Employment Law

    The firm represents clients in all aspects of labor relations and employment law, including collective bargaining negotiations; arbitrations; “wrongful termination” and “equal employment opportunity” litigation; proceedings before the National Labor Relations Board, Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, and California Department of Fair Employment and Housing; wage hour regulation.

    Our attorneys have represented both employers and employees in all forms of employment disputes, including but not limited to: advising employers on Pregnancy Disability Leave (“PDL”) Law, the Family Medical Leave Act (“FMLA”), Kin Care Leave, California Family Rights Act (“CFRA”); issues of exempt and non-exempt status and the duties and liabilities associated therewith; representing employers in administrative hearings before the California Labor Commission, Department of Fair Employment and Housing (“DFEH”), Employment Development Department (“EDD”), Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”); preparation of Employee Handbooks; performing investigations of sexual harassment claims; advising companies on Human Resource issues and how to avoid litigation; and lawsuits involving discrimination based upon disability, age, gender, sexual harassment, wrongful discharge, wage claims and associated torts.

    Our Services

    • Discrimination
      • Age (over 40)
      • Disability
        • Bipolar disorder
        • Cancer
        • Depression
        • Epilepsy
        • Heart Disease
        • Hepatitis
        • HIV/AIDS
        • Learning disability
        • Multiple Sclerosis
        • Many other conditions could qualify as a disability under FEHA
      • Gender
      • Military Status
      • National Origin
      • Physical or mental disability
      • Pregnancy
      • Race
      • Religious
      • Sex
      • Sexual Orientation
      • Skin Color
    • Employment Law for Employers
    • ERISA
    • Fraudulent Inducement
    • Hostile Work Environment
      • Age
      • Disability
      • Ethnicity
      • Military status
      • Race
      • Religion
      • Sexual Orientation
    • Labor Law
    • Leaves of Absence
      • Birth or adoption of a child
      • A serious health condition
      • An immediate family member who is suffering from serious illness
      • Jury duty
      • Voting
      • Military service
      • Witness testimony
    • Qui Tam Whistleblower
    • Privacy
    • Retaliation
    • Sexual Harassment
      • Leering or lewd gestures
      • Offers of advancement in exchange for sexual favors (quid pro quo harassment)
      • Physical touching
      • Sexual advances
      • Verbal abuse of a sexual nature
    • Wage and Hour Law
      • Minimum wage
      • Misclassification
      • Overtime
      • Pay for all hours worked upon termination
      • Paystub violations
      • Reimbursement for work-related expenses
      • Rest Breaks/Meal Breaks
    • Wage Claims
    • Workplace Violence
    • Wrongful Termination

    Term Definitions

    Discrimination

    Of all the employment law practice areas, discrimination is perhaps the most talked about in casual conversation. Indeed, many other areas of employment law — whether sexual harassment, whistleblower protection or wrongful termination — stem from discrimination prohibitions.

    While federal law provides all Americans protection against discrimination, most lawyers in California make use of the state’s Fair Employment and Housing (FEHA) law. While closely mirroring the federal law, FEHA prohibits employers from discrimination against workers

    Discrimination can pop up in the workplace in a variety of ways, some of which can be surprising to those not familiar with case law. For instance, in 1989, the U.S. District Court heard a case involving an African American woman who claimed she was discriminated against by an African American supervisor, because of her lighter skin color. The court ultimately ruled that the law distinguishes between race and skin color, and protects against discrimination based on skin color. Other cases heard in courts have involved male employees who were discriminated against by female supervisors.

    Because of the variety of discrimination cases that are possible, it is always recommended you contact a qualified employment attorney to help you decide if your specific situation qualifies as discrimination.

    Disability Discrimination

    The California Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) provides employee protections against employers who discriminate based on disability. The law recognizes a number of physical and mental disabilities.

    To be clear, the law does allow employers to discriminate in cases where the employee is unable to perform his or her essential duties in a manner that doesn’t endanger health or safety. However, wherever possible, employers are required to provide reasonable accommodations. This could include modifying work schedules, or allowing the employee to take an extra break. In the case of an employee in a wheel chair, the employer might allow that person to have an office on the first floor.

    Fraudulent Inducement

    This is where an employer makes false promises to an prospective employee in the hiring process. If an employee is induced to quit his or her current job, to take the new one based on false pretenses, they may have a promissory estoppel case (more commonly known as fraudulent hiring). Visit our fraudulent hiring page here.

    Hostile Work Environment

    FEHA makes it unlawful for an employer to harass an employee on the basis of a protected category. CA Government Code §12940 (j). Aside from sex, as detailed above, it is unlawful to harass employees in a number of areas.

    There are other protected categories. What you should also know is that you may file a lawsuit against the individual harasser, and not just the company. That way you can deter the individual, and not just the company, from ever harassing another employee again.

    Leaves of Absence

    Workers in the state of California are protected by multiple sets of laws aimed at providing job leave in the event of medical, or family emergencies. The Federal law providing this protection is the Family and Medical Leave Act, while the state offers the California Family Rights Act. Both laws allow a worker to take 12 workweeks of paid or unpaid leave to deal specific areas.
    It’s important to remember however, that certain exceptions apply. For instance, in order for an employee to be eligible for this type of leave, they must have served more than 12 months with the employer. In addition, the law only applies to companies that employ 50 or more workers. Please note that this arae of law is exceedingly complicated and you should consult with an employment lawyer as soon as possible.

    If you feel you have been denied your legal right to a leave of absence or were terminated for taking a justified leave of absence, contact us for more information.

    Pregnancy Discrimination

    Pregnancy discrimination has become a hot area of employment law. Employers often terminate employees because they don’t want them to be absent for three months on maternity leave. Or the employer fires the employee because pregnant women are bad for its image. Sometimes, employers terminate an employee because she has been put on bed rest, or has work restrictions that slightly interfere with the job. But employers are generally required to make reasonable accommodations for things like this. To learn more about this robust area of law, visit our main pregnancy discrimination page.

    Privacy

    Privacy is one of the most important employment law practice areas. The Californian State Constitution protects employees against invasions of privacy by various individuals and entities. This includes invasions of privacy by employers. This practice area covers a range of issues, from information contained in medical examinations, to employee computer usage.

    Retaliation

    This is another general term used to describe an employer who takes an action that adversely affects an employee’s job, such as firing, demotion or harassment. In order to qualify as retaliation, the event must result from an employee’s response to workplace discrimination. For instance, a male employee who complains to management about a supervisor sexually harassing female employees might be fired or demoted. This could constitute retaliation on the part of the employer.

    Sexual Harassment

    The California Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) makes it illegal for an employer to harass an employee on the basis of a protected category. CA Government Code §12940 (j). This includes harassment in the form of sexual harassment. In legal terms, sexual harassment can include a variety of unwanted behaviors.

    Though the common perception of sexual harassment involves a male employer harassing a female subordinate, sexual harassment can occur in a variety of interactions. Settlements and judgments have been awarded in cases involving coworkers of the same sex as well as in situations involving a female boss and a male subordinate.

    Wages & Hours

    It’s hard to believe that this discussion continues in the modern age, but to this day, some employers violate state law.
    Our law office handles two types of actions related to wages and hours — those involving individual employees, as well as class actions filed in response to disputes over failure to pay minimum wage, overtime, required benefits and more.

    Whistleblower Protection

    California’s employment laws protect employees who take a stand for what is right. As such, it is illegal for an employer to fire an employee who refuses to break the law. Likewise it is unlawful for an employer to prevent a worker from giving information to a government agency regarding workplace violations of state or federal law.

    This includes violations of non-compliance with workplace regulations, regardless of whether the violation is related to the employee’s job duties. In addition, the labor code prohibits an employer from retaliating against an employee for disclosing information regarding workplace violations. CA Labor Code §1102.5 (a)-(c)

    A recent California whistleblower case concluded in 2015 and resulted in a large award for plaintiff Janet Keyzer, a former nurse researcher at UC Davis. The suit stemmed from a 2008 complaint by Keyzer that the University was not meeting proper research requirements involving medical studies of human subjects at San Quentin State Prison. After repeated attempts to bring the matter to the attention of her supervisors, Keyzer’s husband, an information technology specialist who also worked on the project, was fired. Keyzer believed her husband’s firing was retaliation for her whistle blowing. A jury agreed, awarding her a total of $730,000. According to a November 29, 2015 article published by the Davis Enterprise, after the University withdrew its appeal to the judgment, it settled with Keyzer for a total of $1.2 million.

    If you feel you have been retaliated against for engaging in protected whistleblower activities, call our office to see how we can help.

    Wrongful Termination

    Wrongful termination is a broad description that applies to a situation where a person is fired or demoted for reasons prohibited by law. These reasons can include: refusal to provide sexual favors, the color of one’s skin, age discrimination (over the age of 40), sexual orientation, as well as religion.

    Unfortunately, employers can be crafty at coming up with seemingly legitimate reasons for firing an employee, also known as pretexts. If you feel you have been the victim of wrongful termination, contact our office to see how we can help.

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