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Wrongful Termination

The Law Offices of Stephen M. Harris, P.C., is here to protect individuals who have lost their job, and feel that they have been fired unfairly. Wrongful termination, also known as wrongful dismissal, occurs when an employer fires or discharges an employee in a way which violates the employee’s legal rights. Although the concept of wrongful termination is simple at first glance, it is complicated by the “at-will” doctrine, which states that an employee can be terminated at any time, and for any reason, so long as that reason is not itself illegal. California, like most other states, has adopted the “at-will” doctrine, and restricts employees’ ability to bring wrongful termination suits against their employers, even when an employment contract is involved. This means that employees can generally be let for any reason or no reason at all. There are very specific exceptions to employment “at will” rules, including:

  • Violations of public policy, including sexual harassment and pregnancy discrimination
  • Violations of existing employment contracts
  • Firing after inducement
  • Illegal Discrimination
  • Retaliatory discharge, including whistle blower claims
  • Breach of contract
  • Breach of good faith

A number of factors can influence how a wrongful termination claim is resolved. Documents that an employee may have signed, rights waived by either employee or employer, and the circumstances surrounding the dismissal — all of these can affect the outcome of a California wrongful termination lawsuit.

Put the legal experience of wrongful termination attorneys at the Law Offices Of Stephen M. Harris, P.C., to work for you. Contact us today to discuss your case by calling (818) 924-3103.

To speak to an employment lawyer about your rights and options after an unjust job termination, call us at (818) 924-3103.

Discrimination

Mr. Harris has decades of experience in the investigation, negotiation and litigation of discrimination claims, including:

  • Age discrimination
  • Sex/gender discrimination
  • Disability discrimination
  • “Reverse” Discrimination
  • Race/religious/national origin discrimination
  • Pregnancy discrimination
  • Governmental Interference
  • Refused access to services
  • Violations of the right to work

We have a thorough understanding of the laws that govern these civil rights violations and have successfully recovered settlements and awards on behalf of numerous victims.

Employees who are targeted by discriminatory practices suffer both tangible and intangible injuries. However, many employers may prefer to look the other way when complaints of discrimination are brought up. In such cases, legal action may be the only real recourse for the victim. Consulting and experienced employment and civil rights lawyer is the first step towards resolving the situation. (There is usually a one year time limit for filing.)

If you believe you are a victim of discrimination either on the job or elsewhere, put the legal experience of the Law Offices of Stephen M. Harris, P.C., to work for you. Contact us today to discuss your case by calling (818) 924-3103.

To speak to an employment lawyer about your rights and options in cases of unlawful discrimination call us at (818) 924-3103.

Harassment
What is “Sexual Harassment?”

Sexual harassment in the workplace is an all too common and serious matter. Sexual harassment is a form of sex discrimination that violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. It is specifically defined as unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature when submission to or rejection of this conduct explicitly or implicitly affects an individual’s employment.

Sexual harassment can occur in a variety of circumstances, including but not limited to the following:

  • Sexual harassment could be either verbal or physical abuse.
  • The victim as well as the harasser may be a woman or a man. The victim may be of the same sex.
  • The harasser can be the victim’s supervisor, and agent of the employer, a supervisor in another area, a co-worker or a non-employee.
  • The victim does not have to be the person harassed, but could be anyone affected by the offensive conduct
  • Unlawful sexual harassment may be without economic injury to or discharge of the victim.
  • The harasser’s conduct must be unwelcome.

If you are the victim of sexual harassment in the workplace, or another professional or social situation, you may feel powerless, vulnerable and afraid to speak out. The Law Offices of Stephen M. Harris, P.C., can consult with you on all issues of sexual and inappropriate conduct in the workplace. Careful documentation and recording of the offending activities and the responses of your employer will also be required to seek relief in the courts. We can tell you if you have a sexual harassment claim and assist you in handling your sexual harassment complaint.

Employees have rights. You have the right to be free from sexual harassment at work.

Put the legal experience of the Law Offices of Stephen M. Harris, P.C., to Work for you. Contact us today to discuss your case. If you feel that you have a sexual harassment claim and your workplace has become a hostile environment, call us at (818) 924-3103.

Whistleblowers

The law offices of Stephen M. Harris, P.C., protects the rights of California employees that act as whistleblowers and report illegal activity in the workplace.

Whistleblowers are courageous individuals who report wrongdoing by their employers in order to protect the well-being of fellow employees or the public at large, often at great risk to their own livelihood, job security, and safety.

It can be confusing to know what your rights are. Under California law, an employer may not fire an employee in retaliation for that employee engaging in whistle blowing, which generally consists of complaining about or reporting certain specified conduct that he or she reasonably perceives to be unlawful, fraudulent or unethical. Any employee reporting illegal activity in the workplace is protected by the Conscientious Employee Protection Act (CEPA) and other federal laws designed to encourage the identification of illegal activity without fear of reprisals.

There are many ways that employers retaliate against employees. If you believe you have been retaliated against or fired for engaging in whistleblowing or refusing to participate in unlawful or unethical conduct, call us at (818) 924-3103 to discuss your case. Our firm also counsels individuals prior to termination and can assist with the negotiation of exit packages.

If you have been fired or your working environment has become intolerable because of illegal activity in the workplace, put the legal experience of The Law Offices of Stephen M. Harris, P.C., to work for you. Contact us today to discuss your case by calling (818) 924-3103.

California Wage and Hour

The Law Offices of Stephen M. Harris, P.C., fights hard for employees who have been taken advantage of by their employers. Our attorneys handle individual claims and wage and hour class action lawsuits involving employer violations throughout California.

The labor laws in California are protective of the rights of employees — and for good reason. California’s public policy requires employers to provide fair and lawful wages, and to be held responsible for the failure to comply with wage and hour laws, because it benefits the working public and California’s economy to make sure that employees are treated fairly. For proven violations, California’s labor laws provide for the payment of penalties and other damages in addition to unpaid wages.

Minimum Wage Laws

Federal and state laws require that your employer pay you minimum wages and, in many cases, overtime wages. While the federal minimum wage for covered non-exempt employees is $7.25/hour, California employees are entitled to be paid at least $9.00/hour, effective July 1, 2014. The California minimum wage will increase to $10.00/hour effective January 1, 2016. If you are not being paid the current minimum wage, your employer may have violated these laws and you may be entitled to damages.

Note: Tips and gratuities cannot be counted by employers towards the minimum wage payment owed under law. Employers must pay you the full minimum wage of $9.00/hour, regardless of how much you earn in tips.

Overtime Laws

Under both state and federal law employees must receive overtime pay (1.5 times the regular hourly rate) for all hours worked in excess of 40 hours in a work week (or in excess of 8 hours in a work day) and in some circumstances employees are entitled to 2.0 times their rate of pay, unless their job duties qualify them as “exempt” from overtime provisions. If you are an hourly employee you most likely qualify as “non-exempt.” If you are paid a salary instead of an hourly wage, you may still be entitled to overtime wages. Your job duties and responsibilities determine if you must be paid overtime, not your job title or salary status.

Meal and Rest Breaks

Employers must provide employees with an opportunity to take meal and rest breaks. In California, an employee must be permitted to take an uninterrupted 30 minute meal break and 2 ten minute rest breaks per 8 hour shift. During these meal and rest breaks the employer must relieve the employee of all duties during those breaks. Employers who fail to provide employees with an opportunity to take uninterrupted meal and rest breaks may be liable for up to 2 hours a day of premium pay at the employee’s hourly rate.

If you have a California wage dispute claim, contact a wage and hour lawyer at the Law Offices of Stephen M. Harris, P.C., to set up a consultation by calling (818) 924-3103.

Consumer Cases

The law offices of Stephen M. Harris, P.C., handles all aspects of consumer cases, including consumer fraud, the California Legal Remedies Act, and many other types of consumer transactions.

The consumer cases that we handle include, but are not limited to:

  • Vehicle fraud (failure to disclose material information)
  • Telephone consumer protection act
  • Fair debt collection practices act
  • Consumer claims related to defective consumer products

If you have purchased a product, leased a product, responded to an advertisement, or have been involved in any other transaction with a vendor or business, and believe that you have been harmed, please contact us at (818) 924-3103.

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