Silicon Valley Employment Law Blog

Singer Eddie Money denied dismissal of wrongful termination suit

In the world of music and musicians, the compositions of touring bands changes for a variety of reasons. However, in spite of some public feuds, one does not hear of a band member filing a wrongful termination suit against a lead artist on a frequent basis. Recently, California resident and singer Eddie Money, was denied his request to have such a suit against him dismissed.

According to the complaint filed against the 70s iconic singer, the former drummer for the backup band was terminated in 2015 in favor of the singer's children. The drummer, Glenn Symmonds, claimed that the singer fired him without just cause. Symmonds also claimed that Money subjected him to cruel treatment in response to his ordeal with cancer and an unspecified back injury.

Nurses strike after impasse in employment contract dispute

Nurses are on the front lines of patient care. They often work long hours under hectic conditions, which is why many of them seek protection for their rights under a union. However, even with the assistance of these unions, not every employment contract dispute is easily resolved, as many California workers can attest.

A nurses' union in one state recently called for a one-day strike in an effort to get Tuft's Medical Center to re-enter negotiations. An estimated 1,200 nurses agreed to go on strike after contract negotiations stalled after more than a year. Union representatives state that the nurses at Tuft's receive lower compensation than nurses at comparable facilities and that the administration refuses to settle on a fair pension plan for these vital employees. Nurses also cite concerns over lack of adequate staffing.

Company agrees to settle EEOC claim and change policies

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission is a federal agency that protects workers from discrimination. When a California worker believes that he or she has been a victim of some type of discrimination, he or she is entitled to file an EEOC claim in an effort to resolve the issue. Recently, a company agreed to settle a complaint concerning discrimination against disabled workers.

Several employees had filed complaints against their employer, Sensient, LLC, alleging that the company would not allow extended leave for serious health reasons and did not make accommodations for these workers when they returned to duty. Employees who decided to return to duty without the restrictions that they required were purportedly subjected to termination in violation of federal policies regarding the American with Disabilities Act. The complaints centered on one plant in particular.

California town takes employment contract dispute public

In many ways, teachers, school boards and parents are equal partners in the education of a city's youth. When a decision is made to air an employment contract dispute out in the open, then that partnership could be damaged. Recently, one California city made this decision.

Parents were notified via electronic mail that the Sacramento City Teachers Association is allegedly working against the city's effort to resolve an ongoing contract dispute. A city official claimed that parents were notified of the dispute in an effort to support the city's policy to be upfront about management issues. However, the teachers embroiled in the dispute expressed disapproval and frustration that officials would involve parents in the months-long disagreement.

Restaurant workers accuse employers of serving up unfair payment

Those who work in the hospitality business put in long hours under constant pressure, especially those who work for popular restaurants. When a worker believes that he or she is not being compensated fairly under the wage and hour laws that dictate payment, that worker is entitled to seek a suitable remedy to the problem. While the majority of California workers are justly compensated, there are avenues to correct a discrepancy when one occurs.

Recently, restaurant employees from the Founding Fathers chain filed suit against the company owners. They alleged that though they were hired at one particular location, they were often required to work at a secondary location. In spite of the expectation that these employees would work at two locations, they alleged that their hours were not totalled together; therefore, they were not paid the overtime wages they were owed even when their combined hours exceeded 40 per week.

Sales exec for Kargo awarded millions in wrongful termination

A former senior vice president of sales for the advertising company, Kargo, filed for arbitration against her former employer. The judge who examined her case recently decided in the woman's favor in her wrongful termination case. While many companies require employees to sign arbitration agreements, California employment laws are not favorable toward this option.

In this particular case, the woman was hired in 2012 as a sales vice president for a regional area. According to documents submitted during the arbitration, she was instrumental in increasing the company's earnings from $5 million in 2012 to more than $35 million after three years of employment. She was promoted and paid performance bonuses during this time. However, based on one complaint of the sales force under her supervision, in February of 2016, she was informed that the company was investigating her performance as an executive.

Definition of employment contracts and what constitutes a breach

There are specific laws that dictate who is to be considered an employee and how that relationship is to be regulated. Additionally, there are also degrees of what can be considered breaches of those employment contracts. If a California worker believes that he or she has been a victim of a breach on the part of an employer, he or she does have the right to seek a remedy.

Due to the type of workplace, one may be an employee, an independent contractor or even a leased employee. Regardless of the type of work scenario, there are laws that apply in order to afford protections to both parties. Once employment has been contracted, it matters not if the contract is written or oral, only that the parties acknowledge that the contract is in force. There are at-will work situations and then defined contracts that cannot be broken without a breach occurring. Conversely, even an at-will employee has rights when facing a termination or a justified resignation.

Court agrees to revisit employment discrimination case from 2010

In 2010, a man who was employed by a skydiving company filed a suit against his employer alleging that he was unlawfully terminated. The suit was filed on the basis that his termination was based on employment discrimination. The case was not filed here in California, but it may set a precedent depending on the outcome.

At the time the initial case was heard, the court ruled that the man's termination did not violate the Title VII Civil Rights Act of 1964. The plaintiff in the case claimed that he was fired because he was gay. At the time of the ruling, the district court determined that sexual orientation was not a protected class under the 1964 Act. The man's legal representative filed an appeal on the behalf of his estate after he suffered a fatal accident.

Court affords miners first victory in ongoing employment dispute

In 1946, coal miners were guaranteed the right to have pension and health benefits for life. Throughout the intervening years, this right has been protected, though recent threats to that right have resulted in the union and miners being involved in a protracted employment dispute with the company that provides these benefits. While this particular battle does not primarily apply to California workers, the final decision could have an impact on future battles over benefits for other industries.

A judge in federal court recently ordered that an injunction be granted against CONSOL Energy in its attempts to end a health insurance benefit that would have an adverse affect on retired miners. Since 1950, the pension and health benefits for these workers has been provided under one blanket policy. Though the funding is often in a precarious position due to government budget problems, it is still projected to be provided for through the summer of this year. The company who provides the policy recently contacted the miners and the union to inform them that it was planning to drop the current coverage at the end of 2016.

Constructive termination may be a matter for litigation

Ever since you pointed out that mistake your co-worker made, your work days turned into a nightmare. You were insulted, slighted and you believed your work was unfairly critiqued on a regular basis. It got to the point that you could not possibly endure one more day and you had to resign. This might be considered a constructive termination, and in California, you may be able to fight back.

There are different types of unlawful employment actions, and feeling that you had no choice but to quit your job can fall under this heading. A wrongful termination is being fired under illegal grounds, even for an at-will employee. However, if you were not terminated but still felt that continued employment under certain circumstances was not a viable option, then you may be entitled to seek recourse for the choice you felt compelled to make.

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