The relationship between the employer and employee is highly regulated by both California and Federal laws, and it is becoming more so with the passage of new laws. Our Los Angeles employment law office advise both employers and employees on matters that affect employment decisions and handle cases based on the following claims: sexual harassment; race, age, and disability discrimination; retaliation & whistleblower claims; wrongful termination; right to privacy; wage and hour violations; overtime pay/exemptions; independent contractor misclassifications; trade secret disputes; and non-competition covenants.
When working to resolve these claims, the goal of our Los Angeles employment lawyers is to thoroughly understand the issues and dynamics of each unique situation. While this is often a painstaking process, it pays substantial dividends in achieving a successful resolution. In employment law, we have found that early, thorough, and intelligent analysis can save our employment law client’s money and headaches.
Click below to learn more about specific discrimination types and employment law claims that our Los Angeles employment law office handles:
- Sexual Harassment
- Retaliation & Whistleblower Claims
- Wrongful Termination
- Wage and Hour Violations
- Trade Secret Litigation
- Non-competition Covenants
There are two theories upon which sexual harassment may be alleged: quid pro quo harassment, where a term of employment is conditioned upon submission to unwelcome sexual advances; and hostile work environment, where the harassment is sufficiently pervasive so as to alter the conditions of employment and create an abusive work environment. The law also requires employers to take reasonable steps necessary to prevent discrimination and harassment from occurring in the workplace.
Sexual harassment can be categorized into verbal harassment, physical harassment, or visual harassment. Verbal sexual harassment consists of but is not limited to derogatory comments, slurs, sexual comments and jokes. Physical sexual harassment is defined as unwanted touching, rubbing against someone, assault and physical interference with one’s movement or work. Visual sexual harassment includes derogatory cartoons, drawings, or posters, and lewd gestures. Additionally, workplace harassment can involve violence or threats of violence to person or property.
If you think you have been sexually harassed or that you work in an otherwise hostile work environment, you should contact one of our employment lawyers to learn about your rights. Our experienced Los Angeles sexual harassment attorneys have successfully litigated sexual harassment cases on behalf of employers and employees.
The law prohibits employers from discriminating against employees based on several “protected classes,” including race, age, disability, gender, pregnancy, religion, national origin, and sexual orientation. California, like many states, has its own set of discrimination laws, called the California Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA). In addition to California law, there are several federal laws that prohibit job discrimination, including the Equal Pay Act of 1963, the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967, the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990.
Our Los Angeles employment discrimination lawyers are experienced in helping employment law clients distinguish between illegal employment discrimination and non-discriminatory employment actions. Our Los Angeles employment attorneys are knowledgeable in employment discrimination law and regularly litigate employment discrimination claims on behalf of employees, and we have successfully defended employers against such claims.
Retaliation & Whistleblower Claims
Federal and state laws prohibit an employer from “retaliating” against an employee. Retaliation is any adverse employment action, such as termination or demotion, against an employee because he or she engaged in a “protected activity,” which is an activity protected by law or public policy. Examples of protected activity include filing a discrimination claim or filing a workers compensation claim. It is also retaliation to take adverse employment action against an employee who participates in an investigation of one of these problems. Some common situations where retaliation may arise include situations where an employee reports employer violations to a state agency, or complains about sexual harassment to their employer, or opposes illegal activities in the workplace. A whistleblower claim arises when an employee reports, threatens to report or refuses to participate in certain types of illegal or improper activities.
If you have been the subjection of retaliatory conduct, you should seek guidance from an employment attorney. Our experienced Los Angeles employment lawyers counsel and represent clients involving claims of employment retaliation and whistleblowing.
Under California law, employment is generally “at will,” which means that employers can fire employees at any time and for any reason, or no reason. But, there are important exceptions. An employer cannot fire an employee for any discriminatory reasons, or for pursuing a discrimination claim. An employer also cannot fire an employee for any reasons that are contrary to public policy, such as filing a workers compensation claim or engaging in whistleblowing activities.
If you have been fired for a wrongful reason, you may want to contact an employment lawyer. Our experienced Los Angeles employment attorneys have successfully brought and defended wrongful termination claims on behalf of employees and employers.
Wage and Hour Violations
Wage and hour rules are governed by the California Labor Code and the Federal Fair Labor Standards Act. Some of the common causes of wage and hour violations include:
- Employees misclassified as “exempt” from receiving overtime pay.
- Employees misclassified as independent contractors.
- Employees not provided uninterrupted meal breaks.
- Employer failed to provide paid time for tasks required to prepare for work.
- Employer failed to ensure that employees being paid per-project were meeting minimum wage requirements.
- Employer failed to provide proper pay stubs with all required information.
Employers are also responsible for prompt payment of wages due and can be subject to significant penalties if they fail to promptly pay all wages that are due to an employee who is fired or quits.
An experienced employment attorney can advise you about your rights. Our experienced Los Angeles employment lawyers have the experience and resources to successfully prosecute and defend wage and hour lawsuits.
Trade Secret Litigation
When most people think of a “trade secret” they envision the formula to Coca Cola or the design schematic from a bio-medical research lab. While the California Uniform Trade Secrets Act (“UTSA”) certainly protects such information, the UTSA also affords protection to much more common pieces of information. If a company takes reasonable measures to protect its information, and if the information is valuable because it is kept secret, common, every-day pieces of data can also be afforded trade secret protection. For example, customer lists, business plans, spreadsheets, corporate minutes and agendas, and bid specifications can, depending on the circumstances, be considered trade secrets.
We are experienced Los Angeles trade secret attorneys. If you are an employer whose former employee has taken a trade secret and is using it in a competing business, we can prevent this unauthorized use by seeking a preliminary injunction. This alone may accomplish your objective.
If you are an employee who was wrongfully accused of trade secret misappropriation, our Los Angeles employment attorneys are also experienced in defending these cases and in finding shortcomings in the plaintiff’s trade secret protection policies. This can be an effective approach for dismissing a lawsuit or negotiating a favorable settlement so your business may proceed. In any lawsuit, your business interest will always be at the forefront, determining the litigation posture that will best achieve your business goals.
Non-competition covenants are generally not enforceable in California. However, there are important exceptions, such as covenants that part of the sale of the goodwill of a business. We are experienced employment lawyers and can help understand your rights and obligations. Our employment attorneys have successfully litigated cases involving non-compete covenants. Our Los Angeles employment lawyers counsel employers and employees on the enforceability of non-compete covenants and their interplay with trade secret law.