Los Angeles Employment Attorney
An employment attorney at Pocrass & De Los Reyes advocates for employees whose employers have treated them illegally. We represent employees in matters of:
- Wrongful Termination
- Sexual Harassment
- Overtime Disputes
- Meals-and-Rest Breaks
- Wage-and-Hour Disputes
- Disability Discrimination
- Pregnancy Discrimination
- Family and Medical Leave Act
The Los Angeles employment attorneys at Pocrass & De Los Reyes take employment cases on a contingency basis in which you pay nothing until your case is resolved. For a FREE, no-obligation, and confidential consultation, contact us.
California is an “at will” state, which means that an employer can fire you unfairly or for no reason at all. Just as you can decide you do not want to work for an employer, an employer can decide they do not want you working for them.
In spite of being an “at will” state, there are some reasons a company is breaking the law if they fire you. Some of the most common illegal firings or lay offs include:
- You’re the victim of discrimination because of race, sex, age, pregnancy, disability, sexual orientation, religion, or national origin.
- You were fired after complaining about discrimination, sexual harassment or overtime.
- You were fired or laid-off in violation of a contract.
- Your employer is retaliating for your whistle-blowing (filing a complaint against your employer for breaking the law).
- You were fired for taking time off for military service.
- You were fired for having a long-term illness or because you took time off when a family member was ill.
- You were fired for reporting or refusing to perform in an unsafe, unhealthy or illegal work environment (such as not being allowed meals-and-rest breaks).
- You refused to break the law at your employer’s request. This includes reporting fraud by your employer to a governmental agency.
- You exercised your right to vote.
- You helped organize a union.
- Your treatment at work was so harmful that you sustained serious emotional injuries.
Discrimination Is Illegal in All Areas of the Workplace
Employment discrimination is illegal in every area of employment, including:
- Hiring and firing.
- Compensation, assignment, or classification of employees.
- Transfer, promotion, lay-off, or firing.
- Job advertisements.
- Use of company facilities.
- Training and apprenticeships.
- Fringe benefits.
- Pay, retirement plans, or disability leave.
If you report your supervisor or your company for discrimination, it is illegal for either the supervisor or the company to retaliate against you. If they do, they may be liable for additional penalties.
Sexual Harassment is Against the Law
Whether you are male or female, “gay” or “straight,” sexual harassment is against the law.
Sexual harassment complaints often include:
- Unwelcome jokes, comments, or gestures of a sexual nature.
- Displaying offensive sexual or suggestive pictures or objects.
- Unwanted flirting, sexual advances, or propositions.
- Suggestive or obscene letters, notes, invitations, emails, or messages.
- Inappropriate and unwanted touching or blocking or impeding movements.
- Promising employment benefits for sex.
No One Has the Right To Sexually Harass You
A co-worker, supervisor, boss, or the owner of the company has no right to force you to put up with unwanted sexual behavior. No one has the right – no matter what their position in the company – to force you put up with sexual harassment or to participate in a sexual act.
Sales people and independent contractors also are protected by the law from sexual harassment.
Overtime and Wage-and-Hour Claims
If you were not paid for working overtime, you may have a wage-and-hour claim against your employer.
Wage-and-hour claims are not based on whether you are paid by the hour or by salary or even by your title. What matters is if under the law your position is considered exempt or non-exempt.
These are very complicated matters that the Los Angeles employment attorneys at Pocrass & De Los Reyes can determine for you. Briefly, employees who are considered exempt are in executive, supervisory, professional, or in outside sales positions.
Non-exempt employees must be paid at least minimum wage for each hour worked (on or off site), and must be paid overtime of not less than one-and-a-half times their regular hourly pay for each hour worked, in excess of 40 hours per week or more than seven hours a day.
Under California law you can recover overtime pay that was not paid for up to three years and sometimes four years.
If you are found to be misclassified and/or if you were not paid the overtime you were due, you may be eligible for:
- Back overtime.
- Interest at 10% on the overtime you should have been paid.
- Penalties of your daily rate of pay for up to 30 days.
- All unpaid overtime pay, doubled.
- Attorney fees, which come from the verdict, settlement or judgment Pocrass & De Los Reyes earns for you so you don’t pay anything up-front.
- Court costs.
If you are found to be owed overtime, it is very possible that you also could be owed back pay and penalties for missed meals and rest breaks.
Contact The Los Angeles Employment Attorney
The employment attorneys at Pocrass & De Los Reyes take employment cases on a contingency basis. This means you pay nothing until your case is resolved.
For a FREE, no-obligation and confidential consultation, contact an employment attorney at Pocrass & De Los Reyes.
Employment Law Questions & Answers
Q: Did my employer discriminate against me for firing me because I failed the company’s drug test even though I don’t do drugs at work?
A: Illegal drug use is not protected by the law, regardless of where you do the drugs. Because medical marijuana is not recognized as legal by the federal government, a medical marijuana prescription may not protect you if you come up positive in a company drug test.
Q. Doesn’t my employer have to give me a written or oral warning before firing me?
A: If you don’t have an employment contract, you are considered an “at will” employee. In most cases your employer does not have to give “at will” employees any warnings before terminating them. But, if your firing was due to discrimination or retaliation or some other illegal circumstance, then it is a wrongful termination.
Q: My supervisor was so horrible to me that I finally just had to quit. Can I bring a wrongful termination lawsuit against her?
A: When a supervisor makes the conditions of employment intolerable, forcing you to quit, it is called “constructive termination.” It is possible that you have a wrongful termination case against the company, but often it is important to your legal position that you report your supervisor’s conduct before you quit.
Q: When I quit my job, does the company have to pay me for my remaining vacation time and sick days?
A: The courts have determined that vacation time is a form of wages. All earned vacation time is due and payable at the time you leave a job, regardless of whether you quit or were fired. Sick days are different. These are not considered a form of wages and the company does not have to pay you for the days you earned and have left.
Q: Can my boss make me take all my vacation days during a certain time period or lose them?
A: California prohibits “use it or lose it” policies in which employees lost their earned vacation that is not taken at a specific time.
Q: My friend asked me what she should do to prove she’s being sexually harassed at her job. What should I tell her?
A: Tell your friend that she should go to her supervisor, her boss, or the company’s owner to report the person harassing her. If the person sent her any written communications (memos, letters, emails, text messages), she should save them and give COPIES to her employer (DO NOT give the originals to anyone but your attorney). She also should keep a written diary listing the day, time, location, and a short description of each incident. She should include the names of anyone involved and of any witnesses.
Q: Even though I have the title of “manager,” most of my time is spent doing the same work as my employees. Am I entitled to overtime?
A: Titles do not determine your eligibility for overtime pay. It’s the actual work you do and how you are supervised that determines if you are an unexempt employee and therefore entitled to overtime.
Q: Can I agree to work overtime without pay?
A: You cannot waive your right to overtime. If you work it, you must be paid as the law provides.
Q: Do I have to work overtime if my employer requests it?
A: Your employer has the right to set your schedule and hours. If you refuse to work overtime, you can be disciplined and even fired, but any overtime work you do, you must be paid for.
For a FREE, no-obligation, and confidential consultation to find out your legal options, contact an employment attorney at Pocrass & De Los Reyes.