THINGS TO DO AFTER YOU LOSE YOUR JOB

Job loss can come as a shock to you, especially in the case of wrongful termination. If you find yourself in this situation, you need to decide where you are going to go from here. In the case of wrongful termination, you might opt to take legal action against the employer, but this is only one component of your plan.

One of the first things that you can do is to start the job search right away. You need to clean up your resume and get it ready to give to places where you plan to seek employment. At first, you might have to find something to make ends meet until you can get the job you really want. This might be a part-time job or an opportunity in another field. Keep your options open so you can pay the bills in the interim.

On the money front, you should make sure that you get your final check from your employer. You also need to consider filing for unemployment. Even if you don’t think you will be able to obtain those payments, you might want to still apply just to find out what happens.

You also need to let creditors know you’ve lost your job. Some accounts, such as credit card accounts, might have protection that will take care of the bills or put them on hold while you are looking for a new job. In all cases, you will need to make sure that you follow a budget that enables you to avoid acquiring new debt while you are unemployed.

Source: FindLaw, “Ten Ways to Handle Losing a Job,” accessed Nov. 03, 2017

SPEAKING UP ABOUT ILLEGAL MATTERS SHOULDN’T COST YOU YOUR JOB

You know that your employer is doing something illegal. Now, you have to decide what you are going to do about that knowledge. You might be at a loss for what you are going to do because you don’t want to make your employer upset but you also don’t want the illegal activity to continue.

If you are worried about what your employer might do if you file a factual complaint about something illegal that is going on, you don’t have to worry too much. Even though California is an at-will employment state, employers can’t terminate your employment or take any retaliatory measures because of whistleblowing or filing complaints about illegal actions.

We understand that you might be nervous. If you already spoke up, you might wonder what you can do now. The answer to this is simple. If your employer took retaliatory measures, which can include demotions, terminations or more, you can take legal action to remedy the situation.

There are many things to consider when you are going to launch an action against an employer due to wrongful termination or retaliation. Both of these are forbidden actions that employers shouldn’t take against employees. Retaliation is likely going to be more difficult to spot because it can take many forms. Even transferring you to another shift could be considered retaliation.

Taking action against your employer isn’t something that you will likely do lightly. In the case of retaliation or wrongful termination, you might not have any other option. We can help you get your case started and work with you throughout the resolution of it.

2 WELLS FARGO EXECUTIVES ALLEGE THEY WERE WRONGFULLY TERMINATED

A husband and wife pair, both long term employees of Wells Fargo, filed a joint wrongful termination lawsuit in federal court in Los Angeles on Thursday, August 31. In their lawsuit, the spouses acknowledge that their superiors have accused them of engaging in using unethical sales techniques prior to their firings. They, however, allege that their terminations came as a result of accusing their supervisors of impropriety.

The pair both were employed as regional presidents over Southern California branch operations at the time of their firings. The husband had worked for the bank since 2000 and his wife had since 1994. Their terminations happened in March, just a few weeks after some of their superiors had been fired by the company for setting up sham accounts.

The husband and wife duo allege that they both repeatedly reported cases in which their superiors encouraged their employees to open bogus accounts, but that those concerns went unaddressed. In fact, they argue that they were fired as a way to appear proactive in the eyes of the board of directors, federal regulators, and the general public about the increasingly problematic issue of sham accounts.

The pair argues that right before their hiring, the bank’s leadership took and promoted many of the executives who had engaged in the wrongdoing. They noted that it was the whistleblowing employees that the organization seemed to be most interested in terminating.

As for Wells Fargo, they have issued a statement in which they contend that they didn’t fire the pair out of retaliation. Instead, they argue that they fired the pair for both lawful and legitimate reasons.

The couple is requesting damages as high as $50 million on the grounds that they lost job prospects and money after their firings. They note that they’ve been dealing with intense anxiety, depression, and distress as well.

If you suspect that you have been unlawfully discharged from your job role, then you should consult an experienced Los Angeles wrongful termination attorney to advise you of your right to file a lawsuit.

Source: Los Angeles Times, “Former Wells Fargo executives say they were scapegoated for accounts scandal,” James Rufus Koren, Sep. 01, 2017

DID YOUR EMPLOYER HAVE THE RIGHT TO FIRE YOU?

If you’ve recently been fired, you may be wondering if your employer really had the right to do so — especially if the reason seemed unfair or outright ridiculous.

The reality is that most employees in the country are considered “at-will” employees. That essentially means that they can walk away from a job whenever, for any reason. It also means that their employer can usually fire them whenever, for any reason.

That reason just can’t be something that violates the law. If it does, that’s considered wrongful termination.

Here’s essentially how it works:

Your employer cannot fire you because he or she doesn’t like the color of the car that you drive, doesn’t agree with your political ideology or doesn’t like your new tattoos.

He or she cannot fire you for belonging to any class or group of people that are protected under any local, state or federal laws. Protected classes include (but may not be limited to) gender, religion, race, national origin and sexual orientation.

Your employer also cannot fire you if the termination would somehow violate the public interest. For example, you can’t be fired in retaliation for asking for reasonable accommodation under the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA), filing for workers’ compensation, filing a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) about discriminatory treatment or refusing to do something illegal at his or her employer’s request.

Finally, you may have some protection from having your job abruptly terminated for no good reason under either an implied contract or good faith exception.

Implied contracts exist when an employer makes promises to his or her employees that basically ensure job security as long as a certain standard of behavior is maintained. Something as simple as a manual that outlines the company’s disciplinary policy for infractions may create that implied contract. An employer then has to follow his or her own rules before you can be fired.

California is one of the few states to recognize “good faith” as a factor between employees and employers. It essentially looks at the overall sense of fairness in the firing — asking questions about whether or not the firing was justified given the employee’s work history, prior performance reviews and the employer’s own policies. It is quite similar to implied contracts.

If you believe your employer violated the law by firing you, let a a wrongful termination attorney provide guidance.

Source: FindLaw, “At-Will Employment and Wrongful Termination,” accessed Sep. 15, 2017

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.

Wrongful termination is often a retaliatory measure that employers will use when an employee files a complaint about something or blows the whistle on something. Doing this is illegal since employers can’t legally retaliate against employees who do these things. This is why it is important for you to keep track of what happens from the time that you file a complaint or make it known what is going on in the business.

It is important to carefully consider the circumstances around your termination. If you know that you were doing a good job and don’t know of any disciplinary measures taken against you, then you were likely terminated wrongfully. If you did let your performance slack off just prior to the termination, even if it was just after you filed a complaint, there is a good chance that the termination was legal.

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.

Money has filed an appeal in the matter because he claims that artists should have the right to decide who plays in the bands that are behind the scenes. One motion was an anti-SLAPP motion, which has to do with claims that certain points were within the person’s First Amendment rights.

The lawsuit also includes accusations of discrimination. Symmonds claims that Money humiliated him because of his disabilities that stem from a back injury and bladder cancer. Money’s side of the case is denying all of the accusations.

The appeal that was filed is being called a ploy to delay the case. The rocker was successful with a petition to limit what information out of his and his wife’s depositions is made public. Excerpts that have already been included in the case will remain public. As it stands, the case will head to trial in November. It will be interesting to keep an eye on this case as it moves forward.

Source: Billboard, “Eddie Money Appeals Ruling On Motion to Dismiss Claims By Former Drummer As Case Hurtles Toward Trial,” Hannah Karp, July 07, 2017

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.

Proposition 64 allows employers to make job applicants or employees take drug tests – and to fire employees for testing positive.

It may seem contradictory to allow employers to do this, since Prop. 64 decriminalized cannabis consumption on private property.

Prop. 64 also states, however, that employers can fire you for testing positive for marijuana, even if there is no evidence you were high while working.

In practice, then, you can be fired for doing something legal under state law, namely consuming marijuana. And marijuana does still remain a controlled substance under federal law.

San Francisco and some other cities have laws that regulate employer use of drug testing.

Workplace drug testing is an issue affected by a complicated set of federal, state and local laws.

For example, at the federal level the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) prohibits employers who have 15 or more employees from discriminating against employees who have sought out treatment for drug addiction. The ADA also contains protections for recovering alcoholics.

At the local level, cities such as San Francisco and Boulder have city ordinances that regulate drug testing by employers.

Only three states have protections in state law for employees who use medical marijuana.

In Colorado, the tight labor market has prompted some employers to relax their drug testing policies. In a state where 1 in 7 adults uses marijuana, screening out cannabis consumers really limits the labor pool.

Though less than 10 states have legalized recreational cannabis, 29 states now allow for medical marijuana. And yet only three states have employment protections in state law for the use of medical marijuana. Those states are Arizona, Delaware and Minnesota; California is not among them.

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.

This case involved allegations of harassment due to a disability, but the employer is claiming that the termination was lawful, even with that harassment present. This type of case is one reason why employees should work to find out about the laws that apply to their employment. If you don’t know the laws, you won’t know when you need to speak up about something.

We know that you might be ready to take action over the firing. We can evaluate your case and help you determine the actions that you can take. From there, we can help you to develop a plan and work through the process.

AGE DISCRIMINATION IN THE TECH INDUSTRY: 5 FAQS

The age vibe in tech has always tilted young.

It probably goes back, at least in part, to the mythic days of Jobs and Wozniak, who started Apple at ages 21 and 26, respectively. And it’s continued right on up to today.

What happens, however, when the workforce in the tech industry ages?

In this post, we will consider several key FAQs about age discrimination in the industry.

Do very many people bring age-related lawsuits or complaints against tech companies?

The workforce in the tech industry is aging along with the rest of the population. This has led to an increase in complaints alleging age discrimination against Silicon Valley companies.

The California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) has received dozens of complaints against tech companies in the last five years and compiled a list of those companies.

What are some of the companies that have had complaints filed against them?

Hewlett-Packard has been the subject of the most complaints in recent years, with 28 complaints in less than four years. Cisco Systems, Apple, Google, Oracle and Genentech were also the subject of multiple complaints on the DFEH list.

What is the most common claim made in these complaints?

Wrongful termination is the most common claim. There have also been claims for discrimination in hiring or promotion.

Are there factors besides an aging workforce that are driving the increase in age-related claims?

Yes. Besides the aging workforce, there is the ongoing relentlessly competitive dynamics of working in tech.

Corporate restructurings and mergers have resulted in various waves of downsizings. This has left the remaining workers at companies who have been through those changes under increasing pressure to be even more productive. Hewlett Packard, for example, has laid off 85,000 people in the last five years and split into two companies while also engaging in acquisitions.

Evolution of in-demand skills has also tended to push some workers to the side while others are more valued than ever.

Is the problem of age discrimination in tech likely to get better or worse?

The sheer velocity of changes in the industry, combined with the Valley’s ingrained culture of celebrating the young, are likely to remain in profound tension with age discrimination laws.

From cloud computing and Big Data analytics to virtual reality to the Internet of Things, the emerging fields are dizzying. And companies in the tech industry have been known to all too often throw older workers overboard in the quest to reach the sought-after new heights.

SUMMARY JUDGMENT REVERSED IN WRONGFUL TERMINATION CASE

A woman who was employed as the manager at Barnes & Noble located on the campus of the West Valley-Mission Community College in Saratoga from 2002 to 2010, has was determined to have been wrongfully terminated. She worked before that for the company for another 15 years in various jobs.

She was given a copy of the code of conduct and ethics for the company that listed her employment as “at-will.” She acknowledged receipt of the code of conduct in 1999 and she had signed off on it. She was never promised an employee contract or tenure.

The woman received performance reviews each year that said she lacked organizational skills and communication skills. The dates of the reviews specifically citing this were from 2001 to 2008. Total scores on her reviews showed that she had met the “applicable standards and met or exceeded standards in most individual categories.” However, in 2009, her book store had an excess inventory worth $66,000, which got her a below standard rating for the category of fiscal matters.

The woman tried to argue that she was dealing with discrimination with the college’s liaison. Eventually, in 2010, the college president and the liaison got in touch with the woman’s supervisor and said that “[the] plaintiff was not a good fit for the campus.” She filed a complaint against Barnes & Noble in 2012. The complaint also included the college and the college president.

In 2013, the company asked for a summary judgment, telling the court that the woman “was an at-will employee who was terminated for legitimate business reasons.” The woman said she was fired due to gender discrimination because the company did not protect her from the liaison’s sexual harassment.

The appeals court said that neither the plaintiff nor the defendants were favored by the definition of “at-will” employment.” As a result, the woman’s testimony should be heard at trial. The summary judgment was reversed.

Those who believe they have been terminated due to discrimination of protected classhave a right to seek compensation after filing a complaint with the Equal Opportunity Employment Commission. An attorney can help you learn more about the options that are available to fight such a claim.

Source: Northern California Record, “Wrongful termination lawsuit against Barnes & Noble moves forward,” Angela Underwood, May 01, 2017