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Los Angeles Legal Issues Blog

Many hotel housekeepers receive bad treatment

Housekeepers, sometimes also called maids, are essential to the smooth functioning of hotels. Just one great or unpleasant experience with housekeeping can make or break a guest's experience.

Unfortunately, many employers do not give housekeepers the respect they deserve. These workers may be victims of unfair or even illegal treatment.

Car accidents: Harley rider dies when rear-ended by car

The California Highway Patrol is investigating a suspected DUI crash that claimed the life of a motorcyclist. This was just one of many car accidents in which innocent people die as the result of the alleged negligence of others. In this case, the person who died was a 50-year-old Harley Davidson rider from Long Beach.

According to the CHP, the crash occurred at approximately 3:40 a.m. on a recent Sunday in Riverside on the 215 Freeway. A preliminary accident report indicates that a 20-year-old man was southbound on the freeway in a car when he crashed into the rear of the motorcycle. Law enforcement suspects that the speed of the car at the time of the collision was exceeding 100 mph.

Employee rights allegedly violated by California restaurant group

The office of California Labor Commissioner's Office reported recently that a Burmese restaurant group with facilities in various locations and one other restaurant received citations for around $5 million each after investigations into their labor practices. The inquiries were launched after kitchen staff logged complaints about employee rights violations. Hundreds of workers alleged wage theft by the restaurant owners.

Reportedly, some of the cooks claimed they were classified as salary workers, but their overtime -- as much as 10 hours per week -- was never paid. Complaints were filed by bussers, servers, dishwashers, chefs and hosts, all of whom were expected to work split shifts. The claims state that none of them ever received the extra hour's minimum wage to which they were entitled for working split shifts. Minimum wage earners also alleged that their employers used their tips to make up minimum wages.

Workers' compensation: MIPP might lessen benefits claims

On July 1, 2018, the Musculoskeletal Injury Prevention Program (MIPP) will become effective. This is a rule, approved on March 9, that requires establishments in the hospitality industry in California to create a program to address housekeeping hazards and then implement and sustain it. According to the California Workers' Compensation Information System, the average increase in injury claims by housekeepers is almost 900 every year.

Employers in hotels, guesthouses and other lodging facilities must roll out this program by October 1, 2018. Safety authorities say cleaning tasks have become more challenging with increased numbers of guestroom amenities that must be maintained. More luxurious beds have heavier mattresses to lift, and there are more varieties of surfaces that need cleaning. Furthermore, financial performance expectations require more rooms to be cleaned in less time.

Workers' compensation: What is SJDB and how does it work?

If there is one situation in which no worker in California would want to be, it is being unable to return to his or her regular job after suffering a debilitating injury. Fortunately, the workers' compensation insurance system has several methods of assisting injured employees. One of which is the supplemental job placement benefits program, known as SJDB.

An employer must offer the worker an alternative, modified or regular job that will accommodate the partial disability. When it is determined that a workplace injury led to a permanent partial disability, the employer has 60 days from the date on which the claims adjuster received confirmation of the disability to make the offer. If such an offer is not forthcoming, the worker will be eligible for a nontransferable SJDB voucher with a value of $6,000, which cannot be exchanged for cash.

Car accidents: Crash victim sues Uber and their driver

The financial and physical consequences of crash injuries can be devastating. However, both economic and non-economic damages sustained in car accidents might be recoverable through the California civil justice system. For personal injury lawsuits to be successful, the injured party must prove the negligence of another party. Sometimes, other entities might be named as defendants along with an alleged negligent driver.

This was what a woman did after suffering injuries in a collision she blames on distracted driving by an Uber driver. According to court documents, the plaintiff used Uber services to take her home from work. She alleges the driver was distracted and disregarded a red light, which caused the Uber vehicle to be T-boned by another car in an intersection. She asserts she suffered abrasions, head trauma and a separated shoulder joint. She claims the latter required surgery. 

How nursing homes may ask too much of their workers

Some nursing homes are robustly staffed. The workers receive good pay and do their jobs well, and the residents are as happy and healthy as they can be. Unfortunately, this is not the reality for many, perhaps most, nursing homes. For staffers such as nurses' aides, the reality is that their employers ask them to do too much, and sometimes, the requests are illegal.

Of course, just because a request or order is illegal does not mean the people making it know of its illegality. They may not have had proper training, but that does not change the fact it is illegal. Ignorance of the law is not an excuse.

Employee rights of gig workers in California may change

The gig economy in California is growing by the day. With the high cost of living, many people take on second jobs with delivery companies like Amazon, or as drivers for companies like Lyft and Uber. Much has been said about these companies and the employee rights of the drivers. However, things might change after a recent ruling by the California Supreme Court, which will make it more difficult for companies to classify workers as independent contractors.

Companies can save significant amounts of money by classifying workers as independent contractors. These workers typically receive no employment or unemployment benefits, nor are they eligible for workers' compensation. They do not benefit from the workplace safety laws and may be dismissed at any time and for any reason.

Johnny Depp accused of violating employee rights

Two security guards recently filed a complaint against the actor, producer and musician, Johnny Depp in a California court. They allege the Pirates of the Caribbean actor violated their employee rights. The two men were appointed by Depp as bodyguards about two years ago after they left the employ of a security company in whose employ they were also his contracted bodyguards.

According to the court documents, both men claim that, although they were employed as security guards, they became personal caretakers of Depp and his children. One of the men says that although his job was to protect the actor's children, he ended up being the babysitter of Depp's minor child. Furthermore, they claim they were frequently tasked with driving his vehicles, which often had illegal substances inside.

Help is available to fight against violations of employee rights

Are you one of the many workers in Los Angeles who struggle to get by on the wages you earn? Have you considered the possibility of your employee rights being violated? There are several ways in which your employer might be holding back money to which you are entitled. Many workers are denied their rightful wages but fail to do anything about it for fear of losing their jobs.

The attorneys at the Law Offices of Anthony Choe in Los Angeles believe that no employee should be denied full remuneration for his or her hard work. They are familiar with employers who force employees to work through their breaks or to answer telephones during lunch breaks -- all unpaid. Then there are those times when you spend 30 minutes to an hour to prepare for your shift or to clean up at the end of your shift for which you are never paid.

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Law Offices of Anthony Choe
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