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28 Feb Employment Disputes and Enforcement of a Mandatory Arbitration Clause

There are some exceptions to what can be forced into arbitration. One exception for now is representative actions under the Private Attorney’s General Act or PAGA. PAGA is a California law that basically deputizes individuals to seek penalties against employers that violate the California labor code. There are a few other minor exceptions, all within the State context. It is a little more complicated in the Federal context due to certain executive actions by the President. But, in the context of the state of California, it depends on what the arbitration agreement says. Most arbitration agreements are so broad that they include almost any kind of claim that can be forced into arbitration, and it doesn’t matter how egregious the conduct of the employer is; if there is an agreement between the employer and employee to arbitrate that type of claim, and there almost always is, then it can still be forced into arbitration. In that scenario, there is no way to get out of the arbitration agreement unless there is actually something unconscionable with the arbitration agreement itself. In terms of the types of claims or how egregious the claims are, it doesn’t really have an impact upon whether or not an employee will be forced to enter arbitration. If you are presented with an arbitration agreement by your employer, or if you have already signed an arbitration agreement and have a legal claim against your employer, contact an employment lawyer today at the Khadder Law Firm for a free initial consultation....

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24 Feb Mandatory Arbitration Clauses and Employment Disputes

Mandatory arbitration clauses, especially since 2011, have become more and more common in the employment context. I’ve talked about this in some of my other blog posts about how much I disdain mandatory arbitration clauses and unfortunately, there are many problems with mandatory arbitration, especially in the employment context. The biggest issue among many is that employers with arbitration clauses will probably have to participate in multiple arbitrations, and the arbitrators are essentially private judges. There is the potential for the arbitrators to rule in favor of the employer in order to get repeat business (called “the repeat player effect”). Individual employees typically don’t have to go to arbitration more than once in their lifetime, if ever, so there is no potential incentive for an arbitrator to rule in an employee’s favor. Another problem with mandatory arbitration, is that it could, but not necessarily will, have an effect on the value of the case. If an employee is presented with an arbitration agreement, they should think long and hard, and even think about talking to a lawyer before signing it. Not all employers, however, will give you the option of signing it or not signing it. Some do, but a lot of them don’t. Everyone should keep in mind that if they sign an arbitration agreement, they are most likely going to be forced to go to arbitration as opposed to having their day in court in front of a jury. That can affect the value of their case. If you don’t have a choice in the matter, you can either agree to the arbitration agreements, or you will have to find another job. That is not an easy decision for most people to make, but, unfortunately, it is becoming more and more commonplace. One mitigating factor about arbitration in the employment context is that if the employer requires the employee to go to arbitration, the employer has to pay for the arbitrator fees. The employee only has to pay for what they would normally pay if they were in a regular court of law. Frankly, the arbitrator fees can cost far more than any cost associated with filing a case in a court of law. So, sometimes employers will decide that they don’t want to enforce the arbitration agreement because it would cost a lot of money. That’s one advantage that an employee who is forced to sign an arbitration agreement may have in their back pocket. Arbitration agreements have to follow certain procedural and substantive requirements. If the agreements are procedurally or substantively unconscionable to a certain extent, then a court may decide that the arbitration agreement is not enforceable. If an employee has a legal claim against their employer, and there is an arbitration agreement, it would be very important to speak with an employment attorney to evaluate whether the arbitration agreement could be found unenforceable in court so that the employee can have the chance to bring their claims to a jury of their peers as opposed to a private judge. If you are presented with an arbitration agreement by your employer, or if you have already signed an arbitration agreement and have a legal claim against your employer, contact an employment lawyer today at the Khadder Law Firm for a free initial consultation....

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21 Feb Possible Mediation Outcomes

One of the possibilities in mediation settlement is for the employer to agree to reinstate the employee to the position that they held before they were demoted, or to increase the employee’s pay back to their original pay before their pay was reduced. Mediation can also provide the employee with money for any economic harm or emotional distress that they suffered because of discrimination. For example, if you were paid less, you could, in a mediation, get the employer to agree to reimburse you for the difference of what you were originally paid with what they were paying you when they reduced your salary. However, if you sue your employer, chances are there is going to be some, if not a lot, of friction. Often, in a mediation, an employer will demand, as part of a settlement that involves a payment of substantial money, that the employee resign from their employment and agree never to seek re-employment with that employer in the future. That is not always easy to accept, but if the employer is willing to pay enough money to settle the case, then it may be worth it to resign from your job and agree never to reapply for any job with that same employer. That’s a tough decision to make. Some people would rather have steady income than take a big lump sum of money and have to find a new job. Each case is different, and you have to weigh the risks and benefits of each decision. It is important to consider all of these things if you decide to take legal action against your employer while still employed. For people who have been terminated, the decision is much easier. If they have been wrongfully terminated, there is not going to be the issue of awkwardness or friction at the workplace, because they are no longer there. That makes the decision of taking legal action easier. But, just because you are still employed, by no means should you automatically give up your legal rights to stay with the employer. If you have been discriminated on the basis of your disability by your employer, contact an employment lawyer today at the Khadder Law Firm for a free initial consultation....

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18 Feb Disability Discrimination and Continuing Employment – Is Mediation the Answer?

Most likely, if somebody is still employed but they experience disability discrimination other than termination; for instance, their job duties or responsibilities are reduced, they get demoted or their pay is reduced simply because they have a disability, then you may still have a disability discrimination case that is worth pursuing. It is awkward to say the least, however, to sue an employer when you are still working for the employer. That’s not to say it doesn’t happen, but in those cases, often the best course of action for all parties involved, especially the employee with the disability, is to try and resolve the case short of going to court or having a trial. Mediation is a voluntary process. The parties don’t have to accept a settlement. But, there is a lot more room for creativity if a case is settled in mediation or other negotiations as opposed to having to take a claim to trial and get a judgment. If you have been discriminated on the basis of your disability by your current employer, contact an employment lawyer today at the Khadder Law Firm for a free initial consultation.  ...

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14 Feb If someone were denied employment and more qualified for the job than the applicant who was successful in getting the job, how does one prove that case?

Let’s first look at a situation where an applicant with a disability objectively is not as qualified as a person without a disability. Let’s assume that their qualifications are not less than a person without a disability because of their disability, but it’s because of some other factor such as education or skill. The employer doesn’t have to give preference to the person with a disability if that person with a disability is objectively less qualified than the person without a disability. If the employer hires the person without a disability over someone with a disability who is more qualified, that, in and of itself, can be evidence of discrimination. Rarely is there direct evidence of discrimination in disability cases or other cases. It is extremely rare where you would have evidence of an employer writing an e-mail or sending a message to the effect of, “I don’t want to hire that person because of their disability,” because employers are a lot savvier than that. You have to show through circumstantial evidence that it is more likely than not that you, as a person with a disability, did not get a job because of your disability. There could be stray comments to prove discrimination on the part of an employer to hire you, you may have evidence of comments that were made by an employer or supervisor where they made fun of people with disabilities, where they treated other people with disabilities poorly, or other things to show that the person had a discriminatory animus toward people with disabilities. There is very rarely any direct evidence of discrimination, but with enough circumstantial evidence you may be able to overcome the burden of proof to prevail on a disability discrimination claim. In California law, and more recently in the California Supreme Court, it was held that the disability has to be a substantial motivating factor for the employer’s decision not to hire or to fire, or do some other adverse employment action. Therefore, you have to show that the employer was substantially motivated by your disability. That raises the bar a little bit. It used to just be simple motivation: Your prospective employer could have ten reasons why they didn’t hire you, and one of the reasons of those ten was your disability, and the other nine were non-protected reasons. Now, the bar is a little bit higher. In the past, that was enough to win on a disability discrimination case. Now, it’s got to be a little bit more than that; it has to be a substantial motivating factor. If you have been refused a job because of a disability or a need for a disability accommodation, contact an employment lawyer today at the Khadder Law Firm for a free initial consultation.  ...

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