Noemi Bernal v. J.J. Little & Associates
It is one thing when an employer refuses to pay overtime to an employee, it is another when that employer is a law firm the practices employment law. Such is the case of Los Angeles resident Noemi Bernal. Noemi Bernal was awarded $91,000, plus $30,000 in interest, against J.J. Little & Associates on her wage claims. With the additional attorney’s fees award, it was more than adding insult to injury.
Bernal’s wanted and asked for $830,000 in fees but was declined by Judge Barbara Scheper. The judge stated that some of the work had to be apportioned for claims that did not contemplate attorney’s fees. It is reported that Bernal is alleging that she was hired in 2010 as a secretary at the rate of $1000 a week to work a regular schedule. During her testimony, however, Bernal stated that sometimes she had to work as many as 20 hours a day during trials. The law firm, J.J. Little & Associates, which advertises its employment litigation practice, expected Bernal to respond to texts, calls at night and on weekends. According to Bernal, she was not paid overtime pay for any of the work that she did. The jurors deciding the case agreed with Bernal in May, finding that J.J.Little & Associates failed to pay overtime and did not keep accurate wage statements.
Unlike managers and others who work as salary employees, law firm workers are generally entitled to hourly pay and overtime. That is the very foundation of employment law. Employees may pursue their claims in court, but government agencies also have jurisdiction to penalize employers who violate wage and hour rules. The Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division, for example, may impose penalties up to $1,000 for each willful violation. For smaller firms like that of J.J. Little & Associates, a $400,000 judgment for one misclassified employee is substantial. But large firms or companies with thousands of employees could face even larger penalties for similar labor violations.
Whether you are entering the job market for the first time or were recently terminated, it is important to understand your rights as a worker. Both federal and state governments have enacted a wide range of employment laws protecting employees from discriminatory treatment, unfair labor practices, unsafe work conditions, and more. This section provides in-depth resources on all phases of the employment process — from the interview and hiring stage to promotion and termination. In addition, you’ll find information about privacy in the workplace, wage and hour laws, workplace safety and family leave policies.
Employment law governs the rights and responsibilities of employers and employees. Most of the laws and statutes that fall under employment law are meant to protect the employee from unfair and unsafe working conditions, but they also help to protect employers.
One large section of employment law deals with the “At Will” Presumption. In nearly every state in the US, it is presumed that both employer and employee are working together voluntarily, and can terminate their working relationship at any time, and for almost any reason.
Working environments can be chaotic and complex. The law offices of Jones Brown wants to make sure you are aware of your rights as an employee or employer. If you feel you have been wrongfully treated at work or on a job, our experienced attorneys know exactly what to do. Here are some common examples of employment law:
- Collective bargaining
- Employment discrimination
- Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA)
- Unemployment compensation
- Workplace safety
- Worker’s compensation
When you need legal help, finding the answers you need can be overwhelming. No fear, you can contact us! We’re here to take the guesswork and searching out of the equation. Contact us: call, text, or fill out the form below, and we will contact you within 24 business hours.
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