There is an immense power differential involved in any conflict or disagreement between an employee and the company for which he or she works. Many employees feel they’ve been wronged in a way that violates California law, but they’re reluctant to do anything for fear of losing the job that supports them and their family.
Kirtland & Packard, LLP evens the score. Our Los Angeles employment lawyers are some of the best in California. We represent wronged employees who need representation in pursuing the compensation they deserve.
Employment cases can be tricky- courts are historically reluctant to intrude too deeply into the employee-employer relationship. That’s why it’s so important you find an employment lawyer with a proven track record of successfully pursuing these cases.
If you live or work in Redondo Beach or any other southern California community, please call Kirtland & Packard, LLP today at (310) 536-1000 for a free consultation.
Employment Law Cases
It’s generally recognized that organizations have a tremendous amount of leeway to make the personnel decisions they believe are right for them – most employees are at-will, which means both the employee and employer can end the relationship at whatever point either desires.
However, this does not mean that an office is a fiefdom where the manager’s decision can never be contested. California has strong labor laws that are designed to protect employees from being exploited by their employers.
Still, these laws are no good unless victims use them to pursue remedies for their victimization. And to do that, you need an experienced lawyer. Our Los Angeles employment lawyers have pursued claims related to:
- Employment discrimination. This may include hiring, promoting and making salary decisions on the basis of race, gender, or sexual orientation. In the state of California, it is also illegal to pass up for promotion, hire, fire, or in any other way treat an individual differently due to his or her religion, country of origin, disability, age, or ethnic background. California also extends protections to workers involved in union activity and whistleblowing from unfair treatment, including the withholding of non-economic benefits, due to these legally protected actions.
- Harassment. Sexual harassment at the workplace can take myriad forms. From subtle suggestions to more aggressive pursuits, this type of harassment is illegal and indefensible regardless of its intensity. Workers who are subjected to this type of mistreatment are entitled to legal recourse. If the company you work for has failed to address harassment, be it sexual, emotional, or physical, you may have legal options that can be used to restore a safe and comfortable workplace.
- Wrongful termination. In the state of California, it is illegal to fire someone for reporting harassment. It is also illegal to fire someone for reporting safety violations to OSHA, blowing the whistle on company wrongdoing, or pursuing their right to form a labor union. Firing an employee based on race, religion, sex, gender, sexual orientation, political affiliation, or for any other non-performance or non-work-related issue is illegal in California.
- Violations of laws governing overtime. According to the Fair Labor Standards Act, all nonexempt employees working more than 40 hours in a single work week are entitled to wages “not less than time and one-half their regular rates of pay.” When companies get creative with hours or fail to pay overtime for hours worked over 40, the employee has been cheated out of fair pay.
- Violations of minimum wage laws. The minimum wage in California is $11 an hour for companies with 26+ employees. This rate is set to grow, one dollar at a time, over the next five years until it reaches $15 an hour in 2023. If you are of working age and are not being paid at least minimum wage, you may be entitled to seek back pay and other compensatory damages through legal action.
- Independent contractor classification. To avoid paying overtime or offering benefits, some companies will employ “independent contractors” who are not protected under California labor laws. In April of 2018, a unanimous decision from the California Supreme Court made it much more difficult to classify employees as independent contractors, but the practice is still far from uncommon. If you have been robbed of benefits and wages through misclassification, you may be entitled to significant compensation through legal action.
Pursuing these cases requires a firm understanding of all relevant local, state and federal laws. Our lawyers understand not only the letter of the laws and regulations, but their practical implications, as well as the precedents behind all of them.
We’ll discuss your case and help you determine if you have a viable legal claim under California or federal employment law.
Common Questions about Employment Law in California
What is a labor and employment attorney?
A labor and employment attorney focuses on issues that impact workers such as discrimination, sexual harassment, and wrongful termination. Employment and labor lawyers must possess a firm understanding of federal, state, and local regulations in order to help workers facing mistreatment get the justice they deserve.
Can you be fired without warning in California?
California in an at-will employment state. This means that you can be fired for any reason, including no reason at all, without warning. However, workers in California enjoy a host of protections. If you suspect your firing was unfair, unethical, or illegal, it is a good idea to talk to a labor and employment attorney to fully understand your rights and options.
Can a boss force you to work when sick in California?
You cannot be forced to work if you are sick. If an employer punishes you for not coming to work while sick, you may have recourse. This is something that should be discussed with an employment attorney as soon as possible.
Remember, in the state of California, all employees are entitled to paid sick leave after being with the same employer for 90 days, even if the position is temporary or per diem.
Does California require a termination letter?
California Unemployment Insurance Code 1089 requires a termination letter be provided to all discharged, fired, or laid off employees. This letter of termination must be provided upon dismissal. Failure to provide a termination letter may open an employer to legal action.
When should I hire an employment lawyer?
Complex, confusing, and often seemingly contradictory, labor and employment laws demand the attention of an experienced and dedicated attorney. You can rest assured that your employer or former employer understands labor laws. The attorneys that represent them will certainly be familiar as well. Without someone similarly equipped fighting in your corner, you will be left to fend for yourself.
Talking to a labor lawyer is free and is the best way to fully understand your rights.
Learn more about employment law in our blog
If you’ve been victimized by your employer and you’re looking for an experienced employment lawyer to represent you in a legal claim in or near Redondo Beach, Torrance, or the South Bay, California area, please call Kirtland & Packard, LLP today at (310) 536-1000 for a free consultation.
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