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.
Here are 10 questions you should ask when interviewing lawyers to handle your wrongful termination or workplace harassment case:
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.
Anyone working in a corporate environment knows that big business is all about metrics designed to make shareholders more money. Nothing truly evil with that, it's capitalism and hence our economic system.
Under the Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA), an employer cannot discriminate against an employee because of a "physical disability." Gov. Code, § 12940(a). In addition to making it illegal to discriminate based on disability, the FEHA makes it unlawful "to fail to make reasonable accommodation for the known physical . . . disability of an . . . employee." Gov. Code, § 12940(m)(1). Finally, the FEHA prohibits an employer from harassing an employee "because of . . . physical disability." Gov. Code § 12940(j)(1).
California laws provide important protections for employees and job applicants over 40 years of age. Age discrimination occurs when an employee or job applicant over the age of 40 receives less favorable treatment because of age. Employees are often not aware that age was a factor in their mistreatment. Often, we get calls from employees passed over for training or promotional opportunities in favor of younger employees. Know that, in most cases, employers in California are prohibited by law from engaging in age discrimination.
When I began practicing employment law, I kept asking myself the same questions:
California offers several different options for employees who need to take a family or medical leave. Each type of leave offers different benefits and/or levels of protection. Below we have provided a brief overview of some of the major programs available to California employees.