Title: Exploring Top Grossing Employment Labor Claims in California: A Look at Key Court Cases
California, known for its robust labor laws and employee protection measures, has been a hotbed for significant employment labor claims in recent years. From wage and hour disputes to workplace discrimination, numerous cases have captured public attention and resulted in substantial financial settlements. In this post, we delve into some of the top grossing employment labor claims over the past five years in California, highlighting specific court cases that made headlines.
- Vazquez v. Jan-Pro Franchising International Inc. (2018): In a landmark case, the California Supreme Court ruled that workers in the janitorial industry should be classified as employees rather than independent contractors. The decision significantly impacted the franchise business model and set a precedent for labor rights. The case was brought by several janitors who alleged that they were misclassified as independent contractors, thereby being denied essential employment benefits. The settlement reached in 2018 was estimated at over $7 million.
- Uber Technologies Inc. and Lyft Inc. (Various Cases): Ride-hailing giants Uber and Lyft faced a series of lawsuits from drivers seeking to be recognized as employees, rather than independent contractors. The cases alleged that the companies misclassified drivers to avoid providing benefits such as minimum wage, overtime pay, and reimbursement for expenses. Multiple court cases and legal battles followed, resulting in significant settlements. In 2020, Uber reached a $20 million settlement, while Lyft agreed to a $27 million settlement.
- Williams v. Marshalls of CA LLC (2019): This class-action lawsuit alleged that Marshalls, a popular retail chain, failed to provide suitable seating for its cashiers and violated California’s wage and hour laws. The plaintiffs argued that the lack of seating caused them to endure prolonged periods of standing, leading to health issues. The case was settled in 2019 for an estimated $3.5 million.
- Chipotle Mexican Grill Inc. (Various Cases): Chipotle faced multiple labor-related lawsuits, including allegations of wage theft, denial of meal and rest breaks, and improper overtime calculation. In one notable case, Scott v. Chipotle Mexican Grill Inc., employees claimed they were forced to work off the clock without compensation. The case resulted in a $15 million settlement in 2017. Chipotle also faced other similar lawsuits, collectively costing the company millions in settlements.
- Fox Searchlight Pictures Inc. (2013): Although slightly outside the five-year timeframe, the 2013 case of Glatt v. Fox Searchlight Pictures Inc. remains significant in highlighting the issue of unpaid internships. The plaintiffs, interns working on the film “Black Swan,” argued that they should have been classified as employees and entitled to minimum wage and overtime pay. The court ruled in their favor, stating that unpaid internships must meet specific criteria to be lawful. The settlement reached was reported to be around $15 million.
Conclusion: These top grossing employment labor claims in California demonstrate the importance of fair labor practices and the consequences for companies that violate employee rights. The outcomes of these court cases have not only resulted in significant financial settlements but also played a crucial role in shaping labor laws and protections in the state. California continues to be at the forefront of advocating for employee rights and ensuring fair treatment in the workplace.