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Apple Must Pay Employees for Time Spent Waiting for Mandatory Bag Searches

A class-action lawsuit against Apple that was made back in 2013 now has a resolution 7 years later. The California Supreme Court has decided that Apple is now required to pay its employees for the amount of time it takes for their personal bags and belongings to be searched after their shifts. The class-action lawsuit was filed back in 2013, and it claimed that all Apple employees were required to have their bags, brief cases, and personal Apple devices searched prior to them leaving the store for the day. Retail workers would be required to wait anywhere from 5 to 45 minutes after their shift until a manager or security officer could search their belongings. The employees were not paid wages for the time they spent waiting and participating in the search.

The class-action lawsuit was dismissed by a California judge in 2015, but it was appealed later on. The United States Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals then wanted clarification from the California Supreme Court regarding the state law that was in place. After several years, the California Supreme Court has now decided to rule in favor of the Apple retail workers. According to the report, Apple violated state laws when it did not pay the employees wages while they were waiting for mandatory bag searches at the end of their shifts. Tim Cook, the CEO of Apple, stated that he was unaware of the bag search policy until two employees complained to him directly about the issue. The ruling of this case could mean Apple is required to pay millions of dollars in unpaid employee wages due to the amount of time spent on the bag searches at the end of employee shifts. The Ninth Circuit will now help determine how to interpret the state law.

If you’ve been wrongfully terminated from your job in retaliation for exercising a legal workplace right, or if you believe you have not received adequate wages for hours worked, please contact the attorneys at the California Employment Legal Group today for a free consultation with an experienced employment lawyer who will clearly explain your rights and options under the law.

TRON Foundation’s Justin Sun Sued for Harassment and Wrongful Termination

The TRON foundation’s founder, 29-year-old Justin Sun, is being sued for harassing and wrongfully terminating two of his employees. According to the lawsuit that was filed in the California Superior Court for San Francisco County, the two employees, Richard Hall and Lukasz Juraszek both allege they were consistently dealing with growing hostility in the workplace, and they believe these hostilities led to their wrongful termination last summer. Hall, 50, and Juraszek, 28, both worked for TRON Foundation’s file-sharing service, BitTorrent, which was purchased with TRON a couple of years ago.

TRON is the primary sponsor of the TRON cryptocurrency, and Sun, the 29-year-old founder has been named as a defendant in Hall and Juraszek’s lawsuit. Sun, according to the lawsuit, used derogatory comments in order to try and coerce Hall into fast-tracking a software release of BitTorrent. Juraszek claims in the lawsuit, that Sun slapped Cong Li, the 37-year-old head of engineering. Juraszek saw two sets of shoes at the bottom of a conference room door at the office, and then he heard a loud noise, which he thought sounded like a slap, a punch, or some other type of strike. This was followed by Li opening the door to leave the room with a red face and glossy eyes. Juraszek stated In the lawsuit that Sun was never disciplined for the behavior, and he allegedly had a pattern of abusive behavior towards Li, which was shown through verbal threats and written word in group chats.

Hall and Juraszek’s lawsuit brings forward ethical issues within the TRON Foundation as well. According to Hall, he notified Sun and Li about a risk of third parties hosting copyrighted content and child pornography, but they did nothing about the situation. Allegedly, Sun and Li had been having Chinese hires come into the company in order to replace domestic employees, which allowed Sun to work the Chinese employees 9am-9pm, 6 days a week, simply because he knew they would not argue with him, and that they would allow him to continue brushing off the legal concerns that Hall and Juraszek brought to his attention.

The lawsuit claims Hall and Juraszek’s terminations were based on retaliation and discrimination. Hall and Juraszek are “pursuing $15 million in damages and government action against claims of labor law violations” on the grounds of discrimination, emotional distress, hostile work conditions, and wrongful termination. The TRON Foundation, BitTorrent, Sun, and Li claim the allegations are untrue. The TRON Foundation’s TRON cryptocurrency has decreased in market capitalization from $13 billion to $1 billion over the last three years.

If you feel that you have been discriminated against, wrongfully terminated, or retaliated against and would like to know your rights in the state of California, please contact the attorneys at the California Employment Legal Group today for a free consultation with an experienced employment lawyer.

Blumenthal Nordrehaug Bhowmik De Blouw LLP Sues Shipt, Inc. for Violating CA Labor Code

Employment law attorneys in Los Angeles at the firm Blumenthal Nordrehaug Bhowmik De Blouw LLP have filed a class action lawsuit against Shipt, Inc. Allegedly, Shipt, Inc. has violated the California Labor Code with an employee misclassification issue. The company labeled their shoppers as independent contractors rather than properly identifying them as shoppers. The class action lawsuit is pending in the Los Angeles County Superior Court.

Blumenthal’s class action lawsuit states that Shipt, Inc. allegedly had multiple violations of the California Labor Code. The company 1) failed to give their employees correct itemized wage statements, 2) failed to record and provide meal and rest periods that are legally required, 3) failed to pay overtime wages, 4) failed to pay minimum wages, 5) failed to give employees reimbursement for expenses required by Shipt, Inc., and finally, 6) failed to pay employee wages when they were due. PAGA, a mechanism that gives power to citizens, almost as if they are private attorneys, to help enforce the California state labor laws. This process could be used by the plaintiff and the other wronged employees.

If you feel that you have an employee class-action lawsuit and would like to know your rights as an employee in the state of California, please contact the attorneys at the California Employment Legal Group today for a free consultation with an experienced employment lawyer.

City of Inglewood, CA Terminates Mayor’s Alleged Ex-Girlfriend and Assistant

The city of Inglewood has terminated Melanie McDade-Dickens, the former executive assistant of the city’s mayor. Inglewood is claiming McDade-Dickens violated city policies and allegedly committed fraud in order to help her purchase a home, which led to her suspension in July of 2019. According to an Inglewood city attorney, Mira Hashmall, the city is unable to legally disclose their reason for McDade-Dickens’ termination at this point in time. McDade-Dickens’ attorney, Carl Douglas, has refused to specify the city’s allegations, however, he has claimed that the termination is retaliation for McDade-Dickens’ choice to end a romantic relationship with Mayor James T. Butts Jr., which was a secret until now.

One year prior to McDade-Dickens being put on administrative leave, Douglas alleges that Butts stalked and harassed her. Douglas will file a claim on behalf of McDade-Dickens for damages against the city within 30 days, to which he believes the city will respond with a rejection. After he receives the rejection, Douglas will then file a wrongful termination and sexual harassment lawsuit. He claims the investigation the city conducted was never fully completed as Butts was never interviewed.

The affair between Butts and McDade-Dickens came to a halt in March of 2018, when McDade-Dickens ended the relationship. Allegedly, the mayor sent her hundreds of texts over the next year, followed her, wanted to know who she was dating, and entered her home without permission. Over a year after the relationship had been over, McDade-Dickens was escorted out of Inglewood’s city hall by a security guard. She was then placed on administrative leave, and hired Douglas as her attorney.

If you feel that you have been sexually harassed, wrongfully terminated or retaliated against and would like to know your rights in the state of California, please contact the attorneys at the California Employment Legal Group today for a free consultation with an experienced employment lawyer.

Bon Appetit Former Employee Wins Wrongful Termination Lawsuit

Ivania Centeno worked for Bon Appetit café in South San Francisco for 13 years. In 2017, she was wrongfully terminated from her job after she took time off to help provide aid to her mother-in-law who was dying, which according to Bon Appetit is against company policy. Centeno fought for over a year to find a resolution to her problem, but it wasn’t until KTVU 2 Investigates aired a report that highlighted her situation that the issue was resolved.

The report by 2 Investigates helped highlight a legal loophole in California, which prevents in-laws from being included in the family-leave law for the state. The California Family Rights Act also does not cover the care of in-laws. The paid leave law in California, on the other hand, does cover providing care for in-laws. Legally, it is unclear which law takes precedence over the others, and legislation needs to happen in order to make the changes.

Centeno has stated that when her mother-in-law got sick, Bon Appetit gave her permission to go to Nicaragua in order to help provide care for her. When Centeno headed back to the United States after her mother-in-law passed away, she found out that Bon Appetit had wrongfully terminated her. According to Bon Appetit, her mother-in-law was not covered under their policy for family leave, and Centeno missed too many days of work. Her bosses put the blame on computer software for her being wrongfully terminated since the software calculated the amount of days she had missed, and decided to terminate her.

Court records have indicated that Centeno’s case was finally resolved in April, and that 2 Investigates and the media ultimately helped resolve the issues by bringing the law discrepancies forward. Centeno was given back pay, unemployment benefits, and she was also awarded attorney fees and court costs amounting to over $235,000 in total. She has a new position at a different business.

If you feel that you have been wrongfully terminated for taking family and medical leave and would like to know your rights in the state of California, please contact the attorneys at the California Employment Legal Group today for a free consultation with an experienced employment lawyer.

Former Partner of ICM Partners Sues the Talent Agency for Wrongful Termination

Spencer Baumgarten, a former co-head of the motion picture department at ICM Partners Hollywood talent agency, is suing ICM for a multitude of reasons including, wrongful termination, retaliation, discrimination, and harassment. The lawsuit is due to accusations made on behalf of the chief of human resources at the time, Cindy Ballard. Baumgarten was questioned by Ballard who insinuated that Baumgarten defecated on a bathroom floor when he was on a business trip in New York City. The accusation led to defamation of Baumgarten’s name and reputation, and it eventually led to his termination.

Ballard’s accusation that Baumgarten was the perpetrator was based solely on reports that the bathroom floor was found in that condition after he left the bathroom. Baumgarten said in his suit that a few agents from another department were terminated around the same time, thus placing blame on them for the bathroom floor incident. Baumgarten claims “he is a germaphobe and a clean freak and was more than embarrassed by her questioning.” The story went viral within the company, and multiple employees tried to help clear Baumgarten’s name.

In an emailed official complaint to human resources, Baumgarten stated that he felt humiliated and embarrassed. He has also said that he was retaliated against after letting ICM’s lawyer know that he was seeking his own legal counsel. Along with his wrongful termination complaint, Baumgarten’s lawsuit lists a multitude of other offenses, such as defamation, intentional infliction of emotional distress, whistle-blower retaliation, discrimination, and much more. He is seeking a jury trial along with an assortment of damages that go beyond $25,000. Baumgarten is also asking to be reimbursed for his business trip to New York City that costed around $12,000.

If you feel that you have been wrongfully terminated or retaliated against and would like to know your rights in the state of California, please contact the attorneys at the California Employment Legal Group today for a free consultation with an experienced employment lawyer.

The Trump Administration Overturns “Joint Employer” Rule

A 2016 Obama administration rule has been overturned by the Trump administration. The “joint employer” rule made it easier for employees of staff agencies and subcontractors to hold their employers responsible for proper wages. Franchising companies that contracted out work were required to ensure the contracting companies they hired paid their employees fair wages, overtime pay, and any other requirements by law. If the staffing agencies or subcontractors shorted paychecks, the employees could then go to the franchise and get the missing funds from them.

Even though the rule being overturned causes problems for workers at a federal level, the state of California will remain unaffected. According to the Los Angeles Times, “California has the country’s strongest wage and hour laws,” which means lower chances of overtime, and higher minimum wage. Despite the federal rule changing, California will still practice their own rule regarding the joint employer issue. For example, if Target hires a subcontracted trucking company to deliver their goods to each store, Target will then be held liable for wages that the trucking company has refused or failed to pay their employee in the state of California.

The new policy takes effect on March 16th, 2020, and some groups believe the policy will allow big corporations to select staffing companies and subcontractors that will allow them to avoid responsibilities. If staffing agencies and subcontractors mistreat their employees by not paying for overtime work and they pay less money than is legally required, working people will be missing out on significant amounts of money they have rightfully earned.

If you feel that you have not been paid for overtime work or if your wages are lower than minimum wage and you would like to know your rights as an employee in the state of California, please contact the attorneys at the California Employment Legal Group today for a free consultation with an experienced employment lawyer.

CEO of Best Buy’s Misconduct Allegations

The CEO of Best Buy, Corie Barry, is being investigated by Best Buy due to misconduct allegations against her. The company received an anonymous letter claiming that Barry had an inappropriate romantic relationship with an executive in the workplace prior to being given the Best Buy CEO title. Further details regarding the allegations have not been provided at this time. Barry worked as Chief Financial and Strategic Transformation Officer before she took on the role of CEO at Best Buy.

Best Buy is still unaware of the letter author’s identity, but they are hoping the individual will come forward in the future. The company is ensuring the review process will be completely confidential if the author does step forward and claim the letter. Barry is giving her full cooperation as the Audit Committee of the Board and outside counsel conduct the thorough review of the allegations.

If you feel that you have been sexually harassed and would like to know your rights in the state of California, please contact the attorneys at the California Employment Legal Group today for a free consultation with an experienced employment lawyer.

Harvey Weinstein Charged with Sexually Assaulting Two Women

Harvey Weinstein, 67, has been charged in Los Angeles for the sexual assault of two women. Specifically, he has been charged with raping one woman, and then sexually assaulting another woman over the span of a couple of days. In February of 2013, one of the women, who prefers to be anonymously known as Jane Doe 1, attended a film festival that Weinstein attended. When Doe returned to her hotel for the night, Weinstein knocked on her door and came into her room to speak with her. After getting inside of her hotel room, Weinstein then allegedly forced himself onto her and raped her.

This case is the first of many that have been brought against Weinstein. The district attorney’s office has stated that there are multiple cases spanning all the way from 1977 to 2015. Weinstein, however, denies any accusations of sexual assault. News regarding his charges came out hours after women who have accused Weinstein of sexual misconduct held a rally outside of a New York City courthouse on his first day of trial.

Regarding the case, Weinstein has pleaded not guilty to the alleged offenses. Over 80 women have accused him of sexual misconduct, however, only two of the women’s accusations are being focused on in the trial. If Weinstein is convicted of two counts of felony sexual assault charges, he could be in prison for the rest of his life.

If you feel that you have been sexually harassed and would like to know your rights in the state of California, please contact the attorneys at the California Employment Legal Group today for a free consultation with an experienced employment lawyer.

Former Artforum Employee’s Sexual Harassment Case Goes to Court

A former employee of Artforum, Amanda Schmitt, will soon have her day in court again. Schmitt previously had filed a lawsuit against former publisher Knight Landesman after she claimed to have endured years of sexual harassment by Landesman. Originally, Schmitt had four claims in her lawsuit, but has since been told she can move forward by the court with two of the four claims. One of the claims stated that Artforum failed to protect her against Landesman’s sexual misconduct after she had reported his behavior to them. The second claim involved Artforum publishers and their behavior towards her after the report against Landesman became known to the company. The publishers allegedly spoke poorly of her to the press as well as her former coworkers, and they also uninvited her from all industry events.

In regards to her sexual harassment case, the five-year statute of limitations for sexual harassment cases already had made most of her charges against Landesman null by the time she was able to go to court in 2017. Schmitt alleges that Landesman’s harassment continued even after she left Artforum in 2012, and lasted up until May of 2017. According to Schmitt, Landesman approached her in a public setting and claimed Schmitt had falsely accused him of sexual harassment. The court ended up dismissing her accusations in December of 2018, and Schmitt’s lawyer, Emily Reisbaum, filed an appeal to counter on the basis of “New York City Human Rights Law” in January 2019. With regard to the appeals court decision, Reisbaum stated, “Artforum not only permitted Landesman’s abuse to pervade its workplace and prestigious events, but it also punished Schmitt -– not Landesman –– for speaking the truth about his perversity.”

As Schmitt’s case has spread through the news, more and more women have come forward to share similar stories of their sexual harassment experiences with Landesman. According to Artnet News, “Over 20 women have come forward with their own experiences with Landesman so far.” Despite Landesman no longer being a publisher, he still is an owner of Artforum. Schmitt’s case is one of the first art world situations to gain traction with the #MeToo movement.

If you feel that you have been sexually harassed and would like to know your rights in the state of California, please contact the attorneys at the California Employment Legal Group today for a free consultation with an experienced employment lawyer.