Does my boss have to give me a good reason for firing me?
No. In the United States, employment is recognized as "at will." This means that either party (the employee or the employer) can terminate the professional relationship at any time, for any reason. Additionally, your boss is not required to notify you before firing you. Similarly, you have the legal right to quit at any time without notice.
Does my boss have to treat me fairly?
While there are no laws that require an employer to treat employees "fairly," there are restrictions on discriminating against an employee's age, ethnicity, or gender. If you have proof that an employer has treated you differently due to any of these qualities, you may be able to receive compensation. However, it is essential that you have a competent attorney on your side who can present the evidence of your case with detail and aggressiveness.
Can my boss give me a bad reference?
Yes, an employer is entitled to provide their honest opinion of your workplace performance. However, if a bad reference involves slander, defamation of character, or misrepresentation in order to prevent you from getting a new job, you may have case against them. As this requires extensive and legitimate evidence, it is in your best interest to have a Los Angeles employment law attorney in your corner.
Am I entitled to extra pay for overtime?
Yes. If an employee works longer than eight hours in a day, more than 40 hours in a week, or greater than six days in a row, he or she is entitled to overtime pay. Overtime pay shall be time and a half for up to four additional hours in a day and the first eight on a seventh consecutive workday; it shall be double for any hours exceeding these. However, there are classes of employees who are exempt from this law, including executive, professional, and administrative employees.
Can my boss make me work holidays?
While your boss cannot force you to do anything, there is no law that prohibits employers from keeping their business open and scheduling staff to work on holidays. An employer can take any disciplinary action as defined in your contract if you do not adhere to your work schedule.
Can my boss make me to do tasks that aren't in my employment contract?
Under "at will" employment, employers can ask you to perform any task, regardless of your job description. However, if these tasks are illegal or unethical, you may be entitled to take legal action.
If I am here illegally, am I covered by employment law?
Typically, undocumented workers are entitled to the same state and federal employment rights as documented workers. However, it is important to know that an employer is prohibited by law to hire or continue to employ illegal immigrants. Thus, if an employer becomes aware of your status, they are required to refuse to hire or end your employment.
Can my boss cut my pay without notice?
No. An employer is entitled to make deductions as required by law (including taxes), when authorized by an employee for the purposes of insurance or other benefits, and according to hours missed by an employee. The employer must notify an employee of any decisions to cut pay for any other reason prior to doing so.
My boss calls me a dummy. Can I sue the company for hostile environment?
Generally not. The hostile environment must be severe and pervasive, and due to sex, sexual orientation, gender, age, nationality, religion and disability.
Can my boss withhold my paycheck?
An employer is not permitted to withhold your paycheck for any reason. If your boss believes that you owe money, they have the option to pursue legal action against you, but they cannot deduct that money from your paycheck.
Can my boss make me take a drug test?
If your job is sensitive in nature to matters of safety, such as driving and piloting, then drug tests with or without notice are legal. Additionally, drug tests are legal if you have signed a document that gives your employer permission to conduct them. Otherwise, an employer must have legitimate reason to suspect drug-related activity in order to conduct a legal drug test.
Does my boss have to pay me for vacation and sick days if I quit?
California law recognizes accrued vacation time as wages, meaning employers are required to include any unused time in your final paycheck. However, state law does not recognize sick days as wages, meaning that, unless specified in your contract, employers have no obligation to pay sick days.
Can I file a sexual harassment claim if my boss made one comment?
If your boss offered to increase your pay or give you other benefits for sexual favors, which is known as "quid pro quo," then the company can be held liable for even one comment. However, the law defines only "severe or pervasive" actions to be sexual harassment, which means that whether or not you have a case depends on the seriousness of the comment or action. A single, offhand comment may not constitute a sexual harassment claim.
If I was sexually harassed by a vendor of the company, is the company liable?
Yes. Employers are required by law to prevent sexual harassment, enforce a policy against it, and take remedial and punitive action. If you reported the incident to the employer and they did not take action to protect you from further sexual harassment, then the company is liable.
Can my employer refuse to let me take a break?
No. An employee is entitled to two 10-minute rest breaks and one 30-minute meal break based upon an eight-hour day. If the employer fails to grant these breaks, the employee is entitled to a penalty of one-hour pay for failure to grant the 30-minute meal break and one-hour pay for failure to grant both the 10-minutes rest breaks. The penalty for the rest breaks is one-hour pay regardless of whether one or both breaks were denied. Furthermore, you have 30 minutes to go anywhere you like to take your meal break, including outside the business premises.
I gave the company 30 days' notice and was fired immediately. Is that legal?
Yes, unless specified by a contractual agreement. As an "at will" employment, either party can terminate the professional relationship at any time without notice. This means that you are not required to give 30 days' notice to the company, and the employer is not required to retain your employment for said 30 days.
Should I sign a Separation Agreement?
It has been a practice of some companies to offer an employee "severance pay" for signing a complete release for any and all liability, known or unknown. Do not sign the agreement until you know what rights you are giving up.
What is the Fair Employment Housing Act (FEHA)?
It is California law which makes it illegal for employers to harass or discriminate against employees based upon sex, gender, sexual orientation, age, race, nationality and disability.
What is Title VII?
Title VII is an amendment of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. It is the federal law that protects employees and prospective employees against discrimination race, ethnicity, sex, and religion.
What is Title IX?
It is a section of the Civil Rights that acts as federal law against harassment and discrimination by educational institutions, their teachers and coaches against their students, athletes and employees.
What is Disparate Treatment?
This term applies when an employee is treated differently than individuals with other sexes, genders, sexual orientations, ages, races, nationalities or disabilities. The employee must provide substantial evidence that disparate treatment exists among comparable employees.
What is Disparate Impact?
Disparate impact refers to an employer's practices, requirements, or policies that are not discriminatory in intent, but have adverse effects on a particular class of employees. For example, having a strength requirement for employment may disproportionately limit female applicants.
What if I am a member of a union?
The employee generally has additional rights under the collective bargaining agreement (CBA). The union is the exclusive representative of the employees under the CBA. However, Mr. Newman can represent you to as to rights arising under California statute.
How does Workers Compensation affect my case?
Under certain instances, you may have a right to collect both for damages under workers' compensation and for the violation of your rights under California Statute.
Alan Burton Newman, PLC
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