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Former Marriott Hotel Waiter Appeals Dismissal of his California Unpaid Wages Lawsuit

Former Marriott Hotel Waiter Appeals Dismissal of his California Unpaid Wages Lawsuit June 18, 2018. By Lori Prapas.
San Jose, CA: Ex-waiter Ian McCray worked for the San Jose Marriott from May of 2012 to August of 2015. He claims that during that time, Marriott Hotel Services did not pay him the minimum wage required by the city’s municipal wage ordinance. The ordinance appears to provide for a waiver of the minimum wage requirement if employees agree to those terms in a Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA). Because McCray’s employment with the Marriott was governed by a CBA that waived the minimum wage ordinance, the hotel claimed that it didn’t need to comply with San Jose’s minimum wage laws. The court dismissed McCray’s California unpaid wages lawsuit back in March of 2017, and now the appellate court is reviewing that ruling.
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California State Labor Commissioner Slams Restaurants with Wage Theft Violations

California State Labor Commissioner Slams Restaurants with Wage Theft Violations June 13, 2018. By Jane Mundy.
San Francisco, CA: Despite California restaurants in the past few years receiving huge fines for California labor law violations, some employers seem to have missed the memo, or perhaps they think employees on salary aren’t entitled to overtime compensation. Or perhaps they think restaurant workers, from dishwashers to cooks to General Managers, are afraid of losing their jobs if they file a complaint. Workers at six Rangoon Ruby Burmese Cuisine chains and Kome Japanese Seafood & Buffet, however, did complain, and their complaints resulted in fines totaling more than $10 million.
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Invesco Accused of Treating ERISA Plan Participants as Captive Investors

Invesco Accused of Treating ERISA Plan Participants as Captive Investors June 13, 2018. By Anne Wallace.
Atlanta, GA On May 24,2018, participants in the Invesco 401(k) Plan filed an ERISA lawsuit in the Northern District of Georgia. The ERISA lawsuit contends that Invesco, Ltd. profited from the ERISA plan it offered to employees. The situation is rife with potential conflicts of interest because the employer, a plan fiduciary, is also an investment manager. Lest we lose track in this tangled web, self-dealing is against the law.
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Ninth Circuit Champions Wrongly Denied Disability Claimant

Ninth Circuit Champions Wrongly Denied Disability Claimant June 8, 2018. By Anne Wallace.
Los Angeles, CA In Bowlin v. The Prudential Life Insurance Company of America, the United States District Court for the Central District of California overruled Prudential’s decision to deny long term disability benefits to a worker who gave evidence of many physical and psychological ailments. Bowlin is something of a rarity in long term denied disability lawsuits because the plaintiff won. Maybe it’s a trend in California, though.
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Potential H&M Class Action Lawsuit Over Unpaid Security Bag Checks

Potential H&M Class Action Lawsuit Over Unpaid Security Bag Checks June 7, 2018. By Lori Prapas.
San Jose, CA: A former H&M employee, Ser Lao, has sued fashion retailer H&M in federal court for allegedly failing to provide employees with correctly itemized wage statements, and failing to pay employees minimum wage, overtime, and premium pay for missed meal and rest periods. Lao’s California unpaid wages lawsuit also alleges that H&M violated California Labor Code by refusing to pay employees for the time they spent after clocking out while having their bags checked to make sure that they were not stealing merchandise. The United States District Court for the Northern District of California, San Jose Division, has now been asked to certify the class to proceed as a class action. Meanwhile, the State Supreme Court is poised to issue an epic decision on the exact same issue in Troester v. Starbucks.
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After $7.9 Million Jury Verdict, Chipotle Settles California Labor Lawsuit To Avoid Punitive Damages

After $7.9 Million Jury Verdict, Chipotle Settles California Labor Lawsuit To Avoid Punitive Damages June 5, 2018. By Lori Prapas.
Fresno, CA: Long-time valued Chipotle General Manager Jeanette Ortiz was accused of stealing $626 dollars from her employer, but when she asked to see the surveillance footage of the alleged incident, her supervisors refused and destroyed the footage. Subsequently, she went out on medical leave for a work-related injury, and was terminated while out on leave. The pretext for her firing was the alleged theft. After a jury found Ortiz’s account of retaliatory termination persuasive, awarding her $7.9 million in damages, Chipotle Mexican Grill quickly settled the California labor lawsuit for an undisclosed amount to avoid what likely would have been a punitive damages award up to nine times as much as the $7.9 million compensatory damages award.
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CA Top Court Makes it Harder for Employers to Deny Overtime by Designating Workers as Independent

CA Top Court Makes it Harder for Employers to Deny Overtime by Designating Workers as Independent May 23, 2018. By Lori Prapas.
Los Angeles: A groundbreaking decision has been issued in Dynamex v. Superior Court of Los Angeles County. The Court adopted a three-part test that applies to any alleged misclassification under a California Industrial Welfare Commission (IWC) wage order. The IWC regulates wages, hours, and working conditions, and requires “employees” to be paid minimum wage, receive meal and rest breaks, and overtime pay. Now that the highest court in the state has ruled on this issue, there is a rebuttable presumption that all workers are “employees” and must be paid overtime accordingly. Workers who have been misclassified may now be more likely to prevail in a California unpaid wages lawsuit.
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Wells Fargo to Pay $97M to Commissioned Brokers for Rest Breaks

Wells Fargo to Pay $97M to Commissioned Brokers for Rest Breaks May 21, 2018. By Jane Mundy.
Los Angeles, CA: A Wells Fargo mortgage broker last year filed a wage and hour lawsuit alleging the bank failed to provide rest breaks, among other violations. The bank said it owed employees $25 million, but last week a federal judge agreed with its bankers and consultants: the money they were entitled to for unpaid rest breaks should be based on their commissions as well as their hourly pay, and Wells Fargo is now on the hook for $97 million.
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New California Ruling Easy as 'ABC' to Determine Employee or Independent Contractor?

New California Ruling Easy as 'ABC' to Determine Employee or Independent Contractor? May 10, 2018. By Jane Mundy.
Los Angeles, CA: California courts have been debating, defining and determining employment status—whether a worker is an employee or independent contractor-- since 1989. Misclassification has always been a gray area, despite California labor law holding for three decades the “Borello” standard. As of April 30, however, the new and more rigid “ABC test” is being used to identify disputes under wage orders. And experts say it will have far-reaching implications for the California workforce.
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Home Depot Employees File ERISA Class Action Lawsuit over 401(k) Mismanagement

Home Depot Employees File ERISA Class Action Lawsuit over 401(k) Mismanagement May 9, 2018. By Anne Wallace.
Atlanta, GA On April 12, 2018, two Home Depot 401(k) plan participants, Jaime Pizarro and Craig Smith, filed an ERISA lawsuit in the U.S. District Court of the Northern District of Georgia. The complaint alleges that The Home Depot breached its duty to Plan participants in three ways: by choosing poorly-performing investment options, allowing investment advisors to charge unreasonable fees and ignoring a kickback scheme between an investment adviser and the plan’s record keeper. A nickel here, a buck and half there – it adds up.
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