Experienced Legal Advice To Help You Navigate California’s Complex Employment Laws
Employment Law For Both Employers and Employees
Baker, Burton & Lundy offers employment law services and representation to a variety of clients in the South Bay, Los Angeles and greater Southern California area. Our law firm is proud of its strong attorney-client relationships, practical approach, attention to detail, and substantial background knowledge of the law when representing clients in employment law matters.
We represent employers and provide counseling on wage and hour compliance, resolving personnel problems including harassment and termination, and drafting employment-related agreements. Kent Burton, Clint Wilson and Brian Selogie provide comprehensive, multi-disciplinary counsel and minimize litigation through their expertise in business law.
Litigation lawyers Albro Lundy, Evan Koch and Stephen Semos represent both employers and employees in discrimination, harassment and wrongful termination cases. Our attorneys have extensive experience in negotiating settlements of employment disputes through mediation and alternative dispute resolution processes. In both litigation and counseling, our legal team delivers insightful strategies and the best possible results for our clients.
Our Employment Law Services
Today, most employees in the private sector do not have employee contracts and are considered “at will” employees who can leave or be fired for any reason that isn’t unlawful. However, if you are terminated as a result of an unlawful action, you may have an employment litigation case against your employer. For example, it is illegal to terminate an employee due to whistleblowing. To avoid wrongful termination, some supervisors may create a hostile work environment and/or impossible working conditions that force an employee to quit. This is called constructive termination and is also unlawful.
Employment discrimination can be any unequal treatment in the workplace due to personal characteristics such as gender, race, age, or disability. This includes any retaliatory actions, such as a hostile work environment or a wrongful termination action, in response to an employee’s reporting of discrimination. Anti-discrimination laws including the Americans with Disabilities Act and Civil Rights Act of 1964 exist to promote equal employment opportunity and to protect employees from discrimination.
Sexual harassment is defined by the U.S. Equal Opportunity Commission [link] as “unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical harassment of a sexual nature.” The two main types are quid pro quo exchanges and hostile work environment and include any adverse effects an employee may experience after refusing or reporting an unlawful advance by a coworker.
Whistleblowers of discrimination or other unlawful practices in the workplace as well as those employees who refuse to participate in inappropriate conduct may become the victims of acts of retaliation. Retaliation can include hostile work environment, demotion, forced resignation or wrongful termination.
Exempt vs. Non-exempt/Misclassification
In California, wage and hour laws apply to non-exempt employees. Typically, exempt employees are those in administrative, executive, management or professional positions. If an employee is misclassified as exempt, damages can include not properly paid wages, in particular overtime pay.
Employee vs. Independent Contractor
Sometimes people are denied employee rights because the employer claims the employee is an independent contractor. Independent contractors are not eligible for benefits including time and a half for overtime. To determine if you are an employee or an independent contractor, the IRS has developed a resource page.
A whistleblower is someone who exposes activities in the workplace that are illegal, unethical, or a violation of company policies. It includes internal and external reporting of the wrongdoing but is most often internal reporting on a co-worker or supervisor to a higher level, increasingly through anonymous reporting mechanisms. Whistleblowers face the risk of retaliation from those who are accused/alleged of wrongdoing, and there are federal laws and third-party groups who offer protection against reprisal.
Wage & Hour / Overtime
Unpaid wages can become an issue if employees aren’t appropriately compensated for overtime. This can include regular denial of break time, which should be compensated at overtime rates. Minimum wage laws mean that an employer may not legally offer a contract that pays the worker less than the minimum wage for that area. Our law firm also represents employers to prevent unnecessary employment litigation and make sure they’re protected from unwarranted wage and overtime claims.
Frequently Asked Questions:
How can an employment law attorney help?
For an employee, an employment law attorney can explain employee rights to him or her and minimize an employer’s ability to take advantage of the employee, e.g., through wage and overtime practices, workplace discrimination, or wrongful termination.
Who should consult an employment lawyer?
Employment law lawyers can be useful for any employer concerned with minimizing legal liabilities in the workplace. If an employee feels he or she has been wrongfully terminated or believes he or she has been treated unfairly in the workplace, a law firm can explain employee rights and explore if there is a potential case against the employer.
What is Employment at Will?
Employment at will allows the employee to leave at any time he or she wishes while allowing the employer to dismiss an employee any time he or she wishes. Neither side is contractually bound to remain in the employer-employee relationship. In contrast, a contractual employer-employee relationship would require mutual agreement to part ways before the end of the contract.
What are your rights as an employee?
Employees are entitled to a safe workplace, where promised compensation is delivered without unreasonable demands. For more information, please visit these California and federal government websites:
Baker, Burton & Lundy’s employment law team represents all sizes of organizations, from start-ups to Fortune 500 companies and also works with individual clients. We focus on one-on-one relationships with a small, select group of clients so that we can ensure each organization receives the attention it deserves.
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