A judge has ordered Google to hand over salary records to the government in an ongoing investigation by the US Department of Labor (DoL), which has accused Google of discriminating against women.

Google must provide the federal government with a 2014 snapshot of the data, along with contact information for thousands of employees for possible interviews, according to a ruling made public on Sunday.

Judge Steve Berlin also denied part of the government’s request for records and partially sided with Google, which had argued the department’s demands were overly broad and could violate employee privacy.

The limited records Google must release could help the DoL build a formal pay discrimination case against the company. The department argued that additional records would help explain the “extreme” gender pay gap it uncovered in an initial audit.

The DoL first publicly accused Google of “systemic compensation disparities” in April, testifying in a hearing that its preliminary investigation found that women across a wide range of positions at the Mountain View campus were paid less than men.

Google has vehemently denied that it discriminates against women, publicly claiming it has closed its gender pay gap globally. In a Sunday blog post, Google said it was “pleased” with the decision and would comply with the order, providing the “much more limited data set of information”.

discrimination and sexism in recent months, including Tesla, Palantir, Oracle and smaller startups across Silicon Valley.

Employment law covers many aspects of an employee’s relationship with an employer. Employment laws exist to protect employees from being discriminated against or harassed in the workplace. Our Florida Employment Lawyers at Whittel & Melton can help you determine if you have a legal claim against your employer and walk you through the proper steps to take.

Every employment law case is different and involves a unique set of facts. The laws are complicated, requiring a careful in-depth review to determine if you have a valid claim.

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On Friday the U.S. Labor Department defended its authority to use salary levels to decide who was eligible for overtime pay.

Under U.S. President Donald Trump, the Labor Department has continued to fight a challenge to an Obama administration-era rule to raise the pay threshold for overtime eligibility.

The Labor Department told a federal appeals court on Friday it had the power to use salaries to set thresholds for mandatory overtime pay, without advocating for the $47,500 maximum salary level set by the department under Obama.

The Labor Department is challenging a November decision from a federal judge in Texas that blocked the Obama rule, a decision that the department said could prevent it from setting a new threshold below that set by the Obama administration.

The Obama rule was expected to extend overtime pay eligibility to more than 4 million salaried workers. Nevada and 20 other states sued last year to block the rule.

Business groups criticized the increase as too drastic and costly, potentially forcing employers to convert salaried workers to hourly wages.

Trump’s Labor Secretary R. Alexander Acosta said during his confirmation hearing in March that the correct threshold might be around $33,000. The Labor Department took initial steps earlier this week to begin developing a new threshold.

In its Friday brief to the New Orleans-based 5th U.S Circuit Court of Appeals, the Labor Department made it clear it did not support the salary threshold developed under Obama. The department then told the court it was “reluctant” to move forward with the rulemaking necessary to set a new threshold as long as its authority was in question.

Nevada and the other states have said that the use of a salary threshold to determine overtime eligibility has been controversial for decades, but appeals courts allowed it because it had been set low enough to exempt management workers.

According to the states,  the Obama administration rule is far more drastic, expanding overtime pay to tens of thousands of state employees.

Under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), most employees must be paid at least minimum wage for regular work hours and receive overtime pay when total weekly hours reach more than 40. The state of Florida follows the overtime rules of the FLSA, time and one half regular pay rate for all hours worked in excess of 40 in a regular work week. Overtime can be calculated by taking your regular rate of pay and multiplying it by 1.5.

As it stands currently, job titles do not determine eligibility for overtime pay. Wages, duties and occupations decipher whether one can be paid overtime. Right now, any employee that makes a yearly salary of less than $23,600 can be awarded overtime pay. Non-management employees performing manual labor or repair, secretarial, kitchen or clerical work are usually entitled to collecting overtime pay. With several exceptions, all hourly paid employees should be entitled to overtime. Most commission-based workers can be awarded overtime as well. Salaried employees that earn less than $455 per week are entitled to overtime. Salaried employees that earn more than $455 per workweek can receive overtime unless their job duties earn them exemption like executive, professional, administrative, outside sales or computer-related occupations.

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A Hallandale Beach man alleges he was not paid a bonus upon a completion of a project as promised.

The man filed a complaint on June 13 in the 17th Judicial Circuit Court of Florida – Broward County against the construction company alleging breach of contract.

According to the complaint, the man worked for the construction company from January to December 2016. The suit states he was assigned to a project in Jensen Beach and was promised a 20 percent bonus of his salary upon its completion, or $19,000.

The man holds the construction company responsible because they allegedly failed to honor their obligation and pay for the extra compensation upon completion of the project.

The man is seeking damages and unpaid wages, plus costs of suit, attorney’s fees and further relief as the court may deem just.

Florida employers often promise their employees a bonus as a way of motivating them to work harder or to create additional incentives that benefit the employer.

There are two types of bonuses: discretionary and non-discretionary. A discretionary bonus is basically a gift, where the employee’s performance is not a factor. A common example of this is a Christmas bonus. In most cases, an employee has no legal right to recover a discretionary bonus.

A non-discretionary bonus is tied to an employee’s performance, and once that condition is met or satisfied, the employee is entitled to that bonus. If you have been denied a non-discretionary bonus, and you have satisfied the terms, you may have a legal right to take action against your employer.

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A federal judge has ruled that a lawsuit accusing the NFL and team owners of conspiring to suppress wages for cheerleaders lacks evidence to support that claim.

U.S. District Judge William Alsup dismissed the lawsuit by a former San Francisco 49ers cheerleader. The lawsuit sought class action status on behalf of all NFL cheerleaders.

The lawsuit was among a spate of legal actions in recent years accusing NFL teams of failing to pay cheerleaders for hours they spent practicing and making public appearances.

California legislation signed by Gov. Jerry Brown two years ago requires cheerleaders receive at least minimum wage and overtime and sick leave if they work for professional sports teams based in California.

The lawsuit before Alsup claimed that cheerleaders received only a flat, per-game fee. It also said the NFL and its teams conspired to prohibit cheerleaders from seeking employment with other professional cheerleading teams and from discussing their earnings with each other.

Alsup said he would expect at least some evidence to support a conspiracy on the scale alleged in the lawsuit — possibly a former NFL employee coming forward to “provide the details of ‘who, did what, to whom (or with whom), where, and when’ regarding some actual conspiratorial meeting, communication or agreement.”

The lawsuit, instead, alleges similar policies for cheerleaders among NFL teams, Alsup said. The judge said those policies could just as easily have been implemented by each team independently.

This case is certainly interesting. The cheerleaders allegedly only made about $100 per game and, in many cases, were not paid for mandatory public events or rehearsal time. In stark contrast, NFL players collectively earned $6.4 billion last year while NFL team mascots annually make between $25,000 and $60,000, often with benefits.

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A $7.5 million class action settlement between Wal-Mart and a former employee who challenged the retail chain’s lack of health insurance benefits for her same-sex spouse was approved by a federal judge on Monday.

The settlement will pay for claims by current and former Wal-Mart associates in the U.S. and Puerto Rico that they were unable to obtain health insurance for their same-sex spouses from 2011 to 2013. About 380 claims have been submitted.

U.S. District Judge William Young approved the settlement after a brief hearing in federal court in Boston.

The lawsuit was filed in 2015 by a Wal-Mart associate from Massachusetts who said the company denied medical insurance for her wife. Bentonville, Arkansas-based Wal-Mart Stores Inc. began offering benefits for same-sex spouses in 2014.

The female associate, whose wife died of ovarian cancer in 2016, said she was pleased Walmart was willing to resolve the issue for her and other associates who are married to someone of the same sex.

Under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, it is illegal for an employer to discriminate against an employee on the basis of race, age, sex, religion, and/or national origin. For this specific case, attorneys argued that Wal-Mart violated Title VII when they refused to offer spousal health benefits because the associate and her spouse were of the same sex.  

Our Florida Discrimination Lawyers at Whittel & Melton are strong advocates for LGBT employees. We firmly believe that all employees should be treated fairly in the workplace. We are committed to making sure justice is obtained when any employee’s rights are violated.

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Baylor University is requesting a lawsuit filed by a former employee who was fired amid a student’s sexual assault controversy to be thrown out.

The private Christian college filed the motion for the dismissal of the plaintiff’s Title IX lawsuit against the school on March 27 in the Waco Division of the Western District of Texas.

The plaintiff is Baylor’s former assistant vice president for student financial aid. She was fired after reinstating a student’s scholarship after he was kicked off the football team following a sexual assault accusation. According to court documents, she claims she was fired in retaliation for reinstating his scholarship.

The student in the case had failed to mention on his college application that he had been involved in an alleged sexual harassment case at his previous university. In May 2016, an alleged victim had reported him to a Baylor police officer for sexual assault, although he claimed the sexual acts were consensual.

The athletic department, the Office of General Counsel and a faculty athletic representative then decided to release him from the team. His scholarship was rescinded, and he was advised to appeal the rescission.

Baylor states in court documents that the woman’s lawsuit needs to be thrown out because her story is “pure fiction.” Her complaint is based on Baylor supposedly violating Title IX, which prohibits recipients of federal education funding from retaliating against a person who spoke against sex discrimination. But Baylor says reinstating a scholarship is not a form of “speaking out.”

The university states that although the woman has no personal knowledge of the player’s alleged sexual assault incident, she portrays the former student as innocent of his accusations. Baylor also says the woman is wrong about its senior vice president and chief operating officer being involved in the dismissal of both her and the student and has presented no facts to prove otherwise.

The woman chaired a committee that decided on reinstating the student’s scholarship. The hearing did not rely on the sexual assault case since it was still under investigation. Instead, the appeal hearing relied on his withholding of information on his application.

It was determined that he was not dishonest about his previous case, so he was granted the opportunity to continue attending Baylor on a full scholarship, although he did not return.

The woman, who had held her position at Baylor since December 2014, alleged that soon after reinstating the player’s scholarship, her supervisor started criticizing her work performance. On Sept. 29, she put the woman on a 30-day performance improvement plan. A month later, she was informed she was fired.

The plaintiff claims that the Senior Vice President and Chief Operating Officer at Baylor became angry with her for granting the student his scholarship, and that her work performance had not been put into question up until that point.

Baylor has been sued by 14 women under Title IX since May. The school has settled with three women who claimed they were sexually assaulted by Baylor football players.

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There has been quite the debate over how much a South Carolina stripper should be compensated after being shot while on the job.

Last week the state’s highest court ordered a new hearing in the woman’s case.

The decision comes two years after Supreme Court justices ruled that the woman was an employee of the club, not an independent contractor, a determination that meant she was entitled to workers’ compensation benefits.

The woman was working as an exotic dancer at the Boom Boom Room Studio 54 in Columbia in 2008 when a stray bullet struck her in the abdomen during a fight. According to court records, she suffered internal injuries, resulting in the loss of a kidney.

The club had argued that the woman was simply a contractor and wasn’t on its books as an employee. But, the court found in its initial ruling, the club chose the woman’s dance music, required her to perform dances for certain customers, and barred her from leaving work early without risk of a fine.

In that 2015 ruling, the high court left it to the Workers’ Compensation Commission to determine how much of a benefit the woman should receive, an award ultimately set at $75 a week. The panel, according to justices, provided no documentation for how it arrived at that amount.

The court pointed out it wasn’t saying the amount had been too low or too high but rather that the commission’s order “was devoid of any specific and detailed findings of fact to substantiate the award.”

If you have been injured on the job in Florida, you are entitled to workers compensation benefits. Workers compensation claims cover all types of injuries, including:

  • Broken bones
  • Back injuries
  • Knee problems
  • Wrist injuries including carpal tunnel syndrome
  • Heart attacks
  • Burns
  • Shoulder pain
  • Neck pain
  • Shootings
  • Work-related death

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Boeing and Airbus Group tooling supplier Electroimpact have been fined $485,000 after an investigation yielded it had a discriminatory hiring policy.

Boeing and Airbus use Electroimpact robotic machines throughout their jetliner factories, including to help make wings for their top-selling 737 and A320 single-aisle aircraft.

An investigation found evidence that Electroimpact and its founder refused to hire Muslim applicants and “engaged in religious and/or national origin harassment.”

Electroimpact founder Peter Zieve had the primary responsibility for screening applicants and conducting final interviews, according to reports.

About 95% of Electroimpact’s 474 engineers are white, the statement said, citing a report to the U.S. Department of Labor.

Electroimpact said that it did not conform to the personal views of its founder and that Zieve was no longer involved in the company’s hiring process.

Boeing plans to use Electroimpact machines to help make wings for its forthcoming twin-aisle 777X aircraft.

Other Electroimpact equipment is also used in construction and assembly of Boeing’s 787 Dreamliner carbon fiber composite fuselage sections.

Airbus in a statement noted the diversity of its team around the world and said it values the benefits that different cultures bring.

Despite federal and state laws put in place against discrimination based on religion or national origin, it still happens everyday in workplaces across the United States. The law makes it crystal clear that there is no legitimate excuse for discriminating based on religion or national origin. Our Florida Discrimination Lawyers at Whittel & Meton proudly help victims of someone else’s biases and prejudices in the workplace. If you are involved in such a situation, we can help you bring a claim against your employer to pursue financial compensation.

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The Walt Disney Co. has agreed to pay $3.8 million in back wages to Florida workers for violating minimum wage and overtime laws as part of an agreement with the U.S. Department of Labor.

The federal agency said last month that the back wages will be paid to more than 16,000 workers at the Disney Vacation Club Management Corp. and Walt Disney Parks and Resorts in Florida.

The department’s Wage and Hour Division says Disney deducted uniform expenses that caused some workers’ hourly wages to fall below the federal minimum wage.

The division also says Disney didn’t pay workers for duties performed before their shifts started and after their shifts ended.

The agency says Disney cooperated with their investigation.

By law, employees must be rightfully compensated for the services and labor they provide to an employer. Even salaried workers may be entitled to overtime pay, depending on the circumstances. Our Florida Unpaid Wage & Overtime Lawyers at Whittel & Melton can help you understand if you can collect any wages that you believe are owed to you.

We can help if you are seeking back pay for any of the following:

  • Illegal wage deductions
  • Violation of minimum wage laws
  • Unpaid overtime, bonuses, and tips
  • Delay in paychecks

When it comes to unpaid wages, it is best to keep a detail record of what your employer owes you. Your employer should keep their own records of hours employees worked and their wages. If your employer cannot provide these records to dispute your claims, then a court is more likely to side with the employee.

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Fox News star Bill O’Reilly and the network have paid out some $13 million to five women over the past 15 years to settle a series of harassment allegations against the opinionated host, according to the New York Times.

The settlements, three of which had been previously undisclosed, were in exchange for the women’s agreement not to sue the company.

O’Reilly – the top-rated attraction on cable news for many years – generated headlines in 2004 for his dispute with Andrea Mackris, who alleged that he had harassed her repeatedly while she was a producer of his program “The O’Reilly Factor.” Mackris settled her claims for a reported payout of $9 million in 2004.

In January of this year, O’Reilly settled another harassment claim, lodged by former Fox News presenter Juliet Huddy, for an undisclosed sum.

The Times found three other complaints and payouts involving O’Reilly, dating back to 2002.

Fox settled two of them, and O’Reilly privately settled a third in 2011. The latter agreement was so secret that 21st Century Fox was unaware of it until last year, the paper said.

Fox hasn’t said whether O’Reilly was ever disciplined as a result of the allegations.

O’Reilly’s statement, posted on his website, said:

Just like other prominent and controversial people, I’m vulnerable to lawsuits from individuals who want me to pay them to avoid negative publicity. In my more than 20 years at Fox News Channel, no one has ever filed a complaint about me with the Human Resources Department, even on the anonymous hotline. But most importantly, I’m a father who cares deeply for my children and who would do anything to avoid hurting them in any way. And so I have put to rest any controversies to spare my children. Those of us in the arena are constantly at risk, as are our families and children. My primary efforts will continue to be to put forth an honest TV program and to protect those close to me.

O’Reilly and Fox continue to face allegations by former Fox personality Andrea Tantaros, who claimed, in a lawsuit filed last summer, that O’Reilly sexually harassed her.

Sexual harassment in the workplace is illegal. Sadly, many employees fear taking because they are afraid of losing their much-needed jobs. Sexual harassment needs to be reported, though. In many cases, the harassment can escalate quickly and lead to a hostile work environment. When it gets to this point, you are unable to do your job and earn your living.

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