A battery of news articles came out last week about the increasing number of young people who live with their parents. The data claims that in 2012, 21.6 million millennials lived with their parents in the United States. This figure is up from 18,500,000 million in 2011.
Overall, U.S. statistics of how many young people live with their family have only risen 4% since 1968. What can be said about the statistics is the figure was lowest around 1974, having continually dropped since 1968 perhaps due to increased college attendance including those who sought to dodge the Vietnam draft, men who were drafted, and the increasing rise of the middle class who became college educated. The other thing that can be said about these statistics is that beginning with the recession in the 1990s the number of young people living at home increased only slightly until 2006 when the numbers began to climb way up. Studies report that in 2007, 70% of the millennials held jobs. In 2012, only 63% did. What the study does not answer is whether the millennials were underemployed. Other probable theories may include the increase in foreign born parents from countries where it is common for multiple generations to live under one roof. Still other theories may include changing attitudes about marriage before birth, and the increasing number of unmarried females who have children. On a daily basis, being in direct contact with unemployed millennials, I have a few more opinions.
On Friday, at an all day mediation, I sat with a 23 year-old Ontario California woman who was sexually harassed by an assistant store manager, retaliated against, and ultimately wrongfully terminated from a full-time customer service job at a big-box store. After nine months of looking for work, after being wrongfully terminated, all she could find was a minimum wage, part-time job at a retailer. Part of her difficulty finding employment was attributed to her full-time college schedule. Eventually, her savings ran out and she had to move back into her parents home. I should mention that the apartment she lost, she shared with her boy-friend. The emotional damage of losing the home she hoped to start with her significant other was substantial. Having one’s own place to live gives them a feeling of independence, accomplishment, acceptance in the adult world whether or not that place is with a significant other who might one day become a spouse.
A few years ago, I tried a pregnancy discrimination case for a Bell, California woman in which my client’s pregnancy related medical conditions were not accommodated and she was wrongfully terminated due to those pregnancy related medical conditions. She too lost the apartment she shared with the father of the unborn child. The couple had to move into his parent’s home. The jury considered this loss and source of embarrassment to be significant and awarded my client $125,000 in emotional distress regardless of the fact she did not see a therapist over the issue of losing her apartment and having to move into the parents’ home of her significant.
Having to move back into one’s parents home due to a wrongful termination is most likely to cause a significant amount of emotional distress regardless of age, whether a baby is on the way, or a shared home with a significant other is broken up. This is an emotional damage that most can understand. Given the statistics about those who have had to move back home in the last twenty years, it appears that has been the case for at least a third of the United States population.
My other conclusions, as a result of my involvement in a massive number of labor disputes, on a daily basis, are two fold: 1) Finding the first job is difficult. It is difficult for inexperienced people to find work. Finding a second job after the first job ends in a situation that involves harassment, a failure to accommodate a medical condition, whistle blowing, or wrongful termination, is not easy. Regardless of whether the client sues, they will not get a good reference. I would almost say that their chance of getting a neutral reference is better if there has been a wrongful termination case in which the client was represented by the lawyer. Either a neutral, or a good reference might be negotiated, or at least the company will be very careful not to bad mouth the former employee and cause another employment related lawsuit. 2) The nature of part-time work has changed. Many national retailers have a policy of providing very limited part-time work, at least in the beginning. Lately, I have also seen a number of employment cases in which the employee who ultimately ends up having an employment case, due to some form of discrimination or ultimate wrongful termination, is given fewer and fewer hours in an attempt to get them to quit. I have also heard rumors that employers are scaling back on permitting part-time employees to have a significant number of hours due to fears that they will have to provide employee related health insurance (a very bad fall out from Obama Care). I am also sad to say the number of meal and rest break lawsuits, brought as class actions, have resulted in strange scheduling practices where part-time employees never work more than six hours a day, are forced to waive meal breaks, or do not even work five hours a day which is the threshold in California for an employee to work enough hours to receive a meal break. Doing business, operating on a large scale, and having employees does cost money. It is sad that many national employers have devised new ways of turning better profits at the expense of the labor market, and the convenience of their employee’s well being.
On a decent week, I screen approximately 60 new clients calls from employees from California employees. I screen at least 10 new clients calls from employees out of state. Some weeks, I receive more than 100 e-mails and calls from new clients who have employment problems. At this time, I am involved in approximately 200 employment lawsuits and workers compensation cases in California and a variety of other states. This has been true for the last few years. However, between 2008 and 2011, I screened at least 1,500 new client inquiries a month, on a nationwide basis, and significantly more than 500 in California. In order to provide personal representation of employees and do more employment case trials, I had to scale back. My involvement in labor and employment cases for the last twenty years has recently compelled me to act as a voice on labor issues.
Karl Gerber, Nationwide Employment Lawyer Reporting on Trends in the Labor Market Sunday, August 4, 2013.
Please feel free to contact me at 877-525-0700, or go to www.worklawyerca.com which will direct you to the other websites I maintain for the various geographies I practice in throughout California and even out of state.