The California legislature recently passed Senate Bill 970 (SB 970) in an effort to combat human trafficking. SB 970 added Section 12950.3 to the Government Code and amended the Federal Employment and Housing Act (FEHA). FEHA already requires employers to provide sexual harassment training to their employees but is now taking it a step further with some employers.
The short answer is, "no." An employee cannot terminate a disabled or injured employee just because their FMLA leave expires. At that point, the question becomes whether continuation of the leave beyond 12 weeks is a reasonable accommodation for a disability. In other words, if it doesn't pose an undue hardship on the employer, then the employee must be allowed sufficient time to recover and return to work, with or without further accommodations.
On May 14, it was reported that Chipotle Mexican Grill Inc. settled with a California former manager after she claimed that the company wrongly terminated her. According to the lawsuit, the woman was accused of stealing $626 from a safe at one of the company's restaurants.
Wrongfully classifying employees as independent contractors just got a lot riskier in California. Earlier this month, the California Supreme Court issued its decision in Dynamex Operations West, Inc., v. Superior Court, adopting a broad view of workers deemed "employees" as opposed to "independent contractors" for purposes of claims alleging violations of California's Wage Orders, established to regulate wages, hours and working conditions for California employees.
An employee is injured on the job or needs medical care for a serious illness. He takes time away from work. The employer is not happy about this. Employers are never happy when a disabled employee needs an accommodation. Reasonable accommodations, though guaranteed by law -- things like time off from work, modified job duties or an ergonomic work station -- cost employers money. What does the employer do? Oftentimes, they force employees on leaves of absence, harass or retaliate against employees who frequent the doctor, and begin "documenting" so-called "performance issues." Ultimately, employees are terminated because of their disability or injury.
Employers in California are not required by law to provide severance pay to anyone who is laid off or terminated (some exceptions apply). However, if your employer has provided you with a severance package, you should consider negotiating your severance and release terms, especially if you believe that you have been wrongfully terminated. Remember, it is unlawful for California employers to fire employees because of disability, gender, race national origin, disability, religion, sexual orientation, pregnancy or age. Whistleblowers reporting unsafe working conditions or illegal conduct are also protected.
First, know the basic rule: All work performed in excess of 40 hours in one week is considered overtime and must be paid at one and a half times (1.5x) your regular rate or pay. Let's say your pay is $15 an hour and you work 50 hours in one week, you should be paid $22.50 for any work performed over 40 hours in a week. Thus, you would be owed $600 in regular pay (40 hours x 15) and $225 in overtime pay (10 hours x $22.5).
The word "whistleblowers" is often perceived with a negative connotation. Sometimes the stigma surrounding being a whistleblower prevents employees from disclosing an employer's violation of a state or federal statute. But whistleblowers shed light to wrongs and even fraudulent actions of an employer, in turn protecting individuals who are harmed. Take for example, a recent case filed by The deRubertis Law Firm that caused the tumbling of Wal-Mart's stocks after a whistleblower's accusations. Huynh v Wal-Mart Stores Inc et al., U.S. District Court, Northern District of California, No. 18-016310.
If a California employee wishes to file a discrimination lawsuit against an employer, she/he must first file a complaint with the California Department of Fair Employment & Housing (DFEH) or the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and obtain what's called a "right to sue" letter. This process is also known as "administrative exhaustion". The systems are now highly automated and charges can be filed online. The EEOC permits you to mail in a letter containing the following information:
If a California resident is employed on an at-will basis, it means that this person or his or her employer may terminate a working relationship for any reason. Unless otherwise stated, all employment relationships are presumed to be at-will except in Montana. However, employers do not have the right to wrongfully terminate a worker regardless of what the relationship is between the worker and the company.