Law Office of Joshua Y. Lee handles pre-litigation and litigation matters regarding personal injury and employment law in the state of California. To protect our clients’ privacy and exercising an abundance of caution to adhere to the terms of certain agreements, we are not using real names of parties or their counsel in some of the posted matters on our site. These are all real cases our office has resolved or have worked as co-counsel with another firm to successful resolution. There are many ongoing cases and others that did not make this list. It would be impossible to update this case with all of our matters. Instead, we have selected representative cases of the most common and relevant type of cases we handle most often. Our office has handled matters including meal & rest breaks, overtime, misclassification of independent contractor or exempt v non-exempt employee, Private Attorney General Act (PAGA) and class actions (with co-counsel), sexual harassment, disability discrimination, pregnancy discrimination, race discrimination, FMLA/CFRA family bonding time, discrimination, retaliation and wrongful termination against public policy and auto accident and slip and fall premise liability matters against all of the major carriers, burns and dental malpractice matters. We have dealt with some of the largest global multinational firms like Littler Mendelson, Jones Day, Jackson Lewis, Ogletree Deakins, Paul Hastings, Fisher Phillips, Sheppard Mullin, and others. In no way does this post constitute advertising, solicitation, or any promise or guarantee for results. Every matter is unique and the facts of each individual case must be analyzed separately.
I. Are truck drivers who sign an “independent contractor” agreement who also own their trucks or lease them from the employer, pay for their own expenses, fuel, and repairs, misclassified “employees” with all the applicable rights under the law?
*Recovered $2.5 Million in a class action
Client: Truck Driver A (truck owner) and Truck Driver B (truck lessee)
Defendant: Fortune 100 global multinational corporation.
Jurisdiction: Los Angeles Superior Court.
The Law: Various wage and hour issues such as Failure to pay Overtime, Missed Meal and Rest Breaks, Failure to Reimburse Business Expenses, Private Attorney General’s Act, Willful misclassification, and Disability Discrimination, and Retaliation, failure to accommodate.
Conclusion: After two years of litigation, an agreement was finally reached to settle as a class action for roughly 160 truck drivers (both A) owners and B) lessees). The agreement was reached 4 weeks after mediation with Jeff Krivis for a healthy $2,500,000.00.
Our office co-counseled in representing Truck Driver A at first for a single wage and hour issue which later ballooned into a class action and FEHA claims for disability discrimination. Pedersen Law, APC led the litigation efforts, Jackson Law APC led the final steps towards settlement, and Law Office of Joshua Y. Lee was co-counsel every step of the way. Harlene Miller, Esq., also became involved to assist with bankruptcy issues for Truck Driver A which impacted the matter. This was a complex case involving individual wage and hour issues, individual discrimination issues under the FEHA for disability leave and associated retaliation, PAGA, and bankruptcy issues. Truck Driver A represented those who had “owned” their trucks while Truck Driver B represented those who “leased” them from the defendant (Company X) in a class action settlement. Company X transitioned their name after litigation commenced. The final outcome came about due to expert mediation, plaintiff’s team putting forth strong credible evidence.
II. Does the employer owe wages for an employee who failed to submit his timesheets accounting for those over-time hours (OT) he claims were worked?
*Recovered $195,000 individual wage and hour claim.
Client: Engineer TD.
Defendant: Global Fortune 500 IT Company.
Jurisdiction: Orange County Superior Court.
The Law: California Labor Code §§ 510, 1194 and 1198; IWC Wage Order 4 Section 3 failure to pay overtime, and associated claims for wage statements and final paycheck.
Conclusion: A $195,000 settlement in mediation and favorable non-monetary terms. The employer is required to pay for all wages “it knew or should have known” were worked.
Law Office of Joshua Y. Lee started this matter and associated in Pedersen Law, APC to successful resolution. Client worked for IT company in the same department in the same position for 33 years. When he started, he was one of three and in the last 10 years he maintained this 24/7 department alone. When it was a 3 person staff, they rotated and backed each other up. However, in the last 10 years, he went at it alone. Despite that fact, his timecards only showed that he worked 40 hours M-F and about 12 hours of overtime Saturdays and Sundays. We alleged the employer knew or should have known our Client worked at least an additional 40 hours of unpaid overtime M-F that was not compensated, despite the fact he did not clock in on his timesheets.
After much negotiation, defense finally conceded our Client did work over-time hours that were not compensated and the fact he did not clock-in during the week was not by itself sufficient excuse not to pay him what was owed. Although the deal came extremely close to falling through, the parties eventually did come to an agreement weeks after mediation.
III. Can the employer be held responsible for sexual harassment even if the plaintiff was not the target of the unwanted sexual behavior?
*Recovered $101,000 and recommendation letter.
Client: A professional Jane Doe.
Defendant: Utility company.
Jurisdiction: Orange County Superior Court.
The Law: The Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) violations – Sexual harassment and retaliation and also Wrongful Termination against Public Policy.
Conclusion: Negotiated a six figure severance and very detailed and favorable non-monetary terms including a recommendation letter. To be a victim of sexual harassment does not require that the harasser has “sexual interest in” or “attraction” directed towards the plaintiff.
Law Office of Joshua Y. Lee handled this matter directly from start to finish. After working 13 years in progressively senior roles within the same company, our Client was abruptly wrongfully terminated with the pretextual reason of insubordination and poor performance.
In the past year, she had submitted numerous complaints to HR of sexual harassment allegedly committed by her boss which also involved his outspoken secretary. Inexplicably, HR failed to investigate any of those complaints. During this time, our client was demoted, responsibilities stripped from her, her title changed, and for the first time in her career, received a negative performance review which ultimately led to her termination. In the totality of her 13 years with the company, she has had no negative remarks, except and until the incident around the time she began to complain about sexual harassment.
Ultimately our client settled for a nice package including over $100,000.00 severance pay as well as favorable non-monetary benefits. The settlement included extended health benefits not typically found in settlement nor severance agreements, and something even more rare and what our client specifically wanted, a favorable recommendation letter from a company executive.
IV. Is it illegal to terminate someone on pregnancy leave if the reason given is “elimination of the position”?
Client: A pregnant administrative assistant Jane Doe.
Defendant: Medical clinic/doctor’s office.
Jurisdiction: Orange County Superior Court.
The Law: The Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) violations – Pregnancy discrimination, retaliation, and wrongful termination against Public Policy with missed break violations under California labor code.
Conclusion: More than two year’s wages. Pretextual firing is illegal when the evidence proves a discriminatory motive and no other reasonable justification for the termination.
Law Office of Joshua Y. Lee handled this matter from start to finish to successful resolution. The client called our office and we successfully led the efforts to a quick and sizable resolution. Our client worked as a Medical assistant earning $16 per hour, 40 hours per week, for roughly one year at this medical clinic under the supervision of several physicians. She was a good employee, proficient with her duties, and a pleasure to work with by all objective and subjective accounts. Having met with her, we found her extremely easy to work with and a fantastic witness. We initially found that the employer never allowed her 10-minute rest breaks in violation of Labor Code 226.7.
Several months into her employment, our client discovered she was pregnant. She informed her employer and gave 30-days advance notice of her first doctor’s visit. Since that time, she endured frequent inquiry and harassment for no apparent reason other then to intimidate her into not taking authorized pregnancy leave. The questions became so invasive into her privacy that it created a persistent, pervasive, and severe and systematic atmosphere of harassment in the workplace.
Eventually, she was told that purportedly due to restructuring, her position would be eliminated in 30 days. After hearing this notice, she went to her previously scheduled and approved doctor’s visit, and was promptly terminated upon her return (many weeks earlier than the 30 days she was already told).
We took on the case and made sure we advocated for her to the fullest. Her former employer tendered it to their carrier who hired a national multi-location firm with over a dozen attorneys. Ultimately the parties came to an agreement and resolved the dispute giving our Client more than she anticipated.
V. Can you recover for injuries if the person who rear ended you has no car insurance and the driver of the car you are in also has no insurance? Normally no. In this case, yes.
Clients: Passengers in a multi-car auto accident.
Defendant: Joint with independent contractor drivers and Uber.
Jurisdiction: Orange County Superior Court.
The Law: Torts / Personal injury.
Conclusion: Settlements over $267,000.00 in addition to car repair and all medical bills paid.
Law Office of Joshua Y. Lee successfully handled this injury case from start to finish despite defendants repeatedly deny liability due to lapse in insurance coverage by the Uber driver. The clients were in two separate Uber vehicles who were hit by a drunk driver without insurance. They came to our office and we handled it to successful resolution. Two Uber vehicles were stopped at a red light behind one another when a drunk driver rammed his Ford truck into a third vehicle behind both of them which then caused a chain reaction resulting in a 4 car collision. The drunk driver readily admitted he was drunk and that he didn’t have a license to the police officer filing the report. We experienced significant hurdles with this case.
Hurdle #1. The drunk driver who caused the accident had no insurance.
Hurdle #2. The driver of the Uber vehicle where our clients were passengers let his own personal insurance also lapse.
Hurdle #3. Pursuant to Uber policy, where the Uber driver’s personal insurance lapses, Uber’s insurance is not effective.
Hurdle #4. Uber initially rejected our claim for recovery.
Despite the obstacles and hoops we had to jump through, we eventually got Uber’s carrier to accept responsibility and pay under its uninsured motorist provision. After two years, our office eventually settled for a total of a little over $267,000.00 which covered all medical bills and gave our clients an amount they were happy with for their pain and suffering. We reduced some of our fees so that a larger share could be given to our clients.
VI. If you are an employer who terminates a long term problem employee with a history of poor performance, can you still be held liable for discrimination if they are on FMLA at the time of termination?
Client: Defended; good guy small engineering company employer.
Plaintiff: Disgruntled problem ex-employee.
The Law: Allegations of disability discrimination, retaliation under the FEHA and wrongful termination against public policy.
Conclusion: Defended small employer. Settled for a small 5 figure fraction of the original near six figure demand by the plaintiff’s attorney, saving many tens of thousands and perhaps much more and countless hours and possibly years in litigation.
The plaintiff was a long term employee who was terminated and thereafter alleged that she had been retaliated against due to her ongoing purported medical issues which led to her taking approved leave. The plaintiff had been an employee for 17 years. She had been promoted once from accounting to Accounting Manager (although there was no employees reporting to her). She had taken leave that amounted to several months requiring the employer to hire a temp. The temp performed so well she was eventually hired on full-time and the plaintiff was terminated in a letter specifically citing her poor performance in recent years, excessive absenteeism, tardiness, and leave without notice. Plaintiff hired a well known employment attorney who sent a demand for settlement. The employer called our office for help and upon review of the facts, decided to represent him and take on the case.
Although much of the facts were in dispute, Plaintiff was eventually terminated after her second “return to work date” had lapsed again and had called in days later than expected with a text message stating she had a doctor’s note. Plaintiff had dozens of documented disputes with coworkers and vendors who had officially filed complaints against the Plaintiff, and her insubordination defying direct orders. However, employer made the mistake of having a soft heart, as the Plaintiff had recently lost her husband and he did not want to further traumatize her during that time of deep personal suffering. As such employer did not terminate Plaintiff for prior misconduct. Our point was that this is one of the good guys and it would be immoral and unjust to punish him for his compassion and to twist the law to make him liable for nothing short of a good deed. We also had evidence, Plaintiff was perpetually months behind in her work. Plaintiff often complained that there was too much work and that she needed to hire support staff. Client repeatedly offered to go to a temp agency but plaintiff insisted on hiring her daughter, which she did on two occasions without consent or approval and specifically against a direct order. There was also a calendar, which the plaintiff herself maintained in her own hand writing, that indicated many unexcused absences, lates, and early leaves that were not approved and unrelated to any legitimate medical or business purpose or authorized leave.
During the time of Plaintiff’s leave of absence, which was extended at least two times, Client had to hire a temp. The temp performed exceptionally well, only confirming for our Client his suspicions that Plaintiff had long been underperforming and taking advantage of his kindness. The temp cleaned up Plaintiff’s office and was fully caught up on all work, even asking for more work, by just the 3rd week on the job. Our Client then terminated the Plaintiff which caused her to seek counsel to threaten action.
Our Client wisely and happily settled for a very small fraction of what was originally demanded, saving countless hours and tens of thousands in legal fees and also allowing him to focus on growing his business with this new better employee.
VII. An employer terminates an employee after only 1 week and gets sued for gender / sex discrimination.
Client: Another Small business owner with two locations who closed one location down for legitimate business reasons got sued.
Plaintiff: Disgruntled ex-employee who could not find a job for 2 years after termination.
The Law: Allegations of sex/gender discrimination in violation of the Fair Employment and Housing Act and wrongful termination against public policy.
Conclusion: Defended small employer settled for a pennies on the dollar for a four figure number short of the big five figure demand by the plaintiff’s attorney, saving many tens of thousands in litigation expenses and wasted time.
The plaintiff was hired as a part-time retail assistant. She was then fired within a week due to some personal issues the employer had with his spouse as well as significant business problems that caused him to close down his shop in about a month of employee’s termination.
The business issues included the fact that Client was already contemplating closing the store because it was not making enough money and he could not find a suitable manager to run the store. He found himself earning roughly the same amount working part-time in two locations with twice the overhead, headaches, and issues as he would have working full-time in just one location. Ultimately, it was the logical decision to close down the store. Employee was hence terminated and the store ultimately closed.
After termination, plaintiff hired counsel. Ultimately, we were confident the substantial factor for her termination was a legitimate business reason.
Considering the evidence, our Client wisely and happily settled for a very small fraction of what was originally demanded and plaintiff likewise accepted the four figure settlement instead of pursuing a frivolous claim.
VIII. Client was a 30 year employee dedicated and hard working, multiple positive reviews and known as a well liked person. Client begins cancer treatment and after a while is terminated allegedly for fear he would not be able to do the physically demanding work with or without an accommodation.
Client: Wrongfully Terminated ex-employee
Defendant: Mid-sized industrial company
The Law: Disability discrimination against the Fair Employment and Housing Act and wrongful termination against public policy.
Conclusion: Disability settlement in the amount of Six Figures in addition to favorable severance and also employee records statements.
Law Office of Joshua Y. Lee successfully handled this matter from start to finish giving our client exactly what he wanted. He has since moved on with his life and is in good health considering his medical condition.
IX. Additional matters resolved in 2021:
- Disability discrimination and wrongful termination $130,000.
- Race discrimination and wrongful termination even though Plaintiff found a new job right away $130,000.
- Individual missed meal and rest breaks and unpaid overtime against a trucking company for $75,000.
- $100,000 Policy Limit for auto-accident injury involving a DUI.
- $50,000 Policy limit settlement on behalf of a motorcyclist in a low speed parking lot incident.
All conversations are strictly confidential and we offer free consultations for some matters.
1440 N. Harbor Blvd. Suite 900 (9th floor)
Fullerton, CA 92835
Tel: (714) 616-4466
Fax: (714) 459-7037
Tel: (714) 369-7381
Fax: (714) 459-7037
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