When you enter into a working relationship with an employer, they are responsible for properly compensating you for your time. However, their legal responsibilities do not end there. Employers have a responsibility to ensure their employees are as safe as possible and are not mistreated while on the clock. Anything less is a violation of labor laws. Unfortunately, employers know it can be difficult for employees to fight against the many resources held by their employer. Many will exploit this disparity.
The best way to combat the power and resources of your employer is to hire an experienced employment law attorney. Both California law and federal law have statutes in place to protect employees in their workplaces. Only a knowledgeable attorney can build a comprehensive case to preserve your rights.
Confident and Compassionate Representation
California Employment Counsel, APC, has years of experience representing clients in even the most difficult employment law cases. You need an expert team in your corner to ensure your case is handled thoroughly, increasing your likelihood of getting the most favorable outcome. Our team has prioritized employment law issues because we find importance in preventing employers from taking advantage of their employees or allowing mistreatment in the workplace. We craft innovative and strategic representation that finds the best solution for your situation.
What Is Employment Law in Anaheim, CA?
Employment law is the legal practice area that covers the rights, responsibilities, and obligations within the employee-employer relationship. There are hundreds of federal and state employment laws that affect employees and their employers. They cover a wide array of topics, ranging from the definition of employment to what situations you should be compensated for and regulations dictating who can work. Employment law also applies to former workers and those applying for a job.
Rights to Which All Employees Are Entitled
Employees have many rights within the employer-employee relationship. A few of the most important rights include the right to:
Privacy: The right to reasonable privacy in the workplace applies to personal possessions such as purses, briefcases, and storage lockers. Workers also have the right to privacy during personal phone calls. However, these rights do not apply to internet usage and e-mail messages while on the employer’s computer systems and network.
Fair Wages: Employees have the right to be compensated for the work that they perform.
Harassment-Free Workplace: Workers have the right to a work environment free of harassment and discrimination of all types.
Retaliation-Free Complaints: Employees must not be retaliated against if they file a complaint against their employer. This includes loss of hours, loss of position, or loss of the job.
Common Types of Employment Cases
Employment law covers many different areas, so it is important to speak with an experienced employment law attorney if you believe your rights as an employee have been violated. The following are more common types of employment law cases:
California law presumes all employees are employed at will. This means both the employee and employer have every right to terminate the employment relationship at any time, with or without prior notice or cause. There are some exceptions to at-will employment that can fall under wrongful termination. These include public sector employees, employees represented by unions, or employees with written employment contracts that require “good cause” for termination. Wrongful termination also applies when employees are let go for reasons like discrimination, retaliation, or whistleblowing.
Harassment in the workplace causes people to feel unsafe. Unwanted sexual advances, sexual jokes, disparaging comments about your religion, racial slur use, threats, ridicule based on sexual orientation, and assault are all components of harassment. Harassment, including sexual harassment, creates a hostile work environment. It should never be tolerated by your employer.
Illegal workplace discrimination is associated with treating individuals from protected classes differently than other employers. For example, if you are being passed over for promotions because you are a woman, fail to get hired because of your race, or are fired for being too old, you may have a workplace discrimination claim. Your employer can and should be held accountable for workplace discrimination.
Failure to Provide Reasonable Accommodations
Under the American Disabilities Act, employers are unable to discriminate against someone for their disability. They must also provide reasonable accommodations unless they can prove the accommodation would be an undue hardship. Examples of reasonable accommodations include providing interpreters, modifying work schedules, making the workplace accessible, and reassignment to a vacant position.
If you are involved in a claim against your employer, they are not legally permitted to punish you or retaliate in any way. Although the law specifically states that employer retaliation is illegal, that does not always prevent punishment from occurring. Common examples of retaliation include demotion, salary or wage reduction, and scheduling you for hours that would cause disruption in your life outside of work.
Wage and Overtime Theft
Any employee who works more than 40 hours in a single workweek is entitled to overtime pay. Workers are also entitled to the wages that they were promised for their labor. Examples of wage and overtime theft include an employer paying less than the federal minimum wage, making tipped workers share their tips with workers that do not receive tips, and offering workers more paid time off in place of overtime.
California’s Protected Classes in Employment
Although all workers are entitled to a harassment- and discrimination-free work environment, there are some classes with specific protection to prevent illegal discrimination. According to California law, the following classes are protected from illegal discrimination by their employers:
Race or color, and traits associated with race like hair texture or hairstyles
Religion or creed
Ancestry and national origin
Age (40 and over)
Sex, gender (including childbirth, pregnancy, breastfeeding, or other related conditions)
Gender identity and gender expression
Physical or mental disability
Military or veteran status
Employment Law vs. Labor Law
For those not familiar with employment law and labor law, they may appear to be the same. However, there are important differences that must be considered when you are figuring out an employment dispute. Employment law and labor law are strongly related, but they each deal with a different type of employment relationship.
Employment law specifically deals with the rights that an individual worker has while in the workplace and how to go about protecting those rights. It is concerned with the terms of individual employment contracts and the resulting issues from disputes between the employee and employer regarding them. This area of law was created to protect employees’ and potential employees’ rights to a safe work environment and the right to not be discriminated against. If these rights are violated by employers, then employees and potential employees can protect themselves through legal action.
Labor laws are instead concerned with unions and the rights workers have to take part in collective action to bring about change in pay and working conditions. They were created in response to the need to equalize bargaining power between employees and employers. Before these laws were enacted, employees often had their right to organize, strike, bargain, or take other collective action fought against. Labor laws were put into place to protect labor unions and other groups of employees, as well as employers.
If you feel that your employer has violated employment or labor laws, you should speak with an experienced attorney who specializes in these areas.
Questions to Ask an Employment Attorney
When dealing with an employment law violation, you may face many uncertainties that make it hard to focus while consulting with an attorney. It can be easy to get lost in the details and waste time, which will likely be charged for by the attorney. Asking an employment law attorney these questions can help you stay on task. You can also get a good feel for the attorney’s skills and capabilities.
Have You Previously Handled This Type of Case?
There is a wide range of legal disputes that an employment lawyer can potentially handle. Your outlook will likely be better if the lawyer has already dealt with a similar case. They will be familiar with the complexities and relevant legal statutes. To further gauge the lawyer’s competency level, you can ask how frequently they practice employment law, what their focus is when they do, and how long they have been practicing.
What Is the Best Strategy for My Case?
If a case goes to court, it will almost certainly be costly and time-consuming. It is common for disputes to be settled outside of court, so ask if they believe that is possible for your case. If they do not believe it is, inquire about other trial alternatives that may result in a favorable outcome. This can also help you understand how costly the most likely route to resolution is. You can also know how the alternatives will affect the timeline and overall cost.
What Is Your Typical Communication Process With Clients?
Your lawyer will have a preferred method of contact and mode of communication. For example, they may prefer to keep their direct line free for emergencies and request that other questions be emailed. Each lawyer will have different procedures for communication. This question will also help you understand how the lawyer charges for communication—some will charge for each email, phone call, and text.
How Should I Prepare for My Case?
An employment lawyer cannot represent you to the best of their ability without evidence supporting your case. An employment lawyer might suggest that you gather employment records, employment contracts, employee release forms, doctor’s notes, texts and emails, and written recollections of interactions. There may also be other evidence that your lawyer will request that you find. Bringing general evidence, such as those listed above, can help speed up the consultation.
Do I Need an Employment Law Attorney?
Proving any kind of employment law violation on the part of your employer requires knowledge and the skill to apply it in the court system. There are many different acts and regulations that apply to employment law, including the following:
Civil Rights Act
Equal Pay Act
Americans With Disabilities Act
Employment Rights Act of 1996
Although you may be able to find the information that you need online, it can be difficult to apply this knowledge correctly in a legal setting. Even the simple act of filing paperwork incorrectly can cause your case to progress slowly or not at all. An employment attorney’s expertise can help you quickly determine if your employment rights have been violated. They can also know the best way to seek restitution for those violations.
If you are considering taking legal action against your employer or potential employer, it can seem like a daunting task. You are likely facing an entity much larger than yourself. This entity also felt comfortable enough to break the law and cause you harm in the process. Many employers are protected against liability by insurance policies, and these insurance companies are in the business of reducing costs and saving money. This means that they will attempt to pay minimal settlements to any victims. Simply hiring an attorney can help change the outcome of your case. Your employer will understand they are now facing a more difficult opponent.
Anaheim, CA Employment Lawyer
Every California worker has the right to feel safe in their workplace. Both California and the federal government have multiple laws in place that are designed to protect workers. The employer-employee relationship is often skewed towards the employer because they have many more resources. There are also many different facets to employment law. This makes it a difficult area for the average citizen to effectively navigate.
The compassionate and confident employment law representation that you will find with California Employment Counsel, APC, can help you increase your power in the relationship. We are experienced in a plethora of employment law issues, including medical leave claims, discrimination, wage and overtime violations, whistleblowers, wrongful termination, and harassment. Contact us today so we can work together to determine if you are the victim of an employment law violation and the best way to handle the issue.
Why Speak Up In California
You should never be afraid to assert your
rights as an employee