Do You Have a Favoritism Situation, a Nepotism Case, or Discrimination?

nepOur office just received a call from an employee asking if it was legal for their boss to treat family members better than the other employees who work for them. This is a question that comes up regularly, and it is a valid question, because it involves an issue of basic fairness. Often, the caller describes a person who is related to the boss that does less work, gets more pay or gets a better schedule than the employees who are not related in these calls. The legal term here is nepotism. It means a family member is getting better treatment than the rest of the employees simply because they’re related to the boss or owner of the business. The truth is that unless you’re working for the government, and are covered under a Government Code Section, there are no specific laws preventing an employer from treating an employee better than the rest because they are related.
However, an employer could be breaking their own anti-nepotism policy. Such policies can often be found in an employee handbook. At times, union contracts forbid such treatment and require that things like preferred schedules or jobs be based upon seniority, or another neutral criteria. Sometimes, a breach of contract or breach of implied contract case can be the result of such a situation.
But, just because you don’t work for the government, have a contract or an anti-nepotism policy — that doesn’t mean you don’t have a case. Situations that look like nepotism can actually turn out to be a possible discrimination case. If you are being treated differently because of your gender, age, race, nationality or sexual orientation, you may have a violation of the law taking place. Such cases are generally fact specific and will require an interview with an experienced law office to determine what is happening.

Painkiller Maker Pays Massive Class Action Settlement in False Claims Case

321516A drug that may be a distant memory for users made headlines recently when a case against the manufacturer settled for more than $800 million recently. Although it hasn’t been on the market since 2004, the painkiller Vioxx is still making headlines and costing its maker millions of dollars.

The company pulled the pills from the market when it was determined it could increase stroke and heart attack risks in patients. The drug company agreed to resolve a class action lawsuit by paying $830 million to shareholders recently. The shareholders argued the drug maker made misleading statements about its safety while it was still being prescribed.

The drug was introduced in 1999. The lawsuits began in 2003. They were consolidated in a case under a New Jersey federal judge and the group was certified as a class – meaning it can proceed as one action on behalf of many different parties – in 2013.

Shareholders alleged the drug company knew of the safety risks before the drug reached the market, then tried to minimize risks as problems began to publicly emerge while the drug was still being prescribed. The drug company denied allegations in court documents. Part of the case went to the U.S. Supreme Court, where it was unanimously ruled that investors hadn’t waited too long to bring their cases.

The company also faced a list of product liability class action lawsuits alleging that patients suffered heart attacks or strokes due to the drugs, and that the company failed to warn them properly of the risks. Merck admitted no liability as part of the settlement.
The company also agreed to pay $950 million to resolve accusations by the U.S. Department of Justice and state governments alleging the company lied to governments about the drug safety, and marketed it for uses not covered by the approval of the Food and Drug Administration. Merck pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor for violating federal drug laws by promoting Vioxx for use in the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis before the FDA approved it to do so.

Class Actions

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Our Attorneys have handled well over a hundred class and representative actions representing consumers and employees. A Class Action is a lawsuit that allows the rights of a large number of people to be decided in one court action. See what requirements must be satisfied to bring a class action suit. A class action can be a means of making change. For example, if one person sues alone to allege they’ve been overcharged on bank fees, for example, then the bank can pay that person off and go right back to doing business as usual. However, if filed as a class action, the rights of a group of people are being defended, and it can sometimes be enough to make a company change their policies or method of doing business. In short, it can make a big company take notice and make meaningful change, in the way an individual suit cannot.

What is a Class Action?
A class action is a lawsuit that allows a large number of individual claims and the rights of a large number of people to be decided in one court action. Oftentimes, by combining many claims into a single class action suit, class members with relatively small claims can have their rights protected economically.
A class action plaintiff represents the interests of persons not before the court. As a result, not all potential class members must become parties to the lawsuit to have their rights decided. Typically, only a few representatives of the class actually appear in court.
In order to be certified as a class action, these general requirements should be satisfied:

  1. Numerous class members. There must be enough people to justify bringing the suit as a class, rather than having each person participate as a named plaintiff. Class actions have been brought with as few as 20 or 30 people and as many as millions.
  2. Common facts among the class members. There must be questions of law or facts common to the potential class members, meaning similar unlawful or unfair conduct by the defendants, such as violations of labor laws, failure to pay overtime compensation, etc.
  3. Similar claims or defenses. Each person in the class must be making allegations typical to the other class members. The plaintiffs must show that common questions predominate over individual questions. If there are a lot of individualized issues among the potential class members, a class action may not be the best way to proceed. The named class representatives will fairly and adequately protect the interests of the class members.
  4. The named Plaintiff must have similar claims as the potential class members. The attorneys representing the case must also be adequate, and must be no conflicts of interest in representing the potential class members.

Please look at our office Case History for some of the cases our Attorneys have handled.

Common Misconceptions about Class Actions

  1. A large group of plaintiffs is not required to put their names on the lawsuit before the suit is even filed. If you know that, for example, the baby formula that you received was contaminated, you don’t need to know a lot of other people in the situation by name and telephone number. It’s your lawyer’s job, during the discovery practice, to get that information. In short, if you were a victim of a common practice or event that happened to others, you may be all that is needed to represent a class.
  1. You don’t need to have suffered a large amount of damages to bring a class action lawsuit. Often, lawyers can’t take cases with a small amount of damages to court because the filing fees and other costs are worth more than what the victim has a chance to recover. Not so with class actions. Just because your damages are small doesn’t mean a recovery isn’t possible through a lawsuit when that suit is filed as a class action. One of the chief benefits of these suits is that they allow people who normally could not get a lawyer to take their case (especially without paying lawyers fees upfront) to get experienced representation.
  1. You don’t have to pay the lawyer’s fees for your case upfront if you want to bring a class action. There are typically two types of fee arraignments for lawyers, generally speaking:  contingency and those who charge upfront hourly fees and/or require retainers. Those with upfront fees can require a big check for thousands of dollars from their clients, out of which the lawyer takes his/her fees and costs as the case progresses, whether or not the client get results. Our office is a contingency fee office. That means we collect a share of what is recovered as part of the lawsuit. That means there are no upfront costs or fees for people who need legal help.

How do I know if I have a good case?
A lot of people who call our office just want to know if they have a good case or not. They don’t want to waste their precious time if there is no point. Because we are a contingency fee office, that means we’re investing in your case from the very beginning. We advance costs and filing fees, often amounting to thousands of dollars, on the belief that your case has merit. Because of our investment of time and money in your case, we are selective in filing a cases that we believe has a substantial chance of success. We only get paid if there is a positive result in the case. We only take select cases in the first place.

For a free consultation call 1-855-700-5678

FOR A FREE CASE EVALUATION CALL1-855-700-5678

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MichaelCarver

The Law Offices of Michael L. Carver is a California law firm handling a wide variety of legal issues, including class actions, unfair competition, unfair business practices, victims’ rights, discrimination and civil rights infringements. We represent clients in the California Courts, United States District Courts of California and the Federal Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. We have multiple office sites in California.

What Our Office Does

We fight for those who have had their constitutional and legal rights violated by corporate entities. We are a plaintiff’s law firm that prosecutes civil cases under the ADEA (age), the ADA (disability), Unruh Civil Rights Act, Business and Professions Code (fraud and unfair competition) and other civil rights statutes to vindicate you and your rights in state and federal court.

When your rights have been violated, you need strong representation. Our attorneys fight to protect your legal and constitutional rights violated by corporations engaging in unlawful practices.

Why Should you Call us?

We provide quality, professional representation for our clients at reasonable fees. With many years of hands-on experience handling business enterprises, we combine aggressive representation with a problem-solving approach to resolve legal issues. We believe in honestly informing our clients if we believe that litigation is not in their best interests. We work closely with our clients, so they are an integral part of their case.

This site provides general information about our law practice regarding civil rights, unfair business practices, victims’ rights and class action suits. Visit Practice Areas for general information about the areas of law in which we handle cases. Our site has been prepared using California and Federal law, and may generally answer many common questions regarding legal rights and remedies. However, in most cases, our website will not provide complete answers to your legal questions, because each person’s situation is different and there are numerous exceptions to every rule of law. The law is changed frequently by the legislature and is interpreted by the courts.

Experienced Attorney

To discuss your legal needs and how the law may apply to you, please contact our office for a free case evaluation: 1-855-700-5678

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Recent Developments:

 

The Scales of Justice, Old Bailey, London, Britain - May 2007Labor and Employment laws change frequently, either by changes in statutes, enactments of new statutes or interpretations by the Courts. For this reason, a personal consultation must be scheduled to adequately apprise our clients of important laws and cases which affect them. This page will briefly describe some of the recent developments in Labor and Employment Law.

 

Recent Discrimination Developments

Recent Employment Relations Developments

Recent Wage and Hour Developments

PRACTICE AREAS

California Reports

We represent clients in cases in the California Courts, the United States District Courts of California and the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeal. Mr. Carver is a member of the Butte County Bar Association, Los Angeles County Bar Association, Sacramento County Bar Association, and the California Employment Lawyers Association. We represent the victims of abuse and prosecute cases under state and federal civil rights laws, anti-discrimination laws, victims’ rights acts and unfair competition laws.

Our office handles cases in the following areas:

For a free consultation call 1-855-700-5678

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