If you’re like many people in LA, Glendale and the surrounding communities, you could benefit from talking to a Los Angeles employment law attorney. But if you’re like many people, you don’t know exactly what a labor and employment attorney does – or when you should consult one.
Here’s what you need to know.
What is a Labor and Employment Attorney?
A labor and employment attorney – sometimes just called a labor lawyer – represents employees in disputes and negotiations. Cases an LA employment law attorney might handle include things like wage disputes (such as unpaid commissions or unpaid overtime, which are both forms of wage theft).
Related: How many hours can an employee work without a break in California?
What Kind of Lawyer Handles Employment Issues?
Generally, you’ll want an employment law attorney to handle your case if it has anything to do with wages, discrimination, harassment or other workplace issues. That’s because employment law is very complex – and an attorney who primarily focuses on it will be able to provide you with up-to-date information, as well as use his or her experience to help you get the best possible outcome.
What Kind of Lawyer Do You Need to Sue Your Employer?
If you intend to sue your employer, you may find that the best course of action is to work with a Los Angeles employment law attorney. Your LA employment lawyer will understand how local courts work, as well as have the most current information on changes in employment law that could affect your case.
When Should You Consult an Employment Lawyer?
If your employer has withheld wages you’ve earned or failed to pay you the right amount for work you’ve done, or if you’ve been the victim of harassment or discrimination, you should call a Los Angeles employment law attorney as soon as possible. Talking to a lawyer can give you valuable insight on your situation – and an attorney can let you know whether you’re likely eligible for compensation.
What Constitutes Wrongful Termination in California?
Wrongful termination occurs when an employer illegally fires a worker. While most employees are considered at-will, which means they can quit or be fired for almost any reason, there are some cases in which it’s against the law for an employer to fire someone. For example, an employer cannot fire a person:
- Because of a person’s race, color, nationality, creed, religion, gender or sexual orientation
- To retaliate against a person for whistleblowing
- To retaliate against a person for working with prosecutors
- As part of a sexual harassment case
- For refusing to commit an illegal act, such as covering up theft or shredding documents that could implicate an employer in a crime
- Because he or she took time off to vote, serve on a jury, or to participate in military service
- For taking time off that’s allowed under the Family and Medical Leave Act, or FMLA
If you’ve been fired for any of these reasons, you may have a wrongful termination claim. You may want to talk to a Los Angeles employment lawyer about your circumstances to find out whether you have a case – and if you do, what types of compensation you may be entitled to receive. In some cases, wrongfully terminated employees can sue for damages that include things like back pay, the value of benefits, relocation costs, and even loss of security. You could even be eligible to recover damages for emotional distress and the loss of future wages. However, every case is different, so it’s probably a good idea to talk to an attorney if you think you’ve been wrongfully terminated in California.
Related: Wrongful termination in California
When Can I Take Legal Action Against My Employer?
It’s not always possible to take legal action against an employer. However, in cases that involve discrimination, harassment, wage theft and other violations of federal and state law, you may be able to sue. You may also be able to sue an employer if you’re injured on the job as a result of someone’s negligence or carelessness.
How Do I Sue My Employer for Emotional Distress?
If you want to sue your employer for emotional distress, you’ll have to prove that your emotional distress stems from your employer’s, boss’s or coworker’s reckless (or intentional) conduct, and that the conduct was “outrageous and extreme.” You must also show that the behavior caused you mental distress and that your mental distress was severe. If this has happened to you, you could benefit from talking to a Los Angeles employment law attorney who understands which laws apply in your case – and how to get you the compensation you deserve.
How Do I Sue for Unfair Treatment at Work?
Unfair treatment that’s related to discrimination – that is, the treatment is due to a person’s membership in a certain protected group – is illegal. Employers are not allowed to make any employment decisions based on a person’s:
- Sex (including gender, gender expression or identity, transgender status and sexual orientation)
- National origin
- Age, provided the worker is 40 or older
- Genetic information
Likewise, if a person is harassed on one of these bases to the point that the workplace becomes hostile (known as a hostile work environment), that harassment is illegal.
Related: 7 religious discrimination facts most people don’t know
Other unfair treatment includes being denied reasonable workplace accommodations for a disability or religious beliefs, as well as retaliation for being a whistleblower, helping with an investigation or lawsuit, or complaining about discrimination.
In these cases, you may be able to sue your employer. However, you may want to talk to a Los Angeles employment law attorney about your situation – sometimes things that look like discrimination really aren’t, such as an employer refusing to hire a person who cannot climb a ladder due to a disability when the job requires the worker to climb ladders regularly. You can explain your situation to an LA employment attorney and discuss possible outcomes of your case before you decide whether you should try to sue an employer for unfair treatment.
Related: Reasonable accommodations: What you need to know
Do I Need a Lawyer for EEOC?
You don’t need to hire a Los Angeles employment law attorney to file an Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, or EEOC, complaint. However, if you’re like many people, you’ll benefit from at least consulting with a lawyer. That’s because you might be entitled to more than you’d get from the EEOC alone – and because your attorney can help you figure out what to report. Your lawyer can also help you make a stronger case to the EEOC and get the compensation you’re entitled to under California law, as well.
How Do I Find an Employment Attorney?
When you’re looking for an employment attorney, your best bet is to ask friends and family for a referral. If you don’t know anyone who’s worked with a Los Angeles employment law attorney, you’ll have to do some homework of your own – and that includes searching online and reading reviews. You should also look at potential attorneys’ websites to see what type of information they can provide you before you even call – you want to work with a lawyer who freely shares information through an employment law blog.
Once you’ve zeroed in on an attorney who shares information and looks like someone you want to work with, it’s always a good idea to call for a free consultation. You can explain your situation and ask questions during your consultation – and you can find out what the lawyer thinks could happen if you have a case. Ideally, you’ll find a lawyer who communicates well with you (and through avenues you prefer communicating through, such as email, text or phone) and who understands where you’re coming from.
What Questions Should I Ask an Employment Lawyer?
When you call a Los Angeles employment law attorney, you can ask whatever questions you’d like – but these four will get you started:
- What are my employee rights in California?
- Based on what you know about my case, what are my options?
- How long would it take to reach a resolution in my case?
- How much will it cost me to follow through with this?
When you get the answers to these questions, you’ll be able to get an overall picture of your case – and how well you’ll work with the attorney you’re talking to.
Do You Need to Talk to a Los Angeles Employment Law Attorney?
If you need to talk to a Los Angeles employment law attorney, we’re here to help. We’ll be glad to answer your questions about your case – and we can provide you with the guidance you need to start moving forward. Call us at 818-230-8380 or fill out the form below to schedule your free consultation now.