The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has succeeded in a sexual harassment lawsuit against The Finish Line, Inc. According to the suit, a general manager at Finish Line’s store in Franklin, Tennessee, sexually harassed three female employees between the ages of 16 and 17. The EEOC enforces federal laws prohibiting sexual harassment and employment discrimination
The EEOC’s suit claims that at least three female employees were subjected to the general manager’s harassment and forced to quit after the sexual harassment. It also alleged that one of the female employees resisted the harassment, and was given reduced hours in retaliation.
A federal jury agreed with the EEOC and awarded compensatory damages to the victims in the amount of $30,000. The EEOC and The Finish Line also agreed to pay an undisclosed amount of back pay to the victims.
Various State and Federal laws protect employees from sexual harassment at the workplace. Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 is the federal law that makes it unlawful to harass or retaliate against a person because of their sex. Prohibited activities include unwelcome sexual advances, requests/demands for sexual favors and other verbal and physical harassment.
The Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) is California’s law that also prohibits harassment or retaliation against someone because of their sex. FEHA prohibits unwanted sexual advances, threatening reprisals for negative responses to sexual favors, offering employment benefits in exchange for sexual favors, and other behaviors.
If you or someone you know has been the victim of sexual harassment at the hands of an employer or at the workplace, please contact Khorrami, LLP for a confidential consultation
The Mitsuwa Corporation recently settled a lawsuit brought by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) – the federal agency that enforces federal laws that prohibit employment discrimination. The company will pay $250,000 to its Hispanics employees. Settlement of this lawsuit came only after the federal agency filed the lawsuit in the United States District Court because a settlement could not be reached before litigation.
Mitsuwa Corporation does business as Mitsuwa Marketplace, which is a large Japanese market in Edgewater, New Jersey. Since 2005, Mitsuwa has paid its Hispanic workers less than its non-Hispanic workers for the same work. After one employee complained of making less money than his non-Hispanic coworkers, an investigation by the EEOC exposed that multiple Hispanic employees were being discriminated against by being underpaid due to their national origin.
Under federal law, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (42 U.S.C., §2000e et seq.) makes it unlawful for an employer to pay one employee less than another employee, who does the same job based on his/her national origin, sex, or race. Doing so is a form of discrimination. Title VII also protects employees who speak up and complain to management about such treatment in the work place. California, in addition to federal law, has passed laws against discrimination passing the California Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA).
In addition to paying $250,000, Mitsuwa has been ordered to stop discriminating against Hispanic employees; they must pay $30,000 for three years; and revise its anti-discrimination policies, as well as retrain its managers and employees on Title VII. To make sure the provisions of the settlement are implemented, a monitor (someone who will watch over the corporation) will review Mitsuwa’s compensation practices and discrimination complaints.
There is no place for any form of discrimination in the workplace. If you or anyone you know has been unlawfully discriminated against at work, contact Khorrami, LLP for a confidential consultation.
Fisker, the California-based manufacturer of luxury hybrid cars is the target of a lawsuit filed on Friday for laying off most of its workers without first giving them adequate notice.
According to the lawsuit, Fisker has laid off 160 out of its 213 employees in a single day. Since the layoff is considered a mass layoff according to the Federal Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act and other California labor laws, the car manufacturer should have notified its workers 60 days in advance of its plan.
The suit is now on behalf of a former Fisker employee, which would turn into a class action status to represent all other employees who have been unlawfully laid off without prior written notice.
The plaintiff is seeking 60 days worth of wages and benefits as the remedy, which if other employees join the case, could turn out to be a large amount for these sudden job terminations.
Fisker was struggling financially and halted production of their cars for more than 6 months. The recent act of laying off almost 75% of its workforce could indicate of the possible plans of the company to declare bankruptcy.
If you or someone you know has been the victim of similar cases at work, please contact the attorneys at Khorrami, LLP for a free confidential consultation regarding your potential claims.
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has brought suit against Voss Lighting, a Lincoln, Nebraska based supplier of replacement lighting products, for religious discrimination in violation of federal law.
According to the lawsuit, Voss had advertised an “operations manager” position through the website of a local church. Edward Wolfe learned about the job despite the fact that he did not attend the church. After his initial interview, only Wolfe’s personal religious information was forwarded to the branch manager with a recommendation that Wolfe be hired. During his interview with the branch manager, Wolfe was mainly asked about his religious beliefs and activities. For example, he was asked if he would be willing to go in early for Bible study classes before work. According to Wolfe, the branch manager was not satisfied with his responses to the religious questions and Wolfe was ultimately not hired.
The settlement awards $82,500 to Wolfe. The consent decree also requires Voss to post the EEOC notice prohibiting employment discrimination at all 21 locations of the company and a re-dissemination of anti-discrimination policies. Further, Voss must periodically report hiring information to the EEOC, use only religion-neutral advertising, and train its management on religious discrimination.
Federal law, under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, prohibits the impermissible consideration of religion in employment practices. California’s Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) places similar restrictions on employers. FEHA prohibits employers from discriminating against an employee or potential employee because of a conflict between the employee’s religious belief and the employer’s requirement.
If you have been discriminated against at your place of employment on account of your religious beliefs, please contact Khorrami, LLP for a confidential consultation.
Mercedes Benz has been ordered by the California Court of Appeals to pay over $1.5 million to employees for violating California labor laws.
The lawsuit began when Oscar Gonzalez, an automotive service technician, sued Downtown LA Motors Mercedes Benz for failure to pay technicians minimum wage during their waiting time — periods of time they were on the clock, but waiting for repair orders or performing other non-repair tasks. In June 2011, a trial court awarded the class $1,555,078 in uncompensated time and an additional $237,840 in penalties. Downtown LA Motors Mercedes Benz appealed.
The California Court of Appeal considered both Downtown LA Motors Mercedes Benz’s argument that that employees were paid at least minimum wage for all hours worked as well as the Plaintiffs’ argument that technicians should have been separately compensated, at the applicable minimum wage rate, for “each and every hour” of time spent waiting for repair work.
In arriving at their decision, the Court of Appeal analyzed the Industrial Welfare Commission wage order No. 4-2001, which sets forth minimum wage requirements for professional, technical, clerical, mechanical, and similar occupations in California. Wage Order No. 4-2001, requires employers to pay employees minimum wage “for all hours worked” in a payroll period. According to the wage order, “hours worked” includes all time “during which an employee is subject to the control of an employer, and includes all the time the employee is suffered or permitted to work, whether or not required to do so.”
The Court of Appeal agreed with the trial court that the employer’s method of averaging employees’ hours worked in a given pay period in order to compute its minimum wage obligations violated the minimum wage law. The court illustrated the issue with this example:
“A technician who works four piece-rate hours in a day at a rate of $20 per hour and who leaves the job site when that work is finished has earned $80 for four hours of work. A second technician who works the same piece-rate hours at the same rate but who remains at the job site for an additional four hours waiting for customers also earns $80 for the day; however, averaging his piece-rate wages over the eight-hour work day results in an average pay rate of $10 per hour, a 50 percent discount from his promised $20 per hour piece-rate. The second technician forfeits to the employer the pay promised ‘by statute’ under Labor section 223 because if his piece-rate pay is allocated only to piece-rate hours, he is not paid at all for his nonproductive hours.”
If you or someone you know has been the victim of wage and hour violations, you may be entitled to compensation. Please contact Khorrami, LLP for a confidential consultation.
The popular Beverly Hills sushi restaurant, Urasawa, has been ordered to pay $65,785 in fines and unpaid wages to settle a complaint brought by the state Labor Commissioner. An investigation into the restaurant revealed that kitchen staff regularly worked more than 10 hours each without overtime pay, rest breaks or meal breaks, according to California Labor Commissioner Julie A. Su.
California labor laws require that employers provide employees with overtime premium pay of one and one-half times the employee’s regular rate of pay for all hours worked over eight hours in any workday and over 40 hours in the workweek. However, an alternate method of scheduling is allowed. Industrial Welfare Commission Wage Orders allow employees to be scheduled four 10-hour days or three 12-hour days before affecting the regular rate of pay. Additionally, employers are required to provide employees with a ten minute rest break for every four hours of work, or major fraction thereof, and a 30-minute uninterrupted, duty-free meal period for shifts that are more than five hours.
Of the $65,785 that Urasawa is required to pay, $38,585 will be used to compensate employees’ unpaid wages and the rest of the fine represents penalties.
If you or anyone you know have been improperly denied overtime wages or meal and rest periods, please contact Khorrami, LLP for a private consultation.
Senior Living Properties, LLC has settled a religious discrimination lawsuit with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) over a job termination of an employee by refusing to accommodate with her religious beliefs.
According to the EEOC’s lawsuit, Amanda Spalding, who worked as the dietary manager for the past three-plus years at the company’s Texas based Sweetwater Health Center was fired due to refusal of the new administrator to accommodate her religious beliefs.
During her employment, Spalding never had to work on Sundays. She and some of the other employees entered into a voluntary arrangement with Senior Living to work extra shifts during the week in order to have their Sundays to themselves in order to honor their Christian beliefs. That changed when the company hired a new administrator, Peggy Scruggs, who told Amanda “in no certain terms” that she would have to be available to work on Sundays and God would excuse her from this religious restriction because she worked in the health care field. EEOC charged that the administrator denied Spalding’s requests that she continue to refrain from working on Sundays and ultimately has told her that if she would not work on Sundays, “there’s the door.”
Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 makes it an unlawful employment practice for an employer to fail or refuse to hire or to discharge any individual or otherwise discriminate against any individual with respect to their religion, or to limit, segregate or classify employees or applicants in a way which would deprive or of employment opportunities based on their religion. The Act requires employers to make reasonable accommodations to employees’ and applicants’ sincerely held religious beliefs as long as this does not pose an undue hardship.
The EEOC filed the lawsuit after a thorough investigation and finding reasonable cause that the alleged discrimination took place.
On March 19, 2003, EEOC announced reaching of a settlement with Senior Living Properties and the company will pay $42,500 in monetary relief and also providing injunctive relief for denying a religious accommodation to Spalding.
U.S district Judge Sam R. Cumming required the company to amend their written anti-discrimination policy to include language regarding the aforementioned title of Civil Acts Rights’ prohibition on religious discrimination, conduct annual training for three years on the law against religious discrimination in the workplace, and post an anti-discrimination policy for five years at its two Texas offices.
If you have been the victim of religious discrimination, please contact Khorrami, LLP for a confidential consultation.
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has brought a lawsuit in Maryland against Toys “R” Us for disability discrimination. The lawsuit has alleged that the toy retailer violated federal law when it refused to provide an interpreter for a deaf applicant and subsequently failed to hire her.
Shakirra Thomas, who is deaf, applied for a team member position at Toys “R” Us’s Columbia store in October 2011. Upon being contacted by Toys “R” Us for a group interview, Thomas’s mother advised that Thomas was deaf and requested that the company provide an interpreter for the interview. Toys “R” Us refused to provide the interpreter, and stated that if Thomas needed an interpreter for the November 2011 interview, she would have to provide for one through her own efforts. Ultimately, Thomas’s mother served as her interpreter during the interview. However, Toy “R” Us refused to hire Thomas despite her qualifications and ability to perform the team member position, with or without reasonable accommodation.
Title I of the ADA and California labor law prohibit employers from discriminating against qualified individuals on the basis of disability in regard to hiring, advancement, discharge, compensation, or terms of employment. Furthermore, the ADA mandates that employers must make reasonable accommodations for the mental or physical limitations of employees or applicants.
If you feel that you may have been discriminated against by your employer or a potential employer because of a disability, please contact Khorrami, LLP for a private consultation.
In 2012, a $4.7 million settlement was reached between parking operating Ampco and its employees, arising out of its alleged violations of California labor laws.
The class action was filed in 2006, on behalf of thousands of parking lot attendants and cashiers alleging that Ampco systematically failed to provide compensation for overtime, missed meal and rest periods, and the statutory minimum wage. Ampco operates approximately 750 parking facilities in California.
California Law requires employers to pay overtime compensation of 1.5 times an employee’s base rate for all time worked over eight hours a day or forty hours a week. In addition, for employees who are unable to take meal or rest breaks, employers are required to pay an additional hour of compensation for each meal or rest break missed. According to the Plaintiffs, many Ampco parking lots only staffed one person at a time, which prevented such attendants from ever being able to take a meal or rest break.
If you or someone you know has failed to receive overtime compensation or compensation for missed meal and rest periods, please contact the attorneys at Khorrami, LLP for a free confidential consultation regarding your potential claims.
In January, the California Labor Commissioner issued a series of California labor code citations totaling more than $1 million against Quetico LLC, a Chino-based warehouse and distribution firm. The citations are in response to an investigation undertaken by the Division of Labor Standards Enforcement (“DLSE”) on behalf of exploited workers at Quetico.
According to the investigation, Quetico employs approximately 865 employees in its two massive warehouses which are the size of 20 football fields, but only has three time clocks that employees can use. Workers were relegated to waiting in long lines to clock in and out of work and for their meal and rest periods. Because workers were penalized for being late, they often had to line up well before their shift to clock-in. Additionally, employees would have to cut their meal period short in order to line up at the time clock to punch back in on time.
All this lining up resulted in unpaid work time that the DLSE said amounted to wage theft. “Wage theft takes many forms,” said Labor Commissioner Julie A. Su in a statement. “My office will crack down on any employer who is taking hard-earned wages from workers by falsifying time cards and systematically preventing employees from taking a full meal break. We are also intent on eliminating the competitive advantages that labor law violators gain over employers who play by the rules.”
According to California state labor laws, non-exempt employees are allotted appropriate meal and rest periods as well as overtime pay for all hours worked in excess of 40 hours per week.
If you or someone you know has been the victim of similar wage theft, please contact Khorrami, LLP for a private consultation.