An employee in California has no rights except those as specifically granted by statute, contract, or public policy; this is called an employee-at-will. The employee does not have the right to obtain severance pay, to have vacation, to sick days; they also do not have the right to the following to be promoted, to be notified why they were terminated, or to be given a chance corrective action. All the employer has to do when an employee is terminated is to pay the employee on the spot for any wages due or any vacation pay, if any due.
There are various laws-both federal and state laws-that protect the employee against these harsh situations. One of the primary statutes is the Fair Employment Housing Act (FEHA), which is a law passed by California legislature that states an employee has the right to be free from harassment, discrimination, and retaliation in the process of getting and maintaining a job.
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An employee has a right to be free from discrimination and harassment based on those things. This does not mean an employer, if he/she doesn't like an employee, cannot fire him/her without notice. It, however, does mean an employer cannot fire an employee simply because of their race. To do so is illegal.
In these cases, the burden of proof is on is on the employee, not the employer. The employee must determine and be able to prove that the reason they were fired was discriminatory. This also applies, for example, to disability and age. Just because someone who was fired had a disability or is old, it does not mean it was illegal. It must be proven that those were the reasons the individual was fired.
In terms of harassment, some things may be considered legal if the harassment is based simply on not liking a person. However, it could be considered illegal if certain phrases are used that are sexually oriented or based on their heritage.
Sexual harassment can be categorized into two different forms:
These cases require a balance between the number of harassment comments and the severity. For example, if the employer said that they wanted to take an employee to Las Vegas and stopped after the employee requested him / her to stop, it may not be considered sexual harassment.
No matter what your unique employment law situation, Alan Burton Newman, PLC is prepared to assist. As an experienced and successful employment attorney for wage & hour claims in Los Angeles (and similar matters), you can rest assured that he is the right choice for you. When your livelihood, family, and future are on the line, you cannot afford to procrastinate.
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