Articles Tagged with California wrongful termination lawyer

Recently – and not for the first time – Tesla has fired a large number of workers. In both its automotive branch and solar panel subsidiary, hundreds of Tesla employees were let go in what has been described as a “pink slip rampage.” Now, former employees are taking the company to task for its claims of unsatisfactory performance, which Tesla claimed was the basis for firing twelve hundred employees worldwide.California unemployment lawyers

What is Really Going on at Tesla?

According to Slate, there is a conflict between the company’s claims of unsatisfactory performance and employees’ claims that they were not privy to any performance reviews. Employees are claiming that the firings were actually mass layoffs, and that the company violated their rights under the WARN Act (California Labor Code Division 2, Part 4, Sections 1400-1408). Under the WARN Act, employers must give sixty days’ written notice of mass layoffs. The notice must be provided to both affected employees and local employment authorities. Tesla, in turn, claims that the positions will be backfilled, and the firings cannot, therefore, be layoffs. (Interestingly, Tesla did provide WARN notices to over two hundred employees at its Roseville, California worksite.) Tesla is facing other circumstances that call into question the timing of the terminations. It is currently experiencing significant delays in the release of its Model 3. Tesla is also in the midst of a merger with its solar panel subsidiary, Solar City, which investors approved in November 2016. Both of these conditions are likely to leave Tesla lacking in liquid assets for a time. Lawsuits have already been filed by terminated employees. It is now up to the California courts to determine the nature of the Tesla layoffs. Continue reading

California is considered an at-will employment state. This means that, for the most part, an employer can fire an employee for any reason at any time without regard to the employee’s past or present conduct.  This means that an employer can fire an exemplary employee without even giving a reason.  On the flip side of that coin, an employee can quit at any time for any reason and does not even have to a give a reason.

employment discrimination Riverside However, there are certain limitations to this general rule, meaning that some cases of firing an employee will constitute a wrongful termination.  One of the situations in which an employer may not be able to fire an employee without cause, as discussed in a recent news article from Inquirer.Net, is when the employer and the employee have entered into a contractual relationship that requires good cause to terminate an employee. Continue reading

We are probably aware of how pet owners can get a microchip implanted in their dogs or cats that can be scanned to determine ownership information in case the animal is lost and not wearing a collar with identification tags.  Some of us can recall older science fiction movies, such as “Demolition Man,” where everyone had a chip implanted in his or her hand that would be used to track the person and as a method of payments.

chipIt seems the future is here, according to a recent news article form the Los Angeles Times.  This is fitting, because most of those futuristic movies of the 80s and 90s take place in a year that has already passed.  According to this recent article, one employer is giving employees the option of having a microchip implanted in the space between the thumb and index finger. Continue reading

In the context of employment law, a pretext is basically a false reason given for an adverse employment action, such as a demotion, loss of benefits or wrongful termination. For example, perhaps your employer tells you that you are being fired due to budget cuts, but in reality, you’re being let go in retaliation because you recently filed a complaint of sexual harassment or asked for a disability accommodation. manager

So how do we prove the employer’s actions were discriminatory? The U.S. Supreme Court issued a ruling in the 1973 case of McDonnell-Douglas Corp. v. Green in which the court held that after plaintiff establishes a prima facie case of discrimination, the burden of proof then shifts to the employer to show that there was a legitimate, non-discriminatory reason for the adverse employment action. It’s then up to the plaintiff to show reasons why the true reason for the action was pretextual. This kind of evidence is critical because in most cases, employers don’t explicitly state their discriminatory motivations.

Some of the ways we can prove pretext are:

  • False or implausible business justification. Essentially, if the reason given leaves you shaking your head and thinking, “That makes no sense,” it’s probably evidence of pretext.
  • Changing reasons. First, it was because you had too many absences. But then later, it was because you were allegedly caught stealing. These kinds of starkly different justifications may be evidence of pretext.
  • Comparative evidence. Other similarly situated employees who weren’t in your protected class were treated more favorably.
  • Questionable timing. If you file a complaint for sexual harassment and are fired in short order, that timing calls into question the action. Some courts have found that pretext on this basis may exist even after weeks have elapsed between the protected activity and adverse employment action.

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Yahoo has been having trouble for a while now, and that is not much of a secret.  We have already seen a major round of employee layoffs, and, according to a recent news article from the San Francisco Gate, the company is about to make another significant reduction in the number of employees.  This current round of job cuts will mostly be in the magazine division of the company.

typingThis latest round of job losses involves over 300 employees who are currently working at the company’s California location.  The employees were told that their respective last days on the job would be April 18 of this year. Company officials say that cutting their workforce will reduce the overall operating budget, and if they are not able to do that, they will likely not be able to survive. Continue reading

One of the most dearly held rights Americans have is stated in the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution: The right of free speech.

It allows us to speak our minds without fear of government infringement. microphone

But that’s just the thing: It pertains to government infringement, not infringement by private companies. And what’s more, if the government is the employer, the worker may be limited in what he or she can say without facing termination as well.

The circumstances under which speech may be protected will be based on the kind and purpose of the speech. So for example, if a worker for an airline speaks out about a major safety concern that’s been ignored by company officials, that could be considered protected speech because it is carried out in the interest of public safety. That worker may even have whistleblower protection. However, if that same worker puts the airline CEO on blast on the worker’s social media page, that might not be protected, and the company could have the right to take adverse employment action. Continue reading