Nail Salon Industry in New York Reportedly Filled with Wage Violations


New York, NYFollowing up on a report from 2015, the New York Times (2/29/16) has once again investigated the New York nail salon industry, and has found widespread wage and hour violations. Workers in the nail salon industry, The Times reports, are frequently underpaid and overworked, and at risk of serious illness linked to the chemicals they are exposed to on a daily basis. In May, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced a multi-agency task force to combat wage theft and other workplace violations in New York nail salons.
According to the New York Times, workers at nail salons face low pay – as low as $30 per day for 10-hour shifts – no pay or are forced to pay salon owners a fee to work in the salons. One worker cited by The Times paid $100 per day for her first two weeks on the job, during which she worked more than 10 hours a day. Some salons did not keep proper payroll records, making it difficult for investigators to determine the extent of wage violations, and some owners allegedly retaliated against employees who spoke out.

In 2015, Governor Cuomo announced a

NLRB Orders Samsung to Stop Use of Employment Agreement Waiving Right to Sue


The National Labor Relations Board has ordered Samsung to refrain from coercively interrogating employees and to cease the use of an agreement to arbitrate claims.
The mutual agreement required employees to waive their rights to pursue class or collective actions as a condition of employment.

The ruling comes after an employee started speaking with other employees about her plans to file a lawsuit against Samsung for unpaid wages.

Employee Jorgie Franks asked other employees if they would be interested in joining a lawsuit with her because they worked “too many hours compared to what they were being paid.” Franks determined that based on the hours she was working and her income, she was being paid minimum wage.

Agreement condition of employment

Frank’s attempt to join other employees in a lawsuit against Samsung went against Samsung’s Mutual Agreement to Arbitrate Claims that required employees, as a condition of their employment, to waive their right to pursue any class or collective actions against Samsung, even through arbitration.

The agreement stated that neither Samsung nor the employee could litigate any action against the other except through individual arbitration.

The NLRB panel affirmed an administrative judge’s finding that Samsung’s practice of having

California Uber Driver Given Unemployment Benefits


Los Angeles, CAIn another sign that Uber drivers might be employees rather than independent contractors, a former California Uber driver, one who is involved in the California labor lawsuit, has reportedly been approved for California unemployment benefits. Unemployment benefits, which are not given to independent contractors, are granted by the Employment Development Department.
According to SF Weekly (3/4/16), Patrick Ely applied for unemployment benefits after his access to Uber’s app was deactivated. Ely had driven for Uber for more than a year and initially made around $1,100 per week. But Uber lowered its rates, and Ely says he found he was making less than half as much money for working the same hours. After he and other drivers filed a lawsuit against Uber, alleging violations of California labor law, Ely says he was no longer able to access Uber’s app, meaning he could no longer drive for Uber.

Ely then filed for unemployment benefits, and had his application approved. An attorney for Ely told SF Weekly that a large part of the Employment Development Department’s decision was determining how much control Uber had over Ely’s work.

The amount of control an individual or a

California Plaintiff Alleges Violations of Overtime Meal Breaks

Los Angeles, CAThe new year brought a resolution to right a wrong for one California plaintiff, who last month filed a California Labor Lawsuit alleging nonpayment of owed overtime pay, together with the lack of provision and allowance for uninterrupted meal breaks as required under California labor law and the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).
The lawsuit was brought January 15 by Maria Chona Rodriguez, naming El Toro Medical Investors and Life Care Centers of America as defendants.

According to the California labor lawsuit, the defendants are accused of failing to accurately “record and pay Plaintiff and other California Class Members for the actual amount of time these employees worked, including overtime worked.” California labor law holds that a non-exempt employee is paid for hours worked on an hourly basis and as such, is due overtime pay when those hours of work exceed 8 hours in any given day, or 40 hours in any given workweek.

Additionally, employees are entitled to an uninterrupted meal period not less than a half hour in length and required to be taken before the non-exempt employee works for a period of five hours. That provision is mandated under California and labor law.

And there is yet another

Staples Hit with Putative Class Action Alleging Misclassification

Los Angeles, CAYet another overtime pay laws putative class action was filed earlier this month in California state court accusing Staples Inc. (Staples) of failing to provide overtime pay and required meal and rest periods through improper job classification.
It should be noted that Staples has been down this road before, when the retailer agreed, in 2007, to pay $38 million as part of a settlement over allegations of misclassification of assistant managers as exempt in California.

California overtime law dictates that hourly employees are paid time-and-one-half for every hour worked beyond eight hours in a day or 40 hours in a week. Management, supervisory and other salaried staff are generally exempt from overtime pay – or those who have moved beyond a certain pay threshold where it is deemed that overtime pay is no longer prudent.

However, there are still numerous allegations of incorrect classifications, allegedly to avoid paying overtime to those employees who qualify.

Case in point is plaintiff Fred Wesson, a general manager at a Staples outlet in the state since August 2004. Wesson claims in his putative class action that more than half of the duties he routinely performs during his day are non-managerial in nature, and therefore do

California Labor Law Class Action Wheels in Motion for Delivery Drivers

San Francisco, CAUber and the “sharing economy” has opened up the California labor law floodgates regarding worker misclassification. More class-action lawsuits have been filed, arguing whether delivery drivers are independent contractors or direct employees.
The California Labor Commissioner’s Office ruling in June, that an Uber driver was an employee of the company and not an independent driver, set the wheels in motion. And on September 1, 2015, a federal judge granted California-based Uber drivers class-action status.

These most recent lawsuits, filed September 23 in California state court against on-demand delivery companies DoorDash and GrubHub, mirror the misclassification class-action lawsuit filed against Uber at the beginning of September. And all the suits have been filed in San Francisco by California labor attorney Shannon Liss-Riordan.

GrubHub says it is the nation’s leading online and mobile food ordering company. It partners with Restaurants on the Run and DiningIn to serve 900+ cities with more than 35,000 restaurants and take-outs. DoorDash is also a food delivery company that employs “DoorDashers” as independent contractors. Both GrubHub and DoorDash drivers are usually commissioned employees who are only paid the delivery fee and tip. Further, drivers typically use their own vehicle, pay their own gas, insurance and any parking

California Beauty School Labor Lawsuit Could Represent Thousands

Los Angeles, CAAn interesting situation is percolating alongside a lawsuit alleging a beauty school owned by cosmetic giant Estée Lauder Inc. (Estée Lauder) is treating trainees as unpaid employees, a violation of California Labor Law. A wrinkle currently at play is the recent decision by a California judge that an arbitrator must first decide if it’s appropriate for a proposed class-action lawsuit to proceed before employees who did not sign arbitration agreements have the opportunity to try their claims.
The original California labor lawsuit was filed by three cosmetology students enrolled at a cosmetology school run by Aveda Corp. The plaintiffs claim that Aveda uses it students under the guise of hands-on training to provide full hair and beauty services to paying clients. As such Aveda, and parent company Estée Lauder, are treating students as unpaid workers.

In their response to the lawsuit, Estée Lauder and Aveda filed a motion to compel arbitration of the claims of two of the three named plaintiffs in the proposed class action given that the two had previously signed arbitration agreements with Estée Lauder and Aveda. However, at a hearing earlier this month Judge Jane L. Johnson of the Los Angeles Superior Court noted that

Workers Allege Overtime Pay Violations in Pennsylvania Employment Lawsuit

Pittsburgh, PAIt may be based in Texas, but Express Energy Services LLC (Express Energy) is nonetheless facing a Pennsylvania employment class-action lawsuit after a wireline operator and a wireline hand claim they routinely work 84-hour weeks without receiving overtime pay. The plaintiffs allege the violations run afoul of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and various other statutes observed by the state of Pennsylvania, and one other state.
The plaintiffs claim that Express Energy routinely schedules workers for 12-hour shifts, but does not pay overtime for work performed beyond the standard eight-hour day, as mandated by federal and state laws. The plaintiffs also maintain they are not classed as management, and do not perform any duties that could be construed as supervisory in nature.

Employees actively working in management are routinely paid a higher salary in exchange for an expectation for additional hours as needed, and thus are normally exempt from overtime pay.

Plaintiffs in this Pennsylvania employment law class action hold that the foregoing is not the case here and thus, employees should be paid overtime.

The proposed class action alleges the defendant engages in two particular payment practices that violate FLSA and Pennsylvania labor law. The plaintiffs allege that Express Energy

Microsoft Accused of Discrimination against Women

San Francisco, CAMicrosoft has been hit with the latest California labor lawsuit alleging gender-based discrimination. This complaint comes on the heels of several discrimination lawsuits against other tech titans, including Google and Twitter.
Discrimination class-action lawsuit

Katie Moussouris, a former Internet-security technician, filed a discrimination class-action lawsuit against Microsoft on September 16, 2015 in federal court in Seattle – the tech giant’s HQ. The complaint alleges that Microsoft supervisors “didn’t like her style” and that the company upholds a “continuing policy, pattern and practice of sex discrimination against female employees in technical and engineering roles (“female technical employees”) with respect to performance evaluations, pay, promotions, and other terms and conditions of employment.”

The lawsuit claims that Microsoft gives employees numerical rankings based on performance evaluation, and routinely gave female workers lower ratings based on subjective criteria, Reuters reported. Further, Moussouris claims that she received a low bonus after reporting sexual harassment, which could be another strike against Microsoft – retaliation is also a violation of the California labor code. Microsoft promoted a senior director even after determining that he harassed female employees, according to the lawsuit.

Other discrimination lawsuits

Ellen Pao lost her discrimination lawsuit in 2012 against the Silicon Valley venture capital firm

Proposed Overtime Pay Laws Could Affect Many California Workers

Sacramento, CAThe US Department of Labor has recommended changes to overtime pay laws, increasing the number of employees who are considered non-exempt from overtime pay. That means the number of employees eligible for overtime pay could increase if the recommendations are accepted. Overtime pay lawsuits have been filed against many employers alleging employees were wrongly denied or misclassified as exempt from overtime pay.
According to The National Law Review (8/19/15), the US Department of Labor proposed a change to one of the tests used to verify whether salaried employees are exempt from overtime pay. Under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), salaried employees are eligible for overtime pay if they are considered non-exempt. To be exempt from overtime pay, employees must meet certain standards, including being paid a salary and having the duties of an executive. One of those standards is the salary level – salaried employees must make at least $455 per week to be exempt from overtime pay.

Under the proposed rule change, salaried employees would have to make at least $970 per week ($50,440 per year) to be exempt from overtime pay. Employees who meet the current pay threshold but do not meet the proposed threshold would be

California Overtime Pay for Care Workers About Time

Sacramento, CAIt’s been a long legal battle. Home Care Workers can’t 100 percent bank on California overtime yet, but a federal court decision has cleared a long and winding path to give home care aides in California and nationwide overtime pay.
The US Court of Appeals in Washington decided on August 21 to allow the new overtime regulation from the Department of Labor, which was supposed to take effect July 1, 2015. California officials passed the overtime law last year, which meant that In-Home Supportive Services (IHSS) workers were entitled to overtime pay and minimum wage, but the California labor law was shelved, pending a review.

The ruling could still be appealed to the Supreme Court. If that happens, the state law would be put on hold pending that ruling, but Governor Jerry Brown doesn’t expect a holdup. According to Capitol Public Radio (Aug. 21) the Governor’s administration expects to grant overtime pay to IHSS workers after an appellate court ruled last week that such providers are entitled to overtime pay.

To date $270 million has been set aside to cover Care Workers’ overtime costs. Workers will be paid time-and-a-half if they work more than 40 hours a week. However, they are

California Overtime Pay Plaintiffs Seek Final Approval of 4.25 Million Settlement

Los Angeles, CAA supplier of services to the retail giant Costco could face a monetary settlement worth $4.25 million if a federal judge in California grants approval of the tentative settlement in the wake of a California overtime pay lawsuit. The class action could benefit some 8,000 individuals who demonstrate products at Costco Warehouses.

Costco Wholesale Corp. (Costco) is not a defendant in the overtime pay laws class action, but rather the entities that supply demonstrators to the chain. The primary plaintiffs in the class action, identified as Selene Prado and Cindy Calahan, allege in their lawsuit that defendants Club Demonstration Services Inc. and Warehouse Demo Services Inc. routinely violated rest periods as required under California labor law. Workers, it was alleged, were also denied overtime pay as required under California overtime law.

Customers to Costco might assume that individuals demonstrating products in store were employed directly by Costco, but that isn’t the case. Those individuals are supplied to Costco and are employed by the defendants (which, it has been reported, have recently merged together under the Club Demonstration Services Inc. banner).

Prado filed her overtime pay laws class action in the spring of 2014. The allegations included the observance of a “patently

California Overtime Lawsuit Settlement Awards Restaurant Workers

Los Angeles, CAContrary to how some restaurant employers choose to conduct business, it doesn’t pay to cheat employees out of California overtime pay. For example, a recent overtime complaint resulted in the owners of a number of sushi and ramen eateries, namely Gatten Sushi and Yushoken Ramen, paying their sushi chefs and other workers $621,000 in back wages and damages, and $156,640 in civil penalties.
The Associated Press (AP) reported last month that violations by Cerritos-based Gatten Sushi and its sister company GTN affected nearly 400 workers at 11 restaurants in Los Angeles and Orange counties. Federal investigators discovered that workers’ timecards had been tampered with: Their hours were shaved off and their pay docked for 10-minute breaks. Some sushi chefs reported having worked more than 90 hours per week without overtime, according to AP.

“This employer’s failure to pay legally earned wages hurts the workers, their families and restaurant owners who play by the rules,” said Ruben Rosalez of the Labor Department’s San Francisco office. Why do some restaurant owners, particularly those in California, choose not to play by the rules and instead, they are willing to gamble with liability for overtime violations? (Most wage and hour litigation nationwide is

California Overtime Lawsuit Alleges Restaurants Violate Pay Laws

Los Angeles, CAA California overtime lawsuit alleges a company that owns IHOP and Applebee’s restaurants violates California overtime laws by not properly paying overtime and other earned wages. The lawsuit was filed on February 18, 2016, by Jewel Gardner against DineEquity Inc. in California court. Gardner argues in her lawsuit that she was misclassified as exempt from overtime pay and was wrongfully terminated from her position.
According to court documents, Gardner was employed by DineEquity for 22 years (initially by its predecessor, International House of Pankcakes and later, IHOP), first as a paralegal and later as Manager, Franchise Compliance. Because her job title was managerial, she was classified as exempt from overtime pay. But Gardner says her position was managerial in title only and her job duties actually remained the same as those of a paralegal. Gardner says she was never a supervisor, nor did she have any authority to hire, fire or set policy for DineEquity.

“The title of Manager and the classification of that title as an exempt position were purely for the pretext of denying Gardner her wage and hour protections, including overtime pay and rest breaks,” the lawsuit alleges.

Exemption from overtime pay requires that an employee have

North Carolina Labor Lawsuit Cites Wrongful Death

Raleigh, NCA construction accident that left three workers dead following the collapse of scaffolding at a Raleigh, North Carolina work site has resulted in a North Carolina Employment lawsuit. The wrongful death lawsuit names a number of defendants.
According to The News & Observer (Raleigh, 01/07/16), the accident occurred March 23 of last year when three men were dismantling a mast climber on the 11-story Charter Square building in downtown Raleigh. Three men fell to their deaths when the exterior lift system suddenly collapsed.

Following an investigation, it has been reported that the North Carolina Department of Labor (NCDL) levied fines against three of the contractors involved. Associated Scaffolding Company Inc., one of the contractors named in the North Carolina Labor lawsuit, was fined $151,900 after it was determined by the NCDL that company workers failed to follow manufacturer’s recommendations when tying the scaffolding to the building, and placed too much weight on the scaffolding during the dismantling process, amongst other violations. The company has contested the citation and is scheduled to appear before the Occupational Safety and Health appellate board in the spring, perhaps as early as March.

Two other companies based in Concord and identified as Janna Wall and Juba

Uber Lawsuit Gets Class Action Status

San Francisco, CAA California labor lawsuit filed by Uber drivers has been granted class-action status. The California labor lawsuit alleged Uber violated various employment laws by classifying the drivers as independent contractors instead of as employees and cheating the drivers out of tips. In making his ruling, U.S. District Judge Edward M. Chen rejected Uber’s arguments that the drivers were too different to warrant class-action certification.
The lawsuit was filed in 2013, by an Uber driver who alleged he and other Uber drivers were misclassified as independent contractors and denied tips. The lawsuit also alleged some drivers were improperly forced to pay expenses related to their work for Uber. In making his ruling, Judge Chen took issue with Uber’s arguments against class-action status, noting some contradictions.

“On one hand, Uber argues that it has properly classified every single driver as an independent contractor; on the other, Uber argues that individual issues with respect to each driver’s ‘unique’ relationship with Uber so predominate that this court – unlike, apparently, Uber itself – cannot make a classwide determination of its drivers’ proper job classification.”

Some drivers were excluded from the class, which covers the tip claims of Uber drivers who signed up with the

Age Discrimination Case Against Zillow Can Proceed

A federal judge in California ruled that an age and disability discrimination case, filed by a 41-year-old ex-employee, can proceed against Zillow. The court denied Zillow’s motion to dismiss stating there was sufficient evidence the employer engaged in discriminatory conduct.
The former employee, Jennifer Young, also complained Zillow caused intentional and negligent infliction of emotional distress.

According to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, 23.2 percent of all charges filed with the agency allege age discrimination.

At the time Young was recruited by Zillow she was promised a leadership role with a six-figure salary.

Shortly after working with Zillow, Young was involved in an auto accident, which resulted in bodily injuries including severe back pain. Prior to the incident, Young performed all work duties and exceeded her sales goals.

Job abandonment

Zillow, a real estate marketing network advertises rentals, homes for sale and previously sold in any area. The company offers various services to connect potential homebuyers with mortgage lenders.

Zillow claimed the plaintiff was terminated due to “job abandonment.” The company also argued Young’s complaint was insufficient because she failed to adequately state that her termination was “substantially motivated” by her age.

The general rule of a properly pled complaint requires a plaintiff only to plead

Off the Clock Work Allegations Made against Well Known Establishments

New York, NYA well-known national restaurant chain and an individual establishment co-owned by a television personality are facing unpaid wages claims and off-the-clock work allegations.
On the TV side, Teresa Aprea – the star of the TV series The Real Housewives of New Jersey – also has an ownership stake in Angelo’s of Mulberry Street Inc. According to court documents, a former waiter and a bartender at one time employed by the iconic restaurant have made accusations of off-the-clock work and unpaid wages, in addition to the improper tracking of hours worked, or so it is alleged. Maintenance expenses for uniforms have also gone unpaid, or so it is alleged. The plaintiffs suggest the issues are violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).

Angelo’s is a well-known bistro located in the Little Italy area of Manhattan and has been frequented by the noted and notable for 100 years, according to the complaint. The lawsuit states that the restaurant “proudly boasts” of having served celebrities such as George Clooney, the Rolling Stones, Merv Griffin, Kobe Bryant and former President Ronald Reagan.

“However, despite Angelo’s fanfare, its employees receive far less than ‘star treatment,’” the complaint said.

“In fact, Angelo’s has and continues to

Caregivers Protest New California Overtime Laws or Lack Thereof

Sacramento, CAMore than 400,000 California caregivers were scheduled to receive California overtime and an increase in pay starting in January, but a district court judge ruled against the federal wage law, arguing the changes must be made by legislature.

This decision prompted a protest on February 26 by dozens of caregivers and supporters of caregiver overtime, who took their complaints to the front door of Governor Jerry Brown’s residence. The protest is part of a month-long campaign to focus on this violation of the new California labor law – a ruling that was included in the 2014-15 state budget.

Why the about-turn? Even though $183.6 million in the current state budget and $314.2 million in Governor Brown’s 2015-16 proposed state budget has been set aside to pay for the changes, a lawsuit was filed by the Home Care Association of America and a number of other industry groups, claiming that higher wages and overtime would hurt business and make it difficult for families to afford needed care.


  • California Overtime Lawsuit Alleges Restaurants Violate Pay Laws
  • California Overtime Lawsuit Settlement Awards Restaurant Workers
  • California Overtime $1.5 Million Settlement Up for Final Approval in April

The legislative director for the United Domestic Workers

California Labor Law May Slam on the Brakes for Uber and Lyft

San Francisco, CAUber and Lyft, the on-demand car services, may be putting the brakes on their business models due to California labor laws. The companies must convince juries why they shouldn’t offer their drivers minimum wage, reimbursement for expenses and other benefits rather than classify them as independent contractors.
Federal judges on March 11 deemed that Uber and Lyft were not convincing enough in their attempt to classify drivers as contractors instead of employees. U.S. District Judges Edward Chen and Vince Chhabria said that juries will now decide whether the drivers have been misclassified, according to California labor laws.

If the separate California labor law class-action lawsuits against the companies decide that indeed the drivers are employees, Uber and Lyft will need deep pockets to reimburse their drivers for a number of expenses, from gas to insurance. Not to mention unemployment insurance and workers compensation, etc. Most drivers work more than eight hours a day, so there would also be California overtime issues.

Although the lawsuits were filed on behalf of drivers nationwide, judges have only included California drivers – for now. The suits allege several violations of the California labor code and gratuities laws. Plaintiffs’ attorney Shannon Liss-Riordan told the Los