Wrongful Termination/ Constructive Termination
An employee is Wrongfully Terminated when he or she is fired from employment for reasons that violate a fundamental public policy. There are a wide variety of reasons that an employee may be unlawfully terminated, including in retaliation for engaging in a protected activity, or unlawful discrimination.
The employee may also claim that he or she was constructively terminated, meaning that while the employee was not actually terminated from employment, the employer created objectively intolerable working conditions.
Disability in California encompasses a broad spectrum of chronic, systemic medical conditions or impairments. Under California law, a disability includes any medical condition that substantially impairs a life activity. Disabilities take many forms from physical impairments to psychiatric conditions, but such legal disabilities are typically not short-term medical issues.
Under California law, an employer that becomes aware of a disability has a duty to provide a “reasonable accommodation” to the employee if the disability impacts the employee’s ability to do their job. In addition, an employer has a legal duty to engage in a good-faith interactive process with an employee with a disability in order to provide the employee with reasonable accommodations.
Under California law, Retaliation is unlawful if it is based on a variety of protected activities, including:
• Reporting illegal conduct
• Refusing to engage in illegal conduct
• Reporting discrimination or harassment by a supervisor
• Reporting improper wage statements.
Whistleblower Retaliation is a special subset of retaliation claims where an employer subjects an employee to negative treatment such as termination because the employee reported unlawful activity being committed by the employer. Under California law, Whistleblower Retaliation includes a range of reporting activity, such as:
• Reporting violations of health and safety regulations or codes
• Reporting falsification of financial documents
• Reporting fraud
Independent Contractor/ Employee Classification
This is a very “hot” area of employment litigation, and one to which Doug Ames, Esq. has extensive experience, representing (in different cases) either the worker or the company. Often, a worker who has been labeled as an “independent contractor” for a company will in fact claim that he or she should have been properly considered an “employee”. California has adopted a multi-factor test for determining whether an individual is properly designated an employee or an independent contractor. The single most important factor is whether the company has the right to control the details of the individual’s work, with other factors including, whether the work is done by a professional, who owns the tools, and the manner of termination.
Employment Discrimination and Harassment
Ames Law Offices handles all aspects of Employment Discrimination under California’s Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA). Employment Discrimination takes a variety of forms, but generally involves an employee being terminated or subjected to negative treatment in the workplace because of their membership in a protected class, such as race, religion, age or national origin.
As to age discrimination, the law protects people over the age of 40, and makes unlawful many types of negative treatment of that person because of their age. Age discrimination and harassment can occur when an employer states that a person is “too old” or “too slow” for the job, or a company wants “fresh blood.”
In addition, employment harassment takes a variety of forms, but generally falls into two broad categories:
• Quid pro quo harassment: when a supervisor demands sexual favors or attention as a condition of employment.
• Hostile work environment harassment: when an employer creates or knowingly allows the existence of a hostile, offensive, abusive, or intimidating work environment to exist.
Public Entity Employees
Attorney Ames represents public entity employees in a variety of workplace disputes and situations. Litigation against Public Entity employers presents a variety of unique challenges and procedural prerequisites to bringing legal action. However, an Employee working for a government entity enjoys special protections not available to private sector employees. In particular, a government worker, whether state, municipal, or otherwise, may enjoy a constitutionally protected property interest in his or her public employment, including the right to due process.
Both Federal and California state law provide allow individuals with first-hand knowledge of fraud or corruption in government contracts or purchasing activities to file an action on behalf of the government to recover public funds obtained through fraud or corruption. People who file these Qui Tam actions, generally under the False Claims Act, may be entitled to receive a portion of any money recovered through the Qui Tam action.
Wage and Hour
California has numerous laws regulating the terms and conditions of employment. Ames Law firm has successfully represented small companies being sued by employees for so-called wage and hour violations under the Labor Code, as well as clients who have been paid improperly under California’s Wage and Hour laws, in both an individual capacity and on a class-wide basis.
We represent employees and small employers for claims involving:
• Unpaid Overtime
• Failure to Provide Meal and Rest Breaks
• Breach of Employment Contracts
• Misclassification of Employees as Exempt