California's Best Wrongful Termination Lawyer
Wrongful Termination Lawyer in Los Angeles, San Diego, Ontario & San Jose
Under California law, employees may not be terminated for discriminatory reasons or in retaliation for exercising their legal rights. A related concept is constructive discharge in which an employee feels no choice but to resign from employment for reasons that result from the employer’s violation of the employee’s legal rights.
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There are many factors that determine the amount of a settlement. Generally speaking, wrongful termination settlements include past lost wages, future lost wages (after the termination until you find another comparable job) and losses you sustained due to emotional distress. Settlements also depend on the strength of the facts and whether the employer is able to pay. Settlements tend to be more valuable when the wrongfully terminated employee has a higher hourly income or salary. Each situation, however, should be evaluated based on its own merits to determine potential case value. Importantly, additional violations may be found that could enhance the value of the case including wage violations. For instance, if an employer did not pay overtime pay for overtime hours worked or failed to provide meal and rest breaks.
The short answer is yes. In California employment is considered to be “at will” which means that you can be fired at any time with or without cause. There are some exceptions to this general rule, however. You cannot be fired based on a discriminatory reason. For example, you cannot be fired based on your age (over 40) or your religion, or because you have a physical disability or because of your gender or sexual orientation or because you are a member of certain other protected statuses. You also cannot be fired for asking to be paid your earned wages or for other reasons such as taking medical leave if you qualify under the Family Medical Leave Act for job protection.
Yes, you can. In California the law protects employees from being wrongfully terminated based on being a member of a protected class. It is illegal to terminate someone based on race, age (over 40), religion, ethnic origin, ancestry, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, physical disability, mental disability, military or veteran status, and medical condition such as cancer or certain other conditions. You can sue for wrongful termination based on a violation of any law that protects the public and is considered to be a public policy of the State of California including wage and hour law and discrimination law.
Yes you can in certain circumstances. In California the law protects employees from being wrongfully terminated based on being a member of a protected class. It is illegal to terminate someone based on race, age (over 40), religion, ethnic origin, ancestry, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, physical disability, mental disability, military or veteran status, and medical condition such as cancer or certain other conditions. You can sue for wrongful termination based on a violation of any law that protects the public and is considered to be a public policy of the State of California including wage and hour law and discrimination law.
Yes, you can be terminated over the phone. In California, employment is considered to be “at will”. This means that an employer can hire you or terminate you at any time. The “at will” doctrine also gives you the right to take a job or to quit a job at any time as well. An employer can let you know that you have been terminated over the phone, in person or by letter, text or email as well.
Generally speaking, terminated means the same as fired. It means the employer decided to let you go from your job. In some circumstances an employer may use the term “terminated” to mean either that the employer ended the work relationship, or it can mean that the employee ended or terminated the relationship. In these circumstances, the employer usually provides a definition for the term “termination.” Normally though if someone is terminated it means the employer made the decision to end your employment with the company.
Wrongful termination cases can take a year or more to resolve. However, many cases settle much quicker including some that settle within a few months. Generally, though, most cases settle somewhere between 6 to 10 months after filing with the court.
If you want to file a wrongful termination case, you should first consult with an attorney to go over the facts of your situation to see if you have a solid case for wrongful termination. Keep in mind that in California, wrongful termination in violation of public policy requires a violation of a wage and hour or discrimination statute, for example. Your attorney can advise you on whether your facts will support a wrongful termination claim. For example, if you were fired based on having a physical disability or because you are transgender or because you are pregnant you may have a good wrongful termination case. Your attorney can help you to file a complaint in court (after obtaining the Right to Sue notice from the Department of Fair Employment and Housing if you have discrimination case).
You must show that you were terminated based on an illegal reason. In a wrongful termination matter you have to show you were terminated because of your status such as being physically disabled or because of your religion or your gender or pregnancy or another protected status. Or, you need to show you were terminated because you asked for payment of your wages or other wage and hour rights. You can prove your case in a wage and hour case often with your own testimony plus your wage statements, schedules, texts between you and the employer or other evidence such as time punch cards. In discrimination cases you can testify about statements that were made to you or others about your disability for example. Or you can use a pattern of behavior as evidence such as all workers over 40 were terminated while all younger workers kept their jobs. There are many ways to prove a case. Your lawyer will help you by evaluating and presenting the evidence.
In California, overtime pay is calculated based on the employee’s regular rate of pay. For example, if an employee earns $20 per hour, the overtime rate for a non-exempt employee would be $30 per hour which equals one and a half times the regular rate of pay for the employee.
In California, employees are entitled to double time pay when they work more than 12 hours in a workday and for all hours worked in excess of eight hours on the seventh consecutive workday in a workweek. For example, if an employee worked 14 hours in a workday and their regular rate of pay was $20 per hour, they would be entitled to $40 per hour for the, 12th, 13th and 14th hour they worked in that same workday. Additionally, they would be entitled to overtime pay of one and half times their regular rate of pay for all hours worked after their 8th hour of work through to the end of their 11th hour of work.
Under California law prevailing wage rates are set by statute for contractors and sub-contractors that perform work on state, municipal and local public works projects with a value of over $1,000.00. Under prevailing wage law, workers must be paid certain rates of pay for each type of work performed. Prevailing wage rates are meant to prevent contractors and sub-contractors from recruiting and paying low wage workers from other areas or countries to do the work at a lower rate since all contractors and sub-contractors would be bound to pay the same amount for the same work duties under the prevailing wage law. Prevailing wage also provides workers with fringe benefits or payment for benefits such that employees are paid the same wage for the same category of work on public works projects.
Yes, in some circumstances. An employee can be paid on a salary basis and still be non-exempt. This means that they are entitled to overtime pay for all hours worked after eight hours in a day and after 40 hours in a workweek in California. If an employee is truly exempt from overtime they will not be entitled to overtime pay. There are several complex tests in order to determine employee status as to whether they are exempt or non-exempt form overtime pay. You should consult with your attorney.
Yes. An employer can ask you to work overtime. If you don’t want to work the overtime you have a couple of choices – you can get another job where you don’t have to work overtime hours, you can try to negotiate your schedule with your employer or finally, you can just work the overtime. Keep in mind that if your employer insists that you work overtime then you can be disciplined or even fired if you don’t show up or you refuse to work the overtime hours.
Nurses are subject to many complex labor law rules and whether they are paid overtime pay depends upon their qualifications and job status as to whether they are an exempt employee or not. Many nurses do qualify for overtime pay. Another factor is whether the nurse is subject to an alternative workweek agreement such as 3 (12) hour shifts or 4 (10) hour shifts by agreement. In these situations, nurses are not entitled to overtime pay unless they work more hours or do not work the agreed shifts. Also a vote must be carried out to determine if a discreet unit will be subject to overtime and to determine shift hours. Please consult your attorney as the law governing nursing occupations is complex.
You can talk to an employment law attorney about your rights to overtime pay. If you are owed overtime pay your attorney may be able to file a case for you seeking not just your overtime pay but other monies you might be owed for regular wages or reimbursement for expenses you incurred on behalf of the company as well as penalties for missed meal or rest breaks and other possible violations.
Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 is a federal law that protects employees from discrimination based on a protected status or characteristics including race, color, national original, sex and religion. Title VII applies to employers with 15 or more employees. Employers may not discriminate against any employee in the terms or conditions of their employment. Employers are prohibited from discriminating against an employee or prospective employee on the basis of a protected characteristic. Discrimination involves an adverse employment action such as failure to hire, failing to promote, terminating an employee on the basis of their color or religion or another protected status. Discrimination can come in several forms including discrimination based on perceived racial, national, sexual or religious characteristics or on the basis of associating with those who are protected.
If you believe you are suffering from workplace discrimination you should immediately contact an employment law attorney to discuss your situation. Do not wait as there are strict deadlines concerning filing discrimination matters.
You only have 180 days from the discriminatory event to file a discrimination charge with the EEOC.
A violation under the Equal Pay Act involves two workers of different genders who work for the same employer, are performing the same work under similar work conditions and do not receive the same pay. Additionally, the pay difference is based on the gender of the people involved. For instance, two workers, one male and one female who both work in a retail store. One employee is paid $20 per hour and the other is paid $15 per hour even though they perform the same function and work the same hours. If the discrepancy in pay is due to gender, then the employer has likely violated the Equal Pay Act. Title VII covered discriminatory conduct by an employer based on a protected status or characteristic such as race, color, national original, sex and religion. Title VII applies to employers with 15 or more employees. Title VII is much broader than the Equal Pay Act and covers discriminatory conduct and violations in the application process, hiring, firing, promotion and other aspects of employment whereas the Equal Pay Act only covers discriminatory conduct based on unequal pay between persons of different genders.
No. Employers violate the law if they retaliate against an employee for filing a discrimination charge under Title VII. Employers are prohibited from demoting or terminating an employee or taking other adverse employment actions against employees who file Title VII claims.
Report discriminatory conduct to your Human Resources department in writing. Keep written notes at home regarding any discriminatory conduct you witness or experience. Seek out an experienced employment law attorney to discuss the discriminatory conduct and next steps. Keep in mind that there are short deadlines to file a discrimination case so seek assistance immediately.