Los Angeles wrongful termination lawyers know there are many reasons employers seek to shed workers they view as problematic. California is an at-will state when it comes to employment, meaning barring an employment contract stating otherwise, an employee can quite or be fired for almost any reason. However, when employers take adverse employment action against workers for prejudice despite protected status or for engaging in certain protected activity, this can be legally actionable in an employment lawsuit. Los Angeles wrongful termination lawyer

One of those protected activities is filing a claim for workers’ compensation. If you are hurt or become sick because of an incident or some condition at work, you don’t have the option of suing your employer. Instead, the exclusive remedy to which you have access is workers’ compensation, which allows for no-fault benefits, such as coverage of medical expenses, lost wages and work training. If an employer retaliates against you for filing a workers’ compensation claim by firing you, this is a form of wrongful termination.

This is what allegedly happened to a worker in Fresno. The case, as reported by The Fresno Bee, is somewhat unique for the steps allegedly taken by the employer in order to justify the reportedly unlawful action of California wrongful termination. It is for this reason jurors justified an $8 million damage award after siding with plaintiff in this case.

Plaintiff Wrongly Accused, Wrongly Terminated in California, Fights Back Continue reading

New laws effective in 2019 will impact how courts in California weigh claims of sexual harassment, and how employers in the state address and take action. A Los Angeles sexual harassment attorney will be able to help you gain a better handle on the changes to these processes and what it might mean for new claims against individuals and employers. Los Angeles sexual harassment lawyer

Five new advisory principles are now included in the California Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA), effectively meaning employers are going to face more possibility of liability for discrimination. It’s not that the laws were intended to drum up more possibility of litigation, but rather that they would improve working conditions for women and others vulnerable to sexual harassment on the job or at school.

The specific effect will be that if these five principles are applied by California courts, there will be less likelihood that those claiming to be victims of sexual harassment will have their claims dismissed prior to trial. As Los Angeles sexual harassment attorneys can explain, they will still have the responsibility to prove the harassment was severe or pervasive. However, these new rules will also lessen that burden.  Continue reading

One of the biggest challenges as a California religious discrimination attorney is to determine whether adverse employment action occurred in fact as a result of prejudice stemming from negative views of the employee’s faith or whether some other reason justified the firing. Orange County religious discrimination lawyer

Recently, the San Bernardino Superior Court determined after a six-week rial that a 44-year-old hospital warehouse employee had been harassed and ultimately fired by his supervisors specifically because of religious beliefs. Plaintiff was awarded $3.2 million in damages following a six-week long trial.

Defendant hospital still insists the reason for the worker’s termination had nothing to do with his religious beliefs, but rather because of alleged threatening conduct. The hospital still has the option of appealing the California religious discrimination lawsuit verdict, thought it’s not clear if they will.  Continue reading

California FMLA protections (short for Family Medical Leave Act, which is in fact a federal program) are in place as soon as you request that leave. Los Angeles FMLA lawyers point this out because some companies have been ensnared in litigation in employment lawsuits filed by employees who say their bosses tried to dissuade them from taking this leave. This is an extremely unwise move from the company’s perspective because once those FMLA protections kick in, it’s possible the company will be vulnerable to liability if they try to talk an employee out of taking leave to which they are entitled. California FMLA protections attorney

This is allegedly what happened at a well-known grocery store where an employee was reportedly told to “suck it up” after she requested FMLA leave. In Bartman v. Wegmens Food Markets Inc., plaintiff says she sought leave for anxiety and chronic depression. Yet when she did so, her manager allegedly told her to “suck it up” and berated her for “being a burden” to the rest of the staff in the kitchen.

Our Los Angeles FMLA attorneys understand beyond that, plaintiff was reportedly singled out and harassed by her boss at work, leading to her condition worsening, a greater need for leave and then further harassment. Ultimately, she says she was wrongfully terminated for chronic lateness, tardiness and failure to follow the call-in procedures for calling in sick. Had she not first requested FMLA before all this, termination may well have been justified. But the fact that she requested this leave for her own health and was told by her boss she should not take it means she has a stronger case for employer FMLA violations.  Continue reading

California has long been an economic powerhouse. And while layoffs have been consistently declining since the end of the Great Recession, the reality is some workers are still facing the possibility of being let go. As our Orange County employment attorneys can explain, companies in the Golden State that fall under the California Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification (WARN) Act have specific responsibilities – in addition to those offered employees under federal law – to give proper notice to workers and their families in the event of an impending layoff.Orange county employment lawyers

Specifically, affected employees, as well as state and local representatives, are entitled to at least two months (60 days) of advance notice of a plant is closing, relocation or mass layoff. Corporations obligated under this provision are those that employ 75 or more employees – full or part-time. The federal rule for WARN only includes workers who have been with the company at least 6 of the 12 months prior to the date of required notice. If a plant closing or relocation involves 50 or more employees in a 30-day span – regardless of the percentage of that workforce – they need to give notice. (Relocation is defined as any move that is 100 miles away or more). Continue reading

The California trucking industry is one of many heavily scrutinized over its employee classification (or perhaps rather more aptly, employee misclassification). Many truck drivers are identified as independent contractors. Our Los Angeles employment attorneys know the obvious reason for that is trucking is a dangerous job. When truckers are considered “employees,” they must be paid overtime, given state-required breaks and workers’ compensation for injuries. Trucking companies can also be deemed vicariously liable in truck crashes involving negligent employee drivers versus, while they’d have to be found directly negligent in cases involving an independent contractor driver. L.A. employment lawyer

But now, two trucking contractors plus the California Trucking Association are suing the State of California over a mandated test trucking companies must take to ascertain whether a driver is an independent contractor or employee. In federal court, plaintiffs are seeking reversal of an employee-contractor test laid forth in the California Supreme Court in the case of Dynamex Operations West Inc. v. Superior Court of Los Angeles.

As Los Angeles employment attorneys can explain, the state high court in that case adopted the so-called “ABC Test,” to figure out whether a worker is an independent contractor or an employee. That was in April.  Continue reading

Commercial trucking carrier J.B. Hunt has agreed to pay a $15 million settlement in an employment lawsuit over trucker pay, weeks after the original class of 11,000 was de-certified. Los Angeles wage dispute lawyers following the case recall the firm had sought intervention from the U.S. Supreme Court, arguing interstate drivers in California should be exempt from state law mandates on meal and rest breaks.Los Angeles wage dispute attorney

In Ortega v. J.B. Hunt Transport Inc., originally filed more than a decade ago, plaintiffs asserted the commercial trucking company failed to pay drivers in accordance with California wage-and-hour laws. Truck drivers in California (like all other employees) are entitled at minimum to receive 30-minute breaks for every 5 hours in which they work. It was the carrier’s position that a federal law passed in 1994 preempted this requirement by asserting that state statues couldn’t interfere with laws pertaining to interstate trucking.

Wage dispute lawyers in California know that the trucking industry lobbied hard – for years – to pass the Denham Amendment to that 1994 law, which would have effectively voided California’s law and any other state that attempted to pass one similar. Absent that amendment, states have the right to override this provision. The effect in California is that a truck driver over the course of an 11-hour shift would be required to take two, 30-minute breaks. Defendant in this case isn’t the only one to face scrutiny after workers alleged they also were denied state-mandated breaks from their employer. Continue reading

U.S. and California law provide very specific discrimination protections for employees who have historically been the greatest targets. Typically, these are women, racial minorities, older workers and those with disabilities. We’ve come a long way in the last 50- to- 60-years in ensuring California workers aren’t fired, demoted, transferred or miss out on key benefits because of prejudice by their employers. However, a key component of those protections is the worker’s classification. Those who are classified as “employees” are entitled to a host of employment law protections – everything from minimum wages and regular mandated breaks to reasonable accommodations if one one’s pregnancy requires restrictions. Los Angeles employment attorneys often have to explain another important protection denied independent contractors: Anti-discrimination laws. workplace discrimination Los Angeles

Approximately 1 in 7 jobs in America is classified as independent contractor or some other contingent-employment arrangement. This amounts to millions of Americans – roughly 14 percent in all, according the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics – whose work as freelancers, consultants, temporary agency laborers and contractors who are denied protections against discrimination for their age, race, gender, religion and disability. So for instance, while most employees can expect to be protected from age discrimination from their employer when they reach the age of 40, a freelancer has no such guarantee.

There are some analyses that suggest the unprotected workforce could be even larger. For instance, the California-based Staffing Industry Analysts recently released information indicating roughly 30 percent of American workers could be counted in the “contingent workforce.” The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission makes it clear that anti-discrimination statutes exempt independent contractors as well as those working for employment agencies. Sometimes, anti-discrimination protections depend on the number of employees a company has.  Continue reading

Rampant pregnancy discrimination in American has meant that expectant mothers in the workforce are denied pay raises or promotions, fired before they can take their maternity leave and sometimes, in physically demanding jobs, forced to work without accommodation, putting themselves and their babies’ lives at risk.Los Angeles pregnancy discrimination

In its review of thousands of pages of court and other public records involving female workers who alleged they had gone into premature labor, suffered miscarriage or, in one case, had a stillborn baby when their bosses refused their requests for assistance. Those requests often came with physician’s notes prescribing limitations on lifting, pulling and bending. The workers asked for help with things like pushing loaded carts or pulling large boxes or flipping over heavy mattresses. In a wide range of settings – grocery stores, prisons, restaurants, pharmaceutical companies, airports, hospitals and more.

Most are shocked to learn that very often, refusal to accommodate a pregnant woman is totally legal under federal law. Only a handful of states – California being one – have special provisions that offer additional protections to expectant mothers. California law holds that companies with five or more employees is bound by protections afforded to workers in the event of pregnancy, childbirth, pregnancy loss or related physical or mental conditions. These rights include accommodation and time off work, and employers can’t fire or otherwise discrimination someone for pregnancy, childbirth or related condition. Accommodations are outlined in the California Code of Regulations, and may include modification of work duties to be less strenuous, temporary transfer to less hazardous duties, longer and more frequent breaks, private lactation accommodations and more. Continue reading

The experience of being “fired,” “terminated” or “let go” from a job can be debasing, infuriating and depressing. Disagreement on the reasons for termination or fairness aren’t uncommon, and some may even justly feel a fair amount of resentment. But that alone isn’t enough to establish that such employment action amounted to “wrongful termination.” Los Angeles employment lawyers can explain that in fact, most employees in the state of California can be fired for any reason and it doesn’t have to be fair. However, workers should not be under the false impression that they have no legal protection from firing in all instances.Los Angeles wrongful termination lawyer

Most employment arrangements in California fall into the “at-will” category. There is no labor contract, and usually, employers don’t need to have a good reason to fire someone. However, what employers cannot do is fire someone in violation of state and federal anti-discrimination laws, specifying protection based on:

  • Race
  • Age
  • Gender
  • Race
  • Political Affiliation
  • Religion
  • Physical or mental disability
  • National origin
  • Pregnancy

If the decision to fire someone was based – even in part – on any of these factors, it may be considered wrongful termination, with the employee entitled to just compensation. So even if there were many other reasons for why a person was fired, if any one of these was more than a trivial factor, it could amount to wrongful termination.

A wrongful termination claim can also arise if an employee is targeted because he or she exercised rights granted by the law. For instance, the federal Family and Medical leave Act (FMLA) which guarantees three months’ job protection for employees who take a leave of absence for birth, adoption or serious illness. If a worker is fired because he or she availed themselves of this leave, that would be grounds to file a wrongful termination lawsuit. Continue reading