Q. What will it cost me to contact DesJardins & Panitz LLP?
A. DesJardins & Panitz LLP offers free case evaluations which come at no cost to our prospective clients. If we do accept your case on a contingency basis, then we will only get paid when you do.
Q. Was my recent firing a genuine wrongful termination?
A. We will review the specifics of your case and the legal landscape in your free case evaluation at our offices. Generally, California employers are legally able to end the employment of an employee for any reason which does not violate state or Federal law. Under California law, wrongful termination exists when an employer has fired an employee based on their membership in a protected class.
Q. How can I know my employer has discriminated against me?
A. In the employment context, discrimination occurs when employee receive different treatment because of their membership in a “protected class” of individuals. These protected classes include a person’s disability, national origin, race, ethnicity, religion, gender. It is against the law for an employer to terminate or refuse to hire a person, decrease their salary, or alter the basis or conditions of the individual’s employment due to the person’s membership in one of the protected classes mentioned above.
Q. Is it legal for my employer to ask me to waive my overtime pay?
A. California law requires employers to pay their employees 1.5 times their customary wage in the event that the worker contributes over 8 hours in any given day or 40 hours in any given week, in the case that the employee is classified as non-exempt. This overtime rate, again according to California law, must increase to at least twice the worker’s customary wage in the event of working more than 12 hours in any given day. To the heart of the question: an employee actually does not have the ability to waive overtime. It is mandatory for an employer to pay employees who have worked overtime.
Q. How can I tell whether my work environment is a hostile one?
The presence or creation of a “hostile work environment” is considered to be a kind of workplace harassment. This can take physical or verbal form and must result in a work environment that can be considered hostile or offensive to a reasonable person.
There are two components to the legal standard to evaluate whether an employee has been exposed to a hostile working environment. First, the hostile work environment created must be based on the employee’s membership in one of the protected classes or characteristics mentioned above. Second, the degree of hostility must be so consistent and severe that it substantially affects the employee’s working conditions, creating an inhospitable workplace that negatively impacts the employee’s ability to do their job.
Q. How long will my case take to be settled or reach a verdict?
A. The typical employment-related case can take one to two years to litigate in the California court system. Cases involving higher disputed monetary amounts commonly last more than two years, given the increased motivation for both parties to fight hard to raise the overall case value (plaintiff) and to decrease the case value (defendant)
Smaller matters are frequently settled in less than one year of proceedings, as the costs associated with a long legal fight are not in the best interests of either party. Ultimately, however, any potential plaintiff should be well aware that no two cases are the same and therefore the time it will take to reach an outcome can be quite difficult to predict.
Q. What is retaliation? Under what circumstances do I know my employer has retaliated againt me?
A. Retaliation involves an employer engaging in an action against an employee, including firing, reduction in hours or pay, or even demotion – due to the employee’s opposal to, reporting of, or refusal to participate in, a practice that under California law is considered to be unlawful or forbidden.