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Palo Alto Employment Law Blog

Do employers need to provide a reason when firing an employee?

If you recently lost your job and are wondering whether or not your firing was against the law because your former employer didn't provide a solid reason, it is important to review employment law and find answers to any questions you have. If you live in Santa Clara or Palo Alto, you should look into California law and may want to consider taking action if you think your former employer may have violated your rights as an employee. Each day, employees encounter unlawful discrimination and wrongful termination in the workplace and those who have experienced these violations deserve a voice.

According to the State Bar of California, employers in the state typically do not need to provide a good reason when firing an employee since California is an at-will employment state. In this state, employers can take disciplinary action (firing, suspending, demoting, etc.) against staff without giving any reasons. Having said that, there are certain exceptions, such as firing an employee because of their gender or race, participation in jury duty, or involvement in a complaint regarding illegal activity. However, it is essential to realize that some employers may need to provide a legitimate reason for firing an employee because of a written, oral or implied contract.

Helping clients address ERISA violations

Whether an employer fails to follow the terms of an ERISA plan or takes adverse action against an employee for exercising their rights according to the plan, there are number of ERISA violations that take place far too often. For employees in Santa Clara, and throughout the state of California, these violations can make life incredibly difficult and at the law office of Kastner Kim LLP we believe this is inadmissible. If you are dealing with any type of ERISA violation, it is absolutely essential to ensure that your rights as a participant of the plan are protected and take action as soon as you can.

Employees who have dealt with ERISA violations have experienced a plethora of difficulties. For some, ERISA violations have led to financial hurdles or the denial of benefits that they were entitled to and should have received. Others have been fired or fined by their employer because they were standing up for their rights under their ERISA plan. Whenever an ERISA plan participant experiences an unlawful violation of his or her plan, those who have broken the law cannot be let off the hook and our law firm works hard to support clients who are in this position. Unfortunately, some people who have been subjected to ERISA violations did not realize that illegal activity took place or were too hesitant to come forward and hold the violator accountable.

Reviewing the legal working age

For many young people, working is an excellent way to develop skills or help them save for college. However, it is important for minors who work (as well as their parents) to familiarize themselves with child labor laws and address any violations at once. In Palo Alto, Santa Clara, and other parts of California, some employers have taken advantage of minors in violation of employment law and they should not get away with their actions.

According to the United States Department of Labor, workers who are under the age of 16 are limited in the amount of hours they can work under the Fair Labor Standards Act. Minors are also prohibited from working in certain occupations that are deemed hazardous and the laws vary from one state to another. Furthermore, non-agricultural employers are required to post the Minimum Wage Poster issued by the Labor Department in an accessible place. On this poster, employees can review age requirements.

Which terms of an employment contract can be negotiated?

Before starting a job, some employees will be asked to sign an employment contract. If you are in this position, it is imperative to understand which terms can be negotiated and ensure that your rights as an employee are protected. In Palo Alto, California, and across America, there are many elements to employment agreements and the terms of these contracts can have a significant impact on employees in the present and future.

According to the State of California's Employment Development Department, most terms of an employment contract can be negotiated. However, it is important for employees and employers to recognize legal constraints and any non-negotiable terms found in an employment agreement. Employment terms that may be negotiable include meals, work hours, housing accommodations, wages, sick time, reasons for discharge, internal dispute resolution, safety guidelines, breaks, holidays and severance pay. Also, matters concerning the closure of the business may also be up for negotiation.

Are salaried employees able to receive overtime pay?

From illegal child labor to minimum wage violations, there are a number of examples of illegal activity that occur far too often in the workplace. However, some employees have endured overtime violations and were not even aware of their rights. In Santa Clara, and the rest of California, every employee should be able to recognize violations of employment law and instantly confront the problem.

According to the State of California's Department of Industrial Relations, salaried employees may be able to receive overtime pay, depending on their set of circumstances. For example, some employees are exempt from overtime pay according to the terms of Industrial Wage Commission Orders. Also, if a salaried employee meets the conditions for exemption under state or federal law, they may not be able to receive overtime pay. Otherwise, salaried employees are entitled to one-and-a-half times their typical pay rate for work that exceeds 40 hours in one work week.

Unlawful retaliation and wrongful termination

From unpaid overtime to sexual harassment, employees may encounter a number of problems at work. However, many have had to deal with retaliation and some have even lost their job after an employer retaliated against them. In Palo Alto, California, it is vital for employees to stand up for their rights if they believe the termination of their position was against the law or they have experienced illegal retaliation.

According to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, there are a number of reasons why some employers have retaliated against employees in violation of the laws that the agency enforces. For example, some employees have dealt with retaliation because they were involved in an employment discrimination investigation, complained about discrimination or filed a discrimination complaint themselves. In addition to wrongful dismissal, retaliation may also affect other aspects of someone's job, such as pay, benefits and job duties. Wrongful termination that is the result of illegal discrimination continues to occur across the country and victims should address these violations at once.

Taking a look at discrimination and wrongful dismissal

According to the Legislative Counsel of California, it is against the law for employers in the state to discriminate against employees when terminating their position. Regrettably, unlawful discrimination remains a serious problem in Santa Clara, Palo Alto and across California. For employees who believe they may have experienced illegal discrimination or were wrongfully terminated, it is important to become familiar with the rights of employees and swiftly confront any rights violations.

On their website, the United States Department of Labor provides a number of examples of illegal discrimination and it is unlawful for employers to fire employees because of these factors. For example, employers cannot fire someone because of their religious background, gender, veteran status, ethnic origin, age, race or disability. Although it is against the law for employers to fire employees on these grounds, employees continue to face wrongful termination based upon these reasons. It is also necessary to remember that the termination of an employee's contract because of their involvement in a discrimination complaint or whistleblower status is also unlawful.

A closer look at overtime violations

According to the United States Department of Labor, there were more than 11,200 cases of overtime violations under the Fair Labor Standards Act across the nation in fiscal year 2014. However, overtime violations are also a serious problem for some employees in Palo Alto, Santa Clara and throughout California. Whenever an employee experiences any unlawful violations of their employee rights, such as denied overtime, it is essential for them to confront the incident right away.

On their site, the State of California's Department of Industrial Relations answers a number of questions that people may have concerning overtime provisions in the state. For starters, it is important for employees to understand that in California, employers are required to provide employees with one-and-a-half times their regular rate of pay after eight hours of work in one day or forty hours of work in one week. Furthermore, employers are required to provide employees with overtime pay even if their overtime work was not authorized. In these instances, employers are able to take disciplinary action against employees who violate unauthorized overtime policies. Employers are also able to demand that their employees work overtime and employees do not have the right to waive their overtime pay.

Firefighters file suit over wrongful dismissal allegations

While losing a job can be incredibly difficult for workers, employees who have dealt with wrongful discharge may be particularly impacted by the unfair and illegal termination of their position.In Santa Clara, Palo Alto, and across California, many employees have experienced these troubles firsthand and some are unsure of what they will do next. After all, when a worker is fired in violation of the law, they may experience significant financial complications in addition to strong emotions and other hardships.

Two firefighters claim they were wrongfully dismissed and recently filed suit against their former employer. In their lawsuit, which targets the Yermo Community Services District, the firefighters outline a number of alleged violations and are pursuing monetary damages for retirement benefits, lost wages, emotional problems and legal costs, among other challenges they claim to have endured as a result of their job loss.

Supporting tech workers involved in an employment dispute

In recent years, the tech industry has taken off and provided workers with an abundance of lucrative opportunities. However, as with all lines of work, disputes sometimes arise between companies and their employees. If you work in the technology industry and are involved in an employment dispute, we may be able to assist you. At the law office of Kastner Kim LLP, we have a solid understanding of the ins and outs of employment law and are committed to serving workers in Santa Clara, and elsewhere in the state of California.

When it comes to employment disputes, the details surrounding a disagreement often vary from one case to another. However, many employees have found themselves in the middle of a contract dispute over their employment agreement. From compensation to benefits and severance packages, there are a host of issues concerning employment contracts that may lead to a dispute. Regardless of the particular nature of the dispute you are involved in, it is critical for you to closely evaluate all of your options and ensure that you present your case properly if the dispute heads to court.

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