Category: Employment Discrimination

See’s Candy slapped with a class action



See’s Candy, the acclaimed candy retailer headquartered in San Francisco was recently slapped with a class action in San Diego Court. At the heart of the allegations was the candy store’s “rounding” policies with respect to their employees’ punch cards.

See’s, much like many other companies today, used an automated timekeeping system known as Kronos to keep track of employee time. Based on the hours lodged by employees on Kronos, See’s would calculate an employee’s pay after “rounding” the employee’s time to the nearest tenth, also taking into considerations the company’s grace period policy. After trial court granted summary judgment for employees, See’s filed an appeal.

The Fourth Appellate District reversed, shedding additional light on what constitutes an unlawful rounding policy. The Court held that a rounding policy will not be found unlawful if it is “fair and neutral” and does not result in underpayment of wages to the employee. Conversely, employees who are able to prove underpayment for their time are likely subjected to an unlawful rounding policy and may be entitled to recovery of penalties in addition to their unpaid wages.

Where Are The (African-)American Idols?

Ten former contestants on American Idol have sued Fox, alleging that they and other African-American contestants were unfairly dismissed from the show because of their race. The suit alleges that, among other discriminatory behavior, Fox unlawfully acquired information about American Idol contestants’ criminal records. However, though it surreptitiously collected the information for all of its contestants, Fox only ever used the information against African-American contestants – white contestants were given a free pass.

The complaint goes on to say that the information was even used as a ratings ploy, humiliating African-American contestants as the show intentionally drummed up controversy, such as when semifinalist Jermaine Jones was disqualified from season 11 of the show in 2012. In contrast, even if a white contestant’s unsavory background came to light, he or she would not be dismissed or booted from the show like African-Americans would, but rather would be lauded with a storyline indicating they were “models of redemption.”

The 10 plaintiffs include

  1. Jaered Andrews (season 2),
  2. Corey Clark (season 2),
  3. Jacob John Smalley (season 2),
  4. Donnie Williams (season 3),
  5. Terrell and Derrell Brittenum (season 5),
  6. Thomas Daniels (season 6),
  7. Akron Watson (season 6),
  8. Ju’Not Joyner (season 8)and
  9. Chris Golightly (season 9).

Jermaine Jones is not part of the suit.

Undocumented workers still entitled to recover unpaid wages

Two Federal Circuit Courts have this year opined on the issue of undocumented Plaintiffs and their rights to collect unpaid wages. In Lucas v. Jerusalem Café, LLC and Lamonica v. Safe Hurricane Shutters, Inc. the Courts found that undocumented and unauthorized aliens, despite their status, could still recover for underpayment and non-payment of wages.

In Lucas, the Court said, “There is nothing in the FLSA that would allow us to conclude that undocumented aliens, although protected by the Act, are nevertheless barred from recovering unpaid wages thereunder.” In this same regard, the Lamonica Court held that an undocumented worker’s “ability to recover unpaid wages under the FLSA does not depend upon his immigration status.”

The underlying principle here is clear and employees should not be hesitant to pursue actions for unpaid wages because of their residency status. If you do work, you should be compensated in accordance with the law.

New Laws For Commissioned Employees

California employees receiving commissions have a right to know how their commissions will be calculated and paid.

Effective January 1, 2013, employers who pay employees by commission are required to memorialize the commission arrangement in a written contract that includes: the method for calculating the commissions, a description of when the commissions will be deemed earned and how they will be paid and requires the employee to sign a “receipt” retained by the employer. California Labor Code § 2751.

Labor Code § 204.1 defines commissions as “compensation paid to any person for services rendered in the sale of such employer’s property or services and based proportionately upon the amount or value thereof.”

Even though there is no corresponding penalty provision for violation of Labor Code § 2751, employees still have the option to file a claim for penalties under the Private Attorneys General Act of 2004 (Labor Code §§ 2698, et seq.) for violation of this law.

Not all commissions and bonus plans must comply with this new law, but consult with an attorney at Aegis Law Firm, PC to determine whether the commission structure and/or bonus plan you are subject to implicates Labor Code § 2751.

Beware of Bobs

Bob is a great name.  Its simplicity engenders a certain kind of reaction in us all.  We trust Bobs. We like to hang out with Bobs, maaaaybe even play a friendly game of parcheezy avec Bob. Bobs probably inspired the lyrics “just the good ol’ boys, never meanin’ no harm …”  A Bob is someone you wouldn’t mind having over at a family gathering; someone you could always count on to serve you eggs and pancakes the American way (see also Big Boy/Bob’s).  Simply put, in Bob we trust … or trust-ed …

Lately, there have been some serious problems in Bobland.  Bob Filner, mayor of “America’s greatest city,” has some explaining to do.  Filner’s former communication director filed a lawsuit this month alleging the mayor “has disgraced himself and the office he holds by engaging in numerous instances of sexual harassment.”  In court documents, she described finding herself alone in an elevator with the mayor in March when he pulled her toward him, put an unwanted arm around her and said, “I am so in love with you. Wouldn’t it be great if you took off your panties and worked without them?”‘ When she pushed him away, she alleged, he kissed her on the cheek.  In April at a meeting open to the public in City Hall, she alleged, Filner put her in a headlock and dragged her toward a table with doughnuts, telling her he loved her and asking, “When are we going to get married? Wouldn’t it be great if we consummated the marriage?”  How far the mighty Bobs have fallen.

If you work with a “bad” Bob, you should contact a lawyer immediately to protect your rights.