Employment lawyers work with a wide range of laws relating to individuals in the workplace. If you have concerns about your rights as an employee, reach out to an employment attorney in Oakland today.
Employment law covers many areas. Some of the most significant are:
Employment Discrimination – Employers can always discriminate among job seekers, so long as they do not discriminate based on membership in a protected class or characteristic. In other words, when choosing the candidate they believe to be more qualified, the employer is discriminating. However, that is legal discrimination. If, however, the employer chooses one candidate over the other because of one candidate’s race or sexual orientation, that will be illegal or invidious discrimination and a violation of federal and state law.
Harassment, Sexual Harassment – Most of us are far more familiar with the concept of sexual harassment in the workplace than we are with other kinds of harassment. Sexual harassment usually consists of a quid pro quo request for sexual favors in return for workplace rewards. However, it can also consist of a hostile environment of sexual harassment where the conduct toward one or more employees is so egregious that it becomes too uncomfortable for anyone to work in that environment.
Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) – ERISA governs your rights relating to employee benefit plans and retirement accounts. Because of ERISA, union funds are no longer building casinos in Las Vegas. Employers cannot terminate you minutes before you will finally vest in your pension based on 20 years of work. ERISA can impact employee health and disability plans, employee retirement accounts, and any other employer-provided benefit.
Wage, Hour, & Break Litigation– Federal and state laws govern how many hours an employer may require of an employee on any given day and how much they must pay for those hours. Wages must at least meet the applicable minimum wage (the higher of the state or federal minimum), and overtime at time and a half must be paid for any hours over 40 in a week. This is the federal rule; many states have stricter rules, requiring overtime to be paid after so many hours in a day. This area also governs meal breaks and other time off, based on state law.
Wrongful Termination – California is an at-will employment state which means, essentially, that either you or your employer can terminate the employment relationship at any time for any legal reason. The qualification that the reason must be legal is crucial because even an at-will employer cannot terminate employees in violation of federal, state, and local anti-discrimination laws. Basically, your employer can fire you because they don’t like the color of your tennis shoes, but not because they don’t like the color of your skin. There are, under various laws, more than a dozen protected classes that prevent arbitrary termination. In addition, if you have a contract and your employer terminates you outside the terms of that contract, that constitutes wrongful termination.
If you believe your employer has violated your employment rights, you should contact an employment lawyer in Oakland at Olivier & Schreiber LLP immediately. Contact us online and let us assist you with your employment law issue.
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