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Palo Alto Employment Law Blog

Woman claims she was wrongfully fired

From financial hardships to career challenges, losing a job can be very difficult. However, when someone is wrongfully fired, the experience can be even more troubling. In California cities such as Santa Clara and Palo Alto, those who have experienced wrongful termination may have depression and anger and be unsure of which steps to take next. Sometimes, people who are let go cannot find another job in their line of work, which may lead to lasting financial problems and other hurdles.

A woman claims that her former South Carolina employer wrongfully fired her because she blew the whistle on the company's unlawful practices. In addition to retaliation, the woman also says that she was discriminated against over her age and gender, according to her lawsuit. Her former employer denied the accusations in a statement that was distributed.

Am I entitled to meal periods in California?

Whether an employer discriminates against a worker on the basis of his or her race or denies overtime, employee rights violations appear in the workplace quite often. However, you should be aware of all your rights as an employee in California, whether you live in Palo Alto, Santa Clara, or elsewhere in the state. According to the Department of Industrial Relations, employees are entitled to meal periods if they work a certain number of hours in one day.

For example, if you work more than five hours in a single day, your employer has to allow you to take a 30 minute break. However, if you work six hours or less, you can waive your right to a meal period. If you work for over 10 hours in a single day, your employer is also required to provide you with a second meal period. Furthermore, it is against the law for employers to interfere with an employee's right to a meal period they are entitled to and try to dissuade them from taking a break.

Executives and stock option matters

From job-related stress to a dispute over an employment agreement, executives often face a number of challenges. However, problems related to stock options can be especially complicated. If you are an executive who works in Santa Clara, Palo Alto, or elsewhere in the state of California, it is imperative to understand your rights and handle any stock option dilemmas appropriately. At the law office of Kastner Kim LLP, we know how difficult dealing with these issues can be and believe that executives should address any stock option matters at once.

When it comes to stock options, executives may encounter a variety of hurdles. For example, you may find yourself in the middle of a lawsuit due to options backdating, or the altering of dates that stock options were granted. Also, you may find yourself going through a dispute regarding stock option rights or losing stock options that have not been exercised due to job loss. Understanding the terms of your stock options may be incredibly difficult if you are not very familiar in dealing with these circumstances. However, tackling these predicaments properly is vital, especially if your stock options have a value that is well into seven figures.

Company sued for allegedly discriminating against workers

When it comes to discrimination, many people recognize the prevalence of employees being discriminated against as a result of their gender or ethnicity. However, it is also important to keep in mind how widespread and unacceptable age discrimination is in Palo Alto, Santa Clara, and elsewhere in the state of California. When employees are unfairly discriminated against because they are over a certain age, they should firmly stand up for themselves.

General Mills is facing a second lawsuit after allegedly discriminating against ex-workers, 29 of whom recently decided to take legal action. The former workers, who are between the ages of 42 and 63, claim that they were fired because of their age and not as a result of their performance.

Comparing minor and material contract breaches

From legal action to job loss, the breach of an employment contract may carry serious consequences. When it comes to contract breaches, the details vary from one case to another and it is important to understand key points, such as the differences between a minor breach of contract and a material breach of contract. In Palo Alto, and across California, any employee who is dealing with an employer who breached their employment contract should try to find the appropriate remedy and hold their employer accountable.

According to the University of New Mexico, contract breaches are considered minor if a party is given services outlined in a contract even though certain elements of the contract were violated. However, contract breaches are considered material if violations prevent a party from receiving services that were outlined in a contract. When a material breach occurs, the non-breaching party may have grounds for rescinding the contract. On the other hand, when a minor contract breach takes place the non-breaching party may not have grounds for rescinding the contract.

Thousands of workers on strike amid contract dispute

Whether a hard-working employee does not receive the compensation that they are entitled to or a company decides to break other terms found in an employment agreement, there are many reasons why contract disputes take place. In Palo Alto, and across California, many people have dealt with these violations personally and it is vital for companies that break contracts to be held accountable. Unfortunately, some employees are afraid to stand up for their rights because they are worried about losing their job, while others may not even realize their contract was broken.

An estimated 36,000 people who work for Verizon recently went on strike amid a contract dispute. An overwhelming majority of the workers on strike are employed in Verizon's wireline operations involving its fiber optic network and landlines. In recent years, demand for these services has decreased as a greater number of people have cancelled TV subscriptions and stopped using landline phones.

Occupational injuries and unlawful termination

According to the California Department of Industrial Relations, it is against the law for employers to terminate an employee's position because they suffered a workplace injury. Unfortunately, far too many workers in Palo Alto, Santa Clara, and throughout the state have experienced wrongful termination firsthand. As if suffering a workplace injury isn't challenging enough, losing a job can make life even more difficult (permanent career damage, financial hardships, emotional issues, etc.).

Sometimes, employers are not required to offer injured workers a job if there is no appropriate position available. For example, if employers do not have any positions that satisfy an employee's work requirements according to the advice of their doctor, they do not have to offer an injured employee a job. However, employers are not allowed to prevent an employee from working after an on-the-job injury because they suspect higher workers' comp expenses or a higher likelihood of the employee suffering another injury, according to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

College sued over allegations of disability discrimination

When a hard-working employee becomes injured, their life may change in various ways. On top of physical pain, medical care and an inability to continue performing certain job responsibilities, some disabled workers are unlawfully discriminated against. In Santa Clara, and throughout the Golden State, anyone who believes they have been subjected to unfair and illegal treatment in the workplace should not hesitate to stand up for their rights as a California employee.

A college in Indiana is facing a lawsuit over allegations of disability discrimination. The suit, which was filed in March by a paraplegic woman, accuses the school of firing her because she was disabled after she had worked at the school for more than 20 years. According to the paraplegic woman's complaint, the university did not accommodate her disability and did not take her performance into account when firing her.

Which retirement plan documents does my employer need to provide?

Employers are required to provide retirement plan participants with a number of documents, according to the Department of Labor. If you are covered by the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 in Palo Alto, or anywhere else in California, it is essential for you to identify any violations as soon as they occur and address them at once. For example, if your employer has failed to provide you with certain documents concerning your retirement plan, you should rectify the situation immediately.

When it comes to retirement plans, ERISA requires employers to give participants several documents. If you are covered by ERISA, your employer must give you a Summary Annual Report, Individual Benefit Statement, Summary Plan Description and Summary of Material Modification form. Your employer is also required to provide you with a Blackout Period Notice no less than 30 days before the blackout period takes effect. If you are automatically enrolled in a plan, your employer also has to give you an Automatic Enrollment Notice form.

California man files wrongful dismissal suit

With discrimination, wage violations and other types of unlawful behavior, employees are subjected to all sorts of unfair and illegal treatment when they go to work. However, wrongful termination is a major problem in the workplace and there have been far too many instances of employees being wrongfully fired in Santa Clara, Palo Alto, and other cities in California. From financial difficulties to emotional problems such as anger or depression, wrongful termination can seriously impact the lives of those who are illegally fired.

A California man recently filed a wrongful dismissal lawsuit against a community college that he had taught art at for over 20 years. According to the 53-year-old man, who was fired in 2013, the school had terminated his position in order to have younger teachers. In his complaint, the art instructor claims that 77 percent of adjunct faculty were 40 years old or older in 2014, compared to 82 percent in 2009.

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