Lauren Teukolsky was quoted by Bloomberg Law and Law360 in a pair of articles discussing the class action lawsuit Teukolsky Law filed Wednesday against Hyatt for violating a law meant to protect hotel cleaning staff from being overworked and underpaid. The lawsuit is believed to be the first in the country brought under a “housekeepers bill of rights” law. Ms. Teukolsky represents the plaintiffs along with Zoe Tucker of UNITE HERE Local 11.
“Housekeeper’s bill of rights” laws broadly refer to laws created specifically to protect hotel cleaning staff from abuses at the workplace, including but not limited to wage theft and sexual harassment. The lawsuit filed by Ms. Teukolsky alleges that Hyatt violated the Long Beach Hotel Working Conditions Ordinance when it failed to pay hotel room attendants the required double wages they were owed for cleaning more than 4,000 square feet in a single day, among other violations.
Laws similar to Long Beach’s have been passed in Los Angeles, Santa Monica, and Seattle, in what has become a national trend of local municipalities stepping in to protect workers when their states and the federal government fail to.
Bloomberg Law’s article reads:
“’The voters of Long Beach passed a hotel workload ordinance to guarantee hardworking room attendants a fair day’s wage for a fair day’s work,’ Teukolsky said in a statement. ‘As we say in the lawsuit, Hyatt has been flouting the law since the day it was passed.’”
In the Law360 article, Ms. Teukolsky states the following :
"Hotels are on notice that they can't cheat workers out of their wages with impunity.”
To read the Bloomberg Law article in its entirety, click here. To read the Law360 article in its entirety, click here.
If you believe that you have not been paid proper wages, click here to get in touch with our office.
Last month, Bloomberg Law quoted Lauren Teukolsky in an article about the differing approaches taken by California Superior Courts and federal courts towards representative Private Attorneys General Act (PAGA) claims in the months since the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Viking River Cruises, Inc. v. Moriana.
In Viking River, the majority held that employers could force arbitration of workers’ individual claims under PAGA, a California law that allows workers to sue companies for employment law violations on behalf of the state. However, the decision was written in a way that essentially left the fate of representative PAGA claims in the hands of California’s lower courts.
For the most part, federal courts have strictly adhered to the Supreme Court’s ruling, sending individual claims to arbitration, and dismissing representative PAGA claims in over half of the decisions analyzed by Bloomberg Law. According to research conducted by Ms. Teukolsky, California’s state courts have taken a different tack. The article states:
“In sharp contrast, state trial courts dismissed representative claims after moving individual claims into arbitration in just six of 75 decisions collected and analyzed by Lauren Teukolsky of the plaintiff-side firm Teukolsky Law PC. Bloomberg Law independently reviewed those decisions […] The trend of state courts not dismissing non-individual PAGA claims is a huge victory for workers in the state of California,” Teukolsky said. The fate of PAGA will likely be decided in Adolph v. Uber, which is currently pending before the California Supreme Court.
Ms. Teukolsky is frequently cited in news publications for her commentary on developments in employment law, including a pair of Bloomberg Law and Daily Journal articles in 2022 that featured her commentary on Viking River. Ms. Teukolsky also discussed the case on several panels organized by the Los Angeles County Bar Association, the California Employment Lawyers Association, and the College of Labor and Employment Lawyers, the preeminent peer-selected organization of labor and employment lawyers in the United States. To learn more about Ms. Teukolsky’s experience, click here.
To read the article in its entirety, click here. If you believe you’ve been treated unlawfully in the workplace and want to get in touch with our office, click here.
Lauren Teukolsky was quoted in a Bloomberg Law article last week unpacking a wave of ongoing litigation prompted by Elon Musk’s mass layoffs at Twitter.
The layoffs began in early November, following Elon Musk’s $44 billion acquisition of the social media giant. After taking over, Musk proceeded to fire half of Twitter’s workforce, asked some essential employees to return, rolled back its expansive work-from-home policy, and called on the remaining employees to sign a pledge to remain at an “extremely hardcore” Twitter or quit.
Musk’s actions have prompted many of Twitter’s recently laid-off employees to pursue class action lawsuits against the company alleging violations of the Worker Readjustment and Retraining Notification (WARN) Act, a federal law, and its California equivalent, among other allegations. This, in turn, has led Twitter to require some employees to sign a release of legal claims against the company at the risk of not receiving severance pay, according to an amended complaint recently filed by ex-Twitter workers. Ex-Twitter workers have responded to Twitter’s move by requesting a protective order blocking the company from soliciting such releases and nullifying any it has already obtained.
The article states:
“The workers’ Nov. 9 request is based on a well-developed body of federal law analogous to the state law standards developed after a California appellate court’s 2009 ruling in Chindarah v. Pick Up Stix, Inc., said Lauren Teukolsky, a plaintiffs’ attorney with Teukolsky Law PC.
‘Many cases since Pick Up Stix have found releases to be invalid where the employer engaged in coercive or misleading tactics,’ Teukolsky said.”
To read the article in its entirety, click here.
If you have been affected by recent developments at Twitter, click here to get in touch with Teukolsky Law.
Lauren Teukolsky was quoted in a September 19th article by Bloomberg Law on AB 2188, a recently signed bill in California that prohibits employers from discriminating against workers who use cannabis in their off-work hours. Once the bill goes into effect on January 1, 2024, it will be illegal for California employers to make any employment decisions based on an employee’s use of cannabis “off the job and away from the workplace,” according to the law’s text. This means, for example, that an employer may not fire an employee who used cannabis use when they were off the job and away from work. Hiring decisions will be limited in this manner as well.
The law will not apply to workers in building and construction trades or those holding positions that require a federal background clearance. Also, the bill will not permit employees to possess, to be impaired by, or to use, cannabis on the job.
Governor Newsom’s signing of the bill represents a huge victory for many of California’s workers. Even though recreational cannabis has been legal in the state since 2018, and medicinal cannabis has been legal since 1996, California’s laws and cannabis testing technology are only just beginning to catch up. Standard drug tests still screen for substances in the body that may be present days or even weeks since an individual used cannabis. This means that, before AB 2188 takes effect, a worker or job applicant could still be fired or denied employment for having used cannabis during their own free time, weeks prior to any test being administered.
Some employer-side attorneys have suggested that AB 2188 inappropriately amends California’s Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) to afford cannabis users the same protections as minorities or other protected classes. Ms. Teukolsky counters that notion. As stated in the Bloomberg Law article:
“[D]iscipline against those who smoke or ingest marijuana disproportionately affects workers of color, said Lauren Teukolsky, who represents workers in court. It was one of the reasons Amazon.com Inc. stopped drug testing during the hiring process. The new law shielding marijuana consumers ‘is entirely consistent with FEHA’s aim of eliminating discrimination against people of color in the workplace,’ Teukolsky said in an email.”
To read the Bloomberg Law Article in its entirety, click here. If you believe your employer is behaving unlawfully and want to get in touch with Teukolsky Law, click here.
Bloomberg Law published an article on June 15, 2022, about the United States Supreme Court's recent ruling in Viking River Cruises, Inc. v. Moriana. The case centered on California’s Private Attorneys General Act (PAGA), a state labor law that authorized employees to sue over workplace violations in place of the state, even if they had agreed to resolve their disputes through individual arbitration. In an 8-1 decision, the Court limited PAGA’s reach but left the door open for state courts or lawmakers to restore it.
The article states: “The issue of whether PAGA provides for court adjudication of representative claims when an individual has to go to arbitration will come before California courts before state lawmakers have a chance to amend PAGA, said Lauren Teukolsky, an attorney at Teukolsky Law PC who represents workers.
‘PAGA lives to see another day,’ she said.”
Click here to read the full article on Bloomberg Law’s website.
Lauren Teukolsky is the founder and owner of Teukolsky Law, A Professional Corporation.