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California security guard claims wrongful termination

A former security guard has filed a lawsuit against Universal Music Publishing Group in which she calls out numerous celebrities for pervasive drug use at the company's facility in Santa Monica, California. The 41-year-old woman claims she was fired after reporting the illegal drug use to her superiors. She says her discharge constituted wrongful termination in violation of California's whistle blower law.The lawsuit, which was filed on April 9, alleges that drug use was so widespread at the facility that the security guard observed people openly smoking marijuana in lounges and other common areas and that the smell of marijuana seeped out of closed offices and studio rooms. The lawsuit further alleges that some people even offered illegal substances to her. Although she claims that she reported the drug use, she says no one heeded her complaints. Instead, one company executive told her that the big-name musicians who visited the facility could do whatever they pleased.

Case against "The Price Is Right" goes to trial in California

A California judge says a case against "The Price Is Right" should go to trial. A former model for the game show is suing the show's producers and production company for sexual harassment and wrongful constructive discharge. The trial judge has denied the defendants' motion to dismiss and has scheduled a trial to begin May 21, 2013. The plaintiff began appearing on the game show in 2003. She claims the alleged harassment started in December of 2009. At that time, she says one of the show's producers stopped talking to her and began bestowing preferential treatment on another model with whom he was involved in a romantic relationship. She further claims that in September of 2010, a second producer burst into her dressing room while she was wearing only a pair of thong underwear and proceeded to reprimand her. She says the conduct made the work environment so intolerable that she was forced to resign.

California woman says she was fired for work injury

A former mammography associate at a Kaiser hospital in California says she was fired after taking time off in connection with a work-related injury. She is now suing her former employer for wrongful discharge in violation of California law.

Mom fired for selling daughter's Girl Scout cookies at work

It's something many California parents undoubtedly have done: sell a few boxes of their daughters' Girl Scout cookies. But for one mother, the effort to help her daughter earn badges and raise money for trips resulted in the loss of her job. The woman, who worked for 28 years on the campus of American University, was fired from her job at a campus dining room in February for selling cookies to customers. According to the woman's employer, the cookie sales constituted the solicitation and operation of a personal cash business during work hours, which is a violation of company policy. Although the woman said she kept the cookies off to the side and sold them only to customers who asked about them, the employer said her actions amounted to gross misconduct. Whether the woman's dismissal constitutes a wrongful termination is unclear. Under the doctrine of employment-at-will, which applies in California and across the United States, an employer generally does not need to state a reason for firing an employee. 

Can employers ask job applicants for Facebook passwords?

More and more California employers are asking job applicants to provide their Facebook passwords as part of the hiring process. The rationale is to ensure prospective employees do not have a history of dangerous conduct or affiliations, such as gang affiliations. But is such a practice legal? While there are no laws that specifically prohibit an employer from requesting an applicant's social media log-in information, some legal experts say that the practice violates existing employment discrimination laws.Under both California and federal law, it is illegal to base hiring decisions on an applicant's protected class status. Accordingly, during the hiring process, employers must avoid making inquiries about things like an applicant's age, sexual orientation, marital status, and ethnicity. This information could reveal an applicant's protected class status and lead to claims of discrimination. Yet, this is precisely the kind of information that an employer could find on an applicant's Facebook profile.

Warehouse owes over $1 million in unpaid wages

The California Division of Labor Standards Enforcement has cited a Walmart contractor for wage and hour violations. Quetico, LLC, a warehouse operation that packs clothes and shoes for Walmart and other retailers, owes 865 workers more than $1.1 million in unpaid wages and overtime, the state says. The citations carry penalties of around $200,000. The state stepped in after workers sought assistance from the Warehouse Worker Resource Center, an advocacy group associated with Warehouse Workers United. The workers reported their employer routinely shorted them pay for hours worked. The workers also reported missed lunch periods, faulty warehouse time clocks and retaliation. They said the employer would restore their pay if they complained but then would issue a warning. After three warnings, an employee would be fired.

Former hospital employee sues for wrongful termination

A former employee of a Kaiser Permanente hospital claims she was fired for reporting sexual harassment and for taking medical leave to care for her sick spouse. The woman's wrongful termination lawsuit, filed in California Superior Court, marks the 46th time the health care consortium has faced employment litigation in 2012. The most recent lawsuit also names the woman's co-worker as a defendant.The woman began working at the hospital in 2001 as a nursing assistant and later received a promotion to unit assistant. In her court complaint, she claims a male co-worker, also a unit assistant, told her to look at his genitals in 2009. The complaint alleges the man previously had engaged in similar conduct towards other female employees but the hospital failed to take any action to address their complaints.

Did coal mine owner force workers to attend political rally?

Coal miners working for one of the largest private coal companies in the United States were allegedly forced to attend an Aug. 14 rally supporting Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney. The Ohio-based coal company closed the mine for the day, and in possible violation of wage and hour laws, docked the miners' pay. The wife of a miner said that attendance to the rally was mandatory. The company told workers to come to a local school at 8 a.m. to register their attendance. They then had to spend most of the day waiting to be transported to the rally. An official from the coal company agreed that the workers' attendance was mandatory, but the company forced no one to attend.

California scores top grade in family-friendly employment laws

The non-profit advocacy organization, National Partnership for Women & Families issued a new report titled "Expecting Better," which graded every state, including D.C., on how well the state and its programs and laws support new parents. California was one of only two states to receive the top score of an A-. No states received an A or A+ grade in the report. According to the non-profit, there are gaps in the Family and Medical Leave Act, which is the only federal employment law that allows new parents to take unpaid time off when a new child arrives.

EEOC's Fresno Office settles pregnancy discrimination suit

A lawsuit accusing a Fresno, California, facility of pregnancy discrimination has been settled in favor of the plaintiff. The suit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission claimed the facility was guilty of employment discrimination when it offered an applicant an executive assistant position with the company, and later rescinded that offer after learning she was pregnant.

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