Employee Rights No Fees Unless We Win
At Kokozian Law Firm, we skillfully litigate claims arising from workplace misconduct on behalf of workers. Whether you suffered discrimination based on your disability, pregnancy, medical condition, sexual orientation, race, or age, or you suffered a wrongful termination, sexual harassment, retaliation, or denial of medical leave of absence we are here to help.
Employment matters include disputes related to discrimination, wrongful termination, retaliation, leaves of absence, sexual harassment, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), Family Medical Leave Act, California Family Rights Act and the Equal Pay Act. The primary California anti-discrimination law is the Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA). California law often provides more generous protections for employees than does federal law. Our skilled employment attorneys can help workers assert their rights under any of these laws.Wrongful Termination
Under FEHA, California gives employees far-reaching protections against wrongful termination due to protected characteristics such as their color, race, religion, ancestry, national origin, mental or physical disability, gender, marital status, age, sexual orientation, childbirth, pregnancy, or medical conditions associated with pregnancy and/or childbirth. FEHA is applicable to employers with at least five employees and applies not only to termination of employment but also to an employer’s hiring practices, compensation practices, and even selection of employees for training programs. Under FEHA, a wrongful termination claim may be based on the termination of an employee due to a protected characteristic such as the ones listed above. However, a wrongful termination can also be a result of an employer’s facially neutral policy if it creates a disproportionate impact for employees in a specific protected class.Wrongful Termination due to a Physical Disability
It is illegal for your employer to terminate you because of a physical disability. Physical disabilities are broadly defined, and they can include both actual and perceived disabilities. Under FEHA, a physical disability is a condition, disorder, disease, disfigurement, or loss that affects one or more of your major systems, including cardiovascular, immunological, neurological, or speech organs, or restricts a major life activity. Many different activities constitute a major life activity. Some examples of physical disabilities include injuries to a body part, back conditions, severe migraines, diabetes, arthritis, asthma, lymphoma, scoliosis, brain seizures, cancer, any medical condition that causes you to miss work. The renowned employment attorneys at Kokozian Law Firm would need to show that you can do your essential job duties with a reasonable accommodation.Wrongful Termination due to a Mental Disability
FEHA also prohibits a wrongful termination based on a mental disability. A mental impairment must restrict a major life activity to constitute a mental disability under FEHA. For example, if it makes achieving a major life activity challenging, such as holding down a job, this is a limitation on a major life activity. Mental disabilities include Tourette Syndrome, autism, Asperger’s, schizophrenia, Down syndrome, and clinical depression, severe anxiety, or panic attacks. In order to sue under FEHA, you should be able to do the essential job duties with a reasonable accommodation.Failure to Accommodate a Disability
Under California law, it is illegal for an employer not to give you, as an employee or a job applicant, a reasonable accommodation for a known mental or physical disability. There is an exception if the reasonable accommodation would generate an undue hardship. The employer cannot discriminate against you or retaliate against you because you requested a reasonable accommodation under FEHA or the federal Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Our accomplished employment lawyers can help you hold an employer accountable if this happens. Accommodations come in many different forms. They can include modifications of duties, modifications of schedules, handicap accessibility, a job-protected leave of absence, and medical appointments during job hours.Sexual Harassment
Both Title VII and FEHA prohibit sexual harassment. Sexual harassment is harassment based on sex or gender, including gender stereotypes. It can include suggestive comments, crude jokes, touching, leering, sending inappropriate images , memes, graphics, or even assault. There are two kinds of sexual harassment: hostile work environment and quid pro quo harassment. The former occurs when sexual harassment is so severe or pervasive that it generates a work situation that is both objectively and subjectively hostile or offensive. Quid pro quo harassment happens if an employer conditions employment or its benefits on submission to sexual conduct.Wrongful Termination due to Pregnancy
Under the California Pregnancy Disability Leave Law, if you are rendered disabled by childbirth, pregnancy, or associated conditions, you can take a leave for a reasonable period that is up to four months before coming back to work. These four months of leave do not need to be taken all at once. Medical conditions that are covered include those that are medically recognized mental or physical conditions associated with giving birth or being pregnant. You should be reinstated to the same position, or a position that is comparable, if you were granted pregnancy disability leave. You should also be given a reasonable accommodation for these conditions if you ask for it with the advice of your doctor. You may also be entitled to 12 workweeks of leave for a birth and other reasons under the California Family Rights Act or the federal Family and Medical Leave Act, depending on the size of your employer. Our employment lawyers can help workers understand their rights in this area of the law.Wrongful Termination due to Complaints of Sexual Harassment
Sexual harassment can be committed by coworkers, supervisors, managers, customers, or others in the workplace. You should not be terminated because you complained of workplace sexual harassment. Whether you make the complaint to HR, follow grievance procedures in your employment handbook, file a charge with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), or sue in court, these are protected activities under Title VII and FEHA. You should be able to recover lost wages and benefits, as well as emotional damages. If your employer’s conduct was particularly malicious, punitive damages may be available.Retaliation for Complaints of Harassment
In California, employers employ workers at will. Generally, an employer can terminate you for any reason, and you can quit for any reason. There are exceptions, however; an employer is not allowed to terminate you for engaging in a protected activity. This is called retaliation, and a number of anti-discrimination statutes prohibit it, including FEHA. It is a protected activity under FEHA to complain of harassment in good faith, or to oppose employer practices that violate rights under FEHA. To prove retaliation based on a complaint of harassment, an employment lawyer would need to show that you complained of harassment, you were subject to an adverse employment action, and there is a causal link between your harassment complaint and the employer’s acts.Leaves of Absence
You are entitled to take a leave of absence for various reasons under California or federal law, depending on the size of your employer. Reasons for which workers may be able to take a leave of absence in California include pregnancy, disability, taking care of family, military service, jury duty, voting, drug or alcohol rehabilitation, volunteer firefighting, or serving as emergency rescue personnel. The California Family Rights Act tracks the Family and Medical Leave Act. Under the CFRA, you can get 12 workweeks of leave in a year-long period for caring for a newborn, the placement of a foster child or new adoptee, or caregiving for a spouse, child, or parent. Domestic partners have the same rights and responsibilities as those of spouses under California law.Employee Compensation
Disputes over employee compensation often involve wage and hour or overtime claims. The federal wage and hour law is the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). California employers must also abide by the California Labor Code if it is more generous than federal law. For example, the minimum wage in California is higher than it is under federal law, so employers must abide by the higher minimum wage. In California, non-exempt employees are supposed to be paid overtime in an amount of one and one-half times the regular pay rate for all hours worked beyond eight hours, up to 12 hours in a workday, and for all hours worked beyond 40 hours in a workweek. Non-exempt employees are supposed to be paid overtime for the first eight hours worked on the seventh consecutive workday in a workweek. Non-exempt employees should be paid at double their regular rate for hours worked beyond 12 hours in a workday and beyond eight hours on the seventh consecutive day of work.Contact a Knowledgeable Employment Attorney
If your employer has harmed you by violating laws that protect your rights in the workplace, or if you suspect a potential violation, you should consult the Kokozian Law Firm. Our attorneys can help you assess your options and develop a strategic plan to assert your rights. We represent employees throughout California. Call us at 323-857-5900 or complete our online form.