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October 2012 Archives

Suit seeks $1.6 million for unpaid wages owed to farm workers

The California Labor Commissioner filed a lawsuit against a Greenfield farm labor contractor this month, seeking $1.6 million for wage and hour violations. The lawsuit claims that approximately 150 farm workers at 10 or more locations in and around Monterey County are owed $1.26 million in unpaid wages and overtime. The suit also seeks monetary penalties against the employer.The lawsuit stems from a complaint that workers were denied overtime after spending more than 10 hours a day in the fields harvesting lettuce and grapes. After the workers came forward, the Division of Labor Standards Enforcement investigated the alleged unlawful working conditions and found evidence that the employer willfully failed to pay overtime to its employees. The alleged violations occurred during a three year period ending in April.

Wal-Mart employees threaten walkout on day after Thanksgiving

Protesting a string of workplace discrimination and other allegations, Wal-Mart employees have threatened a strike on Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving -- one of the chain store's largest sales days of the year. About 200 protesters met with investors and analysts recently to discuss the issue and plan a protest. Wal-Mart is the world's single-largest private employer and has come under fire for years about workers' rights.Wal-Mart employees are disputing wage and hour violations, sexual discrimination and safety conditions as well as discrimination for speaking out against the company on those issues. The company denies these claims, stating that most employees are satisfied with working conditions and chances for advancement. Employees are non-unionized and have stated that company retaliation including firing or cutting work hours against those who speak out is not uncommon.

Disabled California employer sued for sexual harassment

A quadriplegic man who practices law out of his home required his female legal assistants to learn how to care for him on a personal level before allowing them to perform legal assistant duties. He required the employees to learn how to get him out of bed and take off his clothes as well as put him in a swimming suit for him to use a hot tub. They had to know how to do these tasks in case the man's personal assistant was not available, according to the lawsuit. Not surprisingly, they felt uncomfortable caring for their employer in such an intimate manner. However, they were afraid to express their feelings out of fear of being fired. The employees have now expressed their feelings in a sexual harassment lawsuit against the employer.

EEOC sides with Californian in pregnancy discrimination case

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission is focusing on an issue against employers that has not always had as much attention as it deserves: pregnancy discrimination. A female California security guard sued her employer after it fired her while she was on maternity leave. When she tried to return to work after giving birth, her employer said no positions were open. However, the new mother learned that her former employer filled unopened positions with male security guards while she tried to get back to her job.This California case is part of a discriminatory trend across the country with the respect to pregnant women. A Texas restaurant chain fired eight women because they were at least three months into their pregnancies. According to management, they had to fire the pregnant employees because doing so was in the best interests of their babies' safety.

Prominent California swim coach sued for wrongful termination

A former swimming coach and employee of a California swim club recently sued the club and its head coach for wrongful termination. The employee claims that she was fired because she repeatedly reported instances of inappropriate behavior on the part of a volunteer assistant coach to the head coach. The employee was concerned about the assistant coach's behavior toward children. She says that she discussed her concerns with the head coach on many occasions, and his response was to terminate her employment.

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