People in the Los Angeles area who hear the phrase, "employment at-will," may get the idea that an employer can fire someone on the spot, without warning, for any reason or even no reason at all. While this may have been true in former days, there are now important limits to the employment at-will rule that benefit California workers by giving them some additional protection from losing their jobs unfairly.
In a story that attracted the attention of national news media, the federal government is suing a nursing home in another state for unlawful discrimination on the basis of religion. The government is doing so on behalf of a nursing assistant, who claims her employer ordered her either to submit to a flu vaccine or be fired from her position.
Two former software engineers at Google, one who gained notoriety for a memorandum he circulated throughout the company, have alleged that Google unlawfully discriminated against them for their political viewpoints. They also claim unlawful discrimination based on race and sex, saying they experienced "reverse" discrimination since they were white males.
California is an at-will state. Thus, your employer can fire you at any time and for any reason, just as you may leave your job at any time and for any reason, barring a contract that specifies otherwise.
Being let go from a job is often a devastating experience for many in the Los Angeles area. For some people, a job leads to an invaluable steady paycheck; for others, their career forms part of their identity and is part of a lifelong goal. In any case, being fired or laid off can throw a person's life into turmoil. This is especially true if the worker suspects there may have been an unlawful reason for termination.
This time of year, football fans in California and across the nation are gearing-up for some of the biggest games of the year. For local college football fans, the University of Southern California is often a team to watch. However, the team has recently been in the news but not always for its action on the field. Former head coach for USC Steve Sarkisian recently sued his previous employer for wrongful termination.
State and federal employment laws and legal protections are available to protect employees placed in vulnerable situations. A lawsuit for wrongful termination was recently brought in Los Angeles by a teaching recruiter for a popular system of yoga. The woman is suing the Bikram Yoga company and the yoga system's founder for wrongful termination, asserting that Bikram Choudhury called her a failure and noted he should have fired her previously. Choudhury has been the subject of multiple sexual harassment lawsuits by former employees.
Workers in Los Angeles and across the country might have a fleeting and vague notion of what it means to have various rights against mistreatment at work, but they don't fully understand where their rights emanate from, let alone what they are. Workers were accorded rights protecting them against such issues as wrongful termination, discrimination and harassment based on Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. If any of these rights have been violated, the victim will have the ability to file a complaint and seek to be compensated.
Workers in Los Angeles and across the country are legally required to receive certain wages for their work under federal law. It is important for workers to understand their rights under the Fair Labor Standards Act. This is not only true when it comes to receiving the proper wages in full at the correct time, but also if there is a wrongful termination because of complaints about the failure to adhere to FLSA.
Employers that are committing a violation of law may be called out by their employees that observe these actions. The legal violations may concern the environment, treatment of employees, or conduct regarding employee benefit plans. Employees should feel encouraged to make these complaints without worrying about ensuing unfair treatment or retaliation by their employer.