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Archive for labor law

Your Los Angeles Employment Attorney on Severance

In good and bad market conditions, employees are often required to leave their jobs, sometimes at the employer’s request. However, according to the law, an employer can only dismiss you for a valid reason. In a situation where your employer may want to let you go for reasons other than the legal grounds for dismissal, they may decide to offer you a severance package.

A severance package, sometimes referred to as a California severance pay or California separation pay, is compensation offered by the employer to the employee when terminating an employment contract. When negotiating severance pay, the skills of a professional Los Angeles severance attorney come in handy.

A Los Angeles severance attorney understands the various loopholes your employer may use to avoid paying a severance pay.

When a company lets go of its employees without a legal cause for fair dismissal, your employer will attempt to negotiate the best terms of your release for the company. Sometimes this can go as far as barring you from exposing the company to litigation at a later stage. A Los Angeles severance attorney is familiar with the process and can help you negotiate the best terms for your release. Severance pay may be the best opportunity to get a new start you need. It is therefore important that you go through the whole process with an expert so that you can get the best compensation possible. If you or a loved one faces release from your contract, contact your Los Angeles severance attorney today!

Los Angeles Race and Origin Discrimination Laws

los angeles race and discrimination attorneyThe law requires everyone to be treated properly and there can be no discrimination based on race and origin. Laws and regulations in the US usually differ from state to state. However, discriminatory laws are generally the same throughout the country including Los Angeles.

Your Los Angeles race and origin discrimination attorney is an expert on laws that emphasize on equal employment opportunity (EEO). As per EEO everyone should be treated equally and one should not be preferred over other due to race and origin. Every decision from hiring to firing to promotion to salary should be based on a person’s competencies.

Several organizations still treat people unfavorably due to them belonging to a particular race or country. Discrimination may also be based on other things such as a person’s gender, disability, marital status etc. Race and origin discrimination laws say that any company that indulges in such practices is breaking the law and may be brought into the court to justify its position.

If the discrimination is based on skills then the organization is not responsible. However, if it is based on other points then the organization may have to suffer a blow. It is due to this reason that many organizations do not have sections for gender, race, nationality, religion and marital status on their application forms so that there are no chances of discrimination at the time of selecting a candidate.

However, discrimination problems may arise even after a candidate has been selected. Other areas such as a company’s failure to promote an employee due to reasons such as ethnicity are also covered in detail by race and origin discrimination laws.

If you face such problems from your organization you should not waste time in consulting a lawyer so that you can get what you deserve.

Employment Law: Sexual Orientation Discrimination

Discrimination based on a person’s sexual orientation is an unfortunate occurrence that happens quite often in workplaces.  Sexual orientation discrimination is unlawful and is initiated when an employer discriminates against an applicant or employee because the applicant or employee is gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender. The Leichter Law Firm, APC advocates for individuals suffering discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity, if you feel you have a case, contact your Los Angeles Employment Law attorney today.

Here’s a more detailed explanation of sexual orientation discrimination laws and policies at various levels.

Federal Law

Although federal laws protect people from workplace discrimination on the basis of race, national origin, religion, sex, age, and disability, there is no federal law that specifically bans sexual orientation discrimination in the private sector. There have been attempts to pass such federal laws, but they have been unsuccessful.

State Laws

There is a bright side at the state level. Almost half the states and the District of Columbia have laws that currently prohibit sexual orientation discrimination in both public and private jobs: California, Colorado, Connecticut, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, Washington, and Wisconsin.  In addition, a few states have laws prohibiting sexual orientation discrimination in public workplaces only.

Local Laws

For states who do not have laws against workplace discrimination, some cities and counties have laws that can protect such cases. Many cities and counties prohibit discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation in at least some workplaces.

Company policies

Companies have taken it themselves to initiate their own policies prohibiting discrimination based on sexual orientation. These policies prohibit such conduct and often provide disciplinary guidelines for dealing managers who discriminate, up to and including termination of employment.

We have the knowledge and experience to guide you through the complex legal issues that you may face. Our southern California office is located in the mid-Wilshire area, just west of downtown LA.  Call 213-381-6557 or email us today.



Employment Law: What You Need to Know about Employment Discrimination

Employment discrimination can take many forms. It most often occurs when an employer takes action against an employee based on his or her race, color, sex, national origin, disability, age, or religion. Many people fall into these “protected classes,” but simply feeling like you have been treated unfairly does not always mean you have a case.  If you have experienced employment discrimination contact your Los Angeles employment attorney for a confidential consultation.

You need to keep in mind that it really depends on how others in a similar situation were treated compared to you. Generally, unless there are statements directly indicating a decision was made because of a discriminatory reason, lawyers will look at how other people are treated differently from you. In order to have an employment discrimination case, you have to be able to provide specific information and/or examples of how you think your treatment has been discriminatory. For example, if a person is fired for having too many absences and he or she alleges gender discrimination, legal teams will look at whether other employees have had a similar number of absences and whether male and female employees are treated equally.

Before filing a complaint, you need to make sure you have all relevant information such as: termination notices, letters of discipline, paycheck stubs, documents supporting your request for reasonable accommodation (if you are claiming disability discrimination), information about witnesses, and any other information that you may feel will support your case.

According to Cornell University Law School, your employer must have at least 15 employees and you must file your charge of employment discrimination within 180 days of the alleged discriminatory act.

Employment Law: Overtime Pay Claims

New employment regulations prohibit employers from stiffing employees from their overtime pay. However, that doesn’t mean they never try to keep those extra earned wages from their workers. According to the University of Washington, “The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) requires that most workers receive overtime pay at 1.5 times the employee’s regular pay rate for all hours worked over 40 hours in a seven day workweek, and that employees be paid at least the federal minimum wage.” In addition, employees are also entitled to overtime compensation whenever they work more than 8 hours in one day (but only receive overtime pay for the time worked after the 8 hour mark.) If you think you are owned any overtime pay please contact your Los Angeles employment attorney for a confidential consultation.

Since the FLSA took affect some employers have tried to cheat their employees using old and new methods. For example, an employer might decide to deny overtime pay if it is not approved in advanced. However, the FLSA treats approved and non-approved hours the same; meaning that once the hours are worked the employee is entitled to overtime pay.

Another strategy used to get around paying overtime is to classify salaried employees as exempt. This revolves around the idea that an employee that is paid salary rather than an hourly wage cannot earn overtime. However, this notion is completely false because job titles and descriptions are not determinative factors. Whether an employee qualifies for overtime compensation is determined by the work they performed, not whether they are paid salary or hourly.

Other employers reduce hours on employee timecards for meal breaks when work is performed. Normally if an employee is entitled to a meal break his or her employer does not need to count the time as part of the total hours worked. But, if the employee works during the meal break, the time must count toward the hours worked for the day and the week.

Employment Law Issues and Sweatshop Violations in California

It isn’t very common to find employees in the United States let alone in California working in sweatshop conditions, however this hit close to home. However some employers will never learn and will continue to treat employees unlawfully.  If you have experienced such instances, contact your Los Angeles employment lawyer immediately.

One recent case takes place in Los Angeles.  According to an article from Lawyers and Settlements, O & K Apparel Inc. has been ordered by California Labor Commissioner Julie A. Su to pay its 110 employees $13,785 in California overtime wages plus penalties of $61,450 for failing to pay proper overtime, and $307,250 for issuing improper itemized/deduction statements.

The article continues to explain that, “O & K Apparel Inc., which is based in Los Angeles, makes women’s garments and has been paying its employees by the piece, or piecework.”  The California labor code states that garment contractors are required to provide accurate itemized statements to employees showing total hours worked by the employees, and if paid by the piece, they must show the number of pieces produced for specific manufacturers and the rate of pay for each piece in addition to the total hours worked.

The rest of the article explains a statement from Labor Commissioner Su, explaining that there is no place for sweatshop conditions in our 21st century economy. Su explains, “piece rate payment cannot be used as an end-run around the basic requirement that all workers in California receive a just day’s pay for a hard day’s work, including overtime pay for overtime hours worked. In addition, California law requires itemized wage statements so employees know how much they worked and what they earned. In this case, the pay stubs did not include any of that information, which makes it hard for workers to know when their wages are being stolen right out from under them.”

Future Employment Lawyers: The Top 5 Law Schools with Best Employment Prospects

Whether you have heard or not, lately the trend in law school students finding jobs after graduation has been at an all time low.  According to Policy Mic, “this trend is glaringly rampant in law schools. Only 86% of the nation’s class of 2011 law students found employment after graduation, a figure that is six points lower than four years prior. Those who find employment have an average annual starting salary of $60,000, which is $12,000 less than was the median in 2009.”

A law degree is exciting and an awarding accomplishment to have under your belt. Hard work and valuable knowledge comes with sacrifice in order to fulfill a rewarding career in the future.  Often people graduate students attend graduate school in order to continue to pursue what they love or are interested in, in hopes of finding a fulfilling career post graduation.  If you are a future law student in the making, whether you are looking to get into employment law or other fields, your hard work will pay off.  Check out the top 5 law schools with the best employment prospects according to Policy Mic.

  1. Columbia University School of Law
  2. University of Chicago Law School
  3. University of California at Berkeley School of Law
  4. Northwestern University School of Law
  5. New York University School of Law

For more information on the starting median salaries and percentage of students finding work after graduation read here.

Employment Law: Everything You Need to Know About Family and Medical Leave Act

There are many cases where an employee feels the need to take time off of work to care for a sick loved one.  Many may not know that could qualify for their company’s Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA).  It is important to understand your employee privileges in case a situation should arise.  If you have encountered issues with FMLA contact your Los Angeles employment lawyer today.

What does the Family and Medical Leave Act entail?  According to US News, “The Family and Medical Leave Act took effect in 1993 to help balance workplace demands with the medical needs of employees and their families. You’re entitled to take up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave during a 12-month period for your own serious health condition, or to care for an immediate family member who has a serious health condition. You may also use the FMLA for what the Department of Labor website refers to as “birth and bonding:” an extended parental leave for the birth or adoption of a child, and for bonding with a new foster child.”

Check out these facts on determining your eligibility according to US News:

  • Not every employee is eligible.
  • Your employer may require that you use paid leave first
  • Your employer may require proof of the serious health condition
  • A job is guaranteed to you, but not necessarily the same job you had before.

You may request additional time to care for a member of the military

Find out everything you need to know about FMLA here.

Your Los Angeles Employment Lawyer Talks Law School Financial Aid

If you are in the process of applying to law schools, often you are more concerned about studying for the LSAT or researching schools rather than thinking about the financial costs of attending, which is often considered a burden for many.  The top law schools, such as Yale and Harvard’s tuition can often run over $50,000 per year and that doesn’t include the cost of living.  However, the cost shouldn’t be the determining factor on chasing your goals.  Don’t stress, your Los Angeles employment lawyer explains all you need to know about making the process less complicated.

• Need-based aid: Those looking to apply need-based financial aid are typically required to provide parental financial information, however each school varies on the type of information required. It is important to note that receiving grants is typically more difficult to receive as loans are readily available.

• Merit-based aid: According to US News, this source of paying for law school is often overlooked by applicants since there is often no special application for it, and it is usually not highlighted by law schools. However, merit-based aid can substantially reduce the cost of law school from the start, so parents should focus their efforts on helping their children attain the highest possible merit-based packages.

When it comes to receiving scholarships, your LSAT score, GPA, extra-curricular activities and internships are highly considered in the process when awarding aid. The application process can be quite challenging, it is recommended to set up an appointment with an admissions counselor to help guide you through any possible inquiries.

Military Members/Veterans and Employment Law Violations

American troops are proud for what they stand for, fighting for our country’s rights.  Unfortunately the story isn’t so sweet upon their arrival back to the states.  Many veterans come home, struggling to find careers in order to make ends meet.  The process is difficult as employers often aren’t fond of the idea of having a veteran work for them.  If you have experienced veteran and military status discrimination, contact your Los Angeles employment lawyer for a consultation.  Check out these common signs of discrimination against veterans.

1.    An employer claims the job is no longer available. 

The Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act protects returning veterans from job loss due to their military service. If you held a position before deployment, many employers don’t realize that returning veterans have the right to return to their previous job.

2.    The employer has no desire to hire veterans

Unfortunately some employers fear that military members will be re deployed missing a significant amount of days.  USERRA explains that employers cannot refuse to hire a military service person because of their status.

3.    The employer takes away accrued vacation time.

USERRA protects any benefits or vacation time accrued while in service.  In other words you are still entitled to vacation time as if you were working there.

4.    Harassment.

Under President Obama’s Veterans Opportunity to Work (VOW) to Hire Heroes Act of 2011, harassment against military service members or veterans is illegal.

5.    Discrimination Against Disability.

There are cases when veterans come home with disabilities acquired while in combat.  Under The Americans With Disabilities Act, disability discrimination is illegal. This includes demotion, firing and refusing employment. According to the act, “if a veteran can perform all the duties of the job with a reasonable accommodation, the accommodation must be provided.”