Employment Law Developments That May Affect You and Your Job
You can’t make assumptions when you’re an attorney. What you think is settled law could be radically changed by a court decision, or a statute may change. When you practice employment law, you must be constantly aware of the latest developments because they may affect our cases and clients.
MJB Law Group represents those impacted by illegal employment practices. Without an income, our clients can’t support themselves or their families, so it’s critical they’re able to work and reach their full potential. If you think a current or former employer acted illegally and it’s impacting you, call MJB Law Group at 949-266-0880.
Arbitration vs. Litigation
The support in federal courts for enforcing arbitration agreements may be weakening. The US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit is the court that decides appeals from federal courts in nine Western US states (including California) and our Pacific Islands. In September, the court in Miller v. Amazon.com agreed with the lower court that an arbitration agreement with Amazon Flex drivers wasn’t binding.
Arbitration is an alternative to our court system to resolve disputes. It’s very common for employers, businesses, and organizations of all kinds to try to avoid being sued by attempting to force other parties into arbitration and away from courts.
Arbitration is a private and simplified trial. An arbitrator, or a panel of them, decides a case instead of a judge or jury. Arbitrations have a bad reputation for favoring employers because arbitrators may rule in their favor in hopes they’ll be chosen (and paid) by the employer again in a future case.
The lawsuit alleges Amazon violated Washington laws by failing to live up to its promise that workers would receive all of the tips customers add for deliveries. The court interpreted past US Supreme Court decisions to benefit the workers by ruling that mandatory arbitration agreements didn’t apply so they could proceed with their claims in federal court.
Also in September, California Governor Gavin Newsom signed into law Senate Bill 699, which expands California’s laws that, except in very limited circumstances, forbid an employer’s use of non-compete agreements. The latest update applies to agreements signed outside the state, no matter when they were signed, so this has the greatest impact on those who started working elsewhere but later moved to California.
A non-compete agreement prohibits an ex-employee from working for other companies (usually competitors) in a given geographic area over a specified time frame. This update to the law goes into effect at the start of next year.
Discrimination by Your Employer’s Agent is Illegal
The state Supreme Court in August ruled that California’s Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) allows employees to sue independent businesses working for their employers for alleged discrimination.
In Raines v. U.S. Healthworks Medical Group, the court decided that under FEHA, third-party “business entity agents” are considered employers if they have at least five employees and perform “FEHA-regulated” acts on an employer’s behalf. This decision opens up these agents to legal action.
Raines involves plaintiffs who claim their job offers were conditioned on completing pre-employment medical tests conducted by U.S. Healthworks Medical Group. They’re accused of asking illegal questions unrelated to their ability to perform during medical screenings. The topics allegedly include mental illness, HIV, cancer, and problems with menstrual periods.
Employer Can Fire Worker Who Refused to Get Flu Vaccine
The flu and flu vaccination season is upon us. Can you be fired for refusing your employer’s directive to be vaccinated? Depending on the situation, you can. In July, a state appeals court ruled that a hospital didn’t discriminate against an employee by firing her after she refused a flu vaccination.
An administrative assistant at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center didn’t qualify for an exemption under hospital policy (that she had a medical condition or religious belief which wouldn’t allow her to be vaccinated). Her claims of discrimination due to a perceived or actual disability also failed for lack of evidence.
Contact Our Tustin Employment Discrimination Lawyers
If you’re the victim of an illegal employment practice, you must take action and fight for your rights. Don’t let it go unchecked. It can have severe consequences for your career and well-being. That’s where the MJB Law Group comes in.
Contact us for a FREE case evaluation and consultation. Call our employment discrimination attorneys today at (949) 266-0880 or fill out our confidential contact form. We are here to guide you through the legal process after your employer broke the law.
Michael J. Berry is the founder and principal attorney of MJB Law Group. His complete focus within the legal field revolves around litigation, as he solely champions the causes of employees whose labor rights have been transgressed, as well as regular individuals who have suffered an injury due to another person’s carelessness. Mr. Berry is Board Member for the Orange County Trial Lawyers Association and also a member of the California Employment Lawyers Association, Consumer Attorneys Association of Los Angeles, and Consumer Attorneys of California. Learn more about Michael here.