Articles Posted in wrongful termination

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

When a 34-year-old former California correctional officer secured a $1.7 million settlement from her former employer in her pregnancy discrimination lawsuit, she thought that might be the end of it. The agency was accused of failing to accommodate her pregnancy, ultimately resulting in her baby’s stillbirth. But she’s back in court facing them again, this time for a clause in the settlement that required her to resign – and barred her from ever working for the agency again. no rehire clauses

Although she does not want to return to that line of work, her concern is the impact this condition might have on her ability to collect disability retirement. A court hearing has been scheduled to address the issue, but this is something our Los Angeles employment attorneys have found affects many, many workers who have been discriminated and retaliated against.

It’s the driving force for a pending bill that would prohibit “no rehire” clauses like this in employment discrimination settlement agreements. Continue reading

As longtime employment attorneys in California, we know that corporations can seem blind with greed, cutting corners on pay, discriminating and exploiting where it suits them. These things can be true, but it’s also true that most companies are comprised of individuals – including managers, supervisors and owners – who want to do the right thing, but find avoiding California employment lawsuits can be a significant challenge.employment attorney Los Angeles

Large companies are savvy enough to have lawyers on retainer to advise them of ever-changing employment expectations. However, small- and mid-sized companies may not have those kind of resources.

To avoid the landmine of potential employment litigation and retain your competitive advantage, our Orange County employment attorneys have some general tips for consideration. Legal advice specific to your circumstances should be sought from an experienced labor law attorney who can weigh the unique fact pattern of your company/case. Continue reading

The California Supreme Court ruled that a national news network employer’s termination of an employee could amount to protected activity under anti-SLAPP laws, even if ultimately those activity are deemed unlawful. At the very least, it’s going to mean careful evaluation of employment lawsuits against news organizations in California. discrimination lawyer Los Angeles

Plaintiff, who is black, alleged that as an employee, he suffered racial discrimination, retaliation and wrongful termination. The network argued the claim violates anti-SLAPP laws intended to shield businesses from frivolous lawsuits intended to chill speech or some other protected activity of public importance.

Analysts famed the case by considering whether a media company’s free speech right to decide who produces content that’s distributed to an audience of millions supersedes the employee’s right to a discrimination-free workplace. Based on the line of questioning, our Los Angeles employment discrimination attorneys surmise the court had no intention of effectively giving media organizations carte blanche reign to discriminate against their employees simply by citing the First Amendment and anti-SLAPP laws. But while that aspect of the case was remanded back to the lower court, that’s still no guarantee the worker will, especially given allegations of plagiarism, which for that industry, is often considered a fire-able offense.

Attorneys for the major network argued that editorial decisions included things like who to hire and which assignments should be given to whom. All of this, they said, is connected to furthering the mission of public speech, and thus the decision to fire the plaintiff producer should protected under anti-SLAPP laws.

Employment discrimination lawyers in Los Angeles and throughout the state had been watching closely how the case unfolded. Continue reading