Employment Law

Google Gender Case

employees

On September 14, 2017, a federal gender discrimination case was filed in California state court in San Francisco against Google. The class action, Ellis v. Google Inc., was brought by three former female Google professionals on behalf of themselves and similarly situated current and former female employees. For more information on the case, visit GoogleGenderCase.com.

Employment Visa Fraud and the Rights of Employees Working in the U.S. on Business Visas

Workers in silhouette

B-1 Visas vs. H-1B Visas: Two Very Different Work and Travel Visas

B-1 visas are short-term travel visas that allow workers to travel to the U.S. for a short-term visit, such as to attend a conference, negotiate a contract, or participate in short-term training. B-1 visa holders may not perform labor — skilled or unskilled — while in the U.S.

H-1B visas are non-immigrant visas that allow employers to temporarily employ foreign nationals in positions that require specialized knowledge and high levels of education. The application process is highly regulated, and the number of H-1B visas granted is restricted to 65,000 visas annually. The employer must certify that the salary of the employee with the H-1B visa is within the prevailing salary for similarly qualified and educated employees working in the U.S.

How Are Companies Committing Visa Fraud?

Lawsuits have revealed that some companies knowingly and deliberately use B-1 visa holders to perform skilled labor in the U.S. in order to fill employment positions that otherwise would have been performed by U.S. citizens or legitimate H-1B visa holders. Companies do this to increase their profits by minimizing costs of securing visas, obtaining an unfair advantage over competitors, and avoiding tax liabilities.

There are companies that routinely submit “invitation letters” to U.S. Consular Officials containing materially false representations regarding the true purpose of a B-1 visa holder’s travel in order to deceive U.S. Consular Officials and/or Customs and Border Protection Officers and secure entry of the visa holder into the United States. These “invitation letters” often state that the purpose of travel is for “meetings” or “discussions” when the true purpose is to engage in work activities not authorized under the more easily obtained B-1 visas.

In addition to deceiving the government and underpaying taxes and other fees, companies committing visa fraud often harm the employees themselves by:

  • Failing to pay the amount promised in the H-1B visa application for the employee;
  • Failing to pay the amount promised in the contract with the employee;
  • Having the employee work full time on a B-1 visa and paying the employee in the currency of the employee’s nation of origin and at a much lower salary than that paid to U.S. employees with similar qualifications and performing similar work;
  • Making improper deductions of pay;
  • Requiring employees to pay the company the entire amount of their federal and state tax refund checks;
  • Charging assessments and exorbitant fees for visa applications, recruitment, and other charges never disclosed or in breach of the employment agreement; and
  • Failing to provide overtime compensation, meal breaks, or rest breaks in accordance with state and federal law.

What to Do If You Become Aware of Visa Fraud

If you or anyone you know has been subjected to any violations of labor laws, or an employer has breached the employment contract, we invite you to use the form below to submit your complaint so that we can learn of your experiences. There is no charge or obligation for our review of your claim. All information will be kept strictly confidential as provided under the law.

Or you are welcome to call Lieff Cabraser and ask to speak to employee rights attorney Lin Chan or Daniel Hutchinson toll-free at 1 800 541-7358.


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DuPont Stock Options Breach of Contract

employees
Jang v. E.I. Du Pont De Nemours & Co., No. 15-03719-NC (N.D. Cal.).Lieff Cabraser represents certain former DuPont employees in a breach of contract action alleging that DuPont unlawfully terminated employees’ unvested stock options. DuPont’s standard stock option award contract states that unvested options will continue to vest in accordance with their vesting schedule. In practice, however, DuPont unilaterally cancelled unvested stock options one year from employees’ termination, regardless of whether the options had vested.

The complaint was filed on August 15, 2015. DuPont filed a motion to dismiss the complaint, which was granted by United States Magistrate Judge Nathanael Cousins on November 19, 2015. Plaintiffs have appealed the decision to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, and oral argument was held on April 21, 2017. The Ninth Circuit has not yet issued a decision.

Microsoft Gender Discrimination

Computers

Issue/Allegation: Gender discrimination

Case Update

Plaintiffs filed their motion for class certification on October 27, 2017. A public version of the motion is available here. Plaintiffs are currently seeking to unseal most of the evidence in support of their motion and expect more of that material to be publicly available in the coming months. Microsoft’s opposition to the motion for class certification is due on January 5, 2018, and Plaintiffs’ reply is due on February 9, 2018. After that, the Court will issue an order, which typically takes from one to five months. Plaintiffs’ motion seeks certification of a class of female employees who worked in the Engineering or I/T Operations Professions and in stock levels 59-67 from September 16, 2012 to the present.

Previous Case Updates

On October 14, 2016, the district court denied Microsoft’s second motion to dismiss the disparate impact claims in the case. The court also ruled that the statute of limitations for the Washington state law claim extends back to September 16, 2012. Read a copy of the court’s order here.

On March 8, 2016, the district court denied Microsoft’s first motion to dismiss the case. The court ruled that discovery shall proceed based on Plaintiffs’ current class definition, which includes all current and former female technical professionals employed by Microsoft in the U.S. The court gave Plaintiffs thirty days to file an amended complaint pleading their disparate impact claim in more detail. The amended complaint was filed on April 7, 2016. Read a copy of the court’s order here. Read a copy of the amended complaint here.

On September 16, 2015, a gender discrimination class action lawsuit was filed against Microsoft Corporation. The class action, Moussouris v. Microsoft Corporation, Case No. 15-cv-01483, was brought by a former female Microsoft technical professional on behalf of herself and all current and former female technical professionals employed by Microsoft in the U.S. On October 27, 2015, an amended complaint was filed, adding current Microsoft employees Holly Muenchow and Dana Piermarini as named plaintiffs, in addition to Ms. Moussouris.

Allegations of Sex Discrimination in the Workplace by Microsoft

The class action complaint alleges that Microsoft has engaged in systemic and pervasive discrimination against female employees in technical and engineering roles (“female technical employees”) with respect to performance evaluations, pay, promotions, and other terms and conditions of employment. The unchecked gender bias that pervades Microsoft’s corporate culture has resulted in female technical professionals receiving less compensation than similar men, the promotion of men over equally or more qualified women, and less favorable performance evaluation of female technical professionals compared to male peers.

The complaint alleges that the disadvantage to female technical employees in pay and promotion is not isolated or exceptional, but rather the predictable result of Microsoft’s policies and practices and lack of proper accountability measures to ensure fairness, and that Microsoft has implemented these policies and practices despite knowing that they have a long-standing disparate impact on female technical employees.

The complaint further alleges that Microsoft’s continuing policy, pattern, and practice of sex discrimination against female technical employees violates federal and state laws, including Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Washington Law Against Discrimination.

The proposed class includes women who worked at Microsoft from September 16, 2012 to the present.

Complete case information is available at microsoftgendercase.com. Female Microsoft employees and ex-employees who wish to speak with case attorneys are encouraged to call case attorney Anne Shaver at 1 800 254-3079 or use the contact form on that website.

Major League Baseball Overtime

baseball

Issue: Unlawful denial of overtime pay

Senne v. Major League Baseball, No. 14-cv-00608 (N.D. Cal.).

Lieff Cabraser represents current and former Minor League Baseball players employed under uniform player contracts in a class and collective action seeking unpaid overtime and minimum wages under the Fair Labor Standards Act and state laws.

The complaint alleges that Major League Baseball (“MLB”), the MLB franchises, and other defendants paid minor league players a uniform monthly fixed salary that, in light of the hours worked, amounts to less than the minimum wage and an unlawful denial of overtime pay.

Contact us

Please use the form below to contact an employment attorney at Lieff Cabraser about your Major League Baseball overtime case. Any information you submit will be held in strict confidence.

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Protecting Employee Rights in Stock Option Agreement Disputes

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At many high-tech companies a significant portion of an employee’s compensation can consist of stock options. Stock option rights agreements, however, may contain vague language that leads to disputes when employees to exercise their rights, and specifically when they can seek to sell stock they were promised. For example with startups, when they grow and move to issue an IPO, senior management may look for ways to improperly prop up stock value by denying requests from employees to approve stock transactions.

Lieff Cabraser Attorney Dean Harvey Explains Employee Stock Option Rights

Lieff Cabraser has successfully represented employees whose company wrongfully refused to allow the sale of vested stock. If you have a stock options dispute with your company, please contact Lieff Cabraser attorneys Kelly Dermody or Dean Harvey. Both can be reached at 415 956-1000., or toll free at 1 800 541-7358. Or feel free to complete the contact form below.

We will confidentially review your claim and advise you if you have a case. We conduct this review for free and without any obligation on your part.


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Goldman Sachs Gender Discrimination

Employment law and employee rights cases

Issue: Gender discrimination

Chen-Oster v. Goldman Sachs, Inc., Case No. 10-6950 (S.D.N.Y.).

Lieff Cabraser serves as Co-Lead Counsel for plaintiffs in a gender discrimination class action lawsuit against Goldman Sachs. The complaint alleges that Goldman Sachs has engaged in systemic and pervasive discrimination against its female professional employees in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the New York City Human Rights Law.

The complaint charges that, among other things, Goldman Sachs pays its female professionals less than similarly situated males, disproportionately promotes men over equally or more qualified women, and offers better business opportunities and professional support to its male professionals.

For more detailed information and to contact a plaintiff attorney, please visit GoldmanGenderCase.com.

Premera Blue Cross Overtime

hospital

Result: $1.45 million settlement
Year: 2011

$1,450,000 Settlement Reached for 133 Employees in Premera Overtime Lawsuit

We are happy to report that the parties have reached a settlement, which was presented to the Court for final approval on June 10, 2011.

The settlement provides that $1.45 million (minus attorneys’ fees and costs, costs of administration, and a class representative service award) will be paid out to the approximately 133 class members. The average net recovery per class member is over $7,000 each.

The class is defined as Premera employees who worked at any time between April 7, 2006 to early 2011 in the following positions:

  • Application Support Engineer I & II;
  • Database Administrator I;
  • Information Security Administrator III;
  • IT Analyst I & II;
  • Network Administrator III;
  • PeopleSoft Systems Administrator;
  • Production Control Analyst III;
  • Senior Middleware Administrator;
  • Senior Network Administrator;
  • Senior Systems Administrator;
  • Software QA Analyst;
  • Software Test Engineer I;
  • System Administrator – HCS;
  • Systems Administrator I, II, & III;
  • Systems Engineer IT;
  • Telecommunications Administrator I, II, & III; and
  • Telecommunications Engineer I

Final approval was granted on August 26, 2011, and checks will be mailed by September 30, 2011.

More information is available at the Settlement Administrator’s website ( http://pbcclassaction.com/).

Background on Premera Employee Overtime Complaints Litigation

In April 2010, a technical support worker at Premera Blue Cross ("Premera") filed a class action lawsuit against Premera, and its subsidiaries LifeWise Health Plan of Oregon and LifeWise Assurances, Co., seeking overtime pay. Premera’s technical support workers are responsible for installing, maintaining, and/or supporting computer software and hardware. The complaint alleges that Premera has a common practice of misclassifying its technical support workers as exempt and failing to pay them for all overtime hours worked in violation of federal overtime pay laws. these workers were unlawfully denied overtime pay.

Best Buy Race Discrimination

Employment law and employee rights cases

Result: Changes in personnel policies
Year: 2011

On June 17, 2011, Best Buy and civil rights lawyers announced a settlement of an employment discrimination class action brought on behalf of women and minority employees of Best Buy. On November 9, 2011, the Court approved the settlement.

Through the settlement, Best Buy agreed to changes to its personnel policies and procedures that will enhance the equal employment opportunities of the thousands of women, African Americans, and Latinos employed by Best Buy nationwide. Plaintiffs’ counsel noted that “Best Buy’s commitment to these changes makes it a ‘best in class’ employer of women and minorities and a leader in the areas of diversity and inclusion.” Best Buy said that these changes are part of Best Buy’s continuous improvement of its employees’ experience and the systems which support that experience.

Background on the litigation

The lawsuit, filed in December 2005, alleged that Best Buy discriminates against women, African-American, and Latino employees of Best Buy retail stores in the United States by denying them promotions and more lucrative sales positions. Best Buy has denied any wrongdoing throughout the litigation.

In reaching this proposed settlement, the parties agreed that it was in the interest of Best Buy, the plaintiffs, and the employee classes to resolve the matter through a settlement that provides injunctive relief to all class members, rather than to proceed with litigation.

The case was Holloway v. Best Buy, Civil Action No. 3:05-cv-05056-PJH (N.D. Cal.).

McCormick & Schmick’s Restaurants Race Discrimination

Employment law and employee rights cases

Result: $2.1 million settlement
Year: 2008

Wynne, et al. v. McCormick & Schmick’s Seafood Restaurants, Inc. Race Discrimination Lawsuit

In August 2008, the Court granted final approval to a settlement valued at $2.1 million, including substantial injunctive relief, for a class of African-American restaurant-level hourly employees.

The consent decree created hiring benchmarks to increase the number of African Americans employed in front of the house jobs (e.g., server, bartender, host/hostess, waiter/waitress, and cocktail server), a registration of interest program to minimize discrimination in promotions, improved complaint procedures, and monitoring and enforcement mechanisms.