Employment Law

WEST THEMIS LAW represents a wide range of businesses and individuals with employment law matters.

If you are an employer, please go to Employment Defense.

If you are an employee, please go to Employment – Plaintiff.

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California state is known internationally notorious for strict and intricate employment laws.  All businesses, whether they are sole-proprietors, corporations, or limited liability companies, large or small, run the risk of being sued for labor actions from former or current employees.

West Themis Law assists small to large businesses in review of employee guidelines (manuals, policies, notices), in order to ensure up to date compliance with laws as well as prevention and mitigation of potential costly actions.

All employers must know that claims against employers for wage claims pose significant exposure to all businesses in that attorney’s fees are awarded to employee’s counsels.

West Themis represents a wide range of businesses & organizations:

Non-Profit Organizations
Construction Contractors & Subcontractors
Real Estate Professionals
Property Management Firms – Commercial & Residential
Pharmaceutical Professionals & Retailers
Attorneys & Law Firms
Architectural Professionals & Firms
Product Manufacturers – International & Domestic
E-Commerce
Fresh Produce Producers
Logistics
Restaurants
Retail Stores

 

If you have been served with a complaint or need immediate assistance with a current pending lawsuit, contact West Themis Law immediately for a case review at (213) 908-1103 or email info@wthemislaw.com, or Fill out our labor questionnaire by clicking below:
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At West Themis, we represent clients on matters related to labor and employment law. California has unique labor laws that seek to protect employees from working long extensive hours without breaks or overtime pay. With differences between state and federal regulations, employers (especially out-of-state or foreign employers) may often unintentionally apply the labor laws, exposing them to extreme penalties.

At West Themis, we offer a unique experience in which we utilize our experience in representing employee labor claims against employers as experience to defend our business clients from labor law disputes.
We address every issue and potential labor claim or liability with our clients personal needs and offer situation-specific solutions. When litigation is necessary, our lawyers will fight for your rights. In summary, the employment issues include:

Discrimination claims
Wrongful discharge
Sexual harassment
Noncompetition and trade secrets;
Retirement compensation
Employee benefit
Wage and hour law
Defamation and privacy; and
“Whistleblower” and retaliation claim
Other Employment Related Matters

Schedule and appointment to speak to an attorney at West Themis Law. This law firm will accept cases on a contingency basis if the managing attorney approves. A “contingency basis” simply means that this law firm may be able and willing to accept your case on a percentage of recovery rather than require that you fund the attorney’s hourly rate.
EMPLOYMENT LAW OVERVIEW:

Employment law is the name given to the branch of civil law that covers the laws and regulations governing labor relations and employment issues, such as collective bargaining, discrimination in the workplace, sexual harassment, occupational safety, wage and hour requirements, and workers’ compensation.
Federal statutes, such as Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Americans with Disabilities Act, and the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, as well as state laws protect employees from discrimination based on age, disability, sex, race, color, religion, sex, or national origin. The Family and Medical Leave Act, another federal statute, allows employees to take up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave for certain family and medical reasons, without having to worrying about losing their jobs.
Contact our office immediately if you believe your employer has violated the following protections or Fill out our labor questionnaire by clicking below:

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TYPICAL CALIFORNIA LABOR LAW VIOLATIONS:

1. OVERTIME PAY
The general rule on overtime in CA is that all employees are entitled to premium pay for overtime hours, generally either time and a half for hours worked between 8 and 12 per day or 40 per week or double time for hours exceeding 12 per day or 40 per week or double time for hours exceeding 12 per day or on the seventh straight day during a workweek.
Employers cannot require employees to perform any tasks before clocking in or clocking out (including getting in or out of uniform, running errands, etc.). 4-day, 10-hour and 3-day, 12-hour workweeks must be approved by secret employee ballot or the employer must pay overtime. Employees reporting to work must be allowed at least half their regular shift and may not be sent home without being paid for at least a half day’s shift of not less than 2 nor more than 4 hours. Minimum pay for callback work (e.g., for mandatory meetings, special arrangements for visitors, etc.) is 2 hours, regardless of the actual amount worked. Tips cannot be credited toward minimum wage, nor may any portion be retained by the employer or salaried manager.

2. MEAL BREAKS
Any hourly employees that work at least 5 hour shifts must receive an unpaid 30-minute meal period where they are completely relieved of all duties and are free to leave the work premises. The meal period can be waived by the employee only for shifts that do not exceed 6 hours. If shifts are over 10 hours, there must be 2 minimum 30-minute unpaid meal period.

Meal periods can NOT be waived. An employee cannot chose to leave work half an hour early instead of taking a meal period. Unless all employees take their breaks at the same time, employees are required to clock-out during the meal period.

If the circumstances or the nature of the work prevents employees from being able to leave (ie, one employee works at a gas station and cannot leave the station unattended), the employee will take a paid “on-duty” meal period, as long as they sign an on-duty meal period that stating that the employee can revoke it at any time. If an employee refuses to sign such an agreement, the company is required to either pay that employee one hour’s premium pay at the employee’s regular rate of pay if required to work through a meal period or given a different shift or otherwise permitted to take an off-duty meal period.

3. REST PERIODS
Paid rest periods of 10 minutes for every 4 hours or major fraction thereof must be provided and made available to hourly employees. The employer must clearly announce to the hourly employees that they are authorized and permitted to take rest breaks, which must come as near as practicable to the middle of the four-hour period. Rest periods can not be grouped together or taken at the end of the day so that the employee can leave early, unless the employee chooses to do so without coercion or undue influence to waive one or more rest periods. Unless there is a clear waiver, the employer must make arrangements to freely allow employees to “break” themselves and/or provide relief and back up employees.
If an Employer has violated this requirement, employees are entitled to one hour’s pay at their regular rate of pay for every day on which they were not provided one or more paid rest periods.

 

4. ILLEGAL WAGE DEDUCTIONS
Did your employer deduct any amount from your wages that are illegal? Employers are prohibited from deducting any amount from an employee’s wages to pay the salary, bonuses, or wages of other employees. Employers are prohibited from making deductions from commissions or other wages to pay for uniforms, cash shortages, failure to clock in or out, or other penalties for employee conduct.
If an employer made any illegal or improper deductions, employees are entitled to recover improper deductions as far as four years back with interest.

 

 

5. FAILURE TO REIMBURSE EXPENSES
An employer is required to reimburse employees for expenses incurred in carrying out their employment. If the employer fails to reimburse, this employer will be liable to the employee for the amount of all necessary expenses, interest, attorney’s fees and costs. For example, employees that use their cars to carry out the job function must be provided a mileage or other reimbursement to cover all driving expenses, including gas and insurance. This requirement usually does not include the travel to your work location. Employees may not be required to pay for uniforms or laundering of uniforms. The purpose of this law is to protect employees from suffering any expense as a direct consequence of the performance of the employee’s duties. Employees are entitled to recover expense reimbursements dating back up to four years, with interest.

Some Common examples of Covered Expenses include:
– Seminar costs for training required for your job
– Training costs
– Office supplies
– Wages of Support Staff
– Cost of transactional errors
– Mailing costs
– Subscriptions
– Cost of settling disputes with customers
– Other necessary business-related costs or expenses that resulted from the employment
6. SALARY – MISCLASSIFICATION – OVERTIME ISSUES
Employers are at many times, violated overtime laws by misclassifying their employees as salaried employees. Overtime still applies unless the salaried employee falls under the narrow exceptions. The groups include, generally, executives (managers), administrative, professionals, sales, and computer professional employees are exempt from certain tests regarding job duties and responsibilities that are fairly compensated on a salary or guaranteed commission basis that is not less that the state amounts.

Employers often avoid paying overtime by misclassifying employees in salaried positions “exempt” from overtime pay. These are narrow exceptions to the general rule that all employees are entitled to premium pay for overtime hours, generally either time and a half for hours worked between 8 and 12 per day or 40 per week or double time for hours exceeding 12 per day or on the seventh straight day during a workweek.

The typical positions often misclassified as exempt salary workers are: Loan consultants, internal sales, managers, assistant managers, computer tech workers, pharmacy representatives. These misclassified workers can cover as far back as four years of overtime back pay.

To avoid paying overtime, employers must establish that workers fall under one of the following exemptions:

1. Computer Professional
2. Executive
3. Administrative
4. Outside Sales Exemption
5. Inside Sales Exemption
6. Professional

The requirements for each are detailed and requires significant interpretation. West Themis Law attorneys will be able to properly advise you on such matters as to whether you or your business is in compliance.

FEDERAL LABOR LAWS ENFORCED BY THE EEOC

Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Title VII)
This law makes it illegal to discriminate against someone on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, or sex. The law also makes it illegal to retaliate against a person because the person complained about discrimination, filed a charge of discrimination, or participated in an employment discrimination investigation or lawsuit. The law also requires that employers reasonably accommodate applicants’ and employees’ sincerely held religious practices, unless doing so would impose an undue hardship on the operation of the employer’s business.

The Pregnancy Discrimination Act

This law amended Title VII to make it illegal to discriminate against a woman because of pregnancy, childbirth, or a medical condition related to pregnancy or childbirth. The law also makes it illegal to retaliate against a person because the person complained about discrimination, filed a charge of discrimination, or participated in an employment discrimination investigation or lawsuit.

The Equal Pay Act of 1963 (EPA)
This law makes it illegal to pay different wages to men and women if they perform equal work in the same workplace. The law also makes it illegal to retaliate against a person because the person complained about discrimination, filed a charge of discrimination, or participated in an employment discrimination investigation or lawsuit.

The Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 (ADEA)
This law protects people who are 40 or older from discrimination because of age. The law also makes it illegal to retaliate against a person because the person complained about discrimination, filed a charge of discrimination, or participated in an employment discrimination investigation or lawsuit.

Title I of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA)
This law makes it illegal to discriminate against a qualified person with a disability in the private sector and in state and local governments. The law also makes it illegal to retaliate against a person because the person complained about discrimination, filed a charge of discrimination, or participated in an employment discrimination investigation or lawsuit. The law also requires that employers reasonably accommodate the known physical or mental limitations of an otherwise qualified individual with a disability who is an applicant or employee, unless doing so would impose an undue hardship on the operation of the employer’s business.

Sections 102 and 103 of the Civil Rights Act of 1991
Among other things, this law amends Title VII and the ADA to permit jury trials and compensatory and punitive damage awards in intentional discrimination cases.

Sections 501 and 505 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973
This law makes it illegal to discriminate against a qualified person with a disability in the federal government. The law also makes it illegal to retaliate against a person because the person complained about discrimination, filed a charge of discrimination, or participated in an employment discrimination investigation or lawsuit. The law also requires that employers reasonably accommodate the known physical or mental limitations of an otherwise qualified individual with a disability who is an applicant or employee, unless doing so would impose an undue hardship on the operation of the employer’s business.

The Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act of 2008 (GINA)

Effective – November 21, 2009.

This law makes it illegal to discriminate against employees or applicants because of genetic information. Genetic information includes information about an individual’s genetic tests and the genetic tests of an individual’s family members, as well as information about any disease, disorder or condition of an individual’s family members (i.e. an individual’s family medical history). The law also makes it illegal to retaliate against a person because the person complained about discrimination, filed a charge of discrimination, or participated in an employment discrimination lawsuit.

 

We are a full-service California law firm. Whether litigating, transacting or entity-selecting for your start-up business, we offer focused personal service and experience you can trust. For all business litigation defense matters, contact our managing trial attorney, Sally S. Chan, Esq. at sally@wthemislaw.com.

 

If you have been served with a complaint or need immediate assistance with a current pending lawsuit, contact West Themis Law immediately for a case review at (213) 908-1103 or email info@wthemislaw.com, or Fill out our litigation questionnaire by clicking below:

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