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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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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…)

What You Need to Know About Title VII and the ADA

The following is an article I recently wrote for the ABA GP-SOLO periodical. It is geared toward other attorneys but employees may find it helpful in thinking about their cases. Note, for employees in California, I would generally recommend against filing claims under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (more…)

Fat-ism More Widespread than Racism

Did you know that it is NOT illegal to discriminate against someone because they are fat? There are federal and state laws against discrimination based on race, gender, national origin, sexual orientation, disability, medical condition, religion, etc. However, Michigan stands alone in having an anti-fat-ism law. (more…)

Cal. Supreme Court Rules: Medical Pot Users Can be Fired

In Gary Ross v RagingWire Telecommunications, Inc., the California Supreme Court considered the case of an employee who was taking marijuana for medicinal purposes (to deal with a back injury). When he tested positive for marijuana, his employer fired him. Plaintiff sued for disability discrimination under the California Fair Employment and Housing Act, among other things. The California Compassionate Use Act of 1996 (CUA) protects medical pot users and their prescribing doctors from state criminal (more…)

And the Winner for Most Popular Discrimination Complaint in the US Is . . .

Ever wonder what the most popular discrimination complaint in the US is? According to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the answer is racial discrimination / racial harassment. Following close behind are 2. sex discrimination / sexual harassment, 3. retaliation for making a discrimination complaint and 4. disability discrimination.

I’ve created the below chart from discrimination charge statistics published on the EEOC’s website. Because most people who file an EEOC charge list multiple types of discrimination, the total number of charges is actually less than what’s indicated, (more…)

House Passes Bill Banning Discrimination of Lesbians, Gays, Bis (but not Transgenders)

On November 7, 2007, the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (“ENDA,” H.R. 3685), a federal bill which bans employment discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, was passed by the U.S. House of Representatives. The vote was decisive at 235-184. The bill is backed by the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights, NAACP, ACLU, (more…)

Disabled Employee in San Francisco Wins $350K Judgment

Fellow attorney Richard Vaznaugh reports a unanimous San Francisco jury awarded an employee in a disability discrimination case $150k in lost wages and $200k in non-economic damages. Tania Garcia had worked at the Electrical Industry Service Bureau, Inc. in San Francisco as a data entry clerk when she became disabled due to eczema and started a medical leave. Ms. Garcia was placed on unpaid leave. Just 18 days before she was due to return to work, EISB fired her without warning because her disability had exceeded 90 days. Ms. Garcia made several efforts to obtain reinstatement with the help of her union but EISB refused. The jury found for Ms. Garcia on all claims. “I feel like I’ve finally got some peace and that they didn’t get away with it,” said Ms. Garcia. Congratulations to Mr. Vaznaugh.