YES! CALIFORNIA IS AN “AT WILL “ STATE…YES! YOU CAN STILL SUE YOUR EMPLOYER FOR WRONGFUL TERMINATION…

WHAT DOES AN AT-WILL EMPLOYMENT MEAN?

The general definition of “at-will” employment means that an employee does not have a written employment contract and that the employer has a right to end the employee’s employment for any reason, at any time, with no notice. You can read more about what it means here.

DOES BEING AN AT-WILL EMPLOYEE MEAN THAT YOUR EMPLOYER CAN WRONGFULLY TERMINATE YOU?

No, it does not. While employees may hear their bosses and managers say that they can just fire them for any reason at any time, that is not necessarily true. There are many employee protections in place. First, there are a number of California State and US Federal laws that protect employees, like the California Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) and the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

BEING AN AT-WILL EMPLOYEE DOES NOT MEAN YOUR EMPLOYER CAN FIRE YOU ILLEGALLY

One of the greatest miconceptions about working in California is that your employer can fire you for any reason at all. They can not! Being an at-will employee in California does not mean that your employer can fire you illegally. A California employer can not terminate their employee for an illegal reason. Some of these illegal reasons are…

  • DISCRIMINATION BASED ON YOUR SEX
  • DISCRIMINATION BASED ON YOUR GENDER
  • DISCRIMINATION BASED ON YOUR RELIGIOUS BELIEF
  • DISCRIMINATION BASED ON YOUR SEXUAL ORIENTATION

WHAT ARE SOME REASONS A FIRED EMPLOYEE MAY BE OWED MONEY FROM THEIR EMPLOYER?

If you have been fired and/or quit an employer that treated you unfairly, then you may be owed money. While an employer may fire you for any reason, that does not mean that they can wrongfully terminate employees. Do you believe that you were fired for an illegal reason? If so, then you may be owed money…

  • WERE YOU FORCED TO WORK THROUGH BREAKS?
  • WERE YOU DISCRIMINATED AGAINST AT WORK?
  • WERE YOU FORCED TO WORK OFF-THE-CLOCK?
  • WERE YOU NOT PAID FOR OVERTIME/BREAKS?
  • WERE YOU FIRED FOR BEING PREGNANT?
  • WERE YOU INJURED AT WORK?
  • WERE YOU WRONGFULLY TERMINATED?

YOU HAVE THE RIGHT TO A FREE CASE REVIEW!

Learn more about your employee rights. Lawyers for Employee and Consumer Rights (LFECR) is a leading California employment law firm. With 40+ remote attorneys, LFECR is able to work on behalf of clients anywhere in California. Fired unfairly? Your free consult awaits!

Call 888-625-0959.

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CAN FAST FOOD WORKERS SUE THE GIANT FRANCHISES THEY WORK FOR?

If you work for a restaurant – whether it a McDonald’s or the nicest steak house in town – then you have rights. If your employee rights have been violated while working for a restaurant, then legally protecting those rights can be a scary proposition. Most employees have no idea that their rights have been violated, and even if they do they can be too afraid to pursue legal options. Over the years in fact, most fast food chain and/or restaurant franchisee workers whose rights have been violated have not pursued their legal options. Why? Because they think they will not be able to prove the violations.

LET’S HAVE A LOOK AT SOME OF THE MANY TIMES WORKERS HAVE WON SETTLEMENTS AGAINST LARGE RESTAURANT COMPANIES

Here is a small sample of multi-million dollar lawsuits and settlements that large restaurant corporations have paid out to unfairly treated employees:

—- In 2015, a class action lawsuit was filed on behalf of every single server and bartender who worked at restaurant chain Ruby Tuesday.The lawsuit alleged that Ruby Tuesday violated labor law by paying servers and bartenders and other restaurant staff below minimum wage.

—- In 2014, Outback Steakhouse’s parent company was sued in a wage and hour lawsuit. The legal action alleged that employees were asked to donate (as in work for free!) hours to the company. Eventually, Outback Steakhouse agreed to settle for $3 million.

—- In an earlier 2009 lawsuit, Outback Steakhouse agreed to pay more than $19 million in a sex discrimination lawsuit.

—- In 2016, McDonald’s settled a $3.75 million lawsuit claiming it had violated the rights of about 800 California restaurant workers.

—- Just last year, in 2017, the massive Mexican food restaurant Chipotle – with so many California employees – was sued. The lawsuit alleged that Chipolte did not pay overtime.

YES, A SINGLE EMPLOYEE CAN SUE A RESTAURANT

Let’s walk through one example of how you – as a restaurant employee – may be owed money after you have been fired or quit. While there are some exceptions, if you worked more than eight hours a day or more than 40 hours a week, then the restaurant you worked for must pay you an what’s called a “time-and-a-half” overtime rate.

If they did not pay you overtime, then you may be owed money.

In fact, there are many reasons a fired restaurant employee may be owed money.

YES – YOU CAN SUE YOUR EMPLOYER, NO MATTER HOW BIG

If you are a California employee, and your employee rights have been violated, you should not be afraid to contact an employment attorney. It is incredibly easy to contact a California employee rights lawyer that has experience protecting restaurant workers rights.

MOST CALIFORNIA EMPLOYEES DO NOT KNOW THEIR RIGHTS!

That’s the unfortunate reality. Most California employees think that just because they work in an “at-will” stare that they have no rights. Nothing could be further from the truth. Learn more about your employee rights. Lawyers for Employee and Consumer Rights (LFECR) is a leading California employment law firm. With 40+ remote attorneys, LFECR is able to work on behalf of clients anywhere in California. Fired unfairly? Your free consult awaits! Call 888-625-0959. IM our Facebook page. Follow us on Twitter, IG, Medium, LinkedIn, or our blog. Have a great day!

 

HOW MUCH DOES MY BOSS OWE ME IF I AM DISCRIMINATED AGAINST?

That is the million dollar question.

If you get fired for any reason, or quite for any reason, you may be owed money!

Fired For Any Reason?

 

HOW MUCH?

That depends on a number of factors and can be best determined by understanding your workplace rights.

FIRST THINGS FIRST…

One of the lest enviable positions an employee can find themselves in is needing the job AND being harassed or discriminated against at work. What is one supposed to do? You need the job. The money. You need to support your family. BUT…You are being treated unfairly.

FEDERAL LAWS PROTECT YOU, BUT MAYBE NOT AS MUCH AS CALIFORNIA LAW

Federal law does prohibit discrimination by employers; however, California law extends protections to certain groups where federal law may not.

Let’s look at some of the federal laws. The federal laws include but are not limited to:

The Civil Rights Act of 1964 – This monumental and historical development in glass/group employment protection outlaws discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex or national origin

The Americans with Disabilities Act – The ADA is a civil rights law that prohibits discrimination based on disability.

The Equal Pay Act of 1963 – The Equal Pay Act prohibits discrimination based on sex.

The Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 – You guessed it. The Age Discrimination Act protects against age-related discrimination.

The Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act of 2008 – This act “The act bars the use of genetic information in health insurance and employment: it prohibits group health plans and health insurers from denying coverage to a healthy individual or charging that person higher premiums based solely on a genetic predisposition to developing a disease in the future, and it bars employers from using individuals’ genetic information when making hiring, firing, job placement, or promotion decisions”.

CALIFORNIA LAW GOES EVEN FURTHER TO PROTECT YOU…

Thankfully, California gets even more specific in it’s protection of employees against workplace discrimination:

California’s California Fair Employment and Housing Act of 1959 (FEHA) – This act is a is a powerful California statute used to fight sexual harassment and other forms of unlawful discrimination in employment and housing,

– The California Family Rights Act (CFRA) – Also known as the also known as the Family Temporary Disability Insurance (FTDI) program, is a law enacted in 2002 that extends unemployment disability compensation to cover individuals who take time off work to care for a seriously ill family member or bond with a new minor child.

While California’s Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) protects the people of California from unlawful discrimination in employment, that does not mean that there is no workplace discrimination.

There is workplace discrimination. It happens each and every day.

And you should know your rights.

If you get fired for any reason, or quit for any reason, you may be owed money!

FIRED FOR ANY REASON? CALL 888-625-0959 FOR A FREE CONSULT!

If you have questions right now, Instant Message your question at the LFECR Facebook page. Call Lawyers for Employee and Consumer Rights today…You may be owed money!

“SUPREME COURT DECISION DELIVERS BLOW TO WORKERS’ RIGHTS” — NPR

U.S. Supreme Court just delivered a major blow to workers!

Supreme Court Decision Delivers Blow To Workers’ Rights

People wait in line to enter the U.S. Supreme Court last month. The court sided with businesses on not allowing class-action lawsuits for federal labor violations.

Mark Wilson/Getty Images

Updated at 7:08 p.m. ET

In a case involving the rights of tens of millions of private sector employees, the U.S. Supreme Court, by a 5-4 vote, delivered a major blow to workers, ruling for the first time that workers may not band together to challenge violations of federal labor laws.

Writing for the majority, Justice Neil Gorsuch said that the 1925 Federal Arbitration Act trumps the National Labor Relations Act and that employees who sign employment agreements to arbitrate claims must do so on an individual basis — and may not band together to enforce claims of wage and hour violations.

“The policy may be debatable but the law is clear: Congress has instructed that arbitration agreements like those before us must be enforced as written,” Gorsuch writes. “While Congress is of course always free to amend this judgment, we see nothing suggesting it did so in the NLRA — much less that it manifested a clear intention to displace the Arbitration Act. Because we can easily read Congress’s statutes to work in harmony, that is where our duty lies.”

Ginsburg dissents

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, writing for the four dissenters, called the majority opinion “egregiously wrong.” She said the 1925 arbitration law came well before federal labor laws and should not cover these “arm-twisted,” “take-it-or-leave it” provisions that employers are now insisting on.

She noted that workers’ claims are usually small, and many workers fear retaliation. For these reasons, she said, relatively few workers avail themselves of the arbitration option. On the other hand, these problems are largely by a class-action suit brought in court on behalf of many employees.

The inevitable result of Monday’s decision, she warned, will be huge underenforcement of federal and state laws designed to advance the well-being of vulnerable workers. It is up to Congress, she added, to correct the court’s action.

In his oral announcement, Gorsuch took the unusual step of elaborately rebutting Ginsburg’s dissent, which is five pages longer than the majority’s opinion.

A green light for employers

The ruling came in three cases — potentially involving tens of thousands of nonunion employees — brought against Ernst & Young LLP, Epic Systems Corp. and Murphy Oil USA Inc.

Each required its individual employees, as a condition of employment, to waive their rights to join a class-action suit. In all three cases, employees tried to sue together, maintaining that the amounts they could obtain in individual arbitration were dwarfed by the legal fees they would have to pay. Ginsburg’s dissent noted that a typical Ernst & Young employee would likely have to spend $200,000 to recover only about $1,900 in overtime pay.

The employees contended that their right to collective action is guaranteed by the National Labor Relations Act. The employers countered that they are entitled to ban collective legal action under the Federal Arbitration Act, which was enacted in 1925 to reverse the judicial hostility to arbitration at the time.

Employment lawyers were elated. Ron Chapman, who represents management in labor-management disputes, said he expects small and large businesses alike to immediately move to impose these binding arbitration contracts to eliminate the fear of costly class-action verdicts from juries. “It gives employers the green light to eliminate their single largest employment law risk with the stroke of a pen,” he said.

Implications for #MeToo

Labor law experts said Monday’s decision very likely will present increasing problems for the #MeToo movement, and for other civil rights class actions claiming discrimination based on race, gender and religion. There is no transparency in most binding arbitration agreements, and they often include nondisclosure provisions. What’s more, class actions deal with the expense and fear of retaliation problems of solo claims. As Ginsburg put it, “there’s safety in numbers.”

Yale Law professor Judith Resnick observed that the decision applies to all manner of class actions. “What this says is that when you buy something, use something, or work for someone, that entity can require you to waive your right to use public courts,” she noted.

Cornell University labor law professor Angela Cornell expects the number of these litigation waivers to skyrocket now. “What we see is the privatization of our justice system,” she said.

A study by the left-leaning Economic Policy Institute shows that 56 percent of nonunion private sector employees are currently subject to mandatory individual arbitration procedures under the 1925 Federal Arbitration Act, which allows employers to bar collective legal actions by employees.

The court’s decision means that tens of millions of private nonunion employees will be barred from suing collectively over the terms of their employment.

WHILE MEAL BREAK MEANS MEAL, DOES REST BREAK MEAN REST?

California’s long-time ambiguity surrounding workers rights on meal and rest breaks.

It should be crystal clear…if you are on a meal or rest break, you don’t have to work.

Right?

Well.

It seems that here in California, with so many hard working employees, there is still some ambiguity regarding what an employer can or cannot require an employee to do during meal and rest breaks.

DID A 2014 CA SUPREME COURT DECISION MAKE IT BETTER OR WORSE?

– If you are on a meal break, and your boss needs you, are you obligated to respond?

– Are you obligated to work?

– Can your employer legally pull you off of a required rest break to work?

In 2014, the California Supreme Court decided that “Employers Must Relieve Employees of All Duty During Meal Periods But Need Not Ensure They Perform No Work.” In this decision, the Court noted that California employees must be “relieved of all duties” during their statutorily required 30-minute meal periods.

The specific questions came from a case called Brinker Restaurant Corporation v. Superior Court. The Brinker case was, at the time, one of many employment law based class action lawsuits pending in California. It centered on employees making the claim that the Brinker Restaurant Corporation had failed to provide the number of, and timing of, both meal breaks and rest periods as required by California state law.

HOWEVER, THE QUESTION REMAINED: DOES AN EMPLOYEE HAVE TO BE AVAILABLE TO WORK WHILE THEY ARE ON A BREAK?

In an effort to resolve ambiguity that arose from this case, and multiple others, the California Supreme Court further concluded that while an employer is required to dismiss an employee of all job responsibilities during a meal period (meal break), the employer does not have to guarantee that no work is done.

Thankfully, it seems that a 2016 decision by the same California Supreme Court MAY have clarified the, “Are employees on-call during a rest break” question…

On December 22, 2016, the California Supreme Court handed down an opinion in the Augustus v. ABM Industries case. Their decision, once and for all, answered this question:

“California law requires employers to relieve their employees of all work-related duties and employer control during 10-minute rest periods. The trial court’s summary adjudication and summary judgment orders were premised on this understanding of the law. Rightly so: Wage Order 4, subdivision 12(A) and section 226.7 prohibit on-duty rest periods. What they require instead is that employers relinquish any control over how employees spend their break time, and relieve their employees of all duties –– including the obligation that an employee remain on call. A rest period, in short, must be a period of rest. We accordingly reverse the Court of Appeal’s judgment on this issue.”

WHAT DOES THIS MEAN FOR EMPLOYEES?

It means that all California employees continue to have rights. And most importantly, that all California employees have the right to ask questions about their rights.

QUESTIONS ABOUT YOUR RIGHTS?

Employee advocates are standing by.

IF YOU GOT FIRED LIKE THESE PEOPLE, WHAT WOULD YOU DO?

MOST California employees either wait too long to contact an attorney. Or, they never do at all. The consequences can be expensive.

OVERWORKED WAREHOUSE WORKER – A 35-year old warehouse worker in central California works so much that he us unable to take his regular scheduled breaks. He has missed work breaks for years. One day, he complains to his boss. The next day he is fired.

PREGNANT SECRETARY – A 30-year old secretary in Southern California is excited about being 3-months pregnant. One day, she comes into work, sits her boss down, and tell him that she is pregnant. The next day she is fired.

UNDERPAID RESTAURANT DISHWASHER – A 40-year old dishwasher at an upscale restaurant in San Fransisco is constantly working overtime. Some weeks he will work as many as 20 hours of overtime…20! He’s a great employee, and his bosses love him, but they never pay him overtime. One day, just like the Warehouse Worker, he complains about this…The next day he is fired.

 

While none of these three people know each other, they may all share one thing in common.

They may have been all fired unfairly.

And… they my be owed money.

In the case of the Warehouse Worker, it’s very likely his employer engaged in what’s called a Wage and Hour Violation by not allowing him to take breaks. With the Pregnant Secretary, she may be owed money because she was fired due to her pregnancy. With our Dishwasher, he may be owed all of that overtime money the restaurant did not pay him.

WERE YOU RECENTLY FIRED? Do you know your employee rights? You’re not alone. Most Californians employees do not know that wrongfully terminated employees may be owed money.

WHAT’S THE GOOD NEWS? The good news is that there is an easy way for Warehouse Workers, Secretaries, Dishwashers, and most every California employee to learn their rights. If you have been wrongfully terminated, fired, or quit, and think you may have a case, feel free to call 888-739-3092 for a FREE CONSULT!

GIG WORKERS JUST GOT SOME SERIOUS LOVE FROM THE CALIFORNIA SUPREME COURT!

A late April California Supreme Court ruling could reclassify contractors (gig workers) as employees. What could this mean? A whole lot!

A case came before the California Supreme Court. It centered on the drivers for a California-based delivery company. Some of their job requirements involved wearing corporate uniforms, putting corporate logos on their vehicles, paying for vehicle maintenance, gas, and other job-related expenses out of their own pockets. They were, per their employer, “contract” or “gig” workers. Not employees.

The drivers contended that their work fell under full-time employee classification, and should not fall under independent contractor classification.

The case moved through the courts, and ultimately wound up in San Francisco, at the California Supreme Court.

Ultimately, in an 85-page ruling, the seven justices decided that California workers can only be classified as independent contractors by a company if they can show that the worker controls their own work, that their duties go beyond what the business normally engages in, and when the same worker “is customarily engaged in an independently established trade, occupation, or business of the same nature as the work performed for the hiring entity.”

WHO MIGHT THIS AFFECT?

Well, first, it could greatly impact any California employer that has used, “we’re unique, and the normal rules don’t apply to us” as an excuse. That may not be a viable rationale anymore. What’s yet to be seen, and could be a real threat to an entire investment model, is how this may affect entire Gig Economy business models.

More importantly, it could greatly affect California employee rights and have a wide-ranging impact on all contract employees in California. Why? Because it may require employers to provide benefit and a minimum wage for gig workers

Stay tuned.

Our employee advocates certainly will.