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August 2013 Archives

Emeritus Senior Living to pay $2.2 million settlement

A group of California workers has settled a claim that Emeritus Senior Living has underpaid workers and failed to give required breaks. Emeritus is the largest assisted living facility in the United States. It operates dozens of facilities located in California and nearly 500 facilities across the country. The company has agreed to pay $2.2 million to settle the dispute. The plaintiffs include non-salaried aids and support staff that provide hands-on care to hundreds of senior citizens. The number of plaintiffs was not disclosed.

Sexual harassment claims against California mayor

A woman has spoken out about her sexual harassment lawsuit filed against the mayor of California City. The claim of sexual harassment on the job alleges that the official made sexual comments to the woman in a public setting. Additionally, he's said to have blocked her professional advancement in the city because of her gender. She indicates that in her 10-year career with the city, she never had problems prior to the mayor's election in 2010.

Lien put in place against hotel construction site

According to a spokesman for the California Department of Industrial Relations, the California Labor Commission filed a lien on a Holiday Inn Express in an effort to recover nearly $250,000 in wages for 31 construction workers. The lien filed by the labor commission is a mechanics' lien, meant to recover funds for materials and unpaid employee wages. Following an inspection in March, the commission, along with the California Occupational Safety and Health Administration and California's Labor Enforcement Task Force, discovered that the property owners were in violation of safety regulations as well as wage and hour laws.

Still legal to fire homosexuals for being gay

While California has realized more rights for homosexual couples with the Supreme Court decision regarding Proposition 8, there is still no federal law that protects workers from workplace discrimination based on their sexual orientation or gender identity. There are 29 states that do not legally prohibit workplace discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, and 33 states that do not prohibit discrimination based on gender identity.

Sexual harassment protections not extended to unpaid interns

California readers may be interested in the issue of workplace discrimination and harassment as it affects unpaid interns. A law professor and intern labor rights advocate points out that not only do unpaid interns not receive employment benefits and wages, but they may find themselves in limbo when it comes to their civil rights.

Labor Department getting creative to nab violating employers

California employers who don't pay their workers what's required under federal labor law risk embarrassment. This is due to a Department of Labor contest challenging the public to develop an innovative data-sharing tool. The smartphone app would identify employers who are believed to be violating wage laws like those for overtime, minimum wage, employment of minors and working with contractors.

Apple faces class-action suit for lost wages

Two former Apple employees filed a class-action suit claiming the company owed them wages for minutes they had spent in lines facing security checks each week during unpaid break time. The workers said that they were required to submit their personal bags and packages for inspection before they left the store at the end of their shifts and before their breaks. An attorney representing one of the workers claimed that the security checks took 50 minutes a week and the worker lost an estimated $1500 in wages.

Catholic school teacher fired for marrying same-sex partner

On July 12, less than two weeks after he married his long-term partner, a Southern California resident was fired from his job as teacher at a Catholic High School. It is not disputed that the termination is based entirely on sexual orientation discrimination. The beloved teacher had worked at the school for 17 years and his partner was known by much of the staff. Current and former students started a petition and organized a march in protest.

Psychiatrist claims he's being punished for workplace testimony

A psychiatrist who cared for severely mentally ill inmates at a California prison claimed that he was blacklisted for testifying about staffing issues at the prison's mental hospital. The psychiatrist spent 18 months working for the California Department of State Hospitals through the Salinas Valley Psychiatrist Program on the grounds of the Salinas State Prison. The doctor co-signed a letter to the head of the program stating that psychiatrists were caring for up to 60 patients at a time, a workload that he claimed was too heavy.

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