Employment Law

In most employment situations, the employer is in a position of power over the employees of the business. However, laws exist to prevent employees from being taken advantage of by employers and to protect workers from unfair payment practices.

Wrongful Termination & Discrimination

Many employers make a point of telling their workers that California is an “at-will” employment state, and that employers may terminate employees for any reason at any time. However, it is against the law for employers to terminate employees for discriminatory reasons.

Under California’s Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA), it is unlawful for employers who employ five or more employees to terminate employees based on an employee’s:

  • physical or mental disability,
  • medical condition,
  • pregnancy,
  • gender,
  • sexual orientation,
  • race,
  • religion,
  • marital status,
  • age,
  • color,
  • national origin or ancestry.   (Cal. Gov. C. §12940).

Employers will rarely admit that they fired an employee for an unlawful reason, and may even create a “paper trail” of written warnings or disciplinary action to disguise their unlawful motives for firing an employee.

If you believe you may have been wrongfully terminated, call us now at (714)442-1551 for a free consultation.

Duty to Engage in a Good Faith Interactive Process

Employers have a duty to engage in a good faith interactive process with employees with disabilities to explore potential accommodations. Failure to engage in a good faith interactive process is a standalone cause of action under California law.

Duty to Provide a Reasonable Accommodation

Employers have a duty to provide a reasonable accommodation for the known physical or mental disability of an employee. Potential accommodations may include job restructuring, part-time or modified work schedule, reassignment, modification of work equipment, or providing an employee unpaid leave for treatment or recovery.

If your employer or former employer disregarded your request for reasonable accommodation or failed to provide a reasonable accommodation for you, call us now at (714)442-1551 for a free consultation.

Harassment

California law protects employees against harassment and imposes a duty on employers to take all reasonable steps necessary to prevent their employees from being harassed.

Such harassment may be in the form of sexual harassment, or unwanted sexual advances, or may consist of harassment based on a protected class, including physical or mental disability, medical condition, race or color, religion, national origin, marital status, age, or sexual orientation.

If you believe you have been harassed at work, call us now at (714)442-1551 for a free consultation.

Wage & Hour

California and federal laws exist to protect employees from unfair payment practices. These laws are numerous and can be confusing, and many employers continue to fail to abide by them, at the expense of workers.

Minimum Wage

An employer must pay employees at least minimum wage. The minimum wage in California as of January 1, 2017 is $10 per hour for employers with 25 employees or less, and $10.50 per hour for employers with 26 or more employees. In Los Angeles, minimum wage is $10.50 per hour for employers with 25 employees or less, and $12 per hour for employers with 26 or more employees.

Overtime Pay

Pursuant to Labor Code §510(a): “Any work in excess of eight hours in one workday and any work in excess of 40 hours in any one workweek and the first eight hours worked on the seventh day of work in any one workweek shall be compensated at the rate of no less than one and one-half times the regular rate of pay for an employee.”

If you are working more than eight hours a day, or more than 40 hours a week, you may be entitled to overtime pay. Call us now at (714)442-1551 for a free consultation.

Meal Periods

Pursuant to Labor Code §512 “An employer may not employ an employee for a work period of more than five hours per day without providing the employee with a meal period of not less than 30 minutes…” Additionally, “[a]n employer may not employ an employee for a work period of more than 10 hours per day without providing the employee with a second meal period of not less than 30 minutes”. Id.

Section 11(B) of the IWC Wage Orders(s) provides that “if an employer fails to provide an employee a meal period in accordance with the applicable provision of this order, the employer shall pay the employee one (1) hour of pay at the employee’s regular rate of compensation for each workday that the meal period is not provided.”

If your employer has failed to provide you with requisite meal periods, you may be entitled to compensation due to such failure.

Rest Periods

Pursuant to Section 12(A) of the IWC Wage Order(s), “Every employer shall authorize and permit all employees to take rest periods, which insofar as practicable shall be in the middle of each work period.   The authorized rest period time shall be based on the total hours worked daily at the rate of ten (10) minutes net rest time per four (4) hours or major fraction thereof.”

“If an employer fails to provide an employee a rest period in accordance with the applicable provisions of this order, the employer shall pay the employee one (1) hour of pay at the employee’s regular rate of compensation for each workday that the rest period is not provided.” See IWC Wage Order(s) Section 12(B).

If your employer has failed to provide you with requisite rest breaks, you may be entitled to compensation due to such failure.

Wage Statements

Labor Code section 226(a) sets forth a reporting requirement for employer when they pay wages. Employers are required to provide employees with wage statements that include certain required information, including gross wages earned, total hours worked by the employee, net wages earned, the name and address of the legal entity that is the employer, all applicable hourly rates in effect during the pay period and the corresponding numbers of hours worked at each hourly rate by the employee.

There are monetary penalties for employers who fail to abide by these laws.

Paying Wages Due Upon Employment Ending

Pursuant to Labor Code § 203, an employer must pay an employee all wages due upon termination or separation. If an employer fails to pay an employee all wages due when the employment relationship ends, the employer is liable to pay the employee wages at the same rate for up to thirty days.

Time Limits

Employment law claims have time limits, or statutes of limitations, for filing. If you wait too long to pursue an employment law claim, your claim may be barred by the applicable statute of limitations.

If you think you may have been wronged by your employer, call us now at (714)442-1551 for a free consultation.