Category: Wrongful Termination

Getting Fired After Relocating

One of the most stressful and traumatic things that can happen to an employee is being laid off or terminated shortly after relocating for a job.  The worry and expense of moving, the possibility you left a steady job for one that has disappeared on you; these are the kinds of things that keep people up at night.

As scary as it is, this scenario isn’t as rare as you might think.  Because of this, California has a law specifically targeting unscrupulous employers that promise jobs to relocating employees and then take them away.  Employers are not allowed to ask an employee to relocate or hire an employee who it knows must relocate by means of any “knowingly false representations.”  What that means is that an employer has to be up front when it asks you to move and can’t make any false promises.  For instance, if an employer tells you when asking you to move that you will have a job for a year after you move, but knows it will lay you off within six months, it has broken the law.  An employer likewise cannot make you move and then make you do a totally different kind of job than the one it promised you.

But what happens if the employer does anyway?  The law gives you the right to seek all the costs you incurred in relocating, from moving expenses to lease-breaking fees at your apartment, or even costs related to having to sell your home in some cases.  And because the employer’s bait-and-switch is such an awful thing to do, the law allows the employee to get back double his or her costs.  There can also be a criminal fine and even a few months of jail time for the unscrupulous employer.

If you have found yourself without a promised job shortly after relocating, consider the reasons the employee gave for terminating you or laying you off and whether they sound real or might just be a cover for a false promise.   If you suspect foul play by your employer, an attorney can help you understand your options and rights.

Genetic Information Cannot be Grounds for Discrimination

When you usually read about employment discrimination, the suit alleges discrimination based on race, gender, pregnancy, religion, age, and sexual orientation. The lesser talked about, lesser known protected category is not observable to the naked eye. Why you ask? Because it’s genetic. That’s right; your genetic information is protected by both federal and state law.

According the California’s Department of Fair Employment and Housing, a “genetic characteristic” is defined as “any scientifically or medically identifiable gene or chromosome or combination or alteration of a gene or chromosome, or any inherited characteristic…” A potential or current employer cannot discriminate against you based on your genetic susceptibility to certain inherited diseases or disorders.

Federally, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has been operating under the Genetic Information Non-discrimination Act (“GINA”) that Congress passed in 2008. It also prohibits adverse employment reactions to information regarding a potential employee or employee’s genetic information. At the beginning of the year, the EEOC settled a landmark case regarding genetic information discrimination.

In New York, Founders Pavilion Inc., a nursing and rehabilitation center, recently shut down due to the case. Last May, Founders was sued by the EEOC for requesting “family medical history as part of its post-offer, pre-employment medical exams of applicants.” The EEOC further alleged that five employees were fired after their genetic information was revealed; 138 total employees and potential employees were asked for the information.

Founders was held liable for a $370,000 award for the 138 individuals that were asked for information and the 5 that were terminated as a result.

Though genetic information discrimination is not specifically prevalent in day to day legal activities, if you feel you have been subject to such discrimination, contact Aegis immediately.

Snoop D-O-double G Making It Rain

Three of Snoop Dogg’s former body guards have filed a lawsuit against the rapper for wages. The suit seeks $3 million and alleges that the guards were overworked and underpaid.

The plaintiffs—Torrey Mitchell, Donnel Murray, and Ryan Turk—sued the entities associated with the rapper and his companies alleging that in addition to their usual security duties, they were tasked with transportation duties, red carpet affairs, and maintenance of his various apartments where he “entertained” women.

During tours, the security guards were expected to function off limited sleep, sometimes only three hours. Because there were not time keeping records, it was not clear just how many the guards worked and thus should get paid for. While on tour, the guards got paid $300 a day despite the number of hours worked. If not on tour, then the guards were paid $25 per hour with an overtime rate of $37.50 per hour. Overtime came into effect in shifts over 12 hours long, though California labor law mandates that workers are eligible for overtime after the first 8 hours and double time after 12 hours.

Additionally, the bodyguards were never permitted to take breaks, no matter how long the shift.

In January 2014, the plaintiffs made formal complaints to all entities and asked that overtime be paid properly. They wanted to address the labor code violations at hand. Swiftly, the guards were terminated from their employment.

All Alone at Tiffany & Co.

It’s a familiar scene: Moon River crooning in the background as bejeweled and regal Holly Golightly slowly crosses in front of the Tiffany’s display windows, a pastry and coffee in hand. Throughout the movie, Audrey Hepburn’s Holly Golightly frequently visits the famous jewelry mogul.

During these scenes in the store, however, one may notice the absence of ethnic minorities in Tiffany’s, namely African Americans. But that was 1961, before the Civil Rights March on Washington led by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr in 1963, before the Civil Rights Act of 1964 was passed, and before the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

But this is 2014. The absence of African Americans in the company’s management ranks is now the center of a potential race discrimination lawsuit.

In New York, a manager at Tiffany’s is suing the company for race discrimination. Michael McClure alleges in the complaint filed in federal court that the company has discriminated against him and other blacks. McClure is the sole African-American manager out of 200 total managers in North America.

McClure points to one particular occasions when he received an anonymous letter that stated Senior Vice President of North America, Anthony Ledru, had said he was shocked and surprised to see that “a black man is representing the Tiffany Brand.”

McClure was ultimately terminated after a poor performance evaluation that he alleges was unfair.

Source: Associated Press

Donald Sterling’s Less Than Sterling Reputation

maiko-maya-kingAmidst the controversy, lifetime bans, and money making, Donald Sterling has also been served with a sexual harassment and race discrimination lawsuit. Gimme a “D” for defense!

Maiko Maya King, an employee for Sterling’s foundation and his former assistant, filed the complaint in Los Angeles Superior Court. In the complaint, she alleges that throughout 2005 to 2011, Sterling and King were involved in a romantic relationship, wherein Sterling held money and wages over King’s head for sexual favors.

She accuses Sterling of repeatedly making sexual demands, and then subjecting her to racial comments and epithets. Their initial relationship ended in 2011, but King began working for Sterling a second time more recently. He attempted to take up the same sort of relationship as King’s previous employment, but she protested against his behaviors. Sterling then fired her last month.

King also alleges that Sterling made derogatory comments about her former husband, who is black, and subsequently her children. One general comment Sterling made to her was, “black people do not take care of their children. All they do is sit at home and smoke dope.” He further asked King “how could you be married to a black man?” and “Why would you bring black people into the world?”

During their “good” times, Sterling purportedly told King, “I want to take you out of the black world and put you in the white world” and when they fought he argued, “move back to the ghetto with a black man.”

The reason that Sterling strayed from girlfriend and then assistant V. Stiviano, was because he was “bored” with Stiviano sexually and wanted King to resume the sexual relationship. He wanted King to tell him stories of her sexual past so that he would get aroused. He offered her sizable bonuses for doing so.

King is seeking unspecified compensatory damages and is represented by famous civil rights attorney Gloria Allred.

Source: Reuters & NY Daily News