The Tustin Employment Lawyers of Bisnar Chase are here to fight for you if you have been wrongfully terminated, or harassed, or if your rights in the workplace have been violated.
The personal injury law firm of Bisnar Chase has been handling a wide range of employment and accident cases for over 45 years.
Throughout your case, our labor law attorneys will help you understand your employment rights and we will seek to hold the at-fault party accountable for their wrongdoings.
Call (949) 203-3814 for a free consultation.
Employee Rights in the United States
Thousands of employees are unjustly let go in the workplace every year in the United States. Workers who have experienced a wrongful termination have the right to file an employment law claim. Many employees are unaware of their rights though.
Workers are protected under labor and employment laws such as:
- Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 (OSHA Act): Under this employment act, workers are to be provided with a safe work environment. The employer must meet the standards set by the OSHA act. Employers are to pursue efforts that will make the workplace less dangerous by keeping workers from being exposed to toxic chemicals, temperature stress, contamination, and noise levels that can debilitate an employee’s hearing, and mechanical hazards.
- Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA): FLSA encompasses categories such as pay, overtime pay, hours labored, and child labor laws. One of the basic requirements that employers must abide by is compensating workers with the federal minimum wage which is $7.25. In California, the minimum wage is $12.00. It is also essential to keep a detailed log of the hours employees have labored so they may be justly compensated.
- Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964: According to this federal law, employers are not to discriminate against an employee based on their race, religion, gender, or national origin. This is enforced by employers who are choosing an applicant for a new job position as well. An employer can not disqualify a job applicant under this act. Managers and supervisors are not to make employment decisions on assumptions or stereotypes of race as well. For example, an employer not promoting a Latino based on the negative stereotype of them being lazy this is illegal.
- The Pregnancy Discrimination Act: It is against the law to let go of a woman or not give her a promotion if she is pregnant. Employers, in the past, have had the misconception that if a woman is pregnant, she would not perform her job duties to the highest degree. After a female employee has given birth, she does have the right to be at work when she wants. Meaning after the woman has given birth if she would like to go back sooner than predicted, she may.
- Title I of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA): The Americans with Disabilities Act “prohibits private employers, State and local governments, employment agencies and labor unions from discriminating against qualified individuals with disabilities in job application procedures, hiring, firing, advancement, compensation, job training, and other terms, conditions, and privileges of employment. The ADA covers employers with 15 or more employees, including State and local governments.”
- California Labor Code: Generally there are claims related to your wages and hours worked as addressed in the section below.
California Wage Related Laws
In California, if your employer does not compensate you accordingly for all the hours you have worked then there can be a variety of violations of the law, including for failure to pay minimum wage (which in California is currently $13.00 per hour for workplaces with 26 or more employees and $12 per hour for those with less than 26 employees). This applies to workplaces that have 26 or more employees.
However, there are many other potential violations related to your wages. (including the items below).
Overtime: Generally an employee must be paid “One and one-half times the employee’s regular rate of pay for all hours worked in excess of eight hours up to and including 12 hours in any workday, and for the first eight hours worked on the seventh consecutive day of work in a workweek; and double the employee’s regular rate of pay for all hours worked in excess of 12 hours in any workday and for all hours worked in excess of eight on the seventh consecutive day of work in a workweek.”. Paying you at the correct rate includes taking into account all compensation, such as factoring in non-discretionary bonuses/commissions and shift differentials.
Meal Periods and Rest Breaks: Generally, if you work for a period of more than five hours per day, you must be provided a uninterrupted off the clock meal period of no less than thirty minutes within those five hours, where you are free to do as you chose. If you work over 10 hours, you are entitled to a second meal period. For rest breaks, you are entitled to a 10-minute rest break for every 4 hours worked, or major portion of the 4 hours. This means, if you work over 6 hours you are entitled to two rest breaks, if you work over 10 hours you are entitled to three rest breaks and so on. Rest breaks are paid time, but you are still free to do as you so chose (as with meal periods), including leave the premises. Each day that you do not receive all compliant meal periods, you are entitled to one hour of pay (and if you work through the meal period you re entitled to wages for this time). Each day that you do not receive all compliant rest breaks, you are entitled to one hour of pay.
Business expenses: An employer must reimburse you for necessary expenditures incurred as part of your job. This may include use of your personal cell phone, your personal vehicle (other than driving to and from work), internet and computer use for work activities.
Accurate Wage Statements: Your wage statements must include accurate information including the total hours worked, gross and net wages earned, the dates of the pay period for which the wage statement applies, the correct employer name, the employee’s name and an employee ID or the last four digits of his/her social security number, and correct rate of pay and number of hours for each such rate (such as for regular time, overtime and double time)
Employees paid only through commissions or piece rate (i.e. per delivery, per product made etc.): There are additional issues that arise for these types of employees, including whether you are being paid at least minimum wage for all hours worked, properly being paid for overtime and being paid separately for rest breaks.
FEHA Regulations in California
Under the Fair and Employment Housing Act of California, employers cannot discriminate, harass, or retaliated against an employee based on any of the following categories:
- Race, color
- Ancestry, national origin
- Religion, creed
- Age (over 40)
- Disability, mental and physical (for which employees may or are entitled to accommodation including a leave of absence and other work restrictions)
- Sex, gender (including pregnancy, childbirth, breastfeeding, or related medical conditions)
- Sexual orientation
- Gender identity, gender expression
- Medical condition
- Genetic information
- Marital status
- Military or veteran status
Also, employees who qualify may take up to 12 weeks of leave, after 12 months of being at the company, to care for themselves or a family member under the California Family Rights Act.
Qualifications of a Tustin Wrongful Termination
Suffering from a wrongful termination can be devastating to your finances and stress levels. In order to prove that you have been unfairly discharged a breach of contract must be proven. Upon a job offer, there should be a clear understanding of wages, hours, and the termination process of a company. If for example, your contract specifies that you work two weeks before the end of your employment, but you are immediately let go and asked not to work, your employer has breached the contract.
According to California’s employment regulations, an employer has the right and ability to discharge a staff member at any time for any reason. What employers must take into account for the at-will capability is that the termination must be under fair, honest, and legal terms.
Employees that are wrongfully terminated oftentimes ask the question of “Can I still file a wrongful termination claim if I quit.”?
An employee may quit a job whenever he or she likes.
If you quit not because you wanted to leave but because you were pressured to leave, this can also qualify as a wrongful termination case. A constructive dismissal is when an employee leaves an organization due to extremely unfair circumstances or is poorly mistreated. Again the employee needs to prove that they were entitled to their immediate discharge because of the abuse that was endured.
An employer violating the employee’s contract is something that also needs to be proven. Some factors that would contribute to a constructive dismissal of an employee can include a major cut in wages, specific occurrences of mistreatment, a demotion, dishonest work evaluations, or scheduled to work graveyard shifts suddenly.
An employee that whistleblows is a person that exposes a person in the company or the company all together to the public. The employee may report that criminal or negligent behaviors have been present at the time they were employed.
It is illegal for an employer to retaliate against a worker after their abusive, dangerous or corrupt behavior has been made public. Whistleblowers have multiple protections under the regulations that have been enforced by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). Multiple laws protect whistleblowers from behaviors such as wage cuts, demotions and harassment.
Other Common Tustin, CA Employment Law Claims
Unfortunately, women and men are put in many compromising positions in the workplace every day. Types of employment law cases such as harassment claims to workplace discrimination. Other common employment law claims that are filed often include:
Retaliation: Some employers will go to the lengths of firing a staff member because they will not take part in an illegal activity that is asked of them. If an employer retaliates towards an employee, for this reason, this can be seen as breaching company code.
Refusing to perform an illegal action:An example of this form of wrongful termination can be if an employer pays you below the minimum wage of that state and expects you to continue working. This is a wage and hour violation.
Sexual Harassment: If a manager corners a staff member and threatens their employment if they do not perform sexual acts on them, this is illegal. If the employee refuses to do so and is then terminated this is also against the law and can be seen as a wrongful discharge.
Quid Pro Quo: The legal term refers to a person in a position of power that offers an employee a promotion or a higher wage in exchange for something. Usually in employment law, quid pro quo is associated with sexual harassment. In most quid pro quo cases a manager, supervisor, or CEO will offer a worker a higher position or higher salary in exchange for a sexual favor.
Actions to Take After Being Let Go
Being let go from a company can be difficult to handle. You may fear how you will support yourself and your family afterward. There are measures you must take when receiving the news that your employment has been unjustly terminated.
- Remain calm and do not retaliate negatively towards your employer: The reason why you would want to keep your composure after being handed the news that you have let go is to avoid your employer having ammunition on you if you do file a claim. If you do act irrationally, this could lead to your employer being justified in discharging you. It is wise just to take the news peacefully.
- Record everything: If you have determined that you have been unjustly let go then it is best to have a timeline of events that have led up to your dismissal. The reason being is that this can prove to be evidence against your employer. Every little detail counts especially the small ones. Evidence can include emails, demotions and witness accounts
- Seek out legal representation: You may have a number of questions regarding what to do next and if you can pursue compensation for your losses. A skilled Tustin employment lawyer can help you understand your rights, and in cases of wrongdoing, they can also help hold the at-fault company accountable for their actions.
In the Meantime You Should...
You are not restricted from seeking out other job opportunities while waiting for your case to come to a close. Your employment lawyer will potentially suggest the following:
Look for work: Just because you pursue a wrongful termination does not mean your job hunt should come to a halt. In the meantime, it is encouraged that you continue to seek employment.
- Unemployment benefits: A victim of a wrongful termination can also apply for unemployment benefits. It may be challenging to actually receive the benefits, but if you have proof that it was a wrongful termination they will be granted to you. If you have been injured on-the-job you can also file a worker’s compensation claim.
- Keep details to yourself: If you are preoccupied with not knowing what to say at your next job interview, don’t be. It is an employee’s right to keep their prior work experience confidential. Also do not disclose details on social media. The defendant’s legal team can screenshot this as evidence and use this against you. If you feel the need to bring it up do not express many details.
- Severance pay: The amount of severance pay you receive depends on the position and the number of years you had been employed by that company. The expectant severance package is one week of pay for every year served at that company and other employee benefits can be included as part of that package as well. Note that under California law a company is not required to give you a severance package though.
Why Choose Our Tustin Employment Attorneys
The experienced Tustin Employment Lawyers of Bisnar Chase have a long and successful track record of representing workers in different areas of employment and upholding the rights of workers in Southern California.
Employment law is complicated and no one should face his or her current or former employer without quality legal representation.
If you believe that your rights have been violated, you would be well advised to discuss your potential case with a knowledgeable and experienced Tustin employment law attorney who can provide you with a free consultation.
Just contact our Orange County law office at 949-203-3814.