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San Francisco Employment Law Blog

E. coli outbreak: Know your sick leave conditions

You are out with colleagues for lunch and order the chopped salad. Three to four days later you become very sick. Are you suffering from these symptoms?

  • Abdominal cramps
  • Intensifying pain
  • Diarrhea
  • Nausea and vomiting

These are the symptoms of E. coli poisoning. A recent outbreak from an Arizonan romaine lettuce farm has made nearly 200 people very sick and led to about five deaths in four different states, including California. What if this happened to you?

Teens become victims of wage and hour violations.

Most people in the Bay Area can likely recall their first job. Most remember the sense of pride and excitement that came from entering the workforce and beginning to learn to make their own living. One field that has become a magnet for teen workers is the fast food industry, specifically McDonald's, which is one of the largest chain restaurants in the world. A recent survey estimates that one in eight Americans has worked at a McDonald's at some point in their lives. Unfortunately, the industry is also prone to incidents of wage and hour violations.

While many agree that a part-time job can be a rewarding way for teens to learn the ropes in the workforce, there are strict laws in place to protect minors from being overworked and taken advantage of. During the teen years, employment is meant to be supplemental, as children must also have time to complete their education. The Fair Labor Standards Act outlines the hours teens can work, which vary depending on whether school is in session. 

Restaurant found guilty of wage and hour violations.

The restaurant industry is one of the largest fields of employment in the Bay Area. Many would agree that working in the food service industry can be an exciting and prosperous experience. Unfortunately, working in a restaurant can leave an employee vulnerable to becoming the victim of wage and hour violations

Recently, the Department of Labor investigated Meers Restaurant and, upon doing so, concluded that the establishment was guilty of violating labor laws. Investigators found that Meers was expecting bussers to survive on tips alone, without paying them an hourly wage. The restaurant was also found to be out of compliance with child labor laws. 

At least 61 workers join wrongful termination suit against CSX

Bay Area residents know all too well the stress that can come from being unable to work. When employees find themselves facing a serious medical situation, they often rely on a note from a doctor to explain to their employer that they may be unable to perform their job duties for some time. In most cases, employers have policies in place to protect workers from losing their jobs, so that they may recover from what ails them and return to work. Unfortunately, sometimes employers attempt to circumvent employee rights, and find themselves accused of wrongful termination

Recently, railroad giant CSX has become embroiled in a wrongful termination suit that now includes over 60 workers who claim their employer has violated their rights. The employees claim that after seeking medical attention for various conditions, they were given notes by doctors to prove that they could not perform their job duties for a period of time. Rather than honor these notes, CSX accused employees of committing fraud and exaggerating or falsifying medical conditions to avoid working. 

Drywall company guilty of grievous wage and hour violations

Bay Area residents are likely aware that maintaining steady employment can be difficult in today's economy. Many people may find themselves so happy to have a "good job" that they are not even aware they may be being mistreated by their employer. Lately, the U.S. Department of Labor has been cracking down on wage and hour violations

Recently, a drywall company in another state called Kyco Services was caught red-handed taking advantage of hard-working employees. An investigation revealed that the company had failed to properly pay fair wages and overtime. Worse yet, the company falsified payroll records, attempting to make investigators believe they had not committed wage and hour violations. 

Industry giant Uber revamps sexual harassment policy

Many people in the Bay Area are familiar with the car service Uber, used by thousands of riders daily. Uber provides vehicle owners with a connection to people willing to pay for transportation in their local area. While Uber does screen and train drivers, the company recently found itself with a lengthy list of sexual harassment claims stemming from both customers and employees. 

Uber's previous policies required sexual harassment victims to sign confidentiality agreements, forcing them to settle their cases privately. The change in policy follows a viral campaign in which a former employee blasted Uber for attempting to cover up sexual harassment and mistreatment in the workplace. The female engineer accused the company of attempting to retaliate with bullying to silence the claims. 

Wage and hour violations reported at discount store

With the American economy in constant turmoil, many residing in the Bay Area consider themselves to be extremely fortunate if they are able to maintain steady employment. One of the largest job sectors in the nation is retail. While many retail workers truly enjoy their jobs, their chosen field can at times be prone to employee mistreatment, especially in the form of wage and hour violations

Recently, The U.S. Department of Labor was involved when a court ordered the retail chain 99 Cents Only to pay $273,254 to 125 employees in their Arizona stores. 99 Cents Only is a chain of discount stores based in California. The Department of Labor determined that the company had failed to pay its assistant managers for breaks. Worse yet, when lines became long, many employees were called to help at the registers while they were on break. 

Wells Fargo ordered to compensate workers $97M for unpaid breaks

For the past couple of years, Wells Fargo has been in the news for all the wrong reasons. The bank has admitted defrauding millions of customers by signing them up for accounts and auto insurance the customers did not ask for, costing them serious money and in some cases costing them their vehicle. The Federal Reserve has sanctioned the company for “widespread consumer abuses.”

The troubled California-based bank is now facing yet another multi-million-dollar penalty for breaking the law. As CNN Money reports, a federal judge has ruled in favor of Wells Fargo employees who sued over not being paid for break periods. The judge ordered Wells Fargo to pay $97.4 million in damages.

Sexual harassment suit against culinary star settled

A contestant on Top Chef, Mike Isabella, recently settled a lawsuit alleging that he sexually harassed a former worker. Other partners in the man's hospitality group were also accused of engaging in sexual harassment in the lawsuit. Individuals in the Bay Area and elsewhere who are sexually harassed in the workplace likewise have the right to seek to hold their harassers accountable through the civil court system.

In the case involving Isabella, the plaintiff asserted that the culinary star and his partners touched her without permission. In addition, they reportedly critiqued and ogled her body parts audibly in front of her. The woman furthermore claimed that she was called foul names and that Isabella even chased her from the eatery in a frightening manner.

Pregnancy discrimination suit filed against Laura Ingraham

A woman in another state recently asserted that her former boss, television host Laura Ingraham, discriminated against her when she became pregnant. In fact, she allegedly ended up losing her job because of her pregnancy. She has therefore filed a pregnancy discrimination lawsuit against the TV host and her media company. Anybody in the Bay Area who is mistreated on the job due to being pregnant likewise has the right to seek to hold her employer accountable through the civil court system.

In the recent out-of-state case, the woman asserted that she served as the TV host's personal assistant for around 16 months. However, when she announced her first pregnancy in 2017, her job situation became difficult. The TV host allegedly became hostile toward the plaintiff and terminated her when she returned from maternity leave. However, the host did allow the plaintiff to remain with the company for three additional weeks before departing.

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