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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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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…)

An Ode to Whistleblowers and the Law: Part I

Wikipedia defines a “whistleblower” as a “person who publicly alleges concealed misconduct on the part of an organization or body of people, usually from within that same organization”. It takes a special person to be a whistleblower, to set aside their own self-interest in favor of what’s right, to stand alone (more…)

Former CIA Operative Sues Agency for Suppressing WMD Intelligence

It takes a lot of courage for an employee to stand up to their employer when asked to break the law or look the other way. For those who choose to Do the Right Thing, the decision typically wreaks havoc on their jobs, their careers, their marriages, their finances – on their (more…)

Whistleblower Doctors are a Rare Breed

Did you know that, under California’s current system, doctors police and regulate themselves? If a doctor’s competence falls under suspicion, under a system called “peer review”, other doctors are expected to report, review and, if necessary, take action against the errant doctor.This probably seemed like a good idea at the time. After all, who better to judge if a doctor is screwing up than other doctors? And doctors probably prefer to police themselves than to have some pesky government agency watch over them. (more…)

Senate Passes Legislation to Strengthen Whistleblower Protection Act

Government employees who speak out against corruption, fraud or danger to public safety, usually at great cost to their careers and personal lives, have long found the door to justice slammed shut in their faces. U.S. officials have engaged in nothing less than all-out war to silence and punish whistleblowers. The courts, instead of upholding the law, have (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…)

DLSE: Retaliated Employees Need Not File with State Labor Commissioner

There has been some confusion among federal and state courts in California as to whether an employee who has been the victim of whistleblower retaliation by their employer (under Cal. Labor Code s. 1102.5) must first file a complaint with the Labor Commissioner (under Cal. Labor Code s. 98.7) before they can proceed with filing a lawsuit in court. This is important because it potentially creates yet another hurdle for an (more…)