- Breach of Contract: Employees in California are presumed to be “at will”. This means an employer can terminate an employee for any arbitrary reason that does not violate a law or public policy or breach of an oral, written or implied contract only to terminate for “good cause.”
- Discrimination: Discrimination is an adverse job action taken by an employer who is motivated because of the employee’s race, sex, religion, disability, national origin, age, marital status, or sexual orientation. Wrongful termination is one form of discrimination. Other forms include failure to hire, failure to promote, unequal pay practices, or other unequal treatment on the job.
- Harassment: Harassment is a form of discrimination. It includes conduct by employers, supervisors, or co-workers that is sufficiently severe and pervasive to alter the conditions of victim’s employment and create an abusive working environment. Harassment is unlawful if it is based on one of the characteristics protected by law (e.g., race, sex, religion, disability, national origin, age, marital status, or sexual orientation).
- Wrongful Termination: Employers in California cannot fire employers for reasons that violate public policy. For example, for exercising constitutional or statutory rights or privileges, for refusing to engage in unlawful conduct, or for reporting unlawful conduct by employers (i.e., “whistle blowing”).
- Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress: In the workplace, workers’ compensation laws usually (but not always) limit emotional distress claims filed in civil court. Extreme or outrageous conduct that intentionally or recklessly causes severe emotional distress can be actionable by employees under certain circumstances including when that distress is caused by discrimination or other conduct violating public policy.
- Unfair Competition: Employees who set up or go to work for businesses in competition with former employers may find themselves faced with allegations of raiding or soliciting employees and customers. While it is illegal for an employer to require an employee to sign an agreement not to compete post-employment, employers often require employees to sign agreements not to solicit employees or customers.
- Trade secret misappropriation: A trade secret is information that has economic value and its owner has taken reasonable steps to preserve its secrecy.
- Misclassification as Exempt from Overtime Laws: Simply labeling an employee as a manager does not make him or her an exempt employee. The key is how much time an employee spends on each task performed during a typical day. In California, employees must spend on average of 51% of a workday performing “managerial duties” to be considered exempt.
- Misclassification as Independent Contractors: Employers occasionally misclassify individuals who perform services for them as independent contractors or “1099 employees.” Simply labeling an individual as an independent contractor is not enough. Courts consider a number of factors to determine whether an individual is an “employee” by looking at such factors as the degree of the alleged employer’s right to control the manner in which the work is to be performed.
- Failure to Provide Meal and Rest Period Breaks: Employers must provide meal period breaks and provide the opportunity for rest breaks to employees who work over a certain number of hours.
- Class Action: A class action is a device used to unite claims of several individuals who have common questions of law and fact. For example, employees who have experienced the same type of treatment by an employer whether it be discrimination, harassment, or violations of wage and hour laws.
- Other employment-related claims: Defamation; Interference with Prospective Economic Advantage; Fraud; Negligent Misrepresentation; Invasion of Privacy.
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The law firm of Jennifer Kramer Legal, APC serves clients throughout California including the cities of Los Angeles, West Hollywood, Beverly Hills, Riverside, San Bernardino, Irvine, Silicon Valley, Sacramento, Modesto, Burbank, Santa Monica, Santa Ana, Anaheim, Irvine, Orange, Newport Beach, Pasadena, San Fernando, Long Beach, and Glendale.