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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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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…)

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…)

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…)

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 to Read an Employment Contract: Part 2

Not all employers use employment contracts and not all employees get one. When employment contracts do come into play, they can come in all shapes and sizes. Sometimes they are not written down but have to be pieced (more…)

How to Read an Employment Contract: Part 1

Not all employers use employment contracts and not all employees get one. When employment contracts do come into play, they can come in all shapes and sizes. Sometimes they are not written down but have to be pieced together from multiple conversations and emails. Other times, they can be hundreds (more…)

Free Pamphlets on Labor and Employment Laws

The California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) publishes numerous free pamphlets on California labor and employment laws. These pamphlets provide a brief but helpful and easy-to-understand explanation of employee rights under (more…)

Free Video Tutorials on Employment & Labor Laws

Interested in a quick overview of California labor and employment laws? Break out the popcorn and turn up your speakers. The California Department of Fair Employment and Housing has released several short videos, 90 seconds to 3 minutes in length each, offering short overviews of (more…)

An Ode to Whistleblowers and the Law: Part II

Have you blown the whistle on illegal conduct at your workplace? If so, there are state and federal laws that could protect you from retaliation by your employer. For instance, the federal Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 prohibits retaliation against employees of publicly-traded companies who (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…)