EMPLOYMENT LAW

 

We Protect the Rights of the Employee

The Lee Law Group will fight to resolve you and your family’s employment problems. No matter how large or small your employment problems may be, we will assist you. Whether you have been denied proper wages, forced to work unfair hours, harassed, wrongfully terminated or forced to work in unsafe and unfair conditions, we will fight to resolve your problems.

In addition, we will obtain money damages and other compensation when available.

The Lee Law Group will fight for you. Put us on your side.

 

Victim of Discrimination ?


Since the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s, federal and state governments have enacted a number of laws that bar an employer from discriminating against employees on almost any grounds, aside from the quality of the employee's work or the nature of his or her personality. After the federal government, California has led the way in this type of legislation with our 'Fair Employment Act", is a section of the California Fair Employment and Housing Act. This law is administered under the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing, (DFEH).

Following is an introduction to the law of discrimination in employment in California and where applicable under federal law.

 

What is Discrimination?

California's Fair Employment and Housing Act, prohibits an employer from discriminating on the basis of race, religious creed, color, national origin, ancestry, physical disability, mental disability, medical condition, genetic information, marital status, sex, gender, gender identity, gender expression, age, sexual orientation, or military and veteran status. These classifications are deemed “protected”, and if a person belongs to one of these classes they have a “protected status”.

Under FEHA, it is illegal for an employer to take any of the following actions against an employee based upon of his or her “protected status”:

• Refuse to hire;

• Discipline;

• Terminate from Employment (Fire);

• Deny training

• Fail to promote;

• Pay less or demote; or

• Harass in any way.

In addition, it is illegal for an employer to adopt a policy or practice that has a "disparate impact" on a protected class, such as adopting hiring criteria that tend to screen out women or minority group members, or by instituting a required test for promotion on which a particular class tends to score badly. Such a policy or test, like a specific policy that only men or women can have certain jobs, is legal only if it can be deemed a "bona fide occupational qualification." An example is a strength test that tends to screen out women, but is a necessary test for fire fighters who must be able to carry victims down tall ladders.

The prohibition against discrimination on the basis of gender includes discrimination on the basis of pregnancy. Contrary to popular belief, however, FEHA does not just prohibit discrimination against women and minority group members, but also bars discrimination against male or white employees or applicants. Such discrimination is popularly known as "reverse discrimination," and may be caused, for example, by an over-ambitious affirmative action program. The bottom-line is that all people should be treated equally no matter what they look like or whom they pray to.

 

Individual Types of Discrimination under California and Federal Law

 

Discrimination based on Race, Ethnicity, Nationality

Historically, racial or ethnic discrimination in the workplace has been the most overt and egregious, and thereby easiest to find. However, it can also be hidden and devious, especially in recent years, and thereby can be very difficult to detect. Whichever form it takes, however, racial discrimination in the workplace is strictly illegal and prohibited in California.

 

Ordinarily, it is difficult to identify racial and, or ethnic discrimination in the workplace unless your employers or co-worker's and use the 'N-Word' of G-Word. One of the more difficult aspects of racial discrimination at work is that it can often take place entirely undetected. After all, unless an employer specifically admits otherwise, who can say for sure why they made a particular decision to hire a certain individual or gave another a promotion? That said there are some instances where an employer may display some discriminatory intent. For example, when it comes to interviewing, employers typically should not ask questions about a prospective employee's race. If an employer does so, and then decides not to hire, or to hire, this employee, it may serve as evidence that race played a role in the decision. Such circumstances are rare, however, and it should also be noted that employers may permissibly ask about race in the context of forms and affirmative action programs, so long as they play no part in the decision-making process.

 

More often, discrimination is far more subtle, and an individual will have no certainty as to why they were not hired. Asking the employer is an option, but employers could offer any viable reason that is not based on race. However, it may be possible to use hiring trends as evidence of racial discrimination. Alternatively, if a lesser-qualified individual is hired or promoted to a position than an employee or applicant of another race, this could also be used as evidence of discrimination.

 

Sexual Harassment

It is unlawful to harass a person (an applicant or employee) because of that person’s sex. Harassment can include “sexual harassment” or unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical harassment of a sexual nature.

 

Harassment does not have to be of a sexual nature, however, and can include offensive remarks about a person’s sex. For example, it is illegal to harass a woman by making offensive comments about women in general. Both victim and the harasser can be either a woman or a man, and the victim and harasser can be the same sex.

 

The law doesn’t prohibit simple teasing, offhand comments, or isolated incidents that are not very serious. Teasing and simple harassment of a sexual nature is illegal when it:

• is so frequent or severe that it creates a hostile or offensive work environment;

• or when it results in an adverse employment decision (such as the victim being fired or demoted).

• when a person in a position of authority request that an employment provides an employment related reward in return for a sexual act or favor (“quid pro quo” sexual harassment)

This above type of teasing and simple harassment is what we call sexual harassment.

The harasser can be the victim's supervisor, a supervisor in another area, a co-worker, or someone who is not an employee of the employer, such as a company board member, client or customer.

 

Gender Discrimination

It is also unlawful to discriminate, or treat one person differently than another person, at the workplace because they are a man, or a woman. Both sexes must be treated as equals. However, the gender gap at work is still alive and well according to new research that examined gender roles in the workplace. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics cites women working 41 to 44 hours per week earn 84.6% of what men working similar hours earn. It gets worse as women work longer hours — women working more than 60 hours per week earn only 78.3% of what men in the same time category earn.

 

Discrimination Because of Disability

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) in the United Stated, and the California Fair Employment and Housing Act in California, (FEHA), both prohibits employers from discriminating against employees or applicants with disabilities in all aspects of employment including hiring, pay, promotion, firing, and more. These laws also protect employees from retaliation when they enforce their rights under the law.

 

Under both the ADA and FEHA, employers cannot discriminate against an otherwise qualified worker with a disability. In addition, the employer must provide a reasonable accommodation for a worker with a disability as long as the accommodation won't cause the employer "undue hardship". Both the ADA and FEHA specify what counts as a disability, which workers are protected by the law, when accommodations are required, and what constitutes an undue hardship. See our information on requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act, (ADA), and the California Fair Employment and Housing Act, (FEHA), herein.

 

Age Discrimination and Harassment

Age discrimination involves treating someone (an applicant or employee) less favorably because of his age. Age Harassment is the act of irritating, pestering, annoying and otherwise persecuting a person because of their age. The federal 'Age Discrimination in Employment Act' (ADEA) only forbids age discrimination against people who are age 40 or older. It does not protect workers under the age of 40. However, the California 'Fair Employment and Housing Act', (FEHA) protects person who have been discriminated against due to age, of any age, whether the discrimination is because the employer illegally held the employee as too old or too young.

 

Under federal law, it is not illegal for an employer or other covered entity to favor an older worker over a younger one, even if both workers are age 40 or older. That is, under federal law (the ADEA), Discrimination can occur when the victim and the person who inflicted the discrimination are both over 40. However, both these practices are illegal under California law, where one worker cannot be favored over another on the basis of age no matter what age is preferred.

Moreover, as in other types of discrimination, is it illegal for an employer to adopt a policy or practice that has a "disparate impact" on a protected class, such as by adopting hiring criteria that tend to screen out women or minority group members, or by instituting a required test for promotion on which a particular class tends to score badly.

 

Age Discrimination & Work Situations

The law forbids discrimination when it comes to any aspect of employment, including hiring, firing, pay, job assignments, promotions, layoff, training, fringe benefits, and any other term or condition of employment.

 

Age Discrimination & Harassment

It is unlawful to harass a person because of his or her age. Harassment can include, for example, offensive remarks about a person's age. Although the law doesn't prohibit simple teasing, offhand comments, or isolated incidents that aren't very serious, harassment is illegal when it is so frequent or severe that it creates a hostile or offensive work environment or when it results in an adverse employment decision (such as the victim being fired or demoted). The harasser can be the victim's supervisor, a supervisor in another area, a co-worker, or someone who is not an employee of the employer, such as a client or customer.

 

Employment Polices Seemingly Neutral

An employment policy or practice that applies to everyone, regardless of age, can be illegal if it has a negative impact on applicants or employees age 40 or older, and is not based on a reasonable factor other than age. No matter how and, or why you are discriminated against it is illegal and you may be able to sue because if it. If you think, you may be the victim of discrimination of any type contact the Lee Law Group and we will examine and assess your situation and explain your options so that you may have peace of mind knowing that if you are the victim of discrimination you have the power to stop it and obtain damages because of it.

 

You May Be Eligible to Receive Damages

In California, the Fair Employment and Housing Act" (FEHA), strictly prohibits discrimination of all types. When discrimination is found by an employee, he or she may be eligible to recover economic and non-economic damages. Economic damages include loss of earnings and future earning potential, back due wages, and other types of damages. In addition, if there is an injury, economic damages include medical expenses both for past and future treatment and for past and future out-of-pocket payments for medical devices, prescriptions, transportation, household assistance, and others. Non-economic damages are serious losses that are more difficult to assign a dollar value, including pain, suffering, inconvenience, mental anguish, and loss of quality of life.

 

Attorney Fees and Costs

In addition, under the California Fair Employment and Housing Act, (FEHA), a client-employee may be eligible to receive reasonable attorney fees. These fees are not necessarily commensurate with the attorney fees you have paid to your attorney but may be more, substantially more, if you have not paid attorney fees because your attorney has represented you on a contingency fee basis. Under a 'contingency fee' form of representation, the attorney is only paid a fee if and when you prevail in your case. Then the attorney receives an agreed upon percentage of the damages award you receive whether by settlement or court judgment. If the client-employee has paid the attorney upfront fees he or she is eligible for reimbursement of those fees, depending on the previously agreed upon retainer agreement with the attorney.

 

If I Am the Victim Workplace Discrimination, What Do I Do Next?

If you are the victim of discrimination in the workplace, contact the Lee Law Group and we will assist you throughout your entire ordeal, often at no costs to you unless and until you recover your loss. It is important to contact us, or some other attorney, as soon as possible because if you eventually have to file a lawsuit you must file it within a specified period of time by law. This period of time, known as the ‘statute of limitations’, could bar your case if you do not act in time. This is particularly important in the employment discrimination context because of certain 'time-to-file' laws under the California Fair Employment and Housing Act, (FEHA).

Once you contact the Lee Law Group, first, we will investigate your case to confirm that you were discriminated against under the law, if it is feasible to bring a lawsuit and if the wrongdoer has any valid, potential defenses. Moreover, we will evaluate your potential damages and their monetary value.

Once we have a firm idea of your damages, we will write a settlement demand letter to the employer-company responsible for your discrimination. At times insurance companies may get involved at this point. Negotiations with the offending employer or insurance company are required at this point. The Lee Law Group will conduct these negotiations until we have a settlement agreement that you can accept because you must approve any potential settlement, not the attorneys. Many cases are settled in this way. However, if the offending employer or insurer refuses to offer a settlement that you can accept, we will file a lawsuit to obtain your compensation.

 

What Happens if I File a Lawsuit for Workplace Discrimination?

If the Lee Law Group is forced to file a lawsuit for workplace discrimination to obtain your just compensation we will litigate your case from start to finish explaining the process to you every step of the way. We will instruct you on what to do and when to do it, making the process as simple as possible. A great majority of cases are settled after filing a lawsuit without having to actually conduct a trial. However, if a trial is necessary we at the Lee Law Group are experienced in trial work and will energetically try your case, often at no costs to you unless and until you recover compensation.

California employees who think they have suffered or will suffer an adverse job consequence, such as a termination, demotion or reassignment of responsibilities due to discrimination, should speak to an experienced employment law attorney for information on the rights they have under the FEHA, the ADA and the ADEA or other federal and state laws. The Lee Law Group can advise you based on your unique circumstances.

If you are the victim of workplace discrimination of any type, contact the Lee Law Group so we can fight for you.

 

Wrongful Termination or Demotion

 

If you have been laid off or fired recently, and believe that you may have lost your job for an unlawful reason, you may have a right to bring a claim for wrongful termination against your former employer. Legal remedies that may be available to you include money damages and, if you have not been officially released yet, negotiation for an appropriate severance package that includes adequate compensation.

 

What Makes a Termination "Wrongful"?

The term "wrongful termination" means that an employer has fired or laid off an employee for illegal reasons in the eyes of the law. Illegal reasons for termination include:

• Firing or demotion in violation of federal and state anti-discrimination laws;

• Firing or demotion as a form of sexual harassment; Firing in violation of oral and written employment agreements;

• Firing or demotion in violation of labor laws, including collective bargaining laws; and

• Firing or demotion in retaliation for the employee's having filed a complaint or claim against the employer.

Some of these violations carry statutory penalties, while others will result in the employer's payment of damages based on the terminated employee's lost wages and other expenses. Certain wrongful termination cases may raise the possibility that the employer pay punitive damages to the terminated employee, while other cases may carry the prospect of holding more than one wrongdoer responsible for damages.

 

You May Be Eligible to Receive Damages

The California Fair Employment and Housing Act" (FEHA), Labor Code and other laws strictly prohibits wrongful termination or demotion. When wrongful termination or demotion is found by an employee, he or she may be eligible to recover economic and non-economic damages. Economic damages include loss of earnings and future earning potential, back due wages, and other types of damages. In addition, if there is an injury, economic damages include medical expenses both for past and future treatment and for past and future out-of-pocket payments for medical devices, prescriptions, transportation, household assistance, and others. Non-economic damages are serious losses that are more difficult to assign a dollar value, including pain, suffering, inconvenience, mental anguish, and loss of quality of life.

 

Attorney Fees and Costs

In addition, under the California Fair Employment and Housing Act, (FEHA), Labor Code and other laws, a client-employee may be eligible to receive reasonable attorney fees. These fees are not necessarily commensurate with the attorney fees you have paid to your attorney but may be more, substantially more, if you have not paid attorney fees because your attorney has represented you on a contingency fee basis. Under a 'contingency fee' form of representation, the attorney is only paid a fee if and when you prevail in your case. Then the attorney receives an agreed upon percentage of the damages award you receive whether by settlement or court judgment. If the client-employee has paid the attorney upfront fees he or she is eligible for reimbursement of those fees, depending on the previously agreed upon retainer agreement with the attorney.

 

If I Am the Wrongfully Demoted of Terminated, What Do I Do Next?

If you believe you have been wrongfully demoted of terminated, the first thing you should so is contact an employees' rights lawyer for advice and representation. If you contact the Lee Law Group, we will begin assisting you immediately, often at no costs to you unless and until you recover your loss. It is important to contact us, or some other attorney, as soon as possible because if you eventually have to file a lawsuit you must file it within a specified period of time by law. This period of time, known as the ‘statute of limitations’, could bar your case if you do not act in time. This is particularly important in the employment-equal rights context because of certain 'time-to-file' laws under California law.

Once you contact the Lee Law Group, or whomever you chose for legal representation, do not attempt any further contact with your employer or former employer, whatever the case may be.

If you contact the Lee Law Group, first, we will first ensure that the following post-termination or post-demotion steps are taken immediately.

• We will make sure that we, you or us, do anything that would make your employer angry or that may make them harden in their decision to demote or terminate you. This is important because there may have been a miscommunication or misunderstanding that could be rectified.

 

• Next, unless you have not already done so, will determine your employer’s stated reasons for your demotion or termination. This is often accomplished by simply asking them. You or I will perform this task. This protects you giving you a record of their initial, stated reasons in case they are specious, made up or false, and they attempt to change the so-called reasons into more reasonable ones in the future.

 

• We will determine if you have an employment contract and if you do, we will be sure you have a copy in your possession before you leave the workplace. We will confirm all agreements with your employer concerning terms of employment and those regarding your demotion, termination and any possible severance, in writing.

 

• Even if you do not have an employment agreement, i.e., are an employee-at-will we will review all promises made by your employer and gather evidence of those promises. This is important for any possible implied warranties that may be available for you. And For when you are wrongfully terminated only:

• We will ensure that you return all company property and follow any other common post-employment procedures.

Upon our completion of these post-employment tasks are done, we will investigate your case to confirm that you were wrongfully demoted or terminated under the law, if it is feasible to bring a lawsuit and if the wrongdoer has any valid, potential defenses. Moreover, we will assess your potential damages and evaluate their monetary value.

Once we have a firm idea of your damages, we will write a settlement demand letter to the employer-company responsible for your wrongful demotion or termination. At times insurance companies may get involved at this point. Negotiations with the offending employer or insurance company are required at this point. The Lee Law Group will conduct these negotiations until we have a settlement agreement that you can accept because you must approve any potential settlement, not the attorneys.

As part of the settlement negotiations, at your request we will explore the area of “Severance Packages”. Often times employers will agree to exchange a severance package for a waiver of your claim against them. Again, after we fully advise you on the pros and cons of all sides, it will be your decision on whether to accept a severance package or file a wrongful termination or wrongful demotion claim. Many cases are settled in this way. However, if the offending employer or insurer refuses to offer a settlement option that you can accept, we will file a lawsuit to obtain your compensation.

 

What Happens if I File a Lawsuit For Wrongful Termination or Demotion?

If the Lee Law Group is forced to file a lawsuit for wrongful termination or wrongful demotion to obtain your just compensation we will litigate your case from start to finish explaining the process to you every step of the way. We will instruct you on what to do and when to do it, making the process as simple as possible. A great majority of cases are settled after filing a lawsuit without having to actually conduct a trial. However, if a trial is necessary we at the Lee Law Group are experienced in trial work and will energetically try your case, often at no costs to you unless and until you recover compensation.

If you are the victim of wrongful termination or wrongful demotion, contact the Lee Law Group so we can fight for you.

 

Unfair & Illegal Working Condition / Pay

 

Denial of Equal Pay

Denial of Equal Pay for equal work, also called 'compensation discrimination' in employment is prohibited by federal and state (of California) law. Under the California Fair Employment and Housing Act, (FEHA), and the federal Equal Pay Act of 1963, (EPA), Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, The American With Disabilities Act of 1990, (ADA) and other federal acts. Collectively, these statutes require employers to compensate employees without regard to race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, or disability. Of course, since California is a state in our federal republic, these federal laws apply to us as much as our California state laws do and can be brought in state as well as in federal court; but if brought in state court you must be brought with a predominate state claim.

These state and federal law against compensation discrimination includes all payments made to or on behalf employees as remuneration for employment. All forms of compensation are covered, including salary, overtime pay, bonuses, stock options, profit sharing and bonus plans, life insurance, vacation and holiday pay, cleaning or gasoline allowances, hotel accommodations, reimbursement for travel expenses, and benefits.

The specific rules requiring equal pay for equal work depend on whether we are considering gender discrimination under the Federal Equal Pay Act, or the other laws regulating equal pay for equal work based on race, religious creed, color, national origin, ancestry, physical disability, mental disability, medical condition, genetic information, marital status.

Equal Pay under the California Fair Employment and Housing Act, (FEHA)

California state law is easy and fair and requires that persons be given equal pay for equal work. The law simply states that an employer must not discriminate against any person in compensation or in terms, conditions, or privileges of employment based on that person being a man or woman or of any race, religious creed, color, national origin, ancestry, physical disability, mental disability, medical condition, genetic information, marital status, sex, gender, gender identity, gender expression, age, sexual orientation.

Equal Pay under the Federal Equal Pay Act (Concerns Gender Discrimination)

The Equal Pay Act requires that men and women be given equal pay for equal work in the same establishment. The jobs need not be identical, but they must be substantially equal. It is job content, not job titles, that determines whether jobs are substantially equal. Specifically, the EPA provides: Employers may not pay unequal wages to men and women who perform jobs that require substantially equal skill, effort and responsibility, and that are performed under similar working conditions within the same establishment.

Each of these factors is summarized below

• Skill - Measured by factors such as the experience, ability, education, and training required to perform the job. The key issue is what skills are required for the job, not what skills the individual employees may have.

• Effort - The amount of physical or mental exertion needed to perform the job.

• Responsibility - The degree of accountability required in performing the job. For example, a salesperson who is delegated the duty of determining whether to accept customers' personal checks has more responsibility than other salespeople do. On the other hand, a minor difference in responsibility, such as assignment of the task of locking up at the end of the day, would not justify a pay differential.

• Working Conditions - This encompasses two factors: (1) physical surroundings like temperature, fumes, and ventilation, and (2) hazards. For example, using gender as a differential, suppose a male nurse's aide who works in a hospital is paid less than a female nurse's aide who works in patients' home. This difference generally does not qualify as a difference in working conditions that would justify a pay differential, because the physical surroundings and hazards in the two locations typically are similar.

• Establishment - The prohibition against compensation discrimination under the EPA applies only to jobs within any establishment. An establishment is a distinct physical place of business rather than an entire business or enterprise consisting of several places of business. However, in some circumstances, physically separate places of business should be treated as one establishment. For example, if a central administrative unit hires employees, sets their compensation, and assigns them to work locations, the separate work sites can be considered part of one establishment.

Pay differentials are permitted when they are based on seniority, merit, quantity or quality of production, or a factor other than sex. These are known as "affirmative defenses" and it is the employer's burden to prove that they apply. In correcting a pay differential, no employee's pay may be reduced. Instead, the pay of the lower paid employee(s) must be increased.

 

Equal Pay Under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, (Title VII); The Americans With Disabilities Act of 1990, (ADA); and the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, (ADEA):

Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, the Americans with Disabilities Act, (ADA) and the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, (ADEA) all work primarily the same under federal law. As stated, since California is a state in our federal republic, these laws apply to us as much as our California state laws do. These federal laws prohibit compensation discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, national origin, or disability. Unlike the EPA, there is no requirement under Title VII, the ADEA, or the ADA that the claimant's job is substantially equal to that of a higher paid person outside the claimant's protected class, nor do these statutes require the claimant to work in the same establishment as a comparator. The basic theories of disparate treatment and adverse impact generally apply to compensation discrimination claims under these statutes.

Below are examples of denial of equal pay that you may have experienced in your employment:

• When an employer has a compensation policy or practice that pays Hispanics lower salaries than other employees, the employer must not only adopt a new non-discriminatory compensation policy, it also must affirmatively eradicate salary disparities that began prior to the adoption of the new policy AND make the victims whole.

• When an employer sets the compensation for jobs predominately held by, for example, women or African-Americans below that suggested by the employer's job evaluation study, while the pay for jobs predominately held by men or whites is consistent with the level suggested by the job evaluation study.

• When an employer maintains a neutral compensation policy or practice that has an adverse impact on employees in a protected class that cannot be justified as job-related and consistent with business necessity. For example, if an employer provides extra compensation to employees who are the "head of household," i.e., married with dependents and the primary financial contributor to the household, the practice may have an unlawful disparate impact on women.

• When an employer pays an employee with a disability less than he or she pays similarly situated employees without disabilities and the employer's explanation (if any) does not satisfactorily account for the differential.

 

You May Be Eligible to Receive Damages

The California Fair Employment and Housing Act" (FEHA), Labor Code, and the federal laws herein stated strictly prohibit denial of equal pay. When denial of equal pay is found by an employee, he or she may be eligible to recover economic and non-economic damages. Economic damages include loss of earnings and future earning potential, back due wages, and other types of damages. In addition, if there is an injury, economic damages include medical expenses both for past and future treatment and for past and future out-of-pocket payments for medical devices, prescriptions, transportation, household assistance, and others. Non-economic damages are serious losses that are more difficult to assign a dollar value, including pain, suffering, inconvenience, mental anguish, and loss of quality of life.

 

Attorney Fees and Costs

In addition, under the California Fair Employment and Housing Act, (FEHA), Labor Code, and the federal laws herein stated a client-employee may be eligible to receive reasonable attorney fees. These fees are not necessarily commensurate with the attorney fees you have paid to your attorney but may be more, substantially more, if you have not paid attorney fees because your attorney has represented you on a contingency fee basis. Under a 'contingency fee' form of representation, the attorney is only paid a fee if and when you prevail in your case. Then the attorney receives an agreed upon percentage of the damages award you receive whether by settlement or court judgment. If the client-employee has paid the attorney upfront fees he or she is eligible for reimbursement of those fees, depending on the previously agreed upon retainer agreement with the attorney.

 

If I Am Denied Equal Pay, What Do I Do Next?

If you are denied equal pay in the workplace, contact the Lee Law Group immediately and we will assist you throughout your entire ordeal, often at no costs to you unless and until you recover your loss. It is important to contact us, or some other attorney, as soon as possible because if you eventually have to file a lawsuit you must file it within a specified period of time by law. This period of time, known as the ‘statute of limitations’, could bar your case if you do not act in time. This is particularly important in the employment-equal rights context because of certain 'time-to-file' laws under the California Fair Employment and Housing Act, (FEHA).

Once you contact the Lee Law Group, first, we will investigate your case to confirm that you were denied equal pay under the law, if it is feasible to bring a lawsuit and if the wrongdoer has any valid, potential defenses. Moreover, we will evaluate your potential damages and their monetary value.

Once we have a firm idea of your damages we will write a settlement demand letter to the employer-company responsible for your unequal pay. At times insurance companies may get involved at this point. Negotiations with the offending employer or insurance company are required at this point. The Lee Law Group will conduct these negotiations until we have a settlement agreement that you can accept because you must approve any potential settlement, not the attorneys. Many cases are settled in this way. However, if the offending employer/ insurer refuse to offer a settlement that you can accept, we will file a lawsuit to obtain your compensation.

 

What Happens if I File a Lawsuit for Denial of Equal Pay?

If the Lee Law Group is forced to file a lawsuit for denial of equal pay to obtain your just compensation we will litigate your case from start to finish explaining the process to you every step of the way. We will instruct you on what to do and when to do it, making the process as simple as possible. A great majority of cases are settled after filing a lawsuit without having to actually conduct a trial. However, if a trial is necessary we at the Lee Law Group are experienced in trial work and will energetically try your case, often at no costs to you unless and until you recover compensation. If you were denied equal pay, contact the Lee Law Group so we can fight for you.

 

Denial of Proper Wages

Some employers fail to pay employees all wages due, either intentionally or out of ignorance. No matter what the reason, denial of proper wages or failure to pay an employee’s proper wages is very serious.

California rules concerning your rights to proper wages falls into one of the following categories. Herein we explain each and explain what you should do if your employer denies you proper wages:

• Failure to Pay Minimum Wage

California's minimum wage is currently $8.00 per hour. On July 1, 2014, the minimum wage in California will rise to $9.00 per hour, and effective January 1, 2016, the minimum wage in California is $10.00 per hour. If the employee is not paid by hour, but by commission or piece, the employer is still required to satisfy its minimum wage obligation. Thus, if the employee's average compensation for each pay period is below minimum wage, the employer must compensate the employee for the difference. Also, meals or lodging may not be credited against the minimum wage without a voluntary written agreement between the employer and the employee.

• "Wage - Hour" or Failure to Fully Pay Proper Wages

Wage and hour laws set the basic standards for pay and time worked -- covering issues like minimum wage, tips, overtime, meal and rest breaks, what counts as time worked, when you must be paid, things your employer must pay for, and so on.

The federal wage and hour law is called the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). California also has its own wage and hour laws, and some local governments (like cities and counties) do, too. An employer who is subject to more than one law must follow the law that is most generous to the employee. For example, the federal minimum wage is currently $7.25 per hour, but employers in California, which has a higher minimum wage, must pay the higher amount.

• Overtime

Employers often take advantage of employees by refusing to pay overtime compensation. In California, eligible employees must receive overtime if they work more than eight hours in a day or 40 hours in a week. Under the California Labor Code section 510(a), employers must pay 1½ times the employee’s regular rate if he or she works more than 40 hours per week or more than 8 hours per day. After working 12 hours in a day, California employees must receive double time. If an employee works on a seventh day, that employee is entitled to time and a half for the first eight hours of work and double time for additional hours. Not every type of job is eligible for overtime, however.

In calculating hours worked to determine overtime you must be paid for every task you perform once you arrive at work. This includes putting on and taking off any special gear you must use to perform your job duties, setting up in preparation of your work day, attending work-related functions such as motivational meeting or "rah-rah" sessions, answering or sending yesterday's orders or emails and so forth. If you are asked to do these things "before work" or "off the clock”, you may not be receiving all the overtime pay due to you. In addition, employers often avoid overtime by classifying employees as overtime exempt managerial employees by giving them small supervisory tasks without paying them an actual manager's wage.

• Unlawful Deductions or Withholding of any Part of an Employee's Wages

California law prohibits employers from taking back wages earned and paid, secretly paying a lower wage than that required by statute or contract, deducting from an employee's wages for cash shortages, breakage, or loss of equipment (unless caused by dishonest or willful act, or gross negligence of the employee) or for workers' compensation costs. The prohibition on deducting business losses and expenses applies to payment of "wages." "Wages" includes sales commissions or bonuses based on the employee's individual performance.

If you suspect that your employer has done any of these things to deny your proper wages, you should contact the Lee Law Group so we may investigate your situation to determine if you have a claim.

Impermissible/Permissible Work Hours and Failure to Provide Proper Breaks

When a work day or other pay period begins and ends is determined by a law called the Portal-to-Portal Pay Act. This amendment to the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and several other workplace laws require that an employee must be paid for any time spent that is controlled by and that benefits the employer. Work time for which you must be paid includes all the time you must be on duty or at the workplace. However, the courts have ruled that on-the-job time does not include the time employees spend washing themselves or changing clothes before or after work, unless a workplace requires specialized protective gear or other garb that is impractical to don off the premises; nor does it include time spent in a regular commute to the workplace. In other recent legal challenges, some courts have ruled simply that employees must be paid for pre-work and post work activities that are “integral and indispensable” to their principal activities, rather than “de minimis.” "Integral and indispensable" activities are those that are performed as part of employees’ regular work in the ordinary course of business, regardless of whether they occur before or after the workday, whereas "de minimis" activities are those that take a few seconds or minutes to perform beyond the scheduled workday and that are difficult to account for administratively.

Failure to Provide Meal and Rest Breaks

Meal Breaks

Employees in California are entitled to a meal break of 30 minutes, unpaid, after five hours, except when the workday will be completed in six hours or less and the employer and employee consent to waive the meal break. The employee cannot work more than ten hours a day without a second 30-minute break, except if the workday is no more than 12 hours. The second meal break may be waived if the first meal break was not waived. An on-duty paid meal period is permitted when the nature of work prevents relief from all duties and the parties agree in writing.

An employer who fails to provide proper off-duty meal periods must pay the employee one additional hour of pay at the employee’s regular rate for each work day that the meal or rest period was not provided. Employers need not “ensure” that no work is performed during a meal period, so long as the employer relieves the employee of all duty, the employer is not liable for a meal period premium if the employee chooses to work (unless the employee is pressured by the employer to perform work). On the other hand, if the employer knew (or reasonably should have known) the employee was working during the meal period, the employer will be liable for payment of the employee's regular (or overtime) wage for that time worked.

Rest Periods

Employees are entitled to a paid ten-minute rest period for each four hours worked or major fraction thereof, as practicable, in the middle of the work period. This is not required for California employees whose total daily work time is less than three-and-a-half hours.

Employers routinely fail to provide hourly-paid employees with work-free rest periods during working hours. According to California law, employers must provide hourly-paid employees with one 10 minute paid rest period for every four hours of work. This is because rest periods are considered part of working hours, and are therefore generally compensable.

An employer who fails to provide rest periods must pay the employee one additional hour of pay at the employee’s regular rate for each day that a rest period was not provided. Such violations can expose even small employers with few employees to massive potential liability. Both Federal and California protect you from retaliation for reporting and/or enforcing your wage and hour rights.

If you believe that you (and possibly your co-workers) have been caused to work impermissible Work Hours, or denied rest periods, contact the Lee Law Group and we will evaluate you circumstance to determine if you have a claim a meal and rest break attorney at Workplace Justice Advocates, a Professional Law Corporation, to see if you can pursue an individual or class action lawsuit against your employer

 

You May Be Eligible to Receive Damages and Penalty Payments

In California, the California Fair Employment and Housing Act" (FEHA), Labor Code and the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), strictly prohibit denial of proper wages and impermissible Work Hours. When these offenses are found by an employee, he or she may be eligible to recover economic and non-economic damages. Economic damages include loss of earnings and future earning potential, back due wages, and other types of damages. Non-economic damages are serious losses that are more difficult to assign a dollar value, including pain, suffering, inconvenience, mental anguish, and loss of quality of life.

Types of specific damages for denial of proper wages and impermissible work hours are listed here below:

“Waiting time” Penalties

In addition to actual wages owed, employees may collect "waiting time" penalties where the employer willfully fails to pay wages when due to an employee who quits or is discharged. The employee's wages continue at the same rate until paid or until suit is filed, but not for more than 30 days. All unpaid wages, including any unpaid overtime wages, are due immediately upon discharge or within 72 hours if the employee resigned.

Liquidated Damages

An employee receiving less than the minimum wage can recover the total in unpaid minimum wages, plus an additional penalty of "liquidated damages" in an amount equal to the wages unlawfully unpaid. In effect, this could double an employee's claim for unpaid minimum wages.

Employers who Fail to Pay Proper Wages May Owe Penalties to State of California

In certain unpaid wages cases, an employee may recover substantial civil penalties from the employer. If the action is successful, the court may award the prevailing employee 25% of the penalty specified in the Labor Code provision violated, plus reasonable attorney fees and costs. The remaining 75% of the penalty is paid to the State of California.

Attorney Fees and Costs

A successful employee in an unpaid wages-impermissible work hours claim may seek an award of reasonable attorney fees and court costs. In addition, under the California Fair Employment and Housing Act, (FEHA), the Labor Code and other laws, a client-employee may be eligible to receive reasonable attorney fees. These fees are not necessarily commensurate with the attorney fees you have paid to your attorney but may be more, substantially more, if you have not paid attorney fees because your attorney has represented you on a contingency fee basis. Under a 'contingency fee' form of representation, the attorney is only paid a fee if and when you prevail in your case. Then the attorney receives an agreed upon percentage of the damages award you receive whether by settlement or court judgment. If the client-employee has paid the attorney upfront fees he or she is eligible for reimbursement of those fees, depending on the previously agreed upon retainer agreement with the attorney.

 

If I Am Denied Proper Wages Or the Victim of Impermissible Work Hours, What Do I Do Next?

If you are denied proper wages or forced to work impermissible work hours, contact the Lee Law Group and we will assist you throughout the entire ordeal, often at no costs to you unless and until you recover your loss. It is important to contact us, or some other attorney, as soon as possible because if you have to file lawsuit, under the law, you must file it within a specified period of time. This period of time, known as the ‘statute of limitations’, could bar your case if you do not act in time. This is particularly important in the employment rights context because of certain 'time-to-file' laws under California law.

The Lee Law Group will first investigate to confirm that you have a case under the law, if it is feasible to bring a lawsuit and if the wrongdoer has any valid, potential defenses. Moreover, we will evaluate your potential damages and their monetary value.

Once we have a firm idea of your damages, we will write a settlement demand letter to the employer-company responsible for violating your employee rights. At times insurance companies may get involved at this point. Negotiations with the offending employer or insurance company are required at this point. The Lee Law Group will conduct these negotiations until we have a settlement agreement that you can accept because you must approve any potential settlement, not the attorneys.

As part of the settlement negotiations, at your request we will explore the area of “Severance Packages”. Often times employers will agree to exchange a severance package for a waiver of your claim against them. Again, after we fully advise you on the pros and cons of all sides, it will be your decision on whether to accept a severance package or file a wrongful termination or wrongful demotion claim. Many cases are settled in this way. However, if the offending employer or insurer refuses to offer a settlement option that you can accept, we will file a lawsuit to obtain your compensation.

 

What Happens if I File a Lawsuit for Denial Proper Wages Or Impermissible Work Hours?

If the Lee Law Group is forced to file a lawsuit for unpaid wages or impermissible work hours to obtain your just compensation we will litigate your case from start to finish explaining the process to you every step of the way. We will instruct you on what to do and when to do it, making the process as simple as possible. A great majority of cases are settled after filing a lawsuit without having to actually conduct a trial. However, if a trial is necessary we at the Lee Law Group are experienced in trial work and will energetically try your case, often at no costs to you unless and until you recover compensation.

f you are the victim unpaid wages or impermissible work hours, contact the Lee Law Group so we can fight for you.

 

 

Family Medical Leave and Failure to Provide Leaves of Absence under the FMLA and CFRA

 

Family and Medical Leave Act and California Family Rights Act

To be eligible for leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act (“FMLA”) and the California Family Rights Act (“CFRA”), an employee must have been employed by the employer for at least 12 months as of the date leave commences, and must have been employed for at least 1250 hours of service during the 12-month period, and must have been employed at a worksite where the employer employs at least 50 employees within 75 miles. Both the FMLA and CFRA entitle eligible employees to take a maximum of 12 workweeks of unpaid leave in 12-month period.

An eligible employee is entitled to take a leave of absence under the FMLA /CFRA because of his or her own serious health condition, the serious health condition of a child, spouse, registered domestic partner, or parent, the birth of a child and to care for the child, the adoption and placement of a child for foster case. Additionally, the FMLA provides leave rights to care for an injured service member or veteran during rehabilitation or to attend to a “qualifying exigency” arising out of the fact that an employee’s family member is on active duty in the Armed Forces.

If an employee is eligible for leave and meets all of the requirements, the employer must grant the leave.

 

Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA)

 

What Leave is Provided?

A covered employer must provide eligible employees with a maximum of twelve weeks of leave. The leave may be unpaid, but it may be combined with accrued paid leave (such as vacation or sick leave).

An eligible employee may take leave:

•For the birth, adoption, or placement of a child;

•To care for a spouse, minor, or incompetent child, or parent who has a "serious health condition" (more on this below); or

•To handle the employee's own serious health condition that makes him or her unable to work. A "serious health condition" is defined as an illness, injury, impairment, or condition that involves:

•Hospital care;

•Absence from work, plus continuing treatment;

•Pregnancy;

•Treatment for a chronic condition;

•Permanent long-term supervision; or

•Multiple treatments.

Employees may be required to provide advance notice, if possible, and medical certification of the need for leave. An employer who provides health insurance is required to maintain coverage for an employee on leave on the same terms as if the employee had continued to work.

The advanced notice may be verbal or written, and may be given by the employee’s spouse or other adult family member if the employee is unable to give notice. As to the content of the notice, the employee need not explicitly mention “FMLA” The notice given must be sufficient to let the employer know that the leave is for a qualifying reason. For example, an employee may give notice by telling her employer that she will be undergoing serious surgery, or that she will be taking time off for the birth of a child. It is the responsibility of the employer to request more information from the employee if it feels that it needs more information to assess whether the leave is for a FMLA-qualifying reason.

 

Returning to Work

When an employee returns from leave granted by the FMLA, he or she is entitled to be restored to his or her former job, or to an equivalent job, with equivalent pay, benefits, and other terms of employment. Taking leave may not result in the loss of any benefit to which an employee was entitled before taking leave, and may not be counted against an employee under a "no-fault" attendance policy.

Certain employees may be denied restoration of their jobs if returning them to their former positions would result in substantial and grievous economic harm to the employer. A "key" employee is defined as a salaried employee who is among the highest paid ten percent of the employees within a seventy-five mile radius. An employer must notify an employee that he or she is a key employee when the employee gives notice of intent to take leave, and must notify the employee when a decision is made to deny reinstatement.

 

California Paid Family Leave Act (CFRA)

The leave that is provided under the CFRA is the same as under the Federal Family Medical Leave Act.

California has a complicated network of overlapping family and medical leave laws. As far as paid family leave is concerned, California's Paid Family Leave law (PFL) provides coverage for a portion of qualifying employees' wages when they take time off to care for qualifying family members or to bond with their own new child. Other state and federal laws, such as the federal Family and Medical Leave Act can provide for periods of leave from work where a worker's job is protected, but the state's Paid Family Leave insurance is what can (for qualified employees) pay for a portion of wages.

Employees may be required to provide advance notice, if possible, and medical certification of the need for leave. An employer who provides health insurance is required to maintain coverage for an employee on leave on the same terms as if the employee had continued to work. The notice may be verbal or written, and may be given by the employee’s spouse or other adult family member if the employee is unable to give notice. As to the content of the notice, the employee need not explicitly mention “CFRA”. The notice given must be sufficient to let the employer know that the leave is for a qualifying reason. For example, an employee may give notice by telling her employer that she will be undergoing serious surgery, or that she will be taking time off for the birth of a child. It is the responsibility of the employer to request more information from the employee if it feels that it needs more information to assess whether the leave is for a CFRA-qualifying reason.

Covered Employees: Applies to any employee covered by disability insurance, which is deducted from employee paychecks.

 

Benefits Provided

Paid Family Leave insurance provides a qualified employee with 55% of his or her base wages, capping out at a maximum of $987 per week. These benefits can last up to 6 weeks.

Qualifying Reasons for Leave: The Paid Family Leave law allows for covered employees to take time off to:

1) bond with a newborn baby, adopted or foster child; or

2) care for a seriously ill parent, child, spouse or registered domestic partner.

Employees seeking time off to care for a qualifying family member should note that not just any standard, common cold or flu will qualify as a "serious" illness for purposes of receiving benefits. Paid leave is not provided by law for employees' own illnesses in most parts California.

 

Retaliation for Taking FMLA or CFRA Leave

Employers are also prohibited from interfering with an eligible employee’s right to take FMLA/CFRA leave, or discriminating or retaliating against an employee for taking such leave or to use any such protected leave or accommodation. California law extends these protections to persons who take FMLA/CFRA leave in order to care for a family member suffering from a serious health condition. As such, employers cannot consider an employee’s FMLA/CFRA leave as a negative factor in employment decisions, such as hiring, promotions, disciplinary actions, or termination; nor can such leave be counted under “no fault” attendance policies.

 

If I Am Denied Family Medical Leave and Leave of Absence; or Retaliated Against for Taking Leave, What Do I do Next?

If you are denied family medical leave and leaves of absence, or retaliated against for taking employee leave of absence, contact the Lee Law Group and we will assist you throughout the entire ordeal, often at no costs to you unless and until you recover your loss. It is important to contact us, or some other attorney, as soon as possible because if you have to file lawsuit, under the law, you must file it within a specified period of time. This period of time, known as the ‘statute of limitations’, could bar your case if you do not act in time. This is particularly important in the employment rights context because of certain 'time-to-file' laws under California law.

The Lee Law Group will first investigate to determine if it is feasible to bring a lawsuit and if the wrongdoer has any valid, potential defenses. Moreover, we will evaluate your potential damages and their monetary value.

Once we have a firm idea of your damages, often we will write a settlement demand letter to the employer-company responsible for the denial of your employee rights. At times insurance companies may get involved at this point. Negotiations with the offending employer or insurance company are required at this point. The Lee Law Group will conduct these negotiations until we have a settlement agreement that you can accept because you must approve any potential settlement, not the attorneys.

 

What Happens if I File a Lawsuit for Denial of My Family Medical Leave and other Employee Rights?

If the Lee Law Group is forced to file a lawsuit for denial of your Family Medical Leave and other Employee Rights to obtain just compensation we will litigate your case from start to finish explaining the process to you every step of the way. We will instruct you on what to do and when to do it, making the process as simple as possible. A great majority of cases are settled after filing a lawsuit without having to actually conduct a trial. However, if a trial is necessary we at the Lee Law Group are experienced in trial work and will energetically try your case, often at no costs to you unless and until you recover compensation. If you were denied family medical leave rights, or have been retaliated against for exercising these rights, contact the Lee Law Group so we can fight for you.

 

 

The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, and the California FEHA and Failure to Provide Accommodations

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), and the California Fair Employment and Housing Act in California, (FEHA), both prohibits employers from discriminating against employees or applicants with disabilities in all aspects of employment including hiring, pay, promotion, firing, and more. These laws also protect employees from retaliation when they enforce their rights under the law. The ADA and FEHA prohibit employment discrimination on the basis of workers’ disabilities. They also require employers to provide reasonable accommodations to the workplace to allow employees with disabilities to do their jobs unless these accommodations would place an "undue hardship" on the employers.

Both California law under FEHA, and Federal law under the ADA, make it illegal for employers to take adverse action against employees based on their disabilities or medical conditions.

 

Are you a Disabled Employee?

As defined by the ADA and FEHA, a disabled employee is: • An employee who has a disability. If an employee has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits a major life activity, he or she is protected.

• An employee with a history of impairment. An employer can't discriminate against an employee based on his or her previous disability.

• An employee who the employer regards as disabled. This is true even if the employer is wrong, and the employee is not actually disabled. If the employer discriminates against an employee based on its incorrect belief that the employee has a disability, the employee is protected by the ADA and FEHA.

 

Defining "Disability"

A disability for purposes of both the ADA and FEHA is a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits a major life activity. What constitutes a major life activity is broadly defined to include basic tasks (like walking, reading, bending, and communicating), as well as major bodily functions (such as functions of the immune system, normal cell growth, digestive, bowel, bladder, neurological, brain, respiratory, circulatory, endocrine, and reproductive functions).

If an impairment does not significantly limit a person's ability to perform a major life activity, it isn't a disability protected by the ADA and FEHA. Temporary ailments also don't count as disabilities. For more information on whether specific ailments are considered disabilities, follow these links and visit the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission's (EEOC) and the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing's (FEHA) websites.

Since by definition a disability substantially limits one or more of an individual's major life activities, disabled employees may require assistance in order to adequately perform their job. Employers are not required to hire disabled individuals for whom their employment would create an undue hardship, but the ADA/FEHA guarantee the right to a reasonable accommodation.

An employer may require an employee to take medical examinations or submit to inquiries to determine their ability to perform job functions. Such medical examinations must be required for all employees at the company working similar jobs. However, employees may not be asked specific questions about their disability. Furthermore, applicants and employees who use illegal drugs are not covered by ADA/FEHA protections, which allow for drug testing. However, alcoholics and drug addicts may be covered by the ADA/FEHA, but after reasonable accommodations are made for them, they will be held to the same performance standards as their coworkers.

 

Who is a Qualified Worker with a Disability?

Only “qualified workers” with disabilities are protected by the ADA and FEHA. A qualified worker with a disability is a person who holds the necessary degrees, skills and experience for the job; and who is capable of performing the essential duties of the job, with or without an accommodation. The “essential duties” of the job are those tasks that are fundamental to the position. Ancillary duties don't count. For example, a call center's customer service representatives may answer phones, draft correspondence to dissatisfied customers and resolve customer complaints. If business is slow, the employees may also file or restock office supplies. The customer service tasks are probably essential duties of the job, while the "filler" tasks probably aren't.

 

What is a Reasonable Accommodation?

A reasonable accommodation is an adjustment, modification or changes to a position or workplace that will enable an employee to do his or her job despite having a disability. Under the ADA/FEHA, employers are required to provide reasonable accommodations to qualified employees with disabilities, unless doing so would pose an “undue hardship”.

The area of "reasonable accommodations" causes most lawsuits under ADA and FEHA. This is because employers fight making these making these accommodations for disabled employees because they are often very expensive.

The employer is not required to guess whether a reasonable accommodation is needed. Also, the employer is not required to provide the particular accommodation an employee requests if another accommodation will do. But the employer must engage in the "interactive process," a dialogue with the employee about accommodations that will meet that person's needs.

 

Reasonable accommodations may include (but are not limited to) the following examples:

• making existing facilities usable by disabled employees—for example, by modifying the height of desks and equipment, installing computer screen magnifiers, or installing telecommunications for the deaf

• restructuring jobs, for example, allowing a ten-hour/four-day workweek so that a worker can receive weekly medical treatments

• modifying or purchasing new equipment and training material, modifying exams, for example, allowing more time for taking an exam, or allowing it to be taken orally instead of in writing

• providing a reasonable amount of additional unpaid leave for medical treatment

• hiring readers or interpreters to assist an employee

• providing temporary workplace specialists to assist in training, and

• transferring an employee to the same job in another location to obtain better medical care.

When is an Accommodation an Undue Hardship?

Under the ADA/FEHA an undue hardship is an action that would be significantly difficult or expensive to the employer in relation to the size, financial stature and nature of a given company and that company's operation. Below are some factors that will determine whether a particular accommodation presents an undue hardship on a particular employer:

• The nature and cost of the accommodation

• The financial resources of the employer—a large employer, obviously, reasonably being asked to foot a larger bill for accommodations than a mom and pop business

• The nature of the business, including size, composition, and structure, and

• Accommodation costs already incurred in a workplace.

As shown, an accommodation that causes an employer financial difficulties, without more, will not usually be deemed as causing that employer an undue hardship. Courts will look at other sources of money, including tax credits and deductions available for making some accommodations and the disabled employee’s willingness to pay for all or part of the costs.

 

What shall I do if I have a Disability and Need My Employer to Provide ADA/FEHA Accommodations?

Employers cannot refuse to reasonably accommodate or to refuse to engage in a good faith interactive process with disabled employees to determine what accommodations are needed. If you can still perform the essential functions of your job with or without the accommodations, your employer must grant them unless they can prove it would be an unreasonable financial burden for them to do so. Once your employer becomes aware that you have a medical condition or disability, they are obligated under the law to engage in a good faith interactive process with you in order to determine what accommodations you may need and if they can provide them. The term “good faith” means that your employer must promptly and honestly discuss your available options and that they cannot simply “go through the motions” and arbitrarily deny your requests.

If you are unable or afraid to negotiate reasonable accommodations with your employer, contact the Lee Law Group and we will assist you in this process. Below are some of the tasks that we will perform for you to develop and obtain your ADA/FEHA reasonable accommodations.

(1) We will contact your employer and together will analyze the job you want and isolate its essential functions.

(2) We will determine you exact job-related limitations that your condition imposes and note how they can be overcome by accommodations.

(3) We will identify potential accommodations and assess how effective each would be in allowing you to perform the job.

(4) We will estimate how long each accommodation could be used before a change would be required.; and

(5) We will document all aspects of the accommodation—including cost and availability. Hopefully this process will allow you to continue working at your place of employment for years to come.

 

If I Am Denied ADA/FEHA Accommodations by my Employer, What Do I do Next?

If you have a physical or mental disability or serious medical condition and your employer refuses to grant you reasonable accommodations (such as a medical leave of absence, flexible hours, temporary light duty or job restructuring) then you may have a cause of action against them. In addition, employers may not retaliate against employees or applicants who oppose or speak out against discrimination on the basis of a disability or perceived disability.

If you are denied ADA/FEHA accommodations by your employer or retaliated against for requesting these accommodations, contact the Lee Law Group and we will assist you throughout the entire ordeal, often at no costs to you unless and until you recover your loss. It is important to contact us, or some other attorney, as soon as possible because if you have to file lawsuit, under the law, you must file it within a specified period of time. This period of time, known as the ‘statute of limitations’, could bar your case if you do not act in time. This is particularly important in the employment rights context because of certain 'time-to-file' laws under California law.

The Lee Law Group will first investigate to determine if it is feasible to bring a lawsuit and if the wrongdoer has any valid, possible defenses. Moreover, we will evaluate your potential damages and their monetary value. Once we have a firm idea of your damages, often we will write a settlement demand letter to the employer-company responsible for the denial of your employee rights. At times insurance companies may get involved at this point. Negotiations with the offending employer or insurance company are required at this point. The Lee Law Group will conduct these negotiations until we have a settlement agreement that you can accept because you must approve any potential settlement, not the attorneys.

 

What Happens if I File a Lawsuit for Denial of ADA/FEHA Accommodations?

If the Lee Law Group is forced to file a lawsuit because your employer denied ADA/FEHA accommodations, or they retaliated against your requesting ADA accommodations, we will litigate your case from start to finish explaining the process to you every step of the way. We will instruct you on what to do and when to do it, making the process as simple as possible. A great majority of cases are settled after filing a lawsuit without having to actually conduct a trial. However, if a trial is necessary we at the Lee Law Group are experienced in trial work and will energetically try your case, often at no costs to you unless and until you recover compensation.

If you were denied your ADA/FEHA rights, or have been retaliated against for exercising these rights, contact the Lee Law Group so we can fight for you.

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