck & Co.'s actions violated employee rights

The way women are treated in the workforce has changed significantly over the course of the last half century. Despite the strides that have been made, including federal laws that prohibit discrimination against people due to gender and pregnancy, there is still room for improvement in California and across the country. In fact, a recent class action lawsuit filed against Merck & Co. accuses it of violating the employee rights of women, especially those who take maternity leave.

Court backs employee rights by ordering cell phone reimbursement

A decision from a California appellate court may mark a wave of future employment-related class actions. On Aug. 12 the Court decided that employers must reimburse employees for personal cell phone charges that are work-related. The decision enforces and relies on California Labor Code section 282, which requires reimbursement to employees for personal expenditures made in performing their duties. The case sets forth in specific terms an area of employee rights that may have previously existed but was not widely enforced.

Similar employment claims can be raised in class action lawsuits

In California, an employer who orders a mass layoff is subject to a state law that requires 60 days’ notice to the affected employees. When that is not done, a class action against the employer on behalf of the employees may be a viable way to get reparations. Employment claims often are well-suited for being processed through a class action. This is particularly true where the same or similar wrongdoing was inflicted on a large number of employees and it would be burdensome for them to bring separate lawsuits to vindicate their rights.

Class action claims: Apple denied certain employee rights

Enormously successful companies can slip up and still maintain their good will and forward momentum because, despite mistakes, they are leaders in their fields and role models for the industry. Apple Inc., headquartered in California and heralded for numerous brilliant technological breakthroughs, is a beneficiary of that principle. However, based on the sheer volume of different lawsuits, and settlements paid by Apple, evidence seems to be mounting that the company does not live according to an ethic that most people would want to emulate. Note that, recently, Apple’s late leader, Steve Jobs, was reportedly a leading figure in bringing together some major Silicon Valley corporations that agreed to stifle employee rights by refusing to hire or interview each other’s employees.

Class action employment claims cite illegal background checks

A new category of class-action claims has cropped up in California. They are employment claims based on the practice of employers who obtain background checks on employees or applicants for employment. Under federal and state law, a so-called “consumer report” cannot be obtained with respect to an employee or job applicant without first providing the worker with a stand-alone document. This includes a clear and conspicuous disclosure of the intended report, along with having the employee sign a written authorization.

Employment wage and hour claims brought against Disney

Generally, in California and other jurisdictions, employee claims for wages and lost benefits are ideally suited for handling through a class-action lawsuit. Wage and hour claims on behalf of all of the employees in a company, for example, are often similar and easily calculated by the same formulas, making them fairly uniform throughout the company. That is particularly true where the employer has shorted the employees on a widespread basis through the same intentional or negligent miscalculations.

Employee misclassification charged in class action against Uber

Uber is an application that hooks up passengers with drivers in several cities in the United States and Europe. The service is contacted through an electronic device, and a driver and car are dispatched to pick up the passenger within minutes. Despite success as a startup, the company is currently the defendant in a class-action lawsuit filed in a federal court in California. The suit claims employee misclassification in that the company’s drivers are treated as independent contractors instead of their correct status as employees.

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