Unlike other firms, THE TIBOR LAW FIRM ONLY practices in employment law and ONLY on behalf of employees. Below are the most common issues employees contact the firm for assistance with:
While California is an at-will state, you can still be the victim of wrongful termination and you have rights. While generally an employer can terminate employment for many reasons, including unfair ones, there are federal and California statutes that prohibit employers from terminating an employee 1) for engaging in specific conduct, 2) based on certain characteristics of the employee, and/or 3) in specific circumstances. That means that if you are let go for an illegal reason, then you may still have a case despite the at-will nature of your employment. There are a lot of different situations that can lead to a wrongful termination case so if you are not sure, it is always best to get a legal opinion. If you believe that you have been terminated wrongfully or for an illegal reason, then you need to contact THE TIBOR LAW FIRM immediately to get a straight forward, honest assessment of what can be achieved.
Discrimination occurs not just in termination decisions, but in all types of employment decisions including in hiring practices, layoffs, pay, bonuses, scheduling, and job assignments.
Discrimination in employment decisions is unlawful in California when it is motivated by a persons
- Gender Identity and Gender Expressions
- Genetic Information
- Marital Status
- Medical Condition
- Military and Veteran Status
- National Origin
- Pregnancy, Childbirth, and Related Medical Conditions
- Sexual Orientation
When thinking of discrimination, many people imagine the most vile expressions of hatred. The law prohibits so much more, including sometimes unconscious and sometimes even nonthreatening biases. So, while sometimes discrimination is easy to spot, such as when a supervisor makes derogatory comments, there are other times when it may not be as apparent and you may not really know it happened until later. Never second guess yourself in this situation because you may not be the only person it has happened to. Your livelihood is worth the time to investigate further and get second and third opinions if needed.
When people think of harassment in the workplace, they most often think of sexual harassment, especially since the #metoo movement began. But, in California sexual harassment is not the only type of harassment in the workplace that is illegal. While California does not want to regulate civility in the workplace, it has given employees a level of protection against harassment.
To have a valid claim of hostile work environment harassment in California, the harassment must be severe or pervasive, the employee must find the harassment offensive, a reasonable person in the employee’s position must also find the harassment offensive, and the harassment must have been on account of a protected characteristic of the employee. These include the same categories as in discrimination above.
Sometimes it is hard to spot, but for example if the “jokes” are constantly made at your expense, and it makes you feel uncomfortable, then you may have a harassment claim. In many cases, if it is happening to you, then it is also happening to other people. You deserve to work in an environment free of harassment.
Failure to Provide a Reasonable Accommodation (Disability and Religious)
Failure to reasonable accommodate a qualified individual is a separate, distinct violation of the law. The employee’s ability to perform the essential functions of the position, with or without reasonable accommodation, is an individualized assessment, which requires employers to engage in an interactive process, a good faith discussion, to determine whether or not the employer can accommodate the employee. The failure to engage in this discussion is also a violation.
An accommodation is any modification or adjustment that enables a qualified individual to enjoy equal employment opportunities. This can include time off of work beyond the time allotted by the various leave laws so long as it does not create an undue hardship on the employer. Unfortunately, a temporary reassignment in many situations, but not all, is not considered a reasonable accommodation.
Retaliation & Whistleblowers
As much as everyone would like it, there are a lot of work environments where having an open and honest communication policy is not the norm and it may not even be accepted. It can be difficult to say anything in these types of places without fear of retaliation. However, the fear of retaliation and retaliation are two different things. Retaliation can come in a lot of different forms such as mandatory time off of work with no pay, being sent home early, a reduction in your pay indefinitely, and obviously termination of your employment.
No one ever wants to be the one that discovers the company they are working for is doing some illegal activities. Illegal activities vary greatly from discrimination and harassment, to wage and hour violations, to worker safety issues, to consumer and public protection, to fraud against insurance, government, and other regulatory agencies. In these situations where an employer is requiring you to do something you believe is illegal, you may fear that you are exposing yourself to legal trouble. If this is something that you are facing in your current position, then it is always best to make sure you get legal advice before doing anything. There are laws in place to help protect those who act as a whistleblower. In addition to that, you want to make sure that there is no other retaliation as a result.
Wage and Hour Violations (Overtime, Missed Meal & Rest Breaks, and Misclassification as Independent Contractors)
You deserve to get paid for the time that you work. Unfortunately, this does not happen all the time. Whether you think that you should have been paid overtime or if you think that your time was calculated inaccurately, it is worth investigating. Your time is precious and you deserve to be compensated for the work you performed at least at the legal rate the law requires. Employers do not get to arbitrarily determine who is salaried, who is hourly, who gets overtime, and who is an independent contractor. California has made that determination based upon several factors including the job duties performed, job responsibilities, the industry, and level of compensation.
California has strict rules when it comes to taking the right rest breaks at the right time as well as taking meal breaks on a regular basis. This is not time that you are paid for but if you have been forced to work through your meals or your rest breaks, then you definitely deserve compensation for that time. If you are not getting paid for this time, it is even more serious of an issue. If you are unsure of how this works or if you think that you may have a situation like this that may turn into a case, then you need to get some legal advice.
These are just a few of the main types of cases that we deal with here at THE TIBOR LAW FIRM. Contact us today to discuss your potential case and plan of action.