Articles Posted in wrongful termination

Wrongful termination in California goes beyond a firing that some think was unjustified. As our Los Angeles wrongful termination attorneys can explain, it refers to an employment agreement that’s ended by the employer in violation of the worker’s legal rights. It means that the reason for one’s firing was because of discriminatory reasons, in violation of the employment contract or in retaliation for the employee exercising his or her legal rights.

It’s important to point out that California is an at-will state, so companies can fire employees for any time without cause, reason or advance notice. In order for one’s firing to be considered wrongful termination, former employees need to show it was due to reasons expressly prohibited by state or federal law. Los Angeles wrongful termination attorney

The laws most commonly cited in wrongful termination cases include:

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The coronavirus pandemic forced schools and businesses across the country to close, though education and work continued remotely where possible. That left a significant number of parents juggling the responsibilities of being an employee, as well as their child’s caretaker/teacher. Most companies recognized that with schools and day cares closed, they’d have to be flexible in understanding that employees may not be able to devote 100 percent of their attention to work during work hours. However, some of that understanding is waning. For example, Florida State University released communication indicating that beginning next month, the university will no longer allow workers to care for their children while they’re working remotely – an announcement made while COVID-19 cases in that state spiked five-fold. wrongful termination lawyer

Meanwhile in Pennsylvania, a single mom with an 11-year-old son has filed an employment lawsuit after she was reportedly fired after being denied a request to flex two hours daily so she could focus on her son during the work day. The Washington Post reports the airline revenue management director was given the option of either taking leave or resigning. When she asked about the workplace protections available under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, her supervisor reportedly told her he was “well aware of the various new laws that you’ve had time to look up while at home.” Days later, she was fired, allegedly under the pretext of having a conflict with other workers, something she denies.

As our Orange County wrongful termination attorneys understand it, that is believed to be one of the first employment lawsuits filed under the FFCRA, the goal of which was to expand paid sick leave and family medical leave. Yet it’s probably a sign of things to come as working parents (mothers especially) try juggle employment responsibilities and family obligations. Some employment law attorneys anticipate an uptick in coronavirus-related litigation, once the courts are back in full swing, particularly among workers who have reportedly been denied leave or paid time off to manage child care. Continue Reading ›

California has always had one of the most robust system of protections for employee rights in the country. However, two recent state appellate court rulings may not bode well for punitive damages in future cases. Los Angeles employment lawyers

As our Los Angeles employment lawyers can explain, there are two types of damages in civil cases like these: Compensatory and punitive.

Compensatory damages are those that compensate a plaintiff for losses. They fall into two basic categories: Economic (medical bills, lost wages, loss of earning potential, loss of benefits, retirement, etc.) and non-economic (pain and suffering, etc.). Punitive damages, on the other hand, punish the defendant for wrongful conduct and hopefully discourage others from engaging in the same kind of behavior in the future. Continue Reading ›

An employee of One America News Network was awarded $1.1 million in his California retaliation claim. Of that, $810,000 was in punitive damages, awarded for egregious conduct. He alleged the company had harassed and discriminated against him for his race. But while the San Diego jury did not find merit with this claim, they did hold that the producer was retaliated against for filing the complaint. workplace retaliation

Los Angeles employment attorneys highlight this case because it underscores the fact that retaliation can stand on its own in claims of wrongful termination.

California Workplace Retaliation Laws

California has numerous workplace retaliation laws that protect workers from wrongful termination and other adverse employment actions when they engage in certain protected activity. Protected actions could include: Continue Reading ›

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has just released detailed breakdowns of the top employment discrimination claims of fiscal year 2019, which ended in September.workplace retaliation lawyer

In total, there were nearly 72,700 claims of workplace discrimination filed with the federal agency. That’s down slightly from the nearly 76,500 claims filed with the agency in FY 2018 and more than 84,000 filed in FY 2017.

The top claims were as follows:

  1. Retaliation
  2. Disability Discrimination
  3. Racial Discrimination
  4. Gender Discrimination
  5. Age Discrimination

These were followed by claims of discrimination on the basis of national origin, color, religion, equal pay and genetic information. Continue Reading ›

Employers in California have a fair amount of discretion when it comes to whether to hire or fire someone for use of illegal substances. But what of legal substances? Orange County employment lawyer

Our Orange County employment lawyers know the question has gotten thornier as more states have legalized marijuana and since hemp-dervived CBD (the non-intoxicating cannabis compound) was legalized at the federal level with the 2018 Farm Bill.

As long as marijuana remains illegal under federal law, employers will likely retain the right to fire employees who test positive for the drug in routine screenings (so long as the screening process isn’t applied in a way that is discriminatory to any protected group). That’s not to say employers are wise to continue with such a policy, given the growing public acceptance for recreational and medicinal use of the drug. Strict no tolerance policies could result in companies losing valuable talent for no good reason. But they’d still technically be within their right to do it. They are also within their rights to prohibit marijuana on their premises, even if an employee uses the drug for medicinal purposes.

The rights of employees who use CBD (cannabidiol) products is a bit murkier. We’re just now beginning to see courts weigh in on worker rights where CBD is concerned. Continue Reading ›

California may see an increase in workplace retaliation claims since Assembly Bill 749 , which bans no-rehire clauses with limited exception in employment dispute settlements, was enacted this month. Los Angeles employment attorney

Prior to the passage of this bill, it was common practice for companies to settle discrimination or harassment claims with employees with a settlement that included a no-rehire clause. These provisions can vary in scope, but usually indicated that any future application for employment by that person wouldn’t be considered, and if the worker was hired by chance, he or she would be terminated automatically.

The California Chamber of Commerce had argued the law wasn’t necessary because there were already existing laws against overly-broad no-rehire clauses (specifically, Business and Professional Code section 16600).

The new law, codified in the California Code of Civil Procedure section 1002.5, indicates that no agreement to settle an employment dispute should contain any provision that prohibits, prevents or otherwise restricts an aggrieved person who is settling from obtaining future employment with that employer or any parent company, division, affiliate, subsidiary or contractor. Companies can include no-rehire provisions in cases where the company made a good faith determination that the person signing committed sexual harassment or sexual assault OR where there was a legitimate (i.e., non-discriminatory, non-retaliatory) reason for firing that person. There is also an exclusion for severance agreements. Continue Reading ›

Sometimes the terms “wrongful termination” and “retaliation” are tossed around in the context of employment lawsuits, but there is often a fundamental misunderstanding of what these mean in legal terms. wrongful termination Los Angeles

What they do not mean is simply “unfair” actions by an employer. California is an at-will employment state, meaning employers can fire you for any reason at any time – with or without cause. The employer doesn’t need a “good reason.” However, there are exceptions – primarily as outlined in the California Fair Employment and Housing Act.

Wrongful termination occurs when an employee is fired for an impermissible or unlawful reason. There are a long list of exceptions to the at-will employment rule, and they include termination based on things like gender, race, nationality, religion, pregnancy, age, disability/medical condition and sexual orientation. It can also include termination for filing complaints about workplace health and safety or employee injuries.

Wrongful termination can be a form of retaliation, which occur when adverse action is taken against an employee for reporting a company’s violation state Labor Code and other laws. Continue Reading ›

A California State University professor was wrongly denied a promotion to an associate professorship and lifetime tenure as a result of retaliation for reporting a hostile work environment to women and people of color. That was the finding of California’s First Appellate District, Division Three, which affirmed the trial court’s damage award of more than $965,000 in damages, plus attorney’s fees. employment retaliation

The professor had also claimed discrimination, but the court found no liability on that particular claim.

The appellate court rejected the university’s argument that plaintiff needed to show that she was clearly superior to a comparative professor who was granted tenure, but who had not filed a complaint.

As our Orange County employment attorneys can explain, workers are protected from discrimination and retaliation under a series of California Labor Code provisions, overseen by the California Department of Industrial Relations. Continue Reading ›

Filing a California employment lawsuit is a big decision – one that can be rewarding in more ways than one. However, it’s important to understand that not all termination of employment actions are illegal just because they seemed unfair. wrongful termination lawyer

As our Orange County employment attorneys can explain, these claims must stem specifically from violations of:

  • Federal anti-discrimination laws
  • State anti-discrimination laws
  • Labor laws (including whistleblower protections)
  • Employment contracts
  • Retaliation (for claims of things like discrimination, harassment or workers’ compensation)
  • WARN Act violations (mass layoff cases)

In other words, unfair doesn’t always mean wrongful, at least legally speaking. Continue Reading ›

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