Employment Law Attorneys in California
What is Employment Law?
Employment law attorneys work in a highly specialized area of business law. Employment law encompasses the legal relationships between employers and employees, governed by both state and federal laws. Specifically, employment law involves creating regulations in which both the employee and employer must adhere to such as individual employment contracts, collective bargaining, protection from discrimination, wages and hours, as well as health and workplace safety.
In California, the law provides that both the employee and employer are “at will.” This means that the employer or employee can terminate his or her position at any time for any legal reason-with or without notice. State employment laws also manage employment contracts, which outline certain limits within the “at-will” presumption as well as specific responsibilities of the employee such as salary and benefits, standards for evaluation, length of employment, and grounds for termination. The employment contract may be put into play due to under certain circumstances such as costly training and access to sensitive information. The employee may be required to sign the following contracts:
- Confidentiality agreement, which provides that the employee will not disclose any information regarding the company
- Non-compete agreements, which provide that an employee agrees that during and after employment, the employee will not work for or interact with any competitors and/or steal the company’s customers.
- Arbitration agreements, in which employees agree to mediate any conflicts with the employer instead of taking it to court
- Termination agreements, in which an employer can terminate the employee for any reasons
What Are My Rights As An Employee?
Every employee, whether hired or potential, has certain basic rights; the right against discrimination, the right to privacy, fair compensation, and the right to a safety in the workplace. Some aspects of the right to privacy as an employee depends on the specific policies enforced by the employer. Generally however, the employee is protected from invasion of his or her personal belongings as well as private mail directed towards the employee. Additionally, employees are granted privacy in their telephone conversation and/or voicemails, unless the call is business-related for quality control.
What Are My Rights As An Independent Contractor?
While an independent contractor gets paid to work for companies and individuals, they are not deemed an employee, and they have additional general freedom over their work that employees are not granted. However, independent contractors do not have the same legal protections that employees do. Although there is no single rule to determine whether one is an employee or independent contractor, generally, independent contractors have the right to directly decide and control what will be done and how it will be done. The court will consider the factors below when deciding whether one is an employee or an independent contractor:
- Whether the business relationship is temporary or indefinite
- The amount the worker has funded equipment or materials
- Level of control over the worker’s outcome
- Chance of profit and loss to the worker
- Whether the services of the worker are key to the business
What is a Whistleblower?
A whistleblower is a person who reveals misconduct or unlawful activity of an organization or corporation. These illegal activities may involve the violation of company rules and regulations, fraud, corruption, or threat to national security. Most whistleblowers make their allegations within the organization or corporation to higher positions, however, other whistleblowers can choose to bring their allegations externally to a third party outside of the accused organization. These external parties may include the media, law enforcement, the government, and federal regulatory agencies. Whistleblowers are protected against being terminated after reporting the unlawful acts of their fellow employees. The purpose of this protection is to ensure that employees stop, report, or testify illegal or unhealthy employer actions.
There are numerous issues, which can occur in an workplace setting which might require the need for a Los Angeles LGBT employment law attorney. Some of them include:
- Collective Bargaining
- Employment Discrimination
- Gender or sex discrimination
- Race discrimination
- Religious discrimination
- Age discrimination
- Employer representation
- Employment contracts
- ERISA benefits
- Meal Breaks
- Occupational Safety
- Public sector benefits
- Severance package negotiations
- Sexual harassment
- Union law
- Wages and benefits
- Workers compensation
- Wrongful termination
- General Labor Law
When affected by one of the above issues, retaining one of the attorneys from the Pride Legal network can help safeguard your rights. Whether you have been wrongfully terminated, injured at work, discriminated against due to sexual orientation or gender identity, or for any other reason, you need to have someone on your side representing your interests. You may be entitled to benefits or damages depending on the circumstances of your case.
Do I have to file a complaint with HR before filing a lawsuit?
Depending on the given situation, you may or may not need to go through Human Resources before filing a lawsuit. Typically, it is wise to contact HR for all complaints while working at a company. If you feel discriminated against as an applicant for a position, it may be unnecessary to contact HR before filing a lawsuit. Keeping a detailed record of HR complaints may strengthen your case.
Is my employer responsible for a coworker’s misconduct?
Generally, the employer is responsible if
- The employer was aware of misconduct AND
- did not take all reasonable steps to prevent harassment from occurring
The basis of your lawsuit is primarily focused on who is responsible for such misconduct. If the employer was either unaware of harassment or was aware and took all proper steps to prevent it from occurring, the employer may not be liable.
Can I be fired for filing a lawsuit against my employer?
No, California employees cannot be fired for filing a civil lawsuit against their employers, co-workers, etc. If your employer does fire you for filing a lawsuit against them, this can be considered wrongful termination.
If I was never hired, is my case still considered to be employment discrimination?
Discrimination law also covers job applicants who have been harassed or discriminated against. An employer may be held liable for asking a job applicant improper questions, such as questioning the applicant’s:
- Sexual orientation
- Mental or physical disability
- Marital status
- Arrest record
What can be money damages in an employment discrimination lawsuit?
In a California employment discrimination lawsuit, the following may be considered money damages:
- Losses of front pay
- Back Wages
- Reduced income from a demotion or promotion
- Pension benefits
- Loss of bonus payments
- Emotional distress or suffering
Finding a Gay and Lesbian Employment Law Attorney in California
Pride Legal can help you find an employment lawyer who can answer all of your questions or help you solve any employment law issues you may have. We have a professional network of independent attorneys who are knowledgeable and dedicated to obtaining the best results for their clients. Our member attorneys provide legal services to the LGBT community in Los Angeles, San Diego, Orange County and the community at large throughout Southern California.
Contact a Los Angeles Employment Law Attorney for the Gay Community at Pride Legal today!
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