Discrimination · Retaliation

S.F.’s Own Employment Laws Cannot Be Ignored, Including a New Law Prohibiting Asking Job Candidates About Past Salary

SAN FRANCISCO, CA – Mehrdad Tabatabaian has sued Professional Technical Security Services Inc. alleging, among other things, that the defendant failed to follow the regulations in San Francisco’s Health Care Services Ordinance, which generally requires employers with more than 20 employees set aside funds for employees’ health care expenditures.

San Francisco enforces the HCSO and its other laws through the S.F. Office of Labor Standards Enforcement, which is a fairly active agency that has assessed millions of dollars in fines against offending employers. For a list of S.F.’s employment laws, go to the S.F. O.L.S.E.’s website, here.

One new law of particular interest is the Considering of Salary History Ordinance, which took effect July 1, 2018. The Consideration of Salary History Ordinance prohibits employers from considering current or past salary of an applicant in determining whether to hire the applicant or what salary to offer the applicant. The ordinance also prohibits employers from (1) asking applicants about their current or past salary or (2) disclosing a current or former employee’s salary history without that employee’s authorization unless the salary history is publicly available.

Sound crazy? S.F. is just following the state’s lead. The State of California passed legislation prohibiting employers from asking applicants about their current or past salary last year. The law took effect January 1, 2018.

This blog reports on cases filed in and around the San Francisco Bay Area. The statements made are based on the allegations in court-filed documents. Allegations are just accusations, and may or may not be true.
The authors of the blog are attorneys at the San Francisco litigation firm, Wood Robbins, LLP. If you have a legal issue, send them an email. If they cannot help you, they will try and point you in the right direction.
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Discrimination · Retaliation

Chariot Transit Sued; Alleged to Have Secretly Fired an Injured Worker

SAN FRANCISCO, CA – A former charter bus driver for Chariot Transit is alleging that she was injured on the job, got pregnant and when she couldn’t get modified duty assignments communicated with the HR department and learned that she had been terminated eleven months prior.

There is likely a lot more to this story but, in general, injuries and pregnancies and long leaves of absence can be challenging for small employers, especially if the employee is missing during the busy season or the work is dangerous. Reasonable accommodation is a bit of a moving target. Putting disabled drivers back to work can be tense if the work is dangerous, since employers don’t want anything to happen to them and be blamed for that.

In some cases, the employee isn’t any good on top of it. Employers are thinking about terminating them but don’t get to it before the injury or other leave request, effectively tying the employer’s hands. Employers who don’t wait the leave out give an employee running room to make the argument that the termination was in retaliation for taking the leave. This is why attorney’s joke: if you want to not get fired, fall off a ladder.

This blog reports on cases filed in and around the San Francisco Bay Area. The statements made are based on the allegations in court-filed documents. Allegations are just accusations, and may or may not be true.
The authors of the blog are attorneys at the San Francisco litigation firm, Wood Robbins, LLP. If you have a legal issue, send them an email. If they cannot help you, they will try and point you in the right direction.
Discrimination · Retaliation

Wageworks Alleged to Have Fired Pregnant Woman, On Her Vacation

SAN FRANCISCO, CA – A woman is suing Wageworks, which advertises itself as a “provider of tax-advantaged consumer directed health, commuter & employee benefit plans,” alleging she asked for pregnancy leave and, following that, took a vacation and was fired. Plaintiff alleges that she had positive performance reviews leading up to her leave request, vacation and termination. Plaintiff says that her employer was just not happy about the fact that she was exercising her right to take leave.

Employers should be weary of terminating pregnant women or any employee on or about to take leave. It looks bad, and if the employee happens to have a miscarriage or difficult pregnancy, it looks worse. Employers should wait until an employee returns from leave before taking any action respecting their employment.

Good performance reviews is another bad fact for Wageworks, if it’s true. Employers are best advised to document grievances with an employee’s work product and/or behavior prior to firing, to avoid the appearance of discrimination.

If Wageworks can show it was restructuring and/or another non-discriminatory reason for plaintiff’s termination, it may win the case. At will employees can be fired at the will of the employer, for good reason, bad reason or no reason at all. But, bad timing and/or bad documentation can give a plaintiff just what they need to argue the employer’s claimed reason for termination is a “pretext” for discrimination.

This blog reports on cases filed in and around the San Francisco Bay Area. The statements made are based on the allegations in court-filed documents. Allegations are just accusations, and may or may not be true.
The authors of the blog are attorneys at the San Francisco litigation firm, Wood Robbins, LLP. If you have a legal issue, send them an email. If they cannot help you, they will try and point you in the right direction.
Retaliation

When You Tip Your Waitress, Does She Get To Keep It?

OAKLAND, CA – The Labor Commissioner filed a lawsuit against Alameda Wine Company, LLC alleging that the wine bar and shop retaliated against an employee by firing her after she complained that the business was keeping half of her tips.

Tip law is more interesting than you might think. There is a Labor Code section that generally prohibits an employer from requiring employees pass their tips on to the employer. Requiring employees pool tips is ok, so long as the employer doesn’t benefit. If the wine bar was requiring the worker share her tips with them as alleged, then the wine bar may be in some trouble.

As an aside, “service charges” are not covered by this rule because service charges are required to be paid. The definition of a gratuity covered by the rule is that it was voluntarily paid. The practical/sad result is that waiters and waitresses that work at catered events often receive no tip/gratuity, the service charge required by the contract and legally the property of the employer.

For more information about tips and engaging the Labor Commission on your behalf, see: http://www.dir.ca.gov/dlse/faq_tipsandgratuities.htm.

This blog reports on cases filed in and around the San Francisco Bay Area. The statements made are based on the allegations in court-filed documents. Allegations are just accusations, and may or may not be true.
The authors of the blog are attorneys at the San Francisco litigation firm, Wood Robbins, LLP. If you have a legal issue, send them an email. If they cannot help you, they will try and point you in the right direction.
Commercial · Land Use · Partnership · Retaliation

Cannabis in the Courts

S.F. BAY AREA, CA – As cannabis becomes mainstream, it runs into mainstream problems, including employment and real estate issues. Three recent cases highlight the point.

In December 2017, a former employee filed suit in San Francisco against Bay Area Green Cross Dispensary Inc.; Citishield Inc. and Green Cross Enterprises Inc., alleging defendants demoted and then fired him following his complaints about wage violations and other alleged illegal activity.

At the start of the new year, a Luis Viveros sued Origaniking LLC and Queen Bees Organics LLC in Sonoma seeking a declaration that they are partners with defendants in a lease in Cloverdale and a partner in a cannabis dispensary partnership agreement.

On January 12th, PNB Noriega LLC dba The Apothecarium dispensary petitioned the Superior Court for a writ of mandate allegedly in response to the San Francisco Board of Supervisors denying their right to open a dispensary in the Sunset district in favor of another dispensary.

Good attorneys are going to have to get over the fact that these businesses run drugs, or people in the cannabis business are going to get short changed with bad representation. Federal law and changing attitudes about enforcement at the DOJ looms in the background.

This blog reports on cases filed in and around the San Francisco Bay Area. The statements made are based on the allegations in court-filed documents. Allegations are just accusations, and may or may not be true.
The authors of the blog are attorneys at the San Francisco litigation firm, Wood Robbins, LLP. If you have a legal issue, send them an email. If they cannot help you, they will try and point you in the right direction.