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legal news & tips for employees published by Law Office of Eugene Lee

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What Break Periods Am I Entitled To?

What Break Periods Am I Entitled To?

Under California law (which is much more generous to employees than federal law), if you are a non-exempt worker, you are entitled to meal and rest breaks: a 30-minute meal break if you work more than 5 hours in a workday, and 10 minutes breaks for every 4 hours you ...

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Can My Employer Break My Employment Contract? Can I?

Can My Employer Break My Employment Contract? Can I?

Whenever it comes to contracts, the answer is always the same: it depends on what the contract says. A contract is a contract is a contract. Neither you nor your employer can breach a contract without facing the consequences. That is, unless the contract says it's ok. This is why ...

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Top 5 Tips: So You Want to Sue Your Boss?

Top 5 Tips: So You Want to Sue Your Boss?

So you want to sue your employer for racial discrimination, sexual harassment, whistleblower retaliation, failure to pay you your last paycheck, what have you. Now what? Here are five tips all clients should keep in mind before they pick up the phone to call a lawyer. Tip 1: Write it, don’t ...

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Can My Boss Fire Me at Any Time for Any Reason? What is “at will”?

Can My Boss Fire Me at Any Time for Any Reason? What is “at will”?

"At-Will". California is an "at-will" employment state. What does this mean? In most cases, it means that your boss can fire you at any time for almost any reason or no reason at all. She can fire you because she doesn't like you thinks you're too tall or short thinks you talk too ...

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Background Checks — What Are My Rights?

Background Checks -- What Are My Rights?

If you're applying for a job, or want to keep one, you're going to have to accept that background checks are becoming a part of work life. An estimated 50% of resumes submitted by job applicants contain false or inaccurate information. Bad employees who slip through the hiring process can ...

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Leave Rights in California: Part 1

Getting hurt or sick is no fun, but what’s worse is worrying that you’ll lose your job if you take time off to recover. That’s why employee medical leaves are protected under both the federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) and the analogous California Family Rights Act (CFRA). (more…)

Filing a Discrimination Complaint in California

In California, employees who wish to file a discrimination lawsuit cannot do so until they first file “charges” with the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and/or the California Department of Fair Employment & Housing (DFEH) and obtain “right to sue” letters. This process is called “administrative exhaustion”. (more…)

Sexual Harassment in California

It’s hard to believe that sexual harassment still occurs in the modern workplace, but it does. Luckily, Federal and California state laws offer powerful protections against workplace sexual (more…)

Discrimination Laws in California

Both Federal and California laws prohibit discrimination in the workplace based on an employee’s “protected characteristics”. Under California’s broad, pro-employee laws (perhaps the best in the US), “protected characteristics” mean: “race, religious creed, color, national origin, ancestry, physical disability, mental disability, medical condition, marital status, (more…)

How Much Time Do Lawsuits Take?

“You’ll be hearing from my lawyer!” Famous last words. But what does bringing a lawsuit really mean? Make no mistake about it, a lawsuit can be a big commitment, not just in terms of money, but also in time. Your time. (more…)

Employers Are Now Screening Employee Facebook and MySpace Pages

Do you have a personal account with Facebook, MySpace, Twitter or any of the other social media websites that have become so popular lately? Chances are you (more…)

Tip-Pooling – Can My Employer Take My Tips and How?

Some History

For better or worse, tipping has become an accepted part of American commerce. It is a practice that first emerged in the late 1800s. In 1917, the California legislature passed a law for the first time prohibiting employers from taking any portion of employees’ tips. However, the courts struck down the law as a violation (more…)

10 Signs You’re About to be Fired

012108-1931-canmybossfi1.jpgGetting fired doesn’t always involve a dramatic showdown meeting with your boss who tells you to pack your things and get out. In an age where employers are paranoid about getting sued by fired employees, firing an employee is often more complicated, involving many subtle steps. As an (more…)

What Happens to Huge Verdicts AFTER the Headlines

Stevens v VonsMulti-million dollar verdicts routinely headline the news. But what few seem to know is what happens to those verdicts long after the jury and the public have moved on. More often than not, those verdicts get cut down to size or get lost in a perfect storm of appeals.

In Stevens v. Vons Companies, a 2006 case, a Simi Valley Superior Court jury awarded over $18 million to a Vons grocery clerk who was making $750 a week. (more…)

Largest Sexual Harassment Verdict in History – $168 Million

Landmark sexual harassment verdictA Sacramento hospital has the dubious distinction of being hit with what may be the largest sexual harassment verdict in history. On August 7, 2008, Mercy General Hospital terminated Ani Chopourian, a 45-year-old former cardiac surgery physician assistant who was educated at UCLA and Yale, allegedly for failing to show up for an on-call shift and for sleeping on the job. Chopourian claimed the real reason she was being terminated was because she had filed 18 written complaints (more…)

Need Your Faith in Humanity Reaffirmed?

KindnessSometimes I go for days without opening a newspaper. It gets downright depressing reading about all the school shootings, political gridlock and homicides. But every now and then, I come across something that actually reaffirms my faith in humanity. Take a look at “26 Moments That Restored Our Faith In Humanity This Year” (more…)

Called as a Witness? Get Your Witness Fees

Deposition

Have you ever been called to testify as a witness at a deposition (a “deposition” is a fancy way of saying a lawyer-conducted witness interview conducted under oath that is recorded by a court reporter) or at a trial? If so, then you have the right to recover “ordinary witness fees”. According to California Government Code § 68093: (more…)

US Supreme Court Says Class Actions Can Be Banned

Have you ever sat down and read the “fine print”? That long, boring document with tiny print that falls out of the box of whatever you just bought? Me neither. But maybe we all should from now on.

In AT&T Mobility LLC v. Concepcion et ux., (more…)

Psychological Warfare in Lawsuits

Litigation WarfareThey say war is hell. Well, so is litigation. Things can get downright nasty in the legal trenches. Some lawyers even cross ethical lines and risk disbarment in order to win. In a recent patent infringement lawsuit between warring technology giants Qualcomm Inc. and Broadcom Corp., federal magistrate judge Barbara Major found (more…)

The Importance of the Judge to Your Lawsuit

The Judgment of King Solomon

Remember the tale of King Solomon and the dispute over the baby? The tale is recounted in the Bible in 1 Kings 3:16-28. According to the tale, two prostitutes who lived together each had an infant son. One prostitute accidentally smothered her son while sleeping, and then switched her dead son for the other prostitute’s live son. (more…)

When Creditors Come Knocking: Asset Protection Tips for Employees

The following article was contributed by our friends at the trusts and estates law firm, The Law Offices of Ernest J. Kim

In the current economic climate, many employers are no longer able to generate the same (more…)

Leave Rights in California: Part 2

Getting hurt or sick is no fun, but what’s worse is worrying that you’ll lose your job if you take time off to recover. That’s why employee medical leaves are protected under both the federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) and the analogous California Family Rights Act (CFRA). (more…)