Mission Viejo Employment Attorneys

Top Rated Mission Viejo, California Employment Attorneys

When encountering discrimination, wrongful termination, or retaliation in the workplace, many California employees have turned to the offices of Stephen Danz and Associates for guidance.  In turn, we represent employees throughout California in their fight against employers that have taken advantage of their upper hand.  Our attorneys cover cities in Northern California and Southern California as the State’s courts are as specialized and diverse as the State’s landscape.  In Mission Viejo, California, our counselors are highly specialized and handle complex employment lawsuits where private individuals trust us to bring forth their cases in local, state and federal courts.

How to Understand All of the Employment Laws?

In addition to the major employment discrimination statutes, California and federal law provide employees other statutory and constitutional protections that are critical.  Many of these protections afford rights to employees and impose obligations on employers regardless of the length of employment.  This offers substantial protection even to at-will employees who have been working for only a short duration.  Further, laws often provide inexpensive or quicker administrative redress for employees.  Sometimes these remedies are exclusive while at other times they must be exhausted before the employee can pursue a civil action in litigation.  Because they must be carefully interpreted, guidance from legal counsel must be obtained to understand the effects of the particular statute.

Statutes may event preempt common-law claims. For example, employees covered by union contracts may be confined to claims for breach of collective bargaining agreement, breach of the duty of fair representation, and violation of the Labor Management Relations Act (LMRA) instead of basing a claim on court cases.  In addition, statutory prohibitions against termination or statutory or constitutional declarations of employee rights may provide a basis for a tort action for wrongful termination in violation of public policy.

What are the Legal Protections Afforded to California Employees?

California has many laws that provide a basis for an employee’s claim against an employer or former employer. Some of these laws provide the following legal protections: prohibit unlawful termination, require employers to perform certain acts such as granting leave, and require employers to refrain from acts such as publishing false or defamatory statements about employees or former employees.  The statutes apply to all employment relationships unless they specify otherwise (e.g., some expressly exclude public employees).

A law may provide the employee’s exclusive remedy such as workers’ compensation as exclusive remedy for claims of injury caused by negligence at work.  Also, a law can provide that an employee may file a complaint with the Labor Commissioner within six months after the Labor Code violation, but such remedy is not exclusive.  Sometimes a legal remedy may be that the employee must exhaust certain administrative steps before proceeding to court.  If any given law does not provide an exclusive remedy, a civil action may be brought for its violation.

The laws generally focus on the employer’s intent.  For instance, the plaintiff must prove through direct or circumstantial evidence that the employer acted with an improper motive such as to restrain or coerce the employee in such a way as to interfere with protected rights.

What are California Laws Prohibiting Discharge While Employees are Absent From Work on Protected Leave?

Private employers must comply with the California Family Rights Act (CFRA) when they employ 50 or more full- or part-time employees, within 75 miles of the workplace of the employee seeking leave, for each working day of each of 20 or more calendar weeks in the current or preceding year.   To qualify for the leave, the employee must have worked for the employer for one year and have 1250 hours of service during the 12-month period immediately preceding the leave.  Under the New Parent Leave Act (Act), effective January 1, 2018, employers are required to allow employees who work at a worksite at which the employer employs at least 20 employees within 75 miles to take up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave to bond with a child within 1 year of the child’s birth, adoption, or foster care placement.  The Act does not apply to employees who are covered by the FMLA and the CFRA.  It covers only employees who work at worksites with at least 20 but not more than 49 employees.  Also, employees must still meet the other existing requirements for eligibility under the FMLA and CFRA: they must have worked for the employer for at least 1 year and have at least 1250 hours of service within the previous 12 months.

When is Reasonable Accommodation Not Required?

Although an employer’s duties under FEHA include extending reasonable accommodations to an employee if reasonable accommodations will enable the employee to perform his or her essential job duties, there is no similar provision in the CFRA requiring an employer to provide reasonable accommodation to an employee returning from CFRA leave.

By When Must Employers Respond to a Leave Request?

Employers must respond to leave request within five business days.  The employer has a duty to respond to a leave request as soon as practicable, but in no event later than 5 business days after receiving the employee’s request.  The employer must attempt to respond to the request before the leave is due to begin, although approval is deemed to be retroactive to the date of the first day of leave. The response may be a request for further information.

What Is a “Serious Health Condition” entitling the Employee to Leave?

A “serious health condition” for CFRA purposes is an illness, injury, impairment, or physical or mental condition of the employee or a child, parent, or spouse of the employee that involves: (1) inpatient care (i.e., an overnight stay) in a hospital, hospice, or residential health care facility or (2) continuing treatment or continuing supervision by a health care provider.  Unless otherwise excluded, any illness or injury that incapacitates the employee for more than three consecutive calendar days and satisfies the other CFRA provisions qualifies as continuing treatment.  Leave for the employee’s own serious health condition means that the leave is for a “condition that makes the employee unable to perform the functions of the position of that employee.”