Riverside Employment Lawyer
Riverside labor laws are a complex and ever-changing area of the law that governs the operation of corporate America in California. Between complicated relationship dynamics, discrimination, and ever-evolving compliance standards, employment law can be challenging to navigate without the help of an experienced attorney to dissect any disputes and determine the most efficient way to resolve them. Included within these general categories are wage and hour disputes, which can dramatically impact an employee’s livelihood.
At Ferraro Vega, we understand how stressful and overwhelming employment law disputes can be. With years of collective experience, our team of accomplished Riverside employment attorneys has the knowledge and skills necessary to guide you through every step of your case—from the initial consultation to trial, if necessary. We will work tirelessly to protect your rights and help you obtain the best possible outcome in your case. Our philosophy is simple: we treat our clients the way we would want to be treated. Connect with us today to see how we can help you in Riverside, CA.
What Types of Cases Fall Under an Employment Law Case?
There are many different types of cases that fall under the umbrella of employment law. Here are some of the most common:
- Wage and hour disputes: Employees in California are entitled to earn at least the minimum wage, as well as overtime pay for any hours worked over 8 per day or 40 per week. These are not negotiable—they are state and federal law. Employees who are not being paid what they are legally entitled to can file a wage and hour claim against their employer to recoup their unpaid wages.
- Discrimination: Employees are protected from discrimination in the workplace based on their race, color, religion, sex, national origin, disability, and age. Being treated badly due to any of these protected characteristics is illegal and does not have to be tolerated in the workplace.
- Sexual harassment: Sexual harassment is a form of discrimination that is prohibited by state and federal law. It can take many different forms, from unwanted sexual advances to lewd comments or jokes. These are intolerable in the workplace and can give rise to a claim against the employer.
- Retaliation: An employer cannot legally retaliate against an employee who engages in a protected activity, such as filing a discrimination claim. An employer can retaliate in many ways, from termination to demotion to a change in job duties. No one should fear legal repercussions for shedding light on potential illegal activity in the workplace, and they will have legal grounds to take action if retaliation does occur.
- Wrongful termination: In California, employees are considered at-will, meaning that they can be terminated at any time for any reason, with a few exceptions. One exception is if the employee has an employment contract that states otherwise. Another is if the employee is terminated for a reason that violates public policy, such as refusing to engage in illegal activity.
- Accommodations and leaves: Employees who need accommodations for a disability or to take leave for a pregnancy are entitled to them under state and federal law. These laws require employers to make reasonable accommodations and provide leaves of absence when necessary. If an employer tries to shorten your leave or deny your request for accommodation, it is a direct violation of the law.
- Severance agreements: Severance agreements are contracts between an employer and an employee that set forth the terms of the employee’s departure from the company. These can be negotiated before or after an employee is terminated. Some common disputes that can arise out of severance agreements include situations in which the employee is entitled to receive severance pay or has waived their right to sue the company.
- Non-compete agreements: Non-compete agreements are contracts between an employer and an employee that prohibit the employee from working for a competitor after their employment has ended. These are typically only enforceable if they are reasonable in scope and do not put an undue burden on the employee.
- Bonuses and commissions: Employees who are entitled to bonuses or commission payments often have disputes with their employers about whether they have been paid what they are owed. From misclassification to deductions from commissions, there are many ways that employers try to avoid paying their employees what they are legally entitled to.
- Vacation, PTO, and other benefits: Employees who are not given the vacation or paid time off (PTO) to which they are entitled can file a claim against their employer. Other benefits disputes can arise out of the denial of health insurance, failure to pay for overtime, and more. These classic employer-employee disputes over employee benefits are governed by state and federal law and will often require the assistance of an employment lawyer to resolve.
Common Wage and Hour Disputes in the Workforce
There are many different wage and hour laws that apply to employees in the workforce. These laws establish minimum wage requirements, overtime pay, meal and break periods, and more. When employers violate these laws, employees can file a claim to recover their wages. Some of the most common wage and hour disputes include:
- Minimum wage: Employees who are paid less than the minimum wage can file a claim against their employer to recover the difference. In California, the current minimum wage is $15 per hour for employers with 26 or more employees and $14 per hour for smaller employers.
- Overtime pay: Employees who work more than 8 hours a day or 40 hours a week are entitled to overtime pay at 1.5 times their regular rate of pay. In some cases, employees may be entitled to double their regular rate of pay if they work more than 12 hours in a day or work more than 8 hours on the seventh day of any workweek.
- Meal and break periods: Employees in California are entitled to a 30-minute meal period for every 5 hours they work, and a 10-minute break for every 4 hours they work. If an employer requires an employee to work through their meal period or break, the employer must pay the employee one hour of wages at their regular rate of pay.
- Unpaid wages: Employees who are not paid for all the hours they work can file a claim to recover the unpaid wages. This can include wages for hours worked off the clock, commissions, bonuses, and more.
- Unreimbursed expenses: Employees who are required to pay for work-related expenses out of their own pockets can file a claim to recover the unreimbursed expenses. This can include tools, uniforms, and other necessary items that the employee has to purchase for their job.
What Evidence Helps to Prove a Wage and Hour Dispute in the Workplace?
There are many different types of evidence that can be used to prove a wage and hour dispute in the workplace. This can include:
- Timesheets or time cards: These records can list how many hours an employee worked and whether they were paid for all the hours they worked. Matching time sheets to pay stubs can also help to show whether an employee was paid the correct rate of pay for the hours worked.
- Pay stubs: Pay stubs can detail how much an employee was paid and whether they were paid the correct amount of overtime pay, commissions, bonuses, and more. These detailed records can also help to show whether an employee was misclassified as exempt from overtime pay.
- Employee handbooks: Employee handbooks can contain information about vacation and PTO policies, break periods, and other employment policies. This information can be used to show whether an employer is following the law or whether they have violated their own policies.
- Witness statements: Witnesses who saw the employee working off the clock or observed the conditions in the workplace can provide valuable testimony to support the employee’s claim. These can help shed light on the situation by involving an unbiased third party who was around during the alleged events.
- Photos or videos: Photos or videos of the workplace can show the conditions in the workplace and whether employees were required to work in unsafe conditions. These can also be used to show that an employee was working off the clock or during their meal period.
- Emails or text messages between the employer and employee: These communications can describe what the employer and employee agreed to in terms of hours worked, pay, and more.
- Work orders or other documentation from the employer: These records can detail what work the employee was supposed to do and how many hours they were expected to work.
Any combination of these types of evidence can be used to prove a wage and hour dispute in the workplace. As standalone evidence, each type of evidence can be helpful, but when used together, they can provide a more complete picture of the situation and help to prove the employee’s claim. It is important to note that working with an experienced employment lawyer can ensure that the evidence is collected legally and will not risk being thrown out in court.
Employment Lawyer FAQs
Q: What Do Employment and Labor Lawyers Do?
A: Employment and labor lawyers represent employers and employees in a variety of legal matters pertaining to the workplace. They may advise clients on compliance with employment and labor laws, help resolve disputes between employers and employees, and represent either party in litigation. They are professionals who have taken an oath to uphold the law and are expected to follow a strict code of ethics that ensures businesses and workers are treated fairly.
Q: What Is an Employment Advocate?
A: An employment advocate is an individual who provides legal representation and support to employees who have been mistreated in the workplace. Advocates may also be referred to as labor lawyers, employment rights lawyers, or workplace rights lawyers. This generic term encompasses a wide range of employment law sub-specialties, including but not limited to discrimination (age, sex, pregnancy, race, religion, disability), sexual harassment, hostile work environment, equal pay/compensation, and wrongful termination.
Q: Can My Employer Force Me to See Their Doctor?
A: Yes, if your employer has a policy that requires you to see their doctor for a work-related injury or illness. However, your employer must provide you with a list of approved providers from which you can choose. You also have the right to see your own doctor at your own expense, if this is your preference. Regardless of which route you choose, it is important to be seen by a medical professional as soon as possible to document your injury or illness. This will help support any workers’ compensation claim you may need to file, in addition to pursuing justice for your alleged mistreatment in the workplace.
Q: How Do I Report Unfair Labor Practices in Riverside, California?
A: The Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) is a California state law that prohibits discrimination and harassment in the workplace. If you believe that you have been the victim of discrimination or harassment, you may file a complaint with the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH). The DFEH is responsible for investigating complaints of discrimination and harassment and can take a variety of actions to remedy the situation, including but not limited to issuing a “right to sue” letter, ordering the employer to take corrective action, and filing a lawsuit on your behalf. Working with an experienced employment lawyer will give you the best chance of success in pursuing your claim.
Contact a Riverside Employment Law Attorney at Ferraro Vega Today
If you have been the victim of any workplace rights violation, you need an experienced employment lawyer on your side. Independently representing yourself against your employer is not advised, as the laws governing employment disputes are complex and ever-changing. This makes it difficult for the average layperson to navigate the legal system and achieve a favorable outcome.
The attorneys at Ferraro Vega have extensive experience handling all types of employment law matters and will fight tirelessly to protect your rights in Riverside, CA. Contact us today for a consultation. We will review the details of your case and advise you on the best course of action. We look forward to learning more about your situation and helping you get the justice you deserve.