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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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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…)

District Spends $532k on Lawsuit that Settles for $150k

What’s wrong with this picture? A school district spends $532,123 in legal fees and costs to fight a wrongful termination lawsuit; after more than 2 years of litigation, it ends up settling the case for $150,000.

According to an article in the Ventura County Star entitled (more…)

LAPD Hit with $2.3 Mil. Sexual Harassment Jury Verdict

The LA Times reports in an article entitled “Jury awards $2.3 million in LAPD harassment case” that a federal jury has awarded a female police officer $2.3 million for sexual harassment and retaliation by members of the Los Angeles Police Department’s Valley Traffic Division in 1996. Melissa Borck, et al., v. City of Los Angeles, et al. (more…)

$3.4 Mil. Settlement is Latest Female College Coach Award

It seems female collegiate sports coaches have been long been getting the short end of the stick compared to their male counterparts, but that looks like it’s about to change. According to an article at, "FGCU settles gender bias suit" , two former (more…)

Fired Chase Manhattan Employee’s Recovery for FMLA Violations Could Exceed $7 Mil.

According to a news article, FMLA Verdict Could Cost Chase Manhattan $7.6 Million, Nicholas Lore, a 63-year old Chase Manhattan regional manager who was fired after making several requests for medical leave for a serious health condition under FMLA (Family Medical (more…)

Starbucks Baristas Win $105 Million Class Action Judgment

Fellow attorney Terry Chapko reports a $105 million award to 120,000 former and current baristas in a class action tip-sharing lawsuit against Starbucks. The suit was initiated in October 2004 by Jou Chau, a former barista in La Jolla, CA, who alleged Starbucks (more…)

Longshorewoman Wins $1.2 Million Jury Award for Retaliation

Fellow attorney Tony Luti reports a $1.2 million award to a longshorewoman in a retaliation lawsuit against her employer, Pacific Maritime Association. Plaintiff Catherine McCoy was a third generation dockworker who had worked the waterfront for 18 years. She and five other African-American women had filed a lawsuit against employer Pacific Maritime Association (PMA) in 1998. (more…)

Teacher Wins $1.8 Million Jury Award for Wrongful Termination

Fellow attorney Mary-Alice Coleman reports a $1.8 million award to a teacher in a wrongful termination, whistleblower retaliation lawsuit against her former employer, private school operator Phoenix Schools Inc. Jennifer (more…)

Dukes v. Wal-Mart: 9th Circuit Upholds Class Certification in $11 Billion Sexual Discrimination Case

Brad Seligman over at the Impact Fund has just scored a big victory. He represents the plaintiff employees in Dukes v Wal-Mart, an $11 billion class action Title VII sexual discrimination case against Wal-Mart which was filed in federal court in the Northern District of California. Dukes v Wal-Mart is the largest civil rights class action suit in U.S. history.

Betty Dukes, (more…)

Fresno State Women’s Basketball Coach Wins $19.1 Million Jury Award for Discrimination, Retaliation

The Sacramento Bee reports that a Fresno County Superior Court jury on Thursday awarded $19.1 million to former Fresno State women’s basketball coach Stacy Johnson-Klein.

Johnson-Klein had been fired mid-season after less than three seasons as the Bulldogs’ coach. The firing sparked intense (more…)