Personal Injury Blog

RSS

How to Enforce Your Employment Law Rights

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) reports that they received and investigated over 91,000 complaints in 2016. It is an unfortunate fact that many employers engage in unscrupulous and discriminatory practices against employees and potential hires. However, the EEOC, other government agencies and private law firms are the ones who proactively protect your employment rights.

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission

The EEOC’s primary task is to enforce federal laws that prevent workplace discrimination. For example, the Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits discrimination based on race, gender, ethnicity, religion and national origin. The EEOC deals with HR personnel who engage in inappropriate screening, interviewing and recruiting practices. Employers are forbidden from asking any questions that may violate the civil rights of protected minorities. The Civil Rights Act prohibits retaliation against employees who file complaints or exercise their legal rights. The EEOC conducts investigations, mediates settlements, interpret laws, issues warnings and process discrimination claims.

The Department of Labor

The Department of Labor (DOL) promotes and protects the employed, the unemployed and potential hires. Their main job is to enforce laws related to wages, safety, workers’ compensation and unemployment insurance. This includes approximately 180 federal laws that protects office, except, agricultural, underage and migratory workers. To illustrate, the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) contains the laws for weekly hours and overtime pay. The most important member of the DOL is the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). They focus on unsafe and unhealthy policies, working conditions and employment environments.

The National Labor Relations Board

The NLRB works with the Department of Labor's Office of Labor-Management Standards to deal with union reporting, disclosure and administration requirements. The federal NLRB is an independent agency that was created through the passing of the National Labor Relation Act (NLRA). The NLRB is tasked with protecting the rights of collective employees who are legally empowered to form a union and select their bargaining representative. The NLRB prevents unfair labor practices, investigate potential violations and facilitate settlements between parties. This sometimes requires class action lawsuits and professional employment lawyers.

Other federal agencies that protect employee’s rights include the U.S. Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division and the Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA). Anyone whose rights are being violated by their employer, such as unpaid overtime and unlawful termination, are encouraged to contact an employment lawyer today.



Class Actions: The Whos, Whens and Whys

Friday, April 06, 2018

There are few tools that an individual has to protect themselves against unfair practices and treatments of Employers or Companies, one of the most effective means being class actions. We wanted to take a moment to express when, why and by whom a class action suit gets filed.

Class actions often entitle a person harmed either physically or emotionally by a corporation to receive a monetary settlement for their troubling experience. Someone without the financial security themselves to justify the time and money spent in obtaining legal representation, filing a suit or the court costs associated with such, greatly benefits by aligning with others who have been similarly wronged. 

If a customer purchases a product based on advertising that is either misleading or an outright lie, the individual often sees little benefit in the expense of the resources necessary to achieve compensation for this infraction. Though with the thousands of other dissatisfied consumers made to believe untruths about the product, then such a lawsuit could force the company to pay back any profits resulting from the campaign in question, as well as retracting the invalid marketing. 

Another instance of a suit-worthy offense would be an employer who failed to provide safe working conditions, or who engaged in unequal payment on basis of discrimination. Again, a court could find the company exhibiting the questionable behaviors subsequently penalized and the affected parties granted certain concessions. 

If you feel that an employer or company has disregarded your rights, we invite you to read more! Remember: You have rights, and your rights are important. 



Employment Law - How To Substantiate Claims Of Employment Discrimination

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

While California and federal laws clearly list demographic groups likely subjected to workplace discrimination, demonstrating instances of workplace unfairness is a challenging task. Given that employment discrimination occurs in various forms against diverse groups of people, assessing whether you are the target of unjust treatment requires proper review and legal guidance. The Spencer Law Firm, established in San Clemente, California, provides free case evaluations based on the nature of discrimination reported to ensure that your rights remain protected under current employment laws.

The Importance of Concrete Documentation

If speaking to the coworker, supervisor, or manager who you feel discriminates against you does not halt unwanted treatment, it is practical to document instances in which you feel employment discrimination occurred. It is important that you clearly state that the behavior offends you and makes you uncomfortable given that you feel targeted or demeaned based on your background.

In employment discrimination lawsuits, companies are subject to evaluation based on how proactively they investigate and address employment discrimination. Filing a complaint with management and your employer's human resources department regarding discriminatory treatment not only provides the company a reasonable opportunity to resolve the issue, but also creates a written record of future offenses and the company's success or failure in addressing unfairness in the workplace.

If you lack direct documentation, circumstantial evidence comes into consideration, though extensive research is often required to substantiate a claim. Topics for research include demographics of company employees, violation of longstanding company policies relevant to fair treatment, and statistics indicating that individuals of your demographic are more likely subjected to employment discrimination than other groups. The Spencer Law Firm will assist in evaluating how circumstantial evidence plays should you face employment discrimination.

Adhering to Legal Regulations

Though you may possess direct documentation and circumstantial evidence of discriminatory treatment, such is not sufficient to bring a lawsuit to court. Federal law requires that you first present your claim to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, or EEOC. Upon receiving your claim, the agency contacts your employer in an attempt to remedy the discrimination you face. If, after further review, the agency deems your claims valid or substantiated, you receive written notification of your right to sue.

What to Do

Once you have extensively documented instances of employment discrimination to the best of your ability and complied with federal requirements through corresponding with the EEOC, you must seek advice from a qualified attorney. Along with years of experience, the team at the Spencer Law Firm prioritizes clients' best interests, incorporating detailed attention to each case and a team-oriented work ethic to produce optimal outcomes. Even if you instinctively think that you are the target of employment discrimination and feel overwhelmed by the process of developing a claim, attorneys at the Spencer Law Firm aim to evaluate your situation and advise you of your next appropriate action, no matter how complex your problem presents itself. Contact the Spencer Law Firm today. First time consultations are always free.



Employment Laws That Protect Your Rights

Thursday, February 15, 2018

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) investigated 91,000 complaints in 2016. Over 65,000 of these complaints were closed because of a lack of reasonable cause. The EEOC does an excellent job protecting the rights of workers across the country, but budget and resource limitations mean that it’s sometimes necessary to retain an employment lawyer to defend your rights. Below introduces federal employment rights that some employers openly ignore and violate.

Anti-discrimination

Title VII of the Civil Rights Act prohibits discrimination against specific demographic groups. These include age, race, gender, religion, disability and national origin. Screening, hiring and employment decisions cannot be influenced by any of these protected statuses.  Some companies and HR managers hide their discriminatory actions through exaggerating problems, ignoring objective facts and unfairly treating certain people.

Harassment

Title VII of the Civil Rights Act prohibits harassment, but almost every state has its own laws regarding stalking and sexual harassment. For example, California’s Department of Fair Employment and Housing covers workplace harassment, but this state’s anti-harassment laws provide preferential treatment to employees. This is why victims of workplace bullying and harassment often have to seek the help of employment lawyers to deal with offensive and improper behavior.

Wage and Hour Laws

The Department of Labor oversees the Fair Labor Standards Act that guarantees the basic economic rights of workers. The federal minimum wage only applies if the state’s minimum wage is lower.  While the federal law does not require employers to pay staff for any time off, Californian state law requires that they are paid overtime regardless of whether their work was authorized or not.  This state actually entitles tipped employees to also earn the full minimum wage.

Termination

Almost all states define employment as being an at-will arrangement. This means that employees may be terminated for any reason at any time. Many unscrupulous employees illegally terminate employees for the wrong reasons, such as when a military or pregnant employee uses their FMLA leave rights. Construction and production companies sometimes terminate employees who are injured on the job performing dangerous tasks or working in unsafe conditions.

There also lesser known laws like the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) and the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA). Contact us today for legal assistance if your employment rights have been or are being violated by your employer.



Employment Law & Workplace Discrimination: Know Your Rights

Thursday, February 01, 2018

Under California employment law, employees have the right to discrimination-free work environments. In short, discrimination occurs when a person is treated unfairly because of his or her race, gender, sexual orientation, disability, age, religion, or nationality. But identifying employment discrimination isn’t always easy, as it can take many forms. If you are an employee and have been treated unfairly in the workplace, knowing your rights is the first step toward seeking justice.

Legally speaking, there are two basic types of workplace discrimination: disparate treatment and disparate impact. Disparate treatment happens when an employer acts in a way that is directly unfair to the employee. This might include demotion or termination based on the employee's nationality, for example. In some cases, the employer might fail to give a promotion or raise to a qualified employee because of his or her sexual orientation or religion, which also qualifies as discrimination under California employment law. 

Disparate impact, on the other hand, is a more general term that refers to an action (usually a company policy) that is unfairly biased against an entire group of employees. If a company policy discriminates against pregnant women, for instance, it falls into this category. Other situations might include policies that prohibit clothing associated with a specific religion or policies that discriminate against a gender minority.

If you suffered discrimination in the workplace, now is the time to speak with a legal representative about your claim. At The Spencer Law Firm, you can work with an Orange County employment lawyer to seek compensation for your damages. Contact us for more information about employment law and your rights. 



Another Class Action Filed Against Wells Fargo

Thursday, January 04, 2018

The hits keep on coming insofar as accusations of unethical and, likely, illegal behavior that went on at Wells Fargo. A class action lawsuit has been filed that potentially may involve hundreds of thousands of customers who were given auto insurance policies by the giant financial institution that they did not want or need, often without their knowledge, along with auto loans, according to Bloomberg.

Apparently, Wells Fargo either did not check or ignored the fact that customers who took out auto loans already had car insurance. The company tacked on collateral protection insurance policies to the auto loan bills. As many as 500,000 customers were forced to pay the premiums for these insurance policies even though they already carried their own policies. Moreover, 250,000 customers were driven into default for failure to pay premiums on policies they were not aware they had. Almost 25,000 people had their cars repossessed for failure to pay for the bogus policies.

The lawsuit claims that Wells Fargo received kickbacks from the insurance carrier, National General Holdings Corp. The insurance carrier is not named in the lawsuit.

Wells Fargo is scrambling to make things right, pledging to pay as much as $80 million to affected customers as well as extra money to those who lost their vehicles as "an expression of regret." However, aside from monetary losses, the affected customers have likely taken a hit on their credit ratings that will be difficult to recover from and will have long-lasting deleterious effects on their finances. Wells Fargo may be paying out a lot more than $80 million.

The car insurance scandal comes on top of a separate class action brought by outraged customers who had checking and credit card accounts opened in their name without their knowledge or permission.

For more information contact us.



4 Things to Know About Unlawful Termination

Thursday, December 14, 2017

Were you suddenly terminated from your job? Depending on your circumstances, you may be the victim of unlawful termination. Here are some tips and advice.

At-Will Employees

Most employees will not have a claim for wrongful termination against their former employer. This is because most workers are at-will employees. This means that their employer can hire and fire them at will. However, there are common exceptions to this, as you'll see in the following paragraphs.

Breach of Contract

If there was a contract that guaranteed employment to you for a certain amount of time, then your termination would be illegal. This contract doesn't have to be a written one. If you can prove that there was an implied or verbal contract, the courts may also deem the termination unlawful.

Breach of Good Faith

Sometimes, the courts will consider a termination wrongful if there was a breach of good faith. This is harder to prove, but it applies to certain situations. For example, if you were fired so that you can't collect sales commissions, or you were fired a few days before retiring even though you've been a model employee for many years so that your employer wouldn't have to pay for your retirement, that would likely be called wrongful termination.

Breach of Public Policy

There are certain reasons for which even at-will employees cannot be fired. This varies from state to state, but there are some that are universal. For example, if you were fired based on your sex, race, age, religion, etc (and in some places, your sexual orientation), that is illegal. Other breaches of public policy would be stuff such as being fired for taking off time to vote or in retaliation for reporting illegal activities.

For help with fighting an unlawful termination, contact us today!



Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Introduces Rule to Help Consumers File Class Action Lawsuits

Thursday, December 07, 2017

Class action lawsuits are an important way consumers can protect themselves from big businesses and large corporations taking advantage of them. The amount awarded to each individual taking part in a class action lawsuit usually isn't that much. However, it forces corporations to think before they act and acts as a strong deterrent against unfair business practices.

Without class action lawsuits, the average consumer would not have the resources to go against a large corporation with a huge budget and an army of lawyers. The corporation would always have the upper hand.

In early July, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) passed a rule that would prevent financial firms from including clauses in their contracts that would force consumers to waive their rights to join in a class action lawsuit should anything go wrong.

Financial firms, such as banks, would often hide language in their contracts that would prohibit consumers from banding together with others in a class action lawsuit. Instead, consumers would be forced to arbitrate directly with the bank.

As mentioned, this would place consumers in a tight spot, as large firms would always have the upper hand. Consumers would not be able to get the compensation they deserve. The rule prevented firms from including this condition in their contracts.

Unfortunately, in late July, the House introduced a bill that would strike down this rule. The bill passed; Democrats opposed the bill, saying that it would harm consumers by preventing them from filing class action lawsuits against firms who use unfair business practices. One Republican voted against the bill as well. The bill now must pass the Senate and go before the President. 

For help with class action lawsuits against any big business that wronged you, contact us today!



4 Examples of False Advertising

Thursday, November 09, 2017

Are you the victim of false advertising practices? False advertising is when a company makes claims about a product that is untrue. You probably need a consumer rights attorney. Here are a few different kinds of false advertising.

Misleading Claims

Advertisements that give misleading claims about a product are one example of false advertising. This includes exaggerated claims that are not true, such as claims about the effectiveness of a weight loss supplement. Sometimes, advertisers will make exaggerated claims and then hide disclaimers in the small print at the bottom or in the terms and conditions that nobody reads.

Failure to Disclose

This is similar to misleading claims. If there are certain aspects of a product that might cause a consumer not to buy it, the advertiser should disclose them. The same goes for any limitations the product has.

Bait and Switch

Bait and switch scams are when an advertisement promises one thing, but another thing is actually offered. For example, a car dealership might promise discount rates, but when you get there, you're told that no discount cars are available and you are pressured to buy an expensive car. The same goes for airlines that promise low fees and then hit you with extra expenses.

Trial Scams

A trial scam offers you a free trial of a product or service for a certain period of time, only to charge your credit card with undisclosed fees. A similar scam would be an offer to try something out for just $1, only to charge your credit card for additional add-on products. These extra fees may be charged right away, or they may be in the form of a renewing subscription fee after 30 days.

If you've been the victim of false advertising, contact us today for legal help!



New Rule Makes Class Actions against Banks and Other Financial Institutions Easier

Thursday, November 02, 2017

Fortune Magazine notes that the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has issued a new rule that will make it easier to launch class-action suits against banks and other financial institutions that issue credit cards. The new rule prohibits credit card issuers from including arbitration clauses in consumer contracts. The effect of these clauses was that consumers who believed they had been wronged by a bank or other financial institution would have to submit to an arbitration process rather than start or join in a class action. Most people who believed that they had been ripped off by a credit card company do not bother to go through the cumbersome process.

One extreme example of how a bank can abuse its customers was a practice followed by Wells Fargo that involved setting up accounts and charging fees to customers who did not ask for them or need them. In some cases, peoples’ credit ratings were severely impacted. Under pressure from Congress and the regulators, Wells Fargo eventually agreed to stop the practice and pay out $142 million in a class-action settlement.

The new rule means that all banks and other institutions will be subject to class actions when they decide to misbehave. In the old system, they might have to pay a few hundred here and a few thousand there to consumers who bothered with the arbitration process. Now, a class action of hundreds or even thousands of outraged customers would have the potential to cost credit card issuers dearly. The prospect may provide an incentive for these institutions not to be abusive. 

For more information contact us.




RECENT POSTS

TAGS

ARCHIVE