Mistreated Employee Lawsuits Find a Favorable Climate in California

mistreated employee lawsuitsIt appears that the current California legal climate is favorable for pursuing mistreated employee lawsuits. If a potential, current, or previous employer has discriminated against or otherwise mistreated you in California, you are in a good position to exact revenge if you so desire. That is because California is well known to be amenable to rectifying the wrongdoing of errant employers Certainly, many factors play in to California’s protective attitude toward wronged employees. The #MeToo movement brought issues related to sexual harassment and retaliation to the forefront of public discussion. Even before #MeToo hit the public airways, though, California legislators were paving the way to an even playing field for anyone involved in a workplace dispute. In fact, the American Tort Reform Foundation went so far as to say that California courts go out of their way to assign responsibility to companies in employer liability lawsuits by allowing for no-injury litigation through PAGA lawsuits, making California the most employee-friendly state in the nation.

What is PAGA?

We’ve blogged about PAGA before. PAGA, or the Private Attorneys General Act, gives employees the right to sue their employers civilly for violations of the Labor Code. The process requires a submission of the complaint to LWDA (Labor and Workforce Development Agency) with the potential for an investigation of the matter. Aggrieved employees wishing to pursue civil action are authorized to do so through Labor Code 2698-2699. Some of the requirements for such legal action include:

  • Online filing with a copy of the complaint sent to the employer via certified mail;
  • Employer responses also filed online, with copies sent to the employee vie4a certified mail;
  • Paying required filing fees;
  • Waiting up to 60 days for a LWDA review;
  • Court approval of settlements, with copies of all judgments provided to LWDA.

Mistreated Employee Lawsuits – Successful Court Cases

Mistreated employee lawsuits have found juries to be sympathetic to their plight in recent years:

  • When Allstate Insurance fired a 30-year employee based on his arrest record, that employee fought back in court, ultimately being awarded nearly $3 million in compensation. While roughly one-third of the award was for wrongful termination, the rest was for defamation. But that was just the tip of the iceberg. The jury added another $16 million to the award in punitive damages, sending a clear message to the employer that wrongful termination will not be tolerated.
  • When two employees asserted that they had suffered sexual harassment from the general manager of Keyways Vineyard and Winery, things did not end there. After registering their complaint, the women experienced retaliation in the form of being removed from the weekly schedule. A jury awarded the plaintiffs $11 million.

[Read more…]

Yahoo Accused of WARN Act Violations

WARN Act, Layoff ViolationsThe WARN Act, Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification, is a California and federal law requiring employers to give employees notice before layoffs and plant closings. WARN Act laws,  can carry harsh penalties for employers who violate them, which could be very bad news for Yahoo!, Inc.

Gregory Anderson, who previously worked as an editor at Yahoo’s headquarters in Sunnyvale, California, has filed a wrongful termination suit. Anderson alleges that Yahoo violated both the federal WARN Act and the California WARN Act by reducing its workforce by around 600 employees without declaring a reduction in force or providing the employees notice under the WARN Acts.

What are the Requirements of the WARN Act?

California’s WARN Act has a broader scope than the federal WARN Act. The federal law applies only to employers with 100 or more full-time employees, while California’s law applies to employers with 75 or more or part-time employees. In both cases, the employees must have been employed for at least six of the previous 12 months.

If an employer covered by California’s WARN Act lays off 50 or more employees during a 30-day period, the employer is required to give the affected employees notice 60 days before the layoffs take place. Federal law requires this only if the number of employees affected constitutes at least 33% of the full-time employees at a single place of employment. (However, if 500 or more employees are laid off, the federal law requires notice regardless of whether the employees meet the 33% requirement.) California’s law, unlike the federal law, applies also to employees who must be relocated.

Both laws hold employers liable for back pay and benefits for each day that they failed to provide an employee with proper notice. California’s law also allows for a civil penalty of $500 for each day.

Anderson’s WARN Act Lawsuit

Anderson alleges that Yahoo used a Quarterly Performance Review (QRP) Process to sidestep the requirements of the WARN Acts. According to his complaint, Yahoo manipulated the results of the employees’ reviews and used their low scores as a pretext for terminating them, rather than laying off the employees and providing them with proper notice. Anderson is seeking back pay and benefits for the 60 days that he was not given notice, and $500 for each of the 60 days. He is also seeking attorney’s fees and damages related to other causes of action.

Another allegation in Anderson’s complaint is that Yahoo discriminated against him on the basis of his gender. According to Anderson, the company has a pattern of promoting women while “terminating, demoting or laying off men because of their gender.” Anderson also alleges that he was fired in violation of public policy, because he was terminated after complaining to Yahoo management about the legality of the QPR system. [Read more…]


The information on this website should not be considered to be legal advice, nor construed to be the formation of any manner of attorney client relationship. Prior to taking any form of legal action, please consult with an attorney experienced in the appropriate area of law germane to your situation. Case results and testimonials presented on www.californialaborandemploymentlaw.net or any of its related websites are germane to the facts present for each individual case and is not a promise of similar outcomes for any other cases. This website is not intended to solicit clients for matters outside of the State of California.