Articles Posted in Employment Law

shutterstock_220158103-300x225Even in the most pleasant working environment, there are things that we don’t like about our workplace. When you’re on the job and your employer does things that don’t seem right, keep in mind that their actions might not only be unfair, but that they may also be against the law. For instance, wage theft occurs when your employer denies you the wages and benefits that they are supposed to give to you. This is a general category of wrongdoing by employers, but there are specific elements that you want to watch out for. You want to be able to recognize when your rights are being violated. Read on to learn about top five wage and hour violations that employers commit against employees.

  1. Work without pay: Everyone should be paid for the work that they do. However, employers don’t always fulfill this obligation. Not being paid at all is the most blatant form of wage theft. This can occur when there is no pay at all or more likely when you’re not being paid for certain wages. For example, if you’re a non-exempt employee, you’re eligible for overtime pay if your employer requests that you work more than 40 hours in a week. If you work these extra hours but aren’t given the extra pay or are asked to work “off the books,” then you would likely be entitled to receive compensation. Other examples are when employers don’t pay employees for travel time from site to site or not paying an employee’s final paycheck.
  1. Failure to make timely payments or not paying the right amount: You’re supposed to receive your pay on the agreed upon time and for the agreed upon amount. If your employer doesn’t deliver your paycheck on time or if the amount is less than your hourly rate for the hours you worked, it is a violation. This includes overtime on commissions and regular wages.

shutterstock_1139941481-300x160Many employees feel it is their responsibility to act or “blow the whistle” when their employer engages in unethical or illegal practices. California Law protects these employees. Unfortunately, the law cannot prevent employers from retaliating against whistleblowers. You can pursue financial compensation by enlisting the help of a workplace retaliation lawyer if you were forced to resign, fired, or otherwise mistreated. These are a few tips that can help you document a retaliation lawsuit against your employer under the stipulations of California employment law.

Save All Communication and Correspondence

If you suspect you are a victim of workplace retaliation, you should save all forms of correspondence and communication between your supervisor, potential witnesses, and anyone else that may play a role in your lawsuit later. You would want to save voicemails, text messages, and emails among other correspondence that indicates retaliation against you.

shutterstock_11485384341-300x200All employers in California are obligated to pay their employees according to certain legal standards. Employees that are paid an illegally low wage or not paid in full can seek compensation in court. However, you should have a clear understanding of all the possible types of compensation before you file a complaint against your employer. It’s recommended that you consult with an employment lawyer for a better understanding of the minimum wage requirements and legal compensation rules applicable to you.
Employers in California are required to do the following:

1. Minimum wage: Least minimum wage as of January 1st, 2022 is $14 an hour for companies that have less than 26 workers and $15 an hour for others. There are specific cities in California that are required by law to have a higher minimum wage than the state requirement.
2. Overtime pay: Non-exempt employees need to be paid overtime for any hours they work exceeding 8 hours in a single workday and 40 hours in a workweek. The stipulated overtime rate is 1.5 times the base hourly rate. In addition, employers are also required to pay their employees at 1.5 times the regular rate for the first 8 hours on every 7th consecutive work day in a week.

https://www.consumerattorneyblog.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/132/2020/10/20.10.02-002-300x300.jpgThe employment scenario: You have a disability and have requested certain accommodations at work. Your employer is now asking to see proof of your disability and/or asking for more specific details about your disability.

The question: Is an employer’s request for disability documentation legal?

The answer: Not necessarily.

https://www.consumerattorneyblog.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/132/2022/06/Screen-Shot-2022-06-28-at-10.33.35-PM-300x169.pngAlthough it may be difficult to do, employees have the right to say something when they believe that their employer has violated the law. If the employee has been harassed or mistreated, they should be able to voice their concerns about the employer’s wrongdoing without it impacting them negatively, such as a reduction in hours or outright firing. Fortunately, there are federal and state laws in place to protect workers from retaliation.

Definition of Workplace Retaliation

Employment retaliation occurs after an employee files a formal complaint about the workplace involving discrimination and/or harassment. The employer or company leader then takes negative action against the employee.

shutterstock_1104919763-300x200Losing your job never feels good. When you do leave your post, you want to leave on your turns, but that’s not always possible. Whether it’s personality clashes or miscommunications about performance expectations, there are numerous reasons for your boss to let you go. However, because California is an at-will employment state, you don’t have much recourse unless your termination was based on an illegal reason. Then you may be able to sue your employer for damages; this is the difference between a regular firing and a wrongful termination.

Here are 4 questions to ask that can help determine whether you might be a victim of wrongful termination.

  1. Did your employer breach a contract?

https://www.consumerattorneyblog.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/132/2021/03/03.05.21-300x200.jpgNo matter how you feel about social media it is here to stay. Many people turn to social media to communicate with others and to express their thoughts on every facet of their existence, including their professional lives.

For those who wonder whether you can get fired for your social media posts, this issue doesn’t just concern celebrities or those in the news; it has happened to many different people in various industries. The following are some examples of content that has resulted in the poster being fired:

  • Bankers used social media to pretend to be members of a terrorist group.

Can an Employee Be Fired For a DUI?

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A criminal conviction can have a domino effect on many parts of your life such as moving into specific locations, obtaining loans, securing professional certifications, or seeking employment. Sometimes, people are dismissive of DUIs as compared to other types of crimes. But if it’s a criminal conviction, regardless of the type, it can affect your employment or job-seeking opportunities.

State law varies when it comes to whether it’s illegal for an employer to inquire about an individual’s criminal history until after they provide a job offer. This is based on the rationale that employers should be free to blindly evaluate an applicant without muddying the waters with the knowledge of a conviction. While California does have some protections in place for job applicants and employees when it comes to this issue, not all areas are protected. Read on to learn about how a criminal conviction, (including one for a DUI) impacts employment.

There’s been an uptick in age discrimination in the U.S. recently, according to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). Although this is unfortunate for those who experience this in the workplace, there are federal and California state laws in place to help fight discrimination. Read on to learn about how you can sue for age discrimination in California.

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What is Age Discrimination?

Employees and jobseekers have protection under the federal Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) and the California Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA). As indicated by the term “age discrimination,” this refers to the mistreatment (based on age) that employers illegally commit against workers or those looking for work. The ADEA protects those that are 40 years of age and older from this; additionally, California’s FEHA also shields those 40 and above.

2-300x222Unauthorized deductions from your paycheck may be unlawful. If your employer has deducted the cost of medical or physical exams, overpayment of wages, uniforms costs, or work tool costs, they may be engaging in wage theft. Wage theft is a catch-all term for payroll abuses which cheat workers of the wages they have earned. In California, wage theft can arise from a variety of circumstances, including failing to pay workers the state mandated minimum wage; failing to pay for overtime work performed and/or paying overtime at an incorrect rate of pay; failing to pay for work simply because it was performed “off-the-clock”; failing to pay workers all wages and penalties for late, interrupted, or missed meal and/or rest breaks; misclassifying workers as independent contractors; making unlawful deductions from workers’ paychecks; or by creating or enforcing various other policies which violate State and/or Federal law.

Wage theft is a longstanding problem in California. Although there are no exact figures on the extend of wage theft, authorities say it is rampant in such industries as construction, restaurants, and home health care. Wage theft from unlawful deductions often go unreported because workers may not even realize that they are being paid less than what they have legally earned. Under California labor law, workers are entitled to numerous rights and wage theft protections, and they can recover large penalties if employers violate those rights.

California Labor Code Section 221 and 224, allows employers to make deductions from workers’ wages in limited circumstances, including tax withholdings, garnishments or court orders, contributions to health benefit plans (when authorized). Employers must comply with both federal and state laws when making these deductions, particularly the limits on the amount deducted. California labor law expressly prohibits certain deductions.

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