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San Diego Employment Law Attorneys:You Matter, And You Deserve Justice

San Diego Employment Law Blog

Has your employer failed to pay you for working overtime?

Let us say you are working as a janitor for a well-established furniture upholstery company that has two locations: one in Sorrento Valley and another in Escondido. The company is short on staff at present, so you often need to continue working after your shift is over. However, you do not believe you are receiving proper compensation for time spent working off the clock.

FLSA and overtime

Understanding retaliation and EEO laws

People who work in Southern California are protected by many laws that are designed to ensure they experience a work environment free from harassment or discrimination. As explained by the United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, there are also laws in place that ban employers from taking negative actions against any person who attempts to exercise their right to a discrimination-free workplace. These laws cover not only active employees but people applying for employment with a company.

Commonly referred to as retaliation, the Houston Chronicle defines this as an action by an employer taken to essentially get revenge for something the employee did. The action generally has a negative impact on the employee's job or career.

What protections are afforded under the ADA?

Living with a disability can be difficult; having a career with one can be even more so. Yet part of living is enjoying your career. Thus, you should not be impeded from being able to have a fulfilling job in San Diego. Thankfully, the Americans with Disabilities Act was designed to ensure that does not happen. 

Before learning what rights you are afforded under the ADA, it first helps to understand whether or not you are even subject to it. Per the U.S. Equal Opportunity Employment Commission, you must have a significant impairment for the ADA to apply to you. Furthermore, that impairment must hinder your ability to do any of the following: 

  • Essential functions such as breathing, seeing, hearing or speaking
  • Walking or performing manual tasks
  • Caring for yourself
  • Learning or working

Have you been wrongfully terminated?

As a worker in San Diego who has recently been wrongfully terminated, you may be wondering if there's anything you can do about it. Sullivan Law Group is here to help you navigate the tricky waters of fighting for your rights in a wrongful termination case.

It can be somewhat difficult to prove that you were terminated wrongfully due to the fact that at-will employment muddies the waters. With at-will employment, an employer can choose to fire someone for any reason at all, or even no reason. However, there are still certain situations in which you could argue the termination. One involves acts of discrimination, and the other involves acts of retaliation.

Am I entitled to a nursing break at work?

If you’re a new mother who’s recently returned to the work force, you may have questions about your rights at they pertain to nursing breaks. In fact, employers are beholden to certain federal and state regulations that establish the proper method of providing mothers with breaks to express milk for their new babies. The United States Department of Labor answers the following questions regarding nursing breaks and employer obligations.

Which employers are obligated to provide nursing breaks?

Waitresses and waiters: Understanding break policies

Virtually every industry has some instances of employers conducting illegal practices at the expense of the lowest workers' wages. The food service industry arguably sees these abuses the most with the issue of employee tipping being a topic of conversation for years now. 

However, another illegal employment practice is for the employer to deny waitresses and waiters sufficient breaks. California law explicitly states that employers must give their workers enough breaks throughout the day, and employees should seek to rectify a situation if they cannot go on as many breaks as they should.

Barnes & Noble target of wrongful termination lawsuit

Working professionals in San Diego may all covet the same thing: job security. The common assumption amongst many is that almost all employees reach the point of not having to worry about being dismissed from their jobs. Yet given how often news breaks about high-ranking business officials being fired from their jobs, the idea of job security might ultimately prove to be an illusion. If managers and executives can be fired, then potentially anyone can. 

Of course, companies may not be in the practice of dismissing members of their leadership teams for no reason whatsoever. Typically, such professionals may need to be accused of serious infractions in order to warrant being fired. Such are the allegations being made by the leadership of the book retailer Barnes & Noble against its former CEO, who was fired after serving in his position for just over one year. While the company initially said that the man was fired for a violation of company policies, it was later alleged that he had been accused of (among other things) bullying and sexual harassment. 

Demographic balance in the workplace

How you act and operate at work is often a reflection of your personality. Just as is the case in your personal life, then, it might be expected that you tend to gravitate towards coworkers you can relate with. This will often include colleagues of the same sex, race, religion, nationality or political views. It is for this very reason that cliques often form in an office. Workplace cliques may not necessarily be a bad thing, yet what happens if they bleed over into operational and hiring practices? Many come to us here at the Sullivan Law Group asking whether looking to work predominantly with people similar to themselves constitutes workplace discrimination. Unfortunately, there is not an easy answer to this question. 

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission recognizes the following discrimination categories: 

  • Age
  • Sex
  • Race
  • National origin
  • Religion
  • Capacity 

Understanding whistleblower protections

Many in San Diego may naturally feel a strong sense of loyalty towards their employers. That loyalty may end, however, if their employers place them in a position of doing something (or remaining silent regarding something) they believe to be wrong. Yet some may still be afraid to speak up un such instances for fear of being fired or subject to some other form of retaliation. While such fears are understandable, people should know that they are protected is they choose to speak up and/or act against their employers wrong or unlawful actions. 

Indeed, Section 1102.5(c) of the California Labor Code states that an employer (or one acting on an employer's behalf) cannot retaliate against an employee for doing something wrong or inappropriate. What qualifies as "wrong" can often be subjective. An employee, for example, might believe something is wrong based upon his or her own moral standards, yet his or her employer (or the employers representatives) could disagree. This might seem to leave the door open for an employer to retaliate against one of its workers for inaction by stating that it did not view the requested action to be inappropriate. 

At-will employment explained

A common assumption amongst many working professionals in San Diego is that firings are rare, so much so that it is believed that one almost has to put a good deal of effort into getting his or her employer to fire him. In reality, however, firings, dismissals and layoffs happen all the time. In fact, according to information shared by the Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 1.6 million people lost their jobs in May of 2018 alone. The ease at which employees can be discharged may be sue in large part to the concept of at-will employment. 

Many may have heard of this term, yet not have a strong understanding of what it actually means. "At-will employment" basically means that an employer or employee may terminate an business relationship at any time without necessarily needing to have cause. According to Section 2922 of the California Labor Code, the state does indeed subscribe to this doctrine, which allows an employer to fire an employee without needing to give him or her a reason. 

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Sullivan Law Group APC
2330 3rd Avenue
San Diego, CA 92101

Phone: 619-880-3956
Fax: 619-702-6761
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