Los Angeles California Employment Law Blog

What evidence could point to wrongful termination?

A termination is usually a bad experience for the person being terminated, but not all terminations qualify as wrongful terminations under the law. This is because California follows the employment-at-will rule, a rule that allows employers to terminate employees for any reason not forbidden by law or an employment contract. For example, while employers have broad discretion to fire employees, they may not fire them for a reason prohibited by equal employment opportunity law. These laws prohibit terminating an employee on account of their race, religion, sex, age, sexual orientation, gender identity, veteran status, pregnancy status or other disapproved reason.

What should an employee do if they suspect they were fired for one of these disapproved reasons? Employees can look to see if there is evidence that they were discharged for a prohibited reason. First, was there any direct evidence that the termination happened for a discriminatory reason? If so, this could be a strong case that a wrongful termination happened. Direct evidence could include a statement from an employer that the termination happened because of the prohibited reason.

What should I know about unpaid wages for overtime in California?

In California, many of workers are eligible to receive overtime if they go beyond their regular work hours. However, it is not uncommon for employers to fail to pay these workers and be guilty of committing a violation related to unpaid wages. Often, workers are not even aware that they were supposed to get overtime under the law. In other instances, they are concerned about their job status if they file a complaint over unpaid wages.

It is important for them to know that they have rights and are protected under the law. Understanding when they should get overtime is one of the most vital factors in taking the necessary steps to receive those wages. An employee who is 18 or older and is nonexempt or a minor employee who is 16 or 17 and is legally allowed to work and not attend school can work eight hours in a single workday and 40 hours in a workweek without getting overtime. If they work beyond those hours, they are entitled to overtime pay.

What are the rules regarding lunch breaks in California?

Many nutritionists say that lunch is the second most important meal of the day, and a lot of workers probably agree with this. Lunch, regardless of what time of day it is eaten, helps employees with performing for the rest of their working day as well as for the trip back home. Are employers here required to give their employees a lunch break? This blog post will briefly describe the rules employers must follow regarding meal periods

In the Golden State, if an employee is working for a period of five or more hours, the employee must be provided with a meal period of at least 30 minutes in duration. For employees in the motion picture industry, a 30-minute meal break must be provided if the employee works for a period of six or more hours.

You don't have to face workplace harassment alone

Many people think of sexual harassment perpetrators as male and victims as female, and indeed, this is a common pattern. But, both men and women face harassment at work, and transgender and transsexual individuals often face both harassment and other obstacles to their careers. In response to this ongoing crisis, the California State Legislature has taken action to curtail harassment in the workplace.

Last month, we told readers about some new laws that took effect at the first of the year in the Golden State. One law prohibits employers from requiring employees to sign away their right to sue for workplace harassment and their right to disclose information about harassment and other unlawful acts happening on the job. Another stops employers from requiring nondisclosure agreements in settlements of sexual harassment claims. These new laws are calculated to defeat the silence that often allows harassment to rage unabated.

Dean sues employer, claiming wrongful termination

Sex discrimination and sexual harassment are both illegal, and both can expose employers and others to legal liability. Furthermore, it is also illegal to retaliate against those reporting sex discrimination or sexual harassment. These legal rules have come to the fore as a former greater Los Angeles-area college dean has filed a wrongful termination lawsuit against her former employer.

The former dean filed the lawsuit last month against Brandman University in Irvine. In her complaint, she alleges that she was fired last year in retaliation for her reporting sexual harassment in the workplace. She said that she complained to the university's human resources department after she witnessed the school's provost engage in demeaning behavior toward women in the workplace. According to the complaint, the university dismissed her claims and then terminated her.

What is the process for filing a complaint to get unpaid wages?

Payday comes and a worker finds that they have not been paid at all, or maybe, they were only paid part of the amount they earned. As many federal government employees can attest, this is a very frustrating -- and potentially financially catastrophic -- situation. What should an employee in California do if they have been illegally denied some or all of the pay they are owed? This blog post gives a quick overview of the process for filing a complaint with the U.S. Department of Labor's Wage and Hour Division.

Complaints filed with the division are confidential. Employees will be asked to provide some personal information, as well as the name and location of the employer, the names of managers or owners, the type of work performed and the time and manner in which payment was made. Further information, such as personal records of hours worked, paycheck stubs and information about how the employer usually pays, can be useful for the division's efforts.

What steps can be taken in response to sexual harassment?

Sexual harassment is a form of gender discrimination, which has been outlawed both by federal civil rights laws and by California's Fair Employment and Housing Act. In previous posts, we've discussed what sexual harassment is. In this post, we will describe the steps people can take if they have been the victims of sexual harassment.

First, employees should find out if their company has a sexual harassment policy. This can usually be found in an employee handbook or the company's online resource. Employees can follow the company's policy for reporting sexual harassment. Report should be made in writing and the employee should document all the steps they take to bring the matter to the company's attention.

Discharge may be wrongful termination if contract breached

Most employees in Los Angeles are what are called at-will employees, meaning that their employers are allowed to terminate them for any reason not expressly prohibited by law. Many employees, however, are employed pursuant to an employment contract that the employer and employee expressly entered into. These express contracts often require that the employee only be discharged if the employer has cause to do so. This blog post will take a closer look at employment contracts and when they may be found to exist

Employment contracts are most often found to exist when the parties sign an agreement that lays out the responsibilities of the parties with respect to the employment situation. It may be the case, however, that an employment contract may be found to exist even if there is no written agreement in existence. For example, let's say that an employer tells an employee that "you'll be here as long as your sales are above budget." If a court finds that such a statement was made by the employer, the court may conclude that an employment agreement existed even if it wasn't put in writing.

You are not alone in a wrongful termination situation

Obtaining and maintaining a job is important for individuals in California and elsewhere. However, when one has an "at will" employment, the reality is that an employer could end one's employment for almost any reason. Nonetheless, if an employer fires an employee for an unlawful reason, this could give rise to a wrongful termination claim.

Although there are legitimate reasons to fire an employee, an employer cannot terminate an employee's position based on their race, age, gender, national origin or any other protected characteristics. At Toni Jaramilla, a Professional Law Corporation, our legal team is dedicated to helping clients in the Los Angeles area navigate cases of discrimination and wrongful termination.

New laws against workplace harassment take effect in California

Whenever January 1 rolls around, it means not just a new year but new laws in California and other jurisdictions. This year, in response to the #MeToo movement, some new laws have come into effect on the topic of harassment. This blog post will discuss some of these new laws here in California.

One new law, called SB1300, is a wide-ranging measure designed to prevent many kinds of workplace harassment. It prohibits employers from requiring employees to sign an agreement not to sue the employer under the California Fair Employment and Housing Act. This is the law that forbids discrimination on the basis of race, gender, age and other protected statuses. The new law also prohibits employers from requiring employees to sign an agreement not to disclose information about harassment and other unlawful acts happening on the job.

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