The Ninth Circuit Rules on Binding Arbitration Agreements

binding arbitration, arbitrationsIt has become extremely common for employers to encourage their new employees to sign binding arbitration agreements, in which they waive their right to a jury trial. (These agreements are intended to compel the employees to resolve any future disputes they have with the company via arbitration, which is generally cheaper than going to court.)

Some employers request that their employees sign a binding arbitration agreement directly, but others take a different approach. They simply include an arbitration agreement in their employee handbook, and then ask their employees to sign a statement agreeing to the terms of the handbook.

The advantage to the latter approach is that if the employer decides to update certain aspects of its arbitration agreement, it can revise the handbook, and then ask employees to acknowledge the changes – rather than asking them to sign brand new arbitration agreements.

Court Challenges to Binding Arbitration Clauses in Employee Handbooks

However, one problem that employers have had with this approach is that in some cases, courts have ruled that it is insufficient. One such case was Nelson vs. Cyprus Bagdad Copper Corporation, in which the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals held that an employee was not compelled to arbitrate, despite an arbitration clause in the company’s employee handbook.

When the employee was hired, he signed the following statement:

“I have received a copy of the Cyprus Bagdad Copper Corporation Handbook…and understand that the Handbook is a guideline to the company’s policies and procedures. I agree to read it and understand its contents. If I have any questions regarding its contents I will contact my supervisor or Human Resources Representative.”

The Court ruled that arbitration cannot be compelled unless the employee has knowingly agreed to waive his or her right to a jury trial. And because the statement above did not mention that the handbook contains an arbitration clause – or that signing the statement constituted a waiver of the right to a judicial forum – the Court ruled that the employee had not knowingly made such a waiver.

Ashbey vs. Archstone Prop. Mgmt.

But what if an employee signs an agreement to abide by the terms of a handbook, and the agreement itself mentions the duty to arbitrate? In May 2015, the Ninth Circuit ruled that such an agreement is enough to compel arbitration.

In Ashbey vs. Archstone Prop. Mgmt., the Court ruled that an employee waived his right to a jury trial when he signed an agreement that contained the following language:

“I acknowledge that I have received directions as to how I may access the Archstone Company Policy Manual, including the Dispute Resolution Policy. I understand that Archstone can administer, interpret, discontinue, supplement, amend or withdraw any of the employment and personnel policies and procedures set forth in this Company Policy Manual. I understand that it is my responsibility to understand the Archstone Company Policy Manual, including the Dispute Resolution Policy, and to adhere to all of the policies contained herein.”

The Court held that because the agreement “expressly notified” the employee about the dispute resolution policy – and did so twice – it was sufficient to compel arbitration. The Court also held that it is not a requirement for the statement to actually list the terms of the policy.

Crafting an Effective Binding Arbitration Agreement Policy

If you want to feel secure that your company’s arbitration agreements will stand up in court, the employment and labor law attorneys at Beck Law P.C., in Santa Rosa can help. You can call or email our office today to schedule a consultation.

Training on Prevention of Abusive Conduct – New Rules for California Employers

prevention of abusive conduct, labor lawAssembly Bill (AB) No. 2053, “prevention of abusive conduct”, signed into law by California Governor Jerry Brown has added new requirements for employers regarding their harassment policies. AB 2053 amended Section 12950.1 of the California Government Code, which lays out necessary elements in the employee training programs that are required for employers with more than 50 employees. As a result of the new bill, these employers will be required to include training for supervisors on “prevention of abusive conduct.”

What Does “Abusive Conduct” Mean?

AB 2053 contains a definition of abusive conduct. It reads:

“For purposes of this section, ‘abusive conduct’ means conduct of an employer or employee in the workplace, with malice, that a reasonable person would find hostile, offensive, and unrelated to an employer’s legitimate business interests. Abusive conduct may include repeated infliction of verbal abuse, such as the use of derogatory remarks, insults and epithets, verbal or physical conduct that a reasonable person would find threatening, intimidating, or humiliating, or the gratuitous sabotage or undermining of a person’s work performance. A single act shall not constitute abusive conduct, unless especially severe and egregious.”

While the law requires employers with more than 50 employees to provide training to avoid abusive conduct, it does not actually ban abusive conduct in the workplace. This is to say, it does not create a cause of action for employees who have been subjected to abusive workplace conduct. (However, many forms of abusive conduct were already illegal under other statutes, such as sexual harassment laws.)

Other Requirements of Section 12950.1, Prevention of Abusive Conduct

Under the previously existing requirements of Section 12950.1, California employers with more than 50 employees must provide their supervisory employees with at least two hours of “classroom or other effective interactive training and education regarding sexual harassment.” The training must occur within 6 months of when the employees assume their supervisory positions.

The training must be offered to supervisory employees at least once every two years, and it must include “practical examples aimed at instructing supervisors in the prevention of harassment, discrimination and retaliation.” It must also be presented by trainers or educators with knowledge and expertise in the prevention of harassment, discrimination and retaliation.

12950.1 contains language making it clear that if any particular individual at a workplace does not receive the training, that will not in and of itself cause their employer to become vulnerable to an action alleging sexual harassment. It also states, however, that simply providing the training will not insulate an employer from liability in an action alleging sexual harassment.

(In other words, a sexual harassment suit will not be automatically successful just because a supervisor wasn’t given the proper training. But at the same time, an employer cannot claim that a supervisor cannot be guilty of sexual harassment just because he or she received the training.)

Advice on Meeting the Requirements of 12950.1

AB 2053 went into effect on January 1, 2015 – so if you are a California employer with more than 50 employees, and you have not yet updated the trainings that are given to your supervisors, it’s time to make some changes. If you have any questions about how to comply with the requirements of the new legislation, you can call or email the employment and labor law attorneys at Beck Law P.C., in Santa Rosa Labor Lawyer, to schedule a consultation.

Is It Discriminatory to Fire an Employee for Substance Abuse?

fire and employee for substance abuseIs it discriminatory to fire an employee for substance abuse? Most employers and employees would probably agree that it’s reasonable to fire an employee for getting drunk on the job. But what about firing an employee because you learned that she belongs to Alcoholics Anonymous?

Under both the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA), and California’s Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA), the latter would be considered a form of employment discrimination. It is discriminatory to fire an employee (or subject an employee to any adverse employment action) because of the employee’s alcoholism and/or drug addiction. However – and this is a very important “however” – these statutes only apply if the employee is in recovery. They do not apply if the employee is currently abusing drugs and/or alcohol.

Past Substance Abuse vs. Current Substance Abuse

Generally speaking, these statutes prohibit employment discrimination that is based on an employee’s past substance abuse. This may sound simple and straightforward – but like so many aspects of the law, it can get rather complicated.

For example, can an employee be fired for legally using medical marijuana? What if an employee fails an employer’s drug test, and then applies for a position later? What if an employer finds out that an employee used drugs a few weeks ago – does that count as current substance abuse? Or could the employee argue that he’s now in recovery, and he was fired for his past substance abuse? These are the kinds of issues that federal courts, and California courts, have been trying to resolve for years.

Medical Marijuana: While California allows the use of medical marijuana, the language of the FEHA makes it clear that it does not prohibit employers from discriminating on the basis of medical marijuana use. The ADA does not protect the use of medical marijuana, either.

Discrimination Based on Previous Failure of an Employer’s Drug Test: The Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit (which includes California) ruled on this issue in the case of Lopez vs. Pacific Maritime Association. The case involved a man who applied for a job in 1997, and was given a drug test. He failed the test, and wasn’t hired. In 2004, after becoming sober, the man applied for a job with the same employer, and was rejected because of the drug test he failed in 1997. The employer had a “one strike” rule, meaning that it refused to hire anyone who had ever failed a company drug test.

The Court ruled that the employer was within its rights to reject the applicant. The ruling held that the discrimination was based on his failure of the drug test, not his drug addiction itself.

How recent “current” drug use can be: The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has clarified that the ADA has no specific rule regarding how much time must elapse before an employee’s substance abuse can be considered “past” substance abuse. These matters must be decided on a case by case basis. However, substance abuse that has taken place less than a month ago is generally considered to be current.

Ensuring Compliance

If you are an employer, and you ask your employees if they have ever been treated for substance abuse, you may be violating both state and federal law. If you have any concerns that you may not be in full compliance with the ADA and the FEHA, you may wish to speak to an attorney. The employment and labor law attorneys at Beck Law P.C., in Santa Rosa, will be able to answer your questions. You can call or email our office today.

Department of Labor Policies on Same-Sex Spouses and the FMLA

same-sex spousesSanta Rosa labor and employment law attorney blog. Department of Labor policies on same-sex spouses and the FMLA. On February 25, 2015, the U.S. Department of Labor issued a final rule regarding the recognition of legally married same-sex couples under the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA). It allows an eligible employee who has been legally married to a same-sex partner to use FMLA leave to care for their spouse – regardless of whether they live or work in a state that recognizes same-sex marriages. If you run a business that operates in any states that do not currently recognize same-sex marriages, it is important that you take note of this change in policy.

The final rule, which went into effect on March 27, 2015, is based on the Supreme Court’s decision in United States vs. Windsor. The Windsor ruling held that it was a violation of the Fifth Amendment to restrict the federal definition of marriage to include only heterosexual couples.

Prior to the Windsor ruling, employees who were covered by the FMLA were only able to take leave to care for their spouses if their marriage was recognized by the state in which they resided. As a result of the Final Rule, the current policy of the Department of Labor is based on the laws of the state in which the marriage was performed.

For example, let’s say a man was legally married to another man in California in 2014, and then he and his husband moved to Texas, where they both currently live and work. Under the old policy, if the man’s husband became ill, the man would be unable to take FMLA leave to care for him, because Texas does not currently recognize same-sex marriages. Under the new policy, the man would be eligible to take leave under the FMLA, because the laws of California (where same-sex marriages are currently recognized) would determine his eligibility, rather than the laws of Texas.

FMLA and the Rights of Same-Sex Spouses

The FMLA allows eligible employees to take 12 workweeks worth of leave during a 12-month period under the following circumstances:

  • The birth of a child, and caring for a child within one year of the child’s birth;
  • The placement of a child with the employee via adoption or foster care, and caring for a child within one year of the child’s placement;
  • Caring for a spouse, child, or parent with a serious health condition;
  • The employee having a serious health condition; or
  • Any qualifying exigency arising from an employee’s spouse, child or parent being a covered military member on active duty.

The FMLA also allows 26 workweeks worth of leave in a 12-month period if an employee’s spouse, parent or child is a servicemember with a serious injury or illness.

As a result of this final rule, eligible employees who are legally married to same-sex spouses will be allowed to take FMLA leave for any of the reasons above, regardless of which state they live in. These employees are also entitled to take FMLA leave to care for their spouses’ children.

Another result of the rule is that an employee will be able to take FMLA leave to care for a same-sex spouse of their parent.

Questions About Same-Sex Spouses and Employee Leave

If you have any questions about your company’s policies on same-sex spouses and family leave, you should seek the advice of an attorney. The Beck Law P.C. Santa Rosa labor and employment law attorneys can address your concerns. You can call or email us today.

The Nightmare of Missed Breaks and Unpaid Overtime

missed breaks and unpaid overtime, missed breaks, unpaid overtime, labor lawThe nightmare of missed breaks and unpaid overtime. A key and trusted employee gives notice. He was well liked and you give him a special going away party.

Ten months later that key and trusted employee files an overtime and missed breaks violation complaint against you with the Labor Board. At first you are shocked because you really liked him and he left on good terms! He never said a word to you about any of this. You wonder, when and how could this have happened? Why was this was never brought to your attention during all his years of employment?

Missed Breaks and Unpaid Overtime

You review his time cards. They show no missed breaks or unpaid overtime and you continue to believe that this must be some sort of mistake. All you have to do is show the employee’s time cards to the Labor Board and all this will be cleared up, right?

You attend the Labor Board hearing, and show the commissioner your records. At this time that key and well liked employee produces another set of time sheets. A “secret” set of time sheets personally kept for years by the employee, showing that he worked a lot more that what he reported on his official time cards. This secret set of time cards documented hours and hours of “missed overtime and breaks” over a period of, well years – he even shows overtime for work he says he performed late at night when your office was closed. All you can think is what is going on? At this point, you go completely numb.

The employee tells the commissioner that he wanted to do a really good job but there wasn’t enough time in the day to keep up without working late at night or from home and tells the commissioner that you as his employer “should have known this.” You can’t remember ever asking your ex-employee to work late at night or from home (off the clock) ever. What was this extra work? What did he do for all those years of overtime?

How will the Labor Board Rule?

More often than not the Labor Board will side with the employee. It is imperative that employers seek the counsel of an experienced Labor Law attorney prior to attending a Labor Board hearing.

Employer’s Case: The employer believed that the company time cards were an accurate record of the the time worked and is therefore completely caught off guard by the extra set of time sheets produced. It must be some kind of mistake. But, at the Labor Board hearing the employee testifies that he never told his employer about the “secret” overtime he worked because he wanted to do a good job, to get everything done, and he didn’t want to lose his job to an assistant who was pining for the title.

Neither the employer nor the employee could document the actual work produced during these years of “overtime” but the Labor Board commissioner was satisfied that in spite of this lack of concrete evidence, the employee seemed earnest and appears sincere in his belief that he did something beneficial for the employer.

Department of Labor Decision: Employee was granted the full amount of his claim, with all penalties and interest. In addition the employer was required to pay back taxes to the IRS for these wages. Further, the Department of Labor included even more interest and penalties due to the employee wait time. This exacerbated the cost to the employer even further, escalating the dollars in interest and penalties (per day for a 30 day period).


It is essential that all employers:

  • Include a mandatory Declaration Under Penalty of Perjury on each time card, signed by the employee, that clearly states the employee swears that the time submitted on the card is accurate, honest and includes ALL time worked for that pay period
  • Mandate in your Policy Manual that non-exempt employees with pre-approved overtime must clock in and clock out, remotely, via e-mail prior to commencing and ending any work performed.
  • Ensure that time sheets are legible, professional and clearly written
  • Ensure employees initial all notes and changes and provide reasons and copies of email approvals for overtime, late, sick and vacation days, in their own handwriting
  • Outline Employee Manuals with language that non-exempt employees are never permitted to work “off clock” for any reason whatsoever, unless pre-approved by management in writing
  • Ensure all non-exempt employees are not permitted to sit at their desks during breaks and/or meals
  • Train management to post break/meal schedules in a public work area and to monitor them accordingly, and ensure breaks and meals are taken timely and in a manner that complies with current labor regulations
  • Provide recurrent reminders to management and employees to never talk about work to an employee that is on a break or meal period
  • Provide a separate defined space for employees to take breaks and meals that is free from work
  • Install time clocks within sight of management to monitor that employees clock in and out in a timely manner and do not clock in and out for another employee
  • Keep up to date employee records that are stored in a locked file or a password protected computer file
  • Seek a professional employment/labor law attorney, such as Beck Law P.C., to prepare and annually update all employee manuals, policies, procedures and employment documents

I’m Being Laid Off But Must Train My Replacement?

santa rosa employment attorny, laid off, lay offsI’m being laid off but have to train my replacement? SCE is Southern California’s biggest utility provider. The company has recently faced public criticism after it was confirmed that SCE would be laying off many members of its large IT department in order to replace them with new hires from Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) in Mumbai, India, as well as from Infosys, an IT company in Bangalore. These new employees will be allowed to begin work in Southern California through the U.S. federal government’s H-1B program. The intent of the H-1B program is to allow foreign workers to access jobs in the U.S. that employers are unable to fill with U.S. employees. The main complaint about using the two Indian companies is that SCE already had U.S. employees who were trained, ready and willing to complete the work required, thus negating the very need for H-1B employees in the first place.

SCE and the Alleged H-1B Program Abuse

SCE is one of Southern California’s largest utility companies, which, before layoffs, reported having 1,800 employees in its IT department alone, with an additional 1,500 workers on contract. The IT department’s transition effort will result in an estimated 400 employee layoffs along with an additional 100 employees terminating their employment voluntarily. The employees who will be leaving SCE’s IT department have years of experience in their jobs, and will be forced to train their replacements in the upcoming months as part of the broader transition effort. Not surprisingly, many of the workers feel betrayed by SCE, and believe this transition is an attempt to pay lower wages to foreign employees, through the abuse of the U.S. federal government H-1B program. This argument is somewhat persuasive when one considers the very goals and purpose of the H-1B program, which is to provide employers access to non-U.S. employees when there are not enough domestic employees to provide the unique services that their businesses require. However, as one employee put it,

“Not one of these jobs being filled by India was a job that an…employee wasn’t already performing”.

Laid Off and Training My Replacement

The fact that some of the laid-off U.S. employees will be training their own successors seems to support the claim that the U.S. employees are skilled, trained and capable of providing all of the employment services that SCE requires.

In response, SCE has stated that the transition towards using Tata and Infosys H-1B employees will inevitably “lead to enhancements that deliver faster and more efficient tools and applications for services that customers rely on. Through outsourcing, SCE’s information technology organization will adopt a proven business strategy commonly and successfully used by top U.S. companies that SCE benchmarks against.”

However, SCE’s response does not touch on the issue of why California, home to Silicon Valley and some of the most advanced tech specialists and professionals, was not an adequate location to find the employees that SCE required. Some from within SCE have voiced concerns that the new Indian tech workers do not posses the necessary skill levels of the very people that they will soon replace.

The layoffs at SCE are a unique example of the immigration issues involved in foreign labor and employment. If you think you need a Santa Rosa Labor Attorney, or Mendocino County Labor Lawyer, contact the California labor and employment lawyers at Beck Law P.C. in Santa Rosa today.

Can An Employer Fire An Employee For Discussing A Raise?

fire an employee, california labor lawCan an employer fire an employee for discussing a raise? You have a great Office Supervisor that deserves additional compensation for her dependable work. You decide to reward her with a fantastic performance review and an excellent raise. But, because not all of your your employees are exceptional and you have only so much money to go around, you would prefer that the Office Supervisor keep her raise to herself and not share this information with her co-workers. As she leaves your office, you tell her: By the way, I would prefer you not tell anyone about your raise. If you do, it may cause a lot of disruption in the office, and hurt other employee’s feelings. Actually, I need to trust that you will not tell anyone in this office or you may lose your job over it.

From an employer’s point of view, this statement may seem like a good reminder, given what you think about the other employees, how fairly you want to compensate the other employees, and how much you appreciate the hard work and dedication of this particular employee over the others, given that cash flow is tight. You know your business and what your limits are, and you just don’t want to deal with all the other employees’ complaints. The bottom line is you want the raise to go to the person who earned it, you believe it is reasonable to ask that some things remain private, and frankly, you don’t want to have to explain yourself.

Can you say this to your employee? The answer is: NO. In fact, it is illegal.

Under the National Labor Relations Act, employers cannot prevent employees from discussing wages, salaries, raises, evaluations, cuts in pay, bonuses, benefits, or anything related to their employment among themselves. Employees may discuss ALL WORKING conditions among themselves and they are free to organize, share information and band together as a group. As taken from the NLRB website:

“The law we enforce gives employees the right to act together to try to improve their pay and working conditions, with or without a union. If employees are fired, suspended, or otherwise penalized for taking part in protected group activity, the National Labor Relations Board will fight to restore what was unlawfully taken away. These rights were written into the original 1935 National Labor Relations Act and have been upheld in numerous decisions by appellate courts and by the U.S. Supreme Court”

More specifically, Section 7 of the National Labor Relations Act clearly states:

“Employees shall have the right to self-organization, to form, join, or assist labor organizations, to bargain collectively through representatives of their own choosing, and to engage in other concerted activities for the purpose of collective bargaining or other mutual aid or protection, and shall also have the right to refrain from any or all such activities.”

You may then wonder, can I as an employer discuss one employee’s raise with another employee? The answer is again: NO.

Whereas employees can discuss all work related information with each other, you as an employer must protect the privacy of every employee, and you are not allowed to discuss information regarding one employee with another employee, unless that employee is a supervisor; and even then, information can only be shared that is relevant/necessary for the supervisor to do the job, and nothing more. For example: An employer and a supervisor may discuss an employee’s bonus only if that employee is working directly under that supervisor. An employer may not “tell” an employee anything about another employee’s bonus. [Read more…]

Understanding the Basics of California Age Discrimination Laws

California age discrimination lawCalifornia age discrimination law – Understanding the basics. Age discrimination is the unlawful practice of treating someone differently because of their perceived or actual age. Age discrimination is specifically prohibited under both employment law and housing law. Age discrimination is one of the many forms of discrimination along with discrimination based on sex, race, and religion, and is explicitly prohibited under both California state and federal laws. Under federal law, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) prohibits age discrimination in the workplace against people who are 40 years old or older. This law does not provide protections for those workers who are under the age of 40 and face age discrimination in the workplace, and the ADEA also does not make it illegal for an employer to favor an older worker over a younger worker, even if both workers are 40 years of age or older.

The FEHA & Employment Discrimination

The California state law that provides protections against age discrimination in the workplace is the Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA). The FEHA prohibits discrimination, retaliation and harassment in both housing and employment when such illegal practices are based on a person being 40 years or older or because of that person’s “religious creed, color, national origin, ancestry, physical disability (including AIDS and HIV), mental disability, medical condition, marital status, sex (including pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions), age (40 or older), or sexual orientation (heterosexuality, homosexuality, and bisexuality).”

The FEHA is part of California’s broader public policy goals of protecting residents’ civil rights to obtain, hold and seek employment while being free from discrimination. The FEHA is enforced by the Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH), the agency that prosecutes cases brought under the FEHA, and the Fair Employment and Housing Commission (FEHC), the state agency that rules on cases brought by the DFEH and citizens. Claims that an employer has violated the FEHA can be litigated either in an administrative hearing before the FEHC, or in civil court. If an administrative hearing is held, an employee who wins a claim against an employer can recover past wages, out of pocket expenses, and also up to $150,000 in emotional distress damages. When an FEHA case is litigated in civil court, the employee can recover unlimited monetary damages for emotional distress, punitive damages, past wages, attorney’s fees and any other out-of-pocket expenses associated with the case.

Employers Covered Under FEHA

Any employer that regularly employs five or more persons is covered under the FEHA. Ultimately, private employers, as well as state, local, counties and all other governmental bodies are covered by the FEHA, as well as labor organizations, apprenticeship programs and employment agencies. Furthermore, an exception to the five-employee minimum requirement exists when harassment is alleged. In such a situation, all employers who employ one or more persons or receive the services of one or more independent contractor(s) can be found guilty of violating the FEHA because harassment occurred based on age in the workplace. Under the FEHA, an employer is guilty for harassment that occurred in the workplace that the employer either ignored, or should have known about, but did not act to prevent further discrimination, harassment or retaliation. Furthermore, individual co-workers can be found personally liable for violating the FEHA, but only if they engaged in harassment.

Do you need legal representation in an age discrimination employment law suit? Contact an employment law attorney at Beck Law P.C. in Santa Rosa, California today.

New California Employment Law Bills Signed

Laws Rules RegulationsA  look at the new California employment law bills signed into law this last term by Governor Brown.  Governor Brown was busy this last term signing 931 bills into law, and more than a few relate to the workplace in California.

New California Employment Laws

One law extends harassment and discrimination protections to unpaid interns about which we previously wrote. In addition, California implemented a paid sick leave law, The Healthy Workplaces, Healthy Families Act of 2014, which takes effect in July 2015.  As of January 1, 2015, the California-mandated sexual harassment training required of all employers with 50+ employees must include training on workplace bullying.

 In addition, Governor Brown signed the following:

  • a law that expands the definition of national origin discrimination in the Fair Employment and Housing Act by prohibiting discrimination on the basis of requiring an employee to produce a driver’s license unless otherwise required by law;
  • new laws regarding wage and hour violations, including one that provides liquidated damages to employees who allege California minimum wage violations and another that increases penalties for employers who fail to pay an employee wages when that employee is terminated or resigns; and
  • a law prohibiting employers from threatening to file false complaints against an employee for immigration-related reasons.

Bills that Failed to Become Law

Some bills were proposed, but were not signed into law. This includes:

  • a proposed law that would have added “unemployed” as a protected activity under the Fair Employment and Housing Act;
  • inclusion of home health care workers in the California paid sick leave bill; these workers will not benefit from the new law; and
  • a proposed law that would have added familial association to the protected categories under the Fair Employment and Housing Act.

It is unclear that this time whether the failed bills will resurface in the next legislative session.

What does this mean for California workers?

California is a state with strong protections for its workers.  Employees are protected from discrimination and retaliation, as well as theft of wages and various other protections.  While this unfortunately does not mean that employers never engage in discrimination or fail to pay workers properly, it does mean that aggrieved workers can assert their legal rights when things go wrong.

Among the things that an employee may be concerned about are:

  • discrimination on the basis of race, national origin, age or other protected status;
  • eligible employees who are not paid California minimum wage or who are not paid adequate overtime pay;
  • sexual harassment by a co-worker and an employer who does not take action to stop such harassment;
  • employees with disabilities who request reasonable accommodations that the employer refuses; and
  • employers who attempt to enforce a non-compete agreement after an employee moves on to another job.

Have your rights been violated?

If any of the above situations have happened to you, you may wonder what your rights are.  With so many different laws and rules in California employment, sometimes it’s hard to know.  The labor and employment law attorneys at Beck Law P.C. have years of experience representing clients in employment lawsuits.  Our attorneys will meet with you to discuss your situation and explain to you what your rights are.  It takes the guesswork out of your situation.  Call us today to make an appointment for a consultation.

Are Waistlines Rising Along With Increased Employee Payroll Taxes? Survey Says Yes!

Employee Payroll Tax PeanutsA survey by Harris Interactive for the American Institute of CPAs indicates that the 2013 increase in employee payroll taxes has created tremendous stress on employers and employees alike.  Of course it is obvious that paying more in payroll taxes means an employee takes less money home to their families; however, the stress of how to make ends meet is taking its toll in other ways as well:  particularly in employee health and relationships.

Many Americans are feeling tremendous financial stress in this economy and, accordingly, it is taking great toll on their waistlines, their sleep patterns and their friendships.  The Harris survey, conducted on behalf of the American Institute of CPAs asked “1,011 U.S. adults to name all the ways financial stress is affecting their lives. Of those who rated their financial stress as “very” or “somewhat high,” nearly half (47%) said they are sleeping less, while 43% said they have less patience with friends or are seeing them less often; and 31% are eating more junk food or gaining weight.”

The survey seems like it is confirming what most Americans are feeling, and comes as common sense.  Junk food is cheap.  Eating fresh fruits and vegetables is becoming more costly.  And, it appears there is less time to grow a garden, should one have a plot of ground in which to do so.  Americans are working harder and longer hours than ever before.  After a working mom picks up her kids from day care, at 6:00 at night, and it is near payday, she may have only $15 that has to stretch a few days – the solution she may choose – McDonalds, Taco Bell, or the like.  After doing homework and baths with the kids and getting them to sleep, does she have time to meet with friends? There would be no time for that. Finally, she could sleep a lot sounder if she had $200 to last until the next pay check, instead of $15.

AICPA National CPA Financial Literacy Commission chairman Ernie Almonte commented: “Mounting money pressures are making Americans cranky, tired and unhealthy. This can lead to a double whammy, with ensuing physical and emotional stress potentially leading to higher long-term costs. Americans must find ways to cope with money stress even when financial challenges seem daunting.”


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 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.