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WageHELP Recovers $1 Million for Low-Wage Workers

March 6, 2013

In just 18 months, the Legal Aid Society–Employment Law Center has recovered over $1 million in backpay on behalf of low-wage workers through its Wage and Hour Enforcement Litigation Program (WageHELP). 

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Caregiver assistance

LAS-ELC Sponsors Bill to Expand Paid Family Leave to Cover Additional Family Members

February 26, 2013


The bill would allow workers to receive Paid Family Leave (PFL) benefits while caring for seriously ill grandparents, grandchildren, siblings, and parents-in-law.  California’s PFL program, which is funded entirely by employee payroll deductions, was the first in the nation to provide partial pay to workers taking time off to care for seriously ill family members or to bond with new children.  However, the law only covers leave to care for a parent, child, spouse, or registered domestic partner. See the complete press release

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Court Grants Preliminary Approval of Class Action Settlement for Nail Salon Workers

February 26, 2013

San Mateo Superior Court Judge Marie S. Weiner entered an order today granting preliminary approval of a class action settlement reached between current and former employees of the popular San Mateo County based nail salon chain, Natalie Salon, and the owners and operators of the chain. Read the press release.

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LAS-ELC Co-Sponsors Bill to Protect Employment Rights of Gender-Based Violence Survivors

February 20, 2013

The Legal Aid Society-Employment Law Center is pleased to join with CALCASA and the California Partnership to End Domestic Violence in co-sponsoring SB 400, introduced by Senator Hannah-Beth Jackson (D-Santa Barbara). This bill will protect the employment rights of survivors of sexual assault, domestic violence, and stalking.  If passed, California would join five other states (Illinois, New York, Connecticut, Hawaii, and Oregon) with laws that protect survivors from discrimination and require employers to provide reasonable safety accomodations to victims while at work. Read the complete press release.

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Washington Monument

LAS-ELC Urges EEOC to Protect Employment Rights of Immigrant Workers

February 14, 2013

On behalf of a coalition of civil rights organizations, LAS-ELC submitted on March 1, 2013 policy recommendations to the Equal Opportunity Employment Commission (EEOC) regarding its stated goal of protecting immigrant workers.

Too often, immigrant workers are subject to overt discrimination, sexual harassment, hostile work environments, or confront oppressive English-only policies in the workplace.  An added challenge for national origin minorities is that employers routinely claim that the worker’s perceived immigration status is relevant to discrimination claims.

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Project Survive

LAS-ELC Launches SURVIVE Employment Law Clinic

February 14, 2013

Yesterday, February 26, 2013, the Legal Aid Society-Employment Law Center launched its SURVIVE Employment Law Clinic at the Alameda County Family Justice Center.  This twice a month clinic offers free and confidential information to survivors of domestic violence about their legal rights at work, including information on taking time off to obtain counseling, medical services, or a restraining order; reasonable accommodations; discrimination; harassment; unemployment benefits; and wage and hour violations.

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Pregnant woman

Coalition Petitions California Supreme Court to Review Workplace Pregnancy Discrimination Case

February 13, 2013

In an amicus letter filed on February 13, 2013, the Legal Aid Society-Employment Law Center, Equal Rights Advocates, Legal Momentum, and National Women’s Law Center argue that the Court of Appeal’s ruling in Veronese v. Lucasfilm Ltd. misinterprets established law to the detriment of women working during pregnancy.  The letter to the California Supreme Court emphasizes that, regardless of an employer’s claim that refusing to hire a pregnant worker is in the best interest of the pregnancy, it is up to the woman - not the employer - to decide when a pregnancy makes her unable to work.

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Gavel and scales

LAS-ELC Authors Amicus Brief on Employment Discrimination Case

February 11, 2013

In Harris v. City of Santa Monica, a decision issued at 10:00 today, February 7th, 2013, the California Supreme Court found that employers remain liable for employment decisions corrupted by discrimination even where the employer also has a non-discriminatory reason.  The Court rejected the employer groups’ position that employees should be forced to prove that discrimination was a “but for” cause of the employment action to win under the California Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA).

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Legal Aid Files Class Action Against Marriott for Disability Discrimination

February 6, 2013

Today, February 6th, 2013, Legal Aid and TRE Legal filed a federal class action against the Marriott hotel chain. That complaint alleges that Marriott discriminates against blind and disabled employees by requiring its managers to use inaccessible computer software and rejecting accessible alternatives.

The lawsuit seeks to dismantle unnecessary barriers to workers with disabilities that are created by an employer’s technology, in violation of the American with Disabilities Act. Read the full press release.

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Sharon Terman

20 Years of FMLA: Sharon Terman Publishes Op-ed on Family Leave

February 5, 2013

Today, February 5th, 2013, marks 20 years since the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) was signed into law by President Bill Clinton. The FMLA was enacted to provide eligible employees with up to 12 weeks of unpaid, job-protected leave per year to recover from a serious health condition, care for a seriously ill family member, or bond with a new child.  

20 years on, millions of workers with family caregiving responsibilities have been aided by this historic law, no longer having to choose between work and family.  However, FMLA’s protections do not go far enough and do not extend to all those who need them. 

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