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Are team cheerleaders employees?

A bill proposed by Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez that would classify cheerleaders as employees under California law and mandate that professional sports teams grant them eligibility for overtime, sick days and other protections was recently signed by Governor Jerry Brown. The bill’s intention is to protect the team entertainment from unpaid overtime and other workplace violations that had occurred in the past.

The bill came about in light of the 2014 class-action wage theft lawsuit that resulted in the Oakland Raiders paying a $1.25 million settlement to 90 of its cheerleaders. Two Raiderette cheerleaders had launched the lawsuit in response to the Raiders’ failing to pay minimum wage, withholding of wages and other workplace abuses, such as making the cheerleaders pay for job-related expenses out of their own pockets.

An example of the alleged financial abuse was the allegation that Raiderettes were paid $1,250 at the end of the season, which worked out to roughly $5.00 per hour or less. They are now paid the California minimum wage of $9.00 per hour. Other cheerleaders working for the National Football League are also suing the Buffalo Bills, Cincinnati Bengals, New York Jets and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Wage theft is a fairly common occurrence in many occupations, but more often that not, it seems to happen to those in low-paying occupations, such as home care aides, table servers, cab drivers and cheerleaders.

Are you a victim of wage theft or other workplace violations? Contact an experienced employee rights attorney to get to the bottom of your case.

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Field technicians at Mastec not paid overtime, not provided with meal breaks

This class action lawsuit, filed in 2014, alleges the television installation and service company Mastec North America, Inc., did not pay their field service technicians the correct overtime and failed to provide the legally-required rest and meal breaks.

The statement of claim indicates the technicians are paid a stipend for being assigned to work on-call hours and receive a non-discretionary bonus. However, in accordance with California overtime laws, these stipends and bonuses should have been included in the workers’ hourly pay in order to calculate the proper overtime pay. Since this did not occur, the service technicians and other non-exempt employees were not correctly paid their overtime wages.

Field technicians were also so busy with work that they were allegedly required to log fake meal periods, despite the fact that they were not always provided an off-duty meal break. According to state law, workers paid by the hour must have an uninterrupted 30-minute meal break.

Violations of this law result in a penalty of one hour of pay. Those who work out-of-the-office are often at a disadvantage when it comes to meal and rest breaks, due to the pressing nature of their jobs.

Wage calculations can be approached in a number of ways, but some companies can often be found to practice unlawful pay to its employees. To sort out a difficult scenario such as this one, it is best to reach out to an experienced business attorney and find out an employee’s rights according to the law, not according to the employer.

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iGate Technologies embroiled in another sexual harassment lawsuit

Two years after India-based IT company iGate Technologies fired its CEO for allegedly being involved in secret intimate relations with an employee, iGate is involved in another sexual harassment case, involving former in-house lawyer Karetha Dodd and her supervisor, Mukund Srinath. The accusations filed in the statement of claim are that Srinath, iGate’s senior vice president of Legal and corporate secretary, had been continually propositioning Dodd for sex. The suit was filed in 2014 and included allegations that Srinath pressured her to become involved in an affair with him, put his hand on her genitals, forcibly kissed her, denied her a promotion when she would not meet with him alone and retaliated against her when she took her complaints to an attorney outside of the company milieu.

iGate says her allegations are without merit and that they have a zero sexual harassment policy in place.

The company has taken a defensive stance in litigation, and are making several allegations against the plaintiff. They claim that the plaintiff and her lawyer wiped her company-issued laptop’s hard drive before returning it, that she did not disclose she was not licensed to practice law in California, that some of her complaints are time-barred under California state law and that she did not report the alleged harassment in a timely manner, according to company policy.

In most sexual harassment cases, there is an element of he says versus she says, so it is crucial that the victim keep detailed notes, recordings, texts or other forms of communication and take them to an experienced sexual harassment attorney.

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