Frequently Asked Questions

Contact a Sacramento Employment Law Attorney Today

Do you have a question not answered on our website or do you need assistance with a dispute with your employer? For an initial phone conference, call me today at 916-443-3553. If there is enough of a basis to pursue your case, we will start the in-depth, confidential consultation process.

I haven’t been fired yet, but I think I’m going to be. What should I do?

First, call my office or fill out the online contact form here. Your initial telephone conference is free. This is the best time to get legal advice from an attorney specializing in representing you, the worker! Why? Because you need to know the laws that protect you and what you can do to protect yourself while you are still employed. An experienced plaintiff’s employment lawyer is in a position to help you arm yourself and can advise you on things you need to do while still employed!

I haven’t been fired yet, but I’m being harassed, discriminated against, or retaliated against by my employer; what should I do?

First, call my office or fill out the online contact form here. Your initial telephone conference is free. Again, the best time to get legal advice is when you are still employed.

I’ve been fired and I think it’s illegal; what should I do?

First, call my office or fill out the online contact form here. Your initial telephone conference is free. Let me bring my years of experience helping protect your rights against employers who violate the law.

Second, have you applied for unemployment benefits?

I’m an “at will” employee; does this allow my employer to wrongfully terminate me?

Heck no. In California, your “at will” status means that your employer can fire you for no reason, or any reason, but not for an illegal reason. This means that you cannot be discriminated against or fired (or have the terms and conditions of your work disparately impacted) for a reason that violates public policy.

This means that in California, your boss cannot fire you (or do anything else negative against you) because of any of the following:

  • Gender
  • Pregnancy
  • Marital status
  • National origin
  • Race
  • Religion
  • Disability – mental or physical
  • Medical Condition
  • Age (if you’re over 40 years old)
  • Sexual orientation
  • Genetic information about you
  • Denial of family and medical care leave (FMLA or CFRA)
  • Military affiliation or service
  • Anticipated deployment with the National Guard
  • Citizenship status
  • Bankruptcy

I’ve been fired, what should I do?

First, call my office or fill out the online contact form here. Your initial telephone conference is free. If we determine there is a need for an in-depth consultation, my office will send you a confidential client questionnaire and ask you for lots of information that I will review before meeting with you for a confidential two-hour face-to-face consultation.

Second, have you applied for unemployment benefits?

I’ve been turned down for unemployment benefits. What can I do about it?

If your employer has challenged your right to receive Unemployment Benefits from the EDD, and you believe you still deserve those benefits, then you will need to request a hearing before an Administrative Law Judge employed by the California Unemployment Insurance Appeals Board (CUIAB). Note that you have 20 days (including weekends and holidays) from the EDD’s Notice of Determination to request this hearing.

I have successfully represented many clients before the CUIAB and overturned the denial of unemployment benefits for my clients.

I’ve been fired, what do I need to prove if I want to sue my employer for wrongful termination?

You must show that your termination violated a right given to you by statute; or

You must show that your termination was in violation of California’s Fair Employment and Housing Act (otherwise known as the “FEHA”), or in violation of federal law’s Title VII (and it needs to fall under one of the protected categories above); or

That your boss violated fundamental public policy embodied in a statute or constitutional provision; or

That your employer breached a contract with you, or that your employer violated an express or implied term of your employment.

This is why it’s best to get the opinion of a qualified plaintiff’s employment lawyer so that you can be armed in protecting your rights.

What is the difference between an independent contractor and an employee?

An independent contractor is a self-employed individual who is not an employee of a company. Rather, the company signs a contract with the independent contractor that describes the terms of the work, a price, a deadline, and other specifications. When the obligations have been fulfilled, the relationship is terminated. The company does not directly supervise the contractor, control his or her performance, or direct how things are to be done during the course of the contract.

Individuals are often misclassified as independent contractors so that the company can avoid paying taxes, providing health insurance, and offering benefits and leave. Does your employer tell you when to come or go? Do you work solely for your employer? Do you have annual performance reviews and report directly to your boss? If so, you may actually be an employee.

Does California have special rules regarding pay, benefits, or leave?

California requires overtime pay of 1.5 times the normal rate for employees working more than eight hours per day or 40 hours per week. California also mandates that employees accrue at least one hour of sick time per 30 hours worked or be given at least three sick days up front per year. In addition, employers with 5+ employees must provide at least four months of pregnancy leave.

California has enacted new laws governing sick pay of employees—and you will want to ensure that your employer is following these new laws.

Is my employer required to accommodate me because of my disability and if so, how?

Employers are required to accommodate employees with known disabilities if the accommodation does not cause an undue hardship to the company. Put in layman’s terms, if you have disabilities recognized by the FEHA (California state law) or the ADA (federal law) and you report the disability to your employer, your employer must strive to accommodate you or work with you to find a solution. The type of accommodation you need will vary based on your disability. An “undue hardship” exists when the accommodation is incredibly difficult or expensive to implement, but this is a high threshold. If you have requested assistance from your employer and were refused, I can review your case and explain your various options.

What qualifies as discrimination or harassment?

Discrimination and harassment create hostile work environments that slow productivity, instill an environment of stress and fear, and violate constitutional rights. Employment discrimination generally occurs when an employee is victimized based on an immutable characteristic. An immutable characteristic is something you can’t change about yourself, like your age, gender, or sexual orientation. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission handles complaints against employers regarding discrimination. In addition, you can sue your employer under federal or state law. Harassment occurs when someone threatens you or makes you feel uncomfortable, usually in the form of sexual harassment.

A tiny sample of actions that constitute discrimination and harassment include:

  • Dirty jokes, sexual innuendos, and comments about someone’s body or private life
  • Excluding applicants of a certain race from consideration
  • Laying off pregnant women
  • Refusing to promote females
  • Firing an employee during their disability leave or upon their return from disability leave
  • Terminating someone for declining a request for a date

If you were harassed or discriminated against, call my office to see if we can help you fight your employer and seek justice.