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April 2011 Archives

New employers should study employment laws before hiring workers

When you form a new business, it is important to consider whether you ever plan to also hire employees, and it is particularly important before you make your first hire to consider employment laws. A recent article by Associated Press Business Writer Joyce M. Rosenberg, looks into the issues that new employers need to consider before they make their first hire. She points out that it may be difficult to transition from even a manager to a new employer because the role of employer is so different from employee.

EEOC sues employer for treatment of foreign workers

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has sued an employer that it accuses of mistreating workers from India and Thailand. The EEOC was suing on behalf of more than 500 workers who were recruited from India to work at shipyards in Texas and Mississippi as well as more than 200 workers from Thailand recruited to work at farms in Hawaii and Washington, according to Reuters.

Transgender man sues former employer for wrongful termination

A transgender man who was fired from his job has filed a lawsuit against his former employer claiming gender discrimination. The man was hired at a drug treatment center and his job included monitoring men as they urinated to ensure that they were not cheating on drug tests. The job was only open to men, which he and his attorney say is not the problem. The problem is that they say he was wrongfully terminated for not being a man because he is one.

Wal-Mart settles California ethnic harassment case

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has settled a lawsuit against a California Sam's Club store where an employee harassed several other employees about their national origin. According to Reuters, the lawsuit alleged ethnic harassment on the part of one employee of Mexican-American heritage toward nine employees of Mexican descent as well as of an employee who was married to a Mexican national.

Supreme Court rules workers' oral complaints also protected from retaliation

An article by WestLaw News & Insight discusses the recent U.S. Supreme Court decision to reverse a lower court's ruling that an employee's oral workplace complaint was not protected from retaliation under the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). The high court said that oral complaints that are detailed and clear enough for a reasonable employer to recognize that the complaint is "an assertion of rights protected by the statute" can be protected under the FLSA.

Expanded ADA could make it easier to bring disability class actions

New regulations regarding the Americans with Disabilities Act could make it easier for people with certain disabilities to file a discrimination lawsuit against their employer. The new regulations were released at the end of March and are interpretations of amendments to the Americans with Disabilities Act that were put in place in 2008.

Wal-Mart case will impact future employment class actions

As discussed in previous posts, the U.S. Supreme Court heard arguments last week regarding a giant class-action sex discrimination case against Wal-Mart. The Supreme Court will decide whether the lawsuit can move forward as a class action. The sex discrimination lawsuit was brought by six women on behalf of all female employees currently or formerly employed by Wal-Mart since 1998. This means that the lawsuit could end up representing the claims of one million workers. This would be the biggest class-action lawsuit claiming discrimination in employment ever brought against a private employer.

Wal-Mart must pay fine for employee trampled to death during sale

A judge recently upheld a fine issued by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) against Wal-Mart for an employee death during a Thanksgiving sale event in 2008. OSHA said that Wal-Mart had not put adequate safety measures in place to ensure that employees would be protected from unruly crowds. Wal-Mart was fighting the fine through litigation because they do not want OSHA to tell them how to run sales.