Articles Tagged with California wrongful termination lawyer

As Los Angeles employment lawyers, we’re aware of a number of significant misconceptions that people have regarding wrongful termination claims.Los Angeles employment attorney

It is not simply enough that a firing be unfair or rooted in reasons that are unfounded. In order for California wrongful termination claims to prevail, the termination must have occurred in contrast to federal or state anti-discrimination laws, labor laws, whistleblower laws, or employment contracts. These are not as easy to prove as people think.

We recognize that many aspects of employment law are convoluted, which contributes to the confusion. Here, we want to break down some of the top California wrongful termination claim myths that are most pervasive.

Myth: Wrongful termination applies to any unfair firing.

California, like so many other states, allows for at-will employment. That means you can be fired at any time and for any reason – or none at all. It doesn’t have to be fair. The boss’s son might get away with talking on his cell phone during work hours – but you get fired for the same offense. That’s not necessarily illegal. Where it crosses the legal line (usually) is when it’s discriminatory – on the basis of one’s gender, race, religion, nationality, ethnicity, disability, age, etc. It’s also illegal to fire workers for blowing the whistle on unsafe practices or in violation of the terms of one’s employment contract.

Myth: Only women and minorities can sue for wrongful termination.

Not so. Any person who belongs to a protected class can sue if they are being treated unfairly on the basis of there presence in that class or suspected presence or association with someone else in that class. For example, if a person is fired because they married someone who is Jewish, they may have a claim for employment discrimination and/or wrongful termination. Also, any worker whose employment contract was violated in the course of that firing may have a claim as well. If you cooperate with an OSHA investigation, you can’t be legally fired for that, as it would be considered retaliation. Continue Reading ›

A wrongful termination lawsuit 12 years in the making is finally coming to an end with a settlement of $2.2wrongful termination million for dozens of employees at Santa Barbara News-Press. National Labor Relations Board ruled the newspaper management had bargained with union members in bad faith, and determined the newspaper was responsible for costs and expenses associated with the lawsuit, according to a report from Santa Barbara Independent.

The events began in 2006 after restraints were allegedly placed on the newsroom staff as to how they handled coverage of the news. Six editors and a columnist walked out, while others tried to form a union. Management responded by firing some of the employees who sought to unionize, a clear wrongful termination case and violation of labor law. Continue Reading ›

After injuring her wrist on the job, being accused of theft, and having her employment terminated after 14 years, one former Chipotle wrongful terminationemployee finally has been vindicated. A jury awarded her nearly $8 million in damages as the result of a wrongful termination lawsuit plaintiff filed in Fresno County Superior Court after she was fired in 2015. Managers accused her of stealing $626 from the chain restaurant, and went so far as to tell her they had surveillance footage of the incident. When plaintiff denied the theft and demanded managers produce the video, they claimed it was deleted, expecting her to be satisfied with eye witness testimony of other employees who claimed to have seen the video, according to a report from The Fresno Bee.

This was unacceptable to plaintiff, and jury members agreed. Not only did they not believe plaintiff to be a thief, but determined she was a victim in the whole ordeal. Plaintiff alleged she was framed for the theft as retaliation for filing a worker’s compensation claim. Ortiz was fired while she was out on medical leave, weeks after the theft allegedly took place. She had filed a worker’s compensation claim shortly before the alleged incident, and continued to work to the best of her abilities until she could start her leave. At the same time, plaintiff alleged that supervisors were instructing her to downplay her injury to her doctors so she would not have to take medical leave, but she refused. Plaintiff argues this set up motivation to try to defame her. Fair Employment and Housing Act prohibits an employer from retaliating an employee from asserting their rights under the law, including for medical conditions.

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California Labor Law once again has demonstrated itself to be a protector of employees, as one former Allstate Insurance Co. employee canwrongful termination lawyer attest. A jury recently awarded the employee more than 18 million dollars in a wrongful termination lawsuit in San Diego Superior Court on allegations that Allstate did not have grounds to fire him in 2015.

The outcome here hinged largely on CA Labor Code, 432.7, which states no employer shall determine any condition of employment on “any record of arrest or detention that did not result in conviction.” That means if an employee is arrested, but the charges were dropped or the person was found not guilty, the employer cannot use it as cause to fire the employee.

That’s exactly what plaintiff claimed happened at Allstate, according to an article in San Diego Union Tribune. Plaintiff had been arrested on two charges of domestic violence and possession of marijuana paraphernalia. Two charges were dismissed shortly after. The third charge of domestic violence disorderly conduct was also dismissed six months after the others upon plaintiff’s completion of an anger management course. Continue Reading ›

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 ›

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