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Cheesecake Factory Found Liable for $4.57 Million Wage Theft

Cheesecake Factory Found Liable for $4.57 Million Wage Theft July 3, 2018. By Lori Prapas.
San Diego, CA The California Labor Commissioner’s Office has found that The Cheesecake Factory and its janitorial contractor, Americlean Janitorial Services Corp., engaged in wage theft, withholding millions of dollars that were lawfully earned under California prevailing wage law. Americlean subcontracted the night cleaning work to another company, Magic Touch. It is not uncommon for California employers to rely on multiple layers of contractors and fluid entities to perpetrate wage theft, particularly in all-cash enterprises like the janitorial industry. However, Cheesecake Factory and Americlean have been found equally liable for the workplace violations of subcontractor Magic Touch under California Assembly Bill 1897, which holds employers liable for the violations of their contractors.
Read [ Cheesecake Factory Found Liable for $4.57 Million Wage Theft ]

MetLife Refuses to Disclose Background Claim Processing Principles

MetLife Refuses to Disclose Background Claim Processing Principles June 28, 2018. By Anne Wallace.
Jacksonville, FL: On April, 20, 2018, the United States District Court for the Middle District of Florida denied a Metropolitan Life benefit claimant the right to see the company’s internal claim processing guidelines. Perera v. Metropolitan Life Insurance Company actually relates to death benefits, but it relies heavily on an earlier decision in a long term denied disability lawsuit against MetLife.
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California Labor Law Violation Fired at Fidelity Stands, Typo Goes

California Labor Law Violation Fired at Fidelity Stands, Typo Goes June 25, 2018. By Jane Mundy.
Santa Clara, CA: Fidelity Investments tried to wangle out of a proposed class action lawsuit alleging California labor law violations by saying the plaintiff’s employment agreement contained a "typo" and she wasn’t in fact an employee. But Fidelity’s excuse appears to have back-fired. “It is astounding how clearly [Fidelity] held itself out as plaintiff’s employer,” wrote California federal judge William Aslup, and he denied their motion to dismiss.
Read [ California Labor Law Violation Fired at Fidelity Stands, Typo Goes ]

Asbestos Mesothelioma Passed from Father to Son, Guilty Verdict for Defendant Liberty Utilities (Park Water) Corp.

Asbestos Mesothelioma Passed from Father to Son, Guilty Verdict for Defendant Liberty Utilities (Park Water) Corp. June 25, 2018. By Jane Mundy.
Los Angeles, CA: A California jury recently awarded Alfred Mata and his wife $11.4 million in an asbestos lawsuit against Liberty Utilities (Park Water) Corp. Alfred developed mesothelioma from his father, who worked with water pipes that contained asbestos and brought the fibers home on his clothes.
Read [ Asbestos Mesothelioma Passed from Father to Son, Guilty Verdict for Defendant Liberty Utilities (Park Water) Corp. ]

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.
Read [ Former Marriott Hotel Waiter Appeals Dismissal of his California Unpaid Wages Lawsuit ]

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.
Read [ Ninth Circuit Champions Wrongly Denied Disability Claimant ]

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.
Read [ Potential H&M Class Action Lawsuit Over Unpaid Security Bag Checks ]

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.
Read [ After $7.9 Million Jury Verdict, Chipotle Settles California Labor Lawsuit To Avoid Punitive Damages ]

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