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California Employment Law Blog

Understand when termination is illegal

Your ability to keep your job depends on how well you do your job. All employers have rules and guidelines that must be followed if you want to keep on working there. If you don't follow those, you will be terminated. If you are terminated for failing to do your job properly, there likely isn't anything you can do about the termination.

We know that losing a job is something that is disheartening. It can often lead to fear about what is to come. If you think that you were terminated in violation of the law, such as for reporting sexual harassment, we can help you learn about the legal options that you have to deal with the wrongful termination.

Rocker and drummer in heated legal battle with each other

While you can be terminated for almost any reason under the sun, there are a few reasons that are illegal to use as the basis for termination. You can't be fired because of your age, gender or several other protected statuses. If you are, you might opt to take legal action.

Rocker Eddie Money is learning about some of these points thanks to a lawsuit from Glenn Symmonds, who is his former drummer. The lawsuit has a host of allegations in the original filing. These include claims of wrongful termination. It also contains an amended complaint by Symmonds' wife claiming sexual harassment.

Drug testing and California employers: 3 things to know

Last weekend NPR reported that employers in Colorado are rethinking their policies on employee drug testing. In a very tight labor market, employers are having second thoughts about insisting on a zero-tolerance stance toward off-work marijuana use.

What about California? After all, the labor market is strong here as well, and last November voters passed Proposition 64, which legalized recreational cannabis in California. In this post, we will identify three important things to know regarding drug testing by employers in the Golden State.

Know what should be included in a severance contract

Severance contracts are important for many employees. These contracts provide protections for the employee, but they also serve an important purpose for the employer. It is essential to ensure that everything in this contract is up to par. If there is anything that you are unsure of, don't sign it and take the time to have someone else review the contract with you.

There is often a clause in the severance contract that relieves the employer from any future legal claims. This means that if you have anything that you are concerned about, you should think twice before you agree to a severance. Employers often include this protection as a matter of course and not necessarily only when they think that there might be a claim forthcoming.

Researching, applying and receiving family leave benefits

Workers have the right to make the most of life's great moments, as well as the responsibility to care for their families in times of trouble. In California, workers are eligible to apply for family leave for up to six weeks out of every 12-month period.

Qualifying events for paid family leave include the arrival or adoption of a new child, as well as the need to care for an immediate family member such as a child, spouse, parent, sibling or grandparent.

5 FAQs on workplace retaliation and whistleblower protections

Most employment in the U.S is at "at will." An employer can generally fire an employee at any time, unless there is a contract that requires the employer to show good cause.

There are, however, important exceptions to this general rule. In those cases, a fired employee may be able to sue the employer for wrongful termination.

In this post, we will use a Q & A format to discuss these exceptions.

Sexual harassment and professional networking

LinkedIn is supposed to be a professional networking platform -- not a social or dating platform.

It would probably be wise for company managers and executives to remember that before they start trying to make dating overtures to other professionals they find attractive. Otherwise, they might end up involving their entire company in a sexual harassment lawsuit.

Help! My employer terminated me while I was on family leave

Workers who are taking a leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) expect that they will have their job waiting for them when they return to work. This isn't always the way that it happens. Some employers will terminate a worker who is on this type of leave. If you are terminated while on FMLA leave, you should find out if you can file a claim against the employer.

While it is not illegal to fire a worker who is on FMLA leave, it is important that employer ensure that they are firing the worker for a reason that isn't related to the leave. Employers can't fire workers because they take FMLA leave.

Wrongful termination cases can involve complex concepts

Losing a job is something that can have negative impacts on the person who is terminated. When the termination is a wrongful termination, the person might opt to pursue legal action against the employer. This is something that can be difficult to prove; however, we know that it isn't impossible when the case involves a termination that falls under the legal umbrella of wrongful termination.

One case recently that made the news recently shows how complex wrongful termination cases can be. This case involves the Electric Utilities Department in Roseville. A former employee alleges discrimination, harassment and wrongful termination and has filed a lawsuit regarding her claims. In this case, the woman alleges that the actions by the employer were due to a spinal tumor that she developed while she worked for the department. The city says that the termination was lawful because the woman was still in her probationary period and could be let go without any reason for the action.

What does on-the-job sexual harassment usually look like?

The simplest answer to this question is that on-the-job sexual harassment looks ugly, it looks rude, and it looks unlawful. In fact, it is all three of these things. If you feel that a co-worker is sexually harassing you, even in the most mild and subtle ways, you are encouraged to report the behavior to your human resources department immediately.

If you're still having trouble identifying on-the-job sexual harassment, keep reading. This article will explain the problem in sufficient detail for you to recognize this vile behavior wherever it occurs.

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