Most Americans dedicate more of their time to working than any other activity. Work is not just a means to earn a living and provide for one’s family and self, but is also an essential human right and a key aspect to a meaningful and productive life. To safeguard the interests and rights of employers and employees, the federal and state governments have various laws and regulations in place. At Eldessouky Law, our San Diego employment lawyers will help you navigate the numerous complex laws and acts that govern employer/employee relationships, rights, and obligations under California and federal employment laws.
How Can a San Diego Employment Lawyer Help?
The multiple individual laws and acts that govern employer/employee relationships under California and federal employment law can be complicated for an ordinary person to interpret. It is not enough to be aware of your rights in the workplace. You need to comprehend when they come into play, if they are being denied or suppressed, and what action to take. San Diego employment attorneys help employees and employers understand, advise, and litigate work-related issues.
Employment law can be complicated, but an employment lawyer will ensure you navigate the legal processes as efficiently and effectively as possible. The best time to initiate an employment lawyer is immediately after a dispute or when you realize a problem relating to your employment or employee. Lawyers are familiar with the law and have the experience to inform your decision while protecting your rights and interests. They will help file claims with the appropriate agencies and save you the intimidation of sailing through legal storms alone.
Commonly Used Terms in Employment Law
Familiarizing yourself with some of the commonly used terms in employment law will help you quickly follow up on your case and understand its implications. Some key words San Diego employment lawyers will often mention include:
It is when an employer dismisses an employee for unlawful reasons. It could be due to bias, harassment, or retaliation. To qualify as wrongful termination, the dismissal must breach an employment agreement and violate state and federal laws.
Change to the application or hiring process, the job duties, and the job structure or the workplace environment that allows applicants or employees with disabilities, equal privileges for full participation.
The term describes the action taken by an employer that adversely affects an employee’s job, such as firing or demotion in response to a complaint about the workplace environment.
Four types of discrimination are prohibited at the workplace: direct and indirect discrimination, harassment, and victimization. It is illegal for employers to treat some employees less favorably than others because of age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage, religion, color, etc.
This type of employment is where either party can exit the employment relationship at any time for any reason. However, an employer is not at will to fire employees for unlawful reasons such as discrimination.
Just Cause/For Cause/With Cause/Cause
Describes an employee’s misconduct that justifies immediate termination of the employment contract without notice or pay in place of notice. Just cause means that the reason for dismissal is so severe that it either:
- Violates a critical condition of the employment contract
- Breaks the trust in the employment relationship
- Or is directly inconsistent with the employee’s obligations to the employer.
This is a group of people who share common characteristics and are legally protected from employment discrimination based on those shared characteristics. Both federal and state laws establish protected classes. Federal protected classes include race, color, religion or creed, national origin, sex (including gender, pregnancy, sexual orientation, and gender identity), age, physical or mental disability, veteran status, and genetic information.
Hostile Work Environment
Title VII of the Civil Rights Act is against hostile workplaces. Hostility defines any inappropriate behavior that creates an abusive or intimidating environment for employees. Common examples of hostile work environments include sexual harassment, religious biases, gender bullying, and discrimination based on ethnicity, age, race, and disabilities.
Rights and Protections as an Employee in San Diego, CA
California has some of the stringent employment laws. Common state and federal laws governing employers and employees in San Diego include:
This law intends to protect workers against unfair pay practices. The FLSA sets out multiple labor regulations, including minimum wages, overtime pay requirements, and child labor limitations. The law deems employees exempt or nonexempt and only applies to employers whose annual sales total is $ 500,000 or more and who are involved in interstate operations.
This federal law sets workplace standards to ensure that employees are protected from any components that may jeopardize their safety. The OSH Act established the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and the National Institute for Occupational Safety & Health (NIOSH). The former sets and enforces workplace health and safety standards, while the latter researches and recommends solutions for preventing work-related injuries and illnesses.
The FMLA labor law protects your job when you need to take a leave of absence due to family or personal reasons. It guarantees that eligible employees may take up to 12 weeks of leave due to childbirth, illness, adoption, etc. According to this Act, employees are guaranteed the job they hold after they are back from leave, and if that job is no longer available, they must be offered a job that is equal in pay and status.
ERISA is a federal law protecting the retirement assets of American workers. It implements the rules governing how employers provide benefit plans to employees. The law establishes the requirements and guidelines for employers, trustees, and certain service providers. The Act also sets the minimum standards for most private industry pension and health plans and benefits like life insurance.
Title VII makes it unlawful for an employer to treat someone unfavorably based on race, color, religion, sex, or national origin. The Act also protects employees from retaliation or any adverse action from the employer because they voiced discrimination complaints, filed a charge of discrimination against the employer, or participated as a witness in an employment discrimination lawsuit.
The law protects workplace democracy by providing employees in the private sector with the fundamental right to seek improved working conditions and designation of representation without fear of retaliation. The NLRA affects both unionized and non-unionized employees.
This federal law outlaws discrimination against people with disabilities and establishes regulations to ensure they have equal opportunity to participate in mainstream life activities. The ADA law requires employers to make reasonable accommodations for employees or prospects with disabilities.
Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA)
This California state law applies to employers with more than five employees. It is illegal to discriminate against employees in any form: harassment, wage discrimination, gender biases, etc.
Frequently Asked Questions About Employment Law in San Diego
Q: Is San Diego in an ‘At-Will’ State?
A: An at-will state allows an employer to fire employees at any time and for any reason. The only exception is that an employee cannot be fired for retaliatory, discriminatory, or illegal reasons; otherwise, it will be considered wrongful termination. California is an at-will state but with a few other exceptions, which include:
- Public-sector employees as they are protected by civil service laws or a union agreement.
- Employees represented by a union with a collective bargaining agreement with a ”just cause” termination standard.
- Employees whose employer’s actions are against the presumption of ”employment at will.”.
Q: Will I Be Fired for Reporting My Employer’s Illegal Behavior?
A: Whether you object to an illegal behavior directly towards you or blow the whistle on other criminal behavior, you remain legally entitled to job protection and freedom from retaliation from your employer. This, however, does not prevent some employers from retaliating against you. It is, therefore, necessary to approach such matters with an experienced San Diego employment attorney‘s counsel to help you anticipate any employer retaliation actions and protect your rights.
Q: What Reasonable Accommodations Must a San Diego Employer Make and When?
A: The California Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) and Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) are two critical pieces of legislation that safeguard the rights of individuals with disabilities in work environments. Under both laws, reasonable accommodations are necessary to allow those with disabilities equal access to employment opportunities, housing, and services. Examples of reasonable accommodations include adjustments to the workplace or residence, modifying work schedules, or restructuring job duties and policies to suit an individual’s physical and mental ability.
An employer can, however, be exempted from providing an accommodation if they can prove that it would cause an undue hardship. To determine if an accommodation is reasonable under the ADA and FEHA laws, employers need to consider the following factors:
- Nature and cost of the accommodation
- Impact on employee morale
- Alternative accommodations available
- Safety concerns
- Would the accommodation interfere with other employees’ rights?
- Would the accommodation disrupt normal business operations?
Q: What Is the Statute of Limitations for Bringing an Employment Lawsuit?
The statute of limitations will depend on what type of employment lawsuit is being brought and whether it is under federal or state law. For example, federal law gives you up to 180 days to file discrimination charges with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). Still, if your state has a law protecting against the same type of discrimination, the period is extended to 300 days.
But before you can file any lawsuit, you must determine if you have a strong enough case. An employment attorney can help you evaluate this. If there is enough ground, they will help file a complaint with the court, and your employer (the defendant) will be notified and required to answer the complaint within a specified duration. The defendant may respond with counterclaims against you, and then both parties can make clarifications if necessary.
The following legal process will be discovery, where lawyers from both sides conduct research and prepare their cases. Once the discovery is complete, the case proceeds to trial for the judge or jury to reach a verdict. After the ruling, either of the parties can challenge the decision by filing an appeal and trying the case again in a higher court.
Q: Is It Within the Law for My Employer to Run a Background Check on Me?
A: Federal law allows employers to run background checks on potential employees. However, before running the check, they must request and receive written permission from the potential employee. In addition, if anything in the reports from your background and credit check leads to an employer not hiring you, they need to inform you.
It is also important to note that an employer may not ask for certain background information based on your race or ethnicity.
Do You Have More Questions for Our San Diego Employment Lawyer?
To learn more about your rights as an employee in San Diego, CA, fill out our online contact forms or call our office at 714-409 8991 to get expert counsel from our experienced employment attorneys. We work ardently to ensure you get the representation you deserve to give your case a chance for just compensation.