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Attorney David Ratner is among America’s Top 100 Personal Injury Attorneys® for the year of 2020

America’s Top 100 Personal Injury Attorneys® for the year of 2020
What is At-Will Employment?

What is At-Will Employment?

California is one of 49 states (excluding Montana) that has at-will employment laws. At-will employment means that employers and employees can both terminate an employment relationship for any reason - that is, any reason not prohibited by law. The law does have exceptions to at-will employment, which prohibit an employer from firing you in certain situations or for certain reasons. First, there are certain employees to whom at-will employment principles do not apply. These include: Government and public employeesUnionized employees with collective bargaining agreements with provisions against at-will employmentEmployees who sign employment contracts that require cause to terminate the employee Even if an employee does not fall into one of these exempt categories, there are still unlawful reasons for termination that are outside the scope of at-will employment. These can…
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Did Your Employer Ask You to Sign a COVID-19 Waiver?

Did Your Employer Ask You to Sign a COVID-19 Waiver?

After over a year of working from home or being furloughed, more and more workforces are returning to offices and in-person workplaces throughout California. This can take some adjustment, and many employees are naturally concerned about the risk of potentially contracting COVID-19. Some employers are attempting to avoid liability by having their employees sign COVID-19 liability waivers. If your employer requests for you to sign a waiver, should you do so? First, it is important to know that your employer cannot use waivers to avoid certain obligation when it comes to COVID-19, such as: An employer must provide workers’ compensation coverage for employees who contract illnesses at work, and a waiver does not negate your right to workers’ compensation benefits if you qualify.An employer cannot avoid compliance with all state…
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Unreimbursed Business Expenses for Employees

Unreimbursed Business Expenses for Employees

The California Labor Code requires employers in our state to reimburse employees for reasonable expenses they incurred for business purposes. Employers are not allowed to have employees waive this right to reimbursement via employment contracts or policies. The law makes it clear that any necessary job expenses should be reimbursed in a timely manner, though many employers fail to comply with this requirement. If you believe that your employer failed to pay you back for qualified business expenses, you should speak with a Walnut Creek labor attorney right away. Common Expenses Your business expenses will depend on the nature of your job, and they can vary throughout the course of the year or your career. Some common expenses include: MileageParking feesWork cell phone billsWork-related travel costsOffice supplies purchased out-of-pocketUniforms purchased…
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Should You Sign an Employment Contract?

Should You Sign an Employment Contract?

Most employment relationships in California are on an at-will basis, which means that you can quit your job or get fired at any time for any lawful reason, and possibly for no reason at all. However, some employers request that employees sign employment contracts, which put in place terms of their employment that override at-will principles. Employment contracts are not inherently good or bad. However, there are certainly individual contracts that have unfavorable terms, and employees should think twice about signing. Never hesitate to have a California employment attorney review your contract and advise you on its potential implications. Some issues with employment contracts might include: Unreasonable obligations and responsibilities of the employeeUnclear terms regarding compensation, commissions, bonuses, or benefitsTerms of employment that are too longAn unenforceable non-compete clauseOverly restrictive…
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A New Generation at Risk of Workplace Age Discrimination

A New Generation at Risk of Workplace Age Discrimination

If you are part of the millennial generation, chances are you’ve faced accusations of being “entitled youth” or similar. However, as of the start of 2021, the oldest millennials will begin turning 40. Not only is this generation no longer the “youth of America,” but they are vulnerable to being subjected to age discrimination at work. Under the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 (ADEA), employees age 40 and older are protected from employment discrimination based on their age. This includes protections against adverse employment actions based on age, such as: Refusal to hireRefusal of deserved promotions or pay increasesDemotion or pay decreaseReduction of hours or less desirable shiftsTermination of employmentHarassment and a hostile work environment Some employers seek to keep their workforces on the younger side. This might…
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Employee Notice Laws for COVID-19 Take Effect in 2021 in California

Employee Notice Laws for COVID-19 Take Effect in 2021 in California

With the COVID-19 pandemic continuing to threaten the lives of Californians and those across the United States, it makes sense that the state would pass laws imposing new requirements on employers to help keep employees safe and protect their rights. An experienced California employment attorney is ready to help. One law that goes into effect on January 1, 2021, gives California’s Division of Occupational Safety and Health (Cal-OSHA) greater authority to order certain workplaces closed due to an unacceptable threat level. The following are additional aspects of the law involving notice to employees. Employers must provide written notice of possible COVID-19 exposure to both employees and subcontracted employees who were at a particular workplace with someone who was in an infectious period.Employers must provide the notice in a way that…
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What is Defamation by an Employer?

What is Defamation by an Employer?

When an employer gives false information about you to another party, it can have a highly detrimental effect on your career and reputation. The law protects people from defamation, including in writing (called libel) and in verbal communication (slander), but some employers continue to engage in this type of harmful conduct. This could be out of spite or to try to retain the employee, but in either case, an employee can suffer mental and financial harm. If you believe that your employer spread false information about you, contact an employment defamation lawyer in Walnut Creek right away. What is Defamation? Just because you don’t like something that your supervisor or someone else at work says about you does not mean you can take legal action. In order for you to…
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Did Your Employer Wrongfully Retaliate Against You?

Did Your Employer Wrongfully Retaliate Against You?

Employment and labor laws provide employees in California with a number of important rights. Unfortunately, sometimes, employees who try to exercise these rights experience adverse effects at work for doing so. This could constitute unlawful retaliation on the part of your employer, and it is important to discuss the situation with a Walnut Creek employment attorney right away. Reasons for Unlawful Retaliation Employees should be able to freely exercise certain rights in the workplace without facing consequences by their employers. Some reasons for retaliation that are unlawful include for: Complaining of unlawful discriminationComplaining of unlawful harassment that causes a hostile work environmentSeeking unpaid wages or overtime payReporting miscalculations of hours worked or other payroll errorsFiling a workers’ compensation claim (that you believe to be valid)Requesting or taking qualified family and…
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UCLA Sexual Assault Victims Might Get the Opportunity to Bring Claims

UCLA Sexual Assault Victims Might Get the Opportunity to Bring Claims

In 2018, UCLA began investigating Dr. James Heaps, an OB-GYN who served the UCLA community in various capacities from 1983 until 2018. The investigation of Dr. Heaps stemmed from allegations of inappropriate sexual contact by Dr. Heaps that was not medically necessary or warranted. While UCLA received its first complaint in 2014, Dr. Heaps was not investigated and terminated until 2018. Approximately 159 former patients expressed concern to UCLA about the doctor’s actions. Sexual assault causes many injuries for victims - both physical and mental. Medical and psychological treatment is often required, and victims might suffer from symptoms of PTSD. The civil court system allows sexual assault victims to bring claims seeking compensation for their losses from their assailants. This is different from the criminal process, and a civil claim…
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Reasons for Wrongful Termination

Reasons for Wrongful Termination

In California, at-will employment laws generally allow employers to terminate employees for any - or no - reason, at any time. As with most laws, however, there are exceptions to at-will termination, and in some situations, firing an employee might constitute wrongful termination. It is important to discuss any concerns regarding your termination with an experienced employment lawyer in Walnut Creek. Violations of Employee Rights There are many state and federal laws that provide rights for employees, and sometimes, a termination will occur in violation of these rights. When this happens, employees can take legal action to recover damages lost due to the wrongful termination. Termination reasons that violate an employee’s rights include: Discriminatory reasons based on protected factors, such as race, religion, disability, age, sex, and moreIn retaliation for…
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