As we at Los Angeles Employment Attorney look forward to our 40th year of helping employees throughout California turn employer wrongs into employee rights, we’d like to share in this blog one of our greatest frustrations, employees who quit without trying to solve their work-related issues first. These concerns run across all of our practice areas from aerospace to health care to finance, transportation, manufacturing and retail and in all of our offices from San Diego to Orange County to Los Angeles, to Fresno, to Santa Clara, San Francisco and Sacramento.
1 Quitting without making a paper trail of complaints is the ultimate “he said/she said” challenge to prove you even complained.
2. Complaining to co workers without managerial authority “doesn’t count” in most cases.
3. Complaining to lower level managers, while at least getting your issue on the radar scope of the company, is of marginal value if punitive damages are sought. California Civil Code 3294 requires that an “officer, director or managing agent” engage in or approve of the bad conduct.
4. Whether the conduct complained of was actually illegal isn’t as important as the good faith belief of the employee that it occurred and was wrong. Therefore, employees need not (but it never hurts) consult with an attorney to “make sure” their complaint has the proper “trigger words”. Usually, a complaint made in good faith is enough. “The tools given us to build the part don’t appear legal”.
5. A more sympathetic jury (or judge) is likely to be found when the employer has been given ample opportunity to fix the problem but chooses to ignore, minimize or mis-direct your complaints.
6. An employee who complains in writing is more likely to win emotional distress and punitive damages if the employer retaliates for the complaint. It’s like two bites of the apple! Don’t leave the employment table hungry!
In conclusion, if you are even thinking about quitting your California employer because of a concern about illegalities in the workplace (such as wage and hour or discrimination), first consider what we here at Stephen Danz & Associates call our “Sad Valley” letter. We’d be happy to share the key ingredients of this critical first step with you. Just call us at 877 789 9707 or contact us online at employmentattorneyca.com.