Oceanside Employment Attorney
State and federal laws codify protections for employees, including the right to fair compensation, the right to a workplace free of safety hazards, the right to report illegal activity, and the right to an environment free of harassment and discrimination. Employees rely on their jobs to earn a livelihood, and they deserve these basic protections. Unfortunately, discrimination and hostile workplaces are still fairly frequent.
When employers create unsafe or hostile conditions, or fail to reasonably address these issues, they can be held accountable through a legal claim. Employees can file complaints with relevant governmental agencies to obtain the right to file a civil claim against their employer, enabling them to earn compensation. Filing and gathering evidence for this complaint is much more straightforward when you work with an experienced employment law attorney in Oceanside, CA.
The Law Office of Frank S. Clowney III: Oceanside Employment Attorneys
It can be daunting to file a complaint for workplace discrimination or harassment, especially if you fear retaliation for filing. If you have lost your job due to retaliation or discrimination, you are facing the stressors of filing a claim while not having the income to support yourself.
An experienced employment law attorney can help you manage legal deadlines and filing requirements, thus improving the chances of the complaint and the claim succeeding. This lets you get the compensation you deserve. In your initial discussion with an employment attorney, they can help you understand the damages that are available and how likely your claim is to succeed. This enables you to make an informed decision about how to proceed.
At The Law Office of Frank S. Clowney III, we have 40 years of experience in employment law, helping our community protect their workers’ rights. We can review your employment violation situation, determine your legal routes, and create an individualized strategy to manage your claim. Our firm understands the stress of employment law violations and the frustrating process of gathering evidence and filing a complaint. We want to make this easier for you and protect your rights.
What Are Your Employee Rights in Oceanside?
Employees have many rights protected by state and federal law. These include:
- Safe Workplace: Employees have a right to a work environment without hazards or safety issues that may cause injury. They also have the right to file complaints with the federal or California Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) when these safety standards are not being reasonably kept.
- Fair Pay: Most employees have several compensation rights, including the right to at least the minimum wage, the right to overtime pay, and the right to paid rest and unpaid meal breaks. Employers are not allowed to make deductions without authorization to employees’ paychecks.
- Protected Leave: State and federal laws, such as the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) and the California Family Rights Act (CFRA), provide protected medical leave for specific reasons, such as to care for a new child. California law also provides leave for military service. Employers cannot fire an employee simply for taking protected leave in good faith.
- Protection From Discrimination: Employees are protected from discrimination and negative employment actions based on protected characteristics. This includes race, gender, sex, religious creed, ethnicity, health conditions, national origin, sexual orientation, military status, marital status, age, or pregnancy.
- Protection From Harassment: Employees are protected from hostile work environments and sexual harassment. Employers are expected to reasonably address and prevent harassment in their workplaces.
- Reasonable Accommodations: Under the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA), disabled employees have the right to reasonable accommodations that allow them to complete their job duties. These accommodations may include scheduling changes or workplace alterations. Employers are not required to make accommodations when it would cause them unreadable and undue hardship. It is illegal for an employer to pass over a job candidate because they do not want to provide a reasonable accommodation.
- Privacy: Employees have the right to privacy in the workplace and the right to privacy outside of work. Employees can’t be fired for legal actions taken outside of work while not working.
- Organize: Employees have the right to create, join, and aid labor unions. They can also discuss labor unions with coworkers. Employers are not allowed to interfere with employees when they are exercising these rights, either by adverse employment actions or threats.
- Protection From Retaliation: Employees have several protected rights, including the right to file a complaint for harassment, discrimination, or wage and hour violations. They also have the right to whistleblow when there is illegal activity in the workplace and the right to be part of an investigation regarding any of these issues. Employers cannot take negative actions against an employee for exercising these rights.
Common Employment Law Violations in Oceanside
There are several common labor law violations, including:
- Wage and Hour Violations
State and federal wage and hour laws ensure that non-exempt employees receive at least the minimum wage, rest and meal breaks, and overtime pay. Wage and hour violations occur when employers fail to properly compensate employees. An employer may misclassify you as an employee who does not get these protections, such as an exempt worker or an independent contractor. A civil claim can get you the compensation that you deserve after wage theft.
- Workplace Discrimination
California and federal laws protect employees from discrimination in the workplace. If an employer takes adverse employment actions against you because of a protected characteristic, you can file a complaint. Adverse employment actions include limiting your hours, wages, or benefits. It also includes termination, not giving you a promotion or a bonus that you should have earned, or excluding you from workplace meetings and activities. Protected characteristics include your race, religion, disability, gender, sex, skin color, national origin, ethnicity, sexual orientation, or health condition.
- Workplace Harassment
Workplace harassment may be a hostile work environment, where comments or actions are frequent or severe enough to upset a reasonable person. It may also include quid pro quo sexual harassment, where an employee is harassed by someone who has some form of control over their job. These actions may be based on discriminatory biases. An employment attorney can help protect employee rights.
Employers are prohibited from taking adverse employment actions against you when you exercise a protected employee right. This includes the right to request that an employer take reasonable steps to address workplace discrimination or harassment and the right to file a complaint for the same reason. It is illegal for an employer to retaliate against you for this.
- Wrongful Termination
Although California is an at-will state, an employer cannot fire you for an illegal reason, such as a discriminatory bias or as retaliation for taking protected leave or filing a complaint.
Employment Lawyer FAQs
Q: Can I Sue My Employer in California?
A: In some cases, yes, you can file a civil claim against your employer. For wage and hour violations, you can file a complaint with the California Labor Commissioner’s Office. For discrimination complaints or other workplace rights violations, you can file with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) or the California Civil Rights Department (CRD). If your complaint is approved, the agency may give you the right to sue your employer.
However, if you were injured while at work, it’s unlikely that you can sue your employer. The workers’ compensation system exists to protect employers from civil personal injury claims, and it protects employees by covering their medical costs and other damages, regardless of who was at fault for the injury.
Q: How Much Is a Wrongful Termination Case Worth in California?
A: A wrongful termination case settlement may be worth anywhere from several thousand dollars to several hundred thousand. The exact value of a wrongful termination case relies entirely on your unique situation, and it may depend on your salary, your specific job type and proficiency, and whether the actions of your employer were particularly oppressive, fraudulent, or malicious. Some of the damages that a wrongful termination case may cover include:
- Lost income
- Lost benefits, such as insurance benefits
- Medical costs
- The cost of finding a new job
- Attorney’s costs
- Emotional distress
- Punitive damages in some cases
Q: Can I Sue My Boss for Emotional Stress?
A: Emotional distress cases can be difficult, but they are possible. Many jobs are stressful, but if an employer’s negligence or malice caused a hostile work environment or a physically unsafe environment, an emotional distress case is more likely to succeed. Emotional stress can also be caused by wrongful termination, retaliation, or other worker’s rights violations. These would be valid reasons to file a claim against your employer. If your emotional stress is the result of a job that is expected to be stressful, you likely cannot sue your employer.
Q: What Is Unfair Treatment in the Workplace in California?
A: Unfair treatment in the workplace is not necessarily illegal. Employers can take employment actions how they see fit. California is an at-will employment state, so employers can fire an employee for any reason at any time. However, adverse employment actions and termination cannot be based on an illegal reason. If an employer passes you over for a promotion, cuts your pay or benefits, or fires you, this is not illegal unless it is based on a protected characteristic. This includes race, gender, religion, and ethnicity. If a discriminatory bias was the cause of an adverse employment action, this is illegal.
Work With an Experienced Oceanside Employment Lawyer Today
State and federal labor laws are there to protect you. The Law Office of Frank S. Clowney III can determine if you have a claim, what agency you should file with, and what compensation you deserve. Contact our team today.