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California’s Minimum Wage Increases, Now Slightly Less Unlivable

Well, it’s better than nothing.

Beginning July 1, 2014, the minimum wage in California will increase from $8.00 per hour to $9.00, the first such state increase since January 1, 2008. On January 1, 2016, the minimum wage will rise again to $10.00. These changes were enacted pursuant to Assembly Bill 10, which California Governor Jerry Brown signed into law on September 25, 2013. On the municipal level, low-wage earners in the City and County of San Francisco have enjoyed the highest minimum wage in the country since the start of 2014. Employers must pay these workers at least $10.74 per hour.

Though the legislation does not apply to properly classified independent contractors, it will affect the compensation owed to employees classified as “exempt,” i.e., employees who are paid a monthly salary equivalent to twice the minimum wage and spend more than half their work time performing professional, administrative, executive duties or other functions requiring the use of independent discretion and judgment.

The minimum monthly salary owed to exempt employees is calculated based on a 40-hour workweek over the course of 52 weeks a year. As of July 1, 2014, employers will need to pay their exempt employees at least $3,120 a month, or $37,440 annually. On January 1, 2016, the minimum wage for exempt employees will increase to $3,467 a month, or $41,600 annually.

The federal minimum rate for nonexempt employees is and has remained at $7.25 since July 24, 2009. According to the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services’ Office of the Assistant Secretary of Planning and Evaluation, the sole earner of a family of four working full-time at this rate would be making less than the federal poverty line. By comparison, comparable California minimum wage earners are living in the lap of luxury, still living below the poverty level but only barely so.

And more changes may be coming. On May 29, 2014, the California State Senate approved a bill that would raise the minimum wage to $11.00 in 2015 and $12.00 in 2016; by 2017, the minimum wage would reach $13.00. The bill would need to be approved by the State Assembly and signed by Governor Brown to become effective as law.

Let the revolution begin.

Los Angeles Employment Attorney Helping Workers

For a Los Angeles employment attorney, helping workers is something they take pride in. No matter what dispute you may have with your employer you can always turn to an employment attorney to seek help in the matter and get it resolved the right way.

Are you having problems getting the salary you agreed to in your contract? Maybe your current employer insists you are not worth what you agreed to in your contract. You have the legal right to come to the best Los Angeles employment attorney to help you enforce your legal rights.

Many times people find themselves in complicated situations in the workplace and feel overwhelmed by the prospect of standing up to their superiors. Many of these people find relief in the knowledge that Los Angeles employment attorneys bring to each case, the tailor made solutions they give as well as their expert negotiation skills.

Problems you face may range from employment breach of contracts to unfair dismissal to discrimination in the selection process of employees based on age, gender, race, disability or sexual orientation. In all the above cases you will be able to get a hands-on solution that will alleviate your frustration or dispute.

The U.S. Constitution and several state statutes as well as various acts of congress describe broadly the remedies available to any complaint brought under the acts, the precautions, procedures and prohibitions that relate to each unique circumstance you may find yourself or your loved ones in.

Dispute Resolution for Hourly Wage Employees

Across the globe there are many people who are employed and paid as hourly wage employees. In order to keep track of their time, electronic tags, time sheets and clock cards are used to record when they enter or leave the work place, including any lunch breaks. Their managers or employers have the capacity to alter these records if there are any mistakes or discrepancies. Sometimes however, employers take undue advantage of their capacity by preventing hourly wage employees from taking legitimate lunch breaks.  If this has happened to you, it would be in your best interest to seek the skills of a Los Angeles attorney for hourly wage employees.

These skilled professionals have vast experience in dealing with disputes related to hourly wage employees. In the case where your employer claims you worked less hours than you genuinely clocked in for, a Los Angeles attorney for hourly wage employees will be able to guide and provide advice. If you are having problems with your employer not paying you appropriately for any overtime, or if your employer might have incorrectly classified you as “exempt” from overtime. In any of the above or similar situations, the expertise of a professional and experienced Los Angeles attorney for hourly wage employees might mean the difference between being exploited and getting fair remuneration for your time.

When You Need a Los Angeles Attorney for Disability and Family Leave Workplace Issues

Have you or a loved one been discriminated against in the work place because of a disability? Do you suffer from a disability that your employer took advantage of? Does your employer deny you the right to take family leave? If the answer to any of these questions is a yes then you have landed on the right page.

Many disabled people experience bad treatment and neglect from their employers. They are also often vulnerable to abuse by fellow staff. At the same time, many able-bodied people are also prevented from taking their designated family leave by their employers. For both of these situations, assistance from a Los Angeles attorney for disability and family leave workplace issues is advised.

A Los Angeles attorney for disability and family leave workplace issues would be able to explain to you what rights you have in such a case. They may be able to identify under which section of the law your case applies and what steps you can take with your employer. The American with Disability Act provides for the protection of physically and mentally disabled employees from discrimination in the hiring, firing and compensation processes, as well as other prohibitions. The American with Disability Act protects both private sector employees as well as those employed by government institutions.

A Los Angeles attorney for disability and family leave workplace issues would also be able to assist in the case where an employee is denied the legal right to take family leave. In Los Angeles employees enjoy protection from both the federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) and the California Family Rights Act (CFRA). The CFRA applies when a company has more than 50 employees and the employee in question has served as a full-time employee for a full year.

Are You Being Discriminated Against In The Workplace?

In a world of 6 billion people, all unique in their own way, people often group themselves according to a few similarities and sometimes go as far as discriminating against other groups of people. This has been rampant throughout history in many forms, from racial discrimination to sexual and religious discrimination. Fortunately, human-kind has evolved to the point where we have laws to protect us from our uglier side. Unfortunately, discrimination still continues today in schools, communities and even in the workplace.

In America, we have laws to protect employees who experience discrimination in the workplace. From the “Black Lung Act” that protects miners, to the “Equal Pay Act”, the “Age Discrimination in Employment Act” and many others that protect the rights of employees in the workplace. We even have expert legal counsel in the form of Leichter Law Firm, employee discrimination attorney, Los Angeles, CA.

What Kinds Of Discrimination Do You Find In The Work Place?

Recently a nurse sued a hospital for allowing a patient to refuse assistance from an African American nurse. In a case like this, an employee discrimination attorney, Los Angeles, CA, can explain what the appropriate course of action would be. Employees are protected from discrimination in the hiring process, the dismissal process and any other form of discrimination they may encounter be it based on race, age, language or sexual preference.

Do you think you are have been discriminated against by your employer? Contact your employee discrimination attorney, Los Angeles, CA today, for expert advice as to how to proceed.

Your Los Angeles Employment Attorney on Severance

In good and bad market conditions, employees are often required to leave their jobs, sometimes at the employer’s request. However, according to the law, an employer can only dismiss you for a valid reason. In a situation where your employer may want to let you go for reasons other than the legal grounds for dismissal, they may decide to offer you a severance package.

A severance package, sometimes referred to as a California severance pay or California separation pay, is compensation offered by the employer to the employee when terminating an employment contract. When negotiating severance pay, the skills of a professional Los Angeles severance attorney come in handy.

A Los Angeles severance attorney understands the various loopholes your employer may use to avoid paying a severance pay.

When a company lets go of its employees without a legal cause for fair dismissal, your employer will attempt to negotiate the best terms of your release for the company. Sometimes this can go as far as barring you from exposing the company to litigation at a later stage. A Los Angeles severance attorney is familiar with the process and can help you negotiate the best terms for your release. Severance pay may be the best opportunity to get a new start you need. It is therefore important that you go through the whole process with an expert so that you can get the best compensation possible. If you or a loved one faces release from your contract, contact your Los Angeles severance attorney today!

Los Angeles Race and Origin Discrimination Laws

los angeles race and discrimination attorneyThe law requires everyone to be treated properly and there can be no discrimination based on race and origin. Laws and regulations in the US usually differ from state to state. However, discriminatory laws are generally the same throughout the country including Los Angeles.

Your Los Angeles race and origin discrimination attorney is an expert on laws that emphasize on equal employment opportunity (EEO). As per EEO everyone should be treated equally and one should not be preferred over other due to race and origin. Every decision from hiring to firing to promotion to salary should be based on a person’s competencies.

Several organizations still treat people unfavorably due to them belonging to a particular race or country. Discrimination may also be based on other things such as a person’s gender, disability, marital status etc. Race and origin discrimination laws say that any company that indulges in such practices is breaking the law and may be brought into the court to justify its position.

If the discrimination is based on skills then the organization is not responsible. However, if it is based on other points then the organization may have to suffer a blow. It is due to this reason that many organizations do not have sections for gender, race, nationality, religion and marital status on their application forms so that there are no chances of discrimination at the time of selecting a candidate.

However, discrimination problems may arise even after a candidate has been selected. Other areas such as a company’s failure to promote an employee due to reasons such as ethnicity are also covered in detail by race and origin discrimination laws.

If you face such problems from your organization you should not waste time in consulting a lawyer so that you can get what you deserve.

Employment Law: Sexual Orientation Discrimination

Discrimination based on a person’s sexual orientation is an unfortunate occurrence that happens quite often in workplaces.  Sexual orientation discrimination is unlawful and is initiated when an employer discriminates against an applicant or employee because the applicant or employee is gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender. The Leichter Law Firm, APC advocates for individuals suffering discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity, if you feel you have a case, contact your Los Angeles Employment Law attorney today.

Here’s a more detailed explanation of sexual orientation discrimination laws and policies at various levels.

Federal Law

Although federal laws protect people from workplace discrimination on the basis of race, national origin, religion, sex, age, and disability, there is no federal law that specifically bans sexual orientation discrimination in the private sector. There have been attempts to pass such federal laws, but they have been unsuccessful.

State Laws

There is a bright side at the state level. Almost half the states and the District of Columbia have laws that currently prohibit sexual orientation discrimination in both public and private jobs: California, Colorado, Connecticut, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, Washington, and Wisconsin.  In addition, a few states have laws prohibiting sexual orientation discrimination in public workplaces only.

Local Laws

For states who do not have laws against workplace discrimination, some cities and counties have laws that can protect such cases. Many cities and counties prohibit discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation in at least some workplaces.

Company policies

Companies have taken it themselves to initiate their own policies prohibiting discrimination based on sexual orientation. These policies prohibit such conduct and often provide disciplinary guidelines for dealing managers who discriminate, up to and including termination of employment.

We have the knowledge and experience to guide you through the complex legal issues that you may face. Our southern California office is located in the mid-Wilshire area, just west of downtown LA.  Call 213-381-6557 or email us today.



Employment Law: What You Need to Know about Employment Discrimination

Employment discrimination can take many forms. It most often occurs when an employer takes action against an employee based on his or her race, color, sex, national origin, disability, age, or religion. Many people fall into these “protected classes,” but simply feeling like you have been treated unfairly does not always mean you have a case.  If you have experienced employment discrimination contact your Los Angeles employment attorney for a confidential consultation.

You need to keep in mind that it really depends on how others in a similar situation were treated compared to you. Generally, unless there are statements directly indicating a decision was made because of a discriminatory reason, lawyers will look at how other people are treated differently from you. In order to have an employment discrimination case, you have to be able to provide specific information and/or examples of how you think your treatment has been discriminatory. For example, if a person is fired for having too many absences and he or she alleges gender discrimination, legal teams will look at whether other employees have had a similar number of absences and whether male and female employees are treated equally.

Before filing a complaint, you need to make sure you have all relevant information such as: termination notices, letters of discipline, paycheck stubs, documents supporting your request for reasonable accommodation (if you are claiming disability discrimination), information about witnesses, and any other information that you may feel will support your case.

According to Cornell University Law School, your employer must have at least 15 employees and you must file your charge of employment discrimination within 180 days of the alleged discriminatory act.

Employment Law: Overtime Pay Claims

New employment regulations prohibit employers from stiffing employees from their overtime pay. However, that doesn’t mean they never try to keep those extra earned wages from their workers. According to the University of Washington, “The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) requires that most workers receive overtime pay at 1.5 times the employee’s regular pay rate for all hours worked over 40 hours in a seven day workweek, and that employees be paid at least the federal minimum wage.” In addition, employees are also entitled to overtime compensation whenever they work more than 8 hours in one day (but only receive overtime pay for the time worked after the 8 hour mark.) If you think you are owned any overtime pay please contact your Los Angeles employment attorney for a confidential consultation.

Since the FLSA took affect some employers have tried to cheat their employees using old and new methods. For example, an employer might decide to deny overtime pay if it is not approved in advanced. However, the FLSA treats approved and non-approved hours the same; meaning that once the hours are worked the employee is entitled to overtime pay.

Another strategy used to get around paying overtime is to classify salaried employees as exempt. This revolves around the idea that an employee that is paid salary rather than an hourly wage cannot earn overtime. However, this notion is completely false because job titles and descriptions are not determinative factors. Whether an employee qualifies for overtime compensation is determined by the work they performed, not whether they are paid salary or hourly.

Other employers reduce hours on employee timecards for meal breaks when work is performed. Normally if an employee is entitled to a meal break his or her employer does not need to count the time as part of the total hours worked. But, if the employee works during the meal break, the time must count toward the hours worked for the day and the week.