California law presumes that employment is “at will,” unless clearly shown otherwise. This means that an employer (or employee) can generally terminate the relationship with our without cause. The law also provides certain exceptions to this general rule, such as it being illegal to fire an employee based upon a protected characteristic such as gender, age, race, religion, orientation or any other class. It is also illegal to terminate an employee in retaliation for reporting illegal activity (whistleblower claims). An employee that has been wrongfully terminated has grounds to file a lawsuit against the employer and recover damages.
When an employer refuses to pay an employee for work that has been performed, it can lead to a wage dispute. For example, an employer cannot refuse to pay your for wages you deserve, such as providing a work-free meal break or for overtime work that has been performed.
Sexual Harassment/Hostile Work Environment
The workplace is one of the most common places where individuals are sexually harassed. This includes any form of unwelcome sexual conduct, including sexual advances, demands for sexual favors in exchange for continued employment, unwanted touching, or even the use of inappropriate language in the workplace. If a worker asks the harasser to stop the sexual activity and it continues anyway, the behavior is illegal.
Employers are entitled to work in a safe environment free from discriminatory and harassing behaviors. When an employee has been subjected to discrimination, harassment or retaliatory behavior it constitutes a hostile work environment.
When your employer offers you a severance agreement, it is imperative to have an attorney review it to determine your rights. Having a lawyer involved can help ensure that your rights are protected and you obtain the maximum benefits and compensation.
Contact us today to schedule your initial consultation. The attorneys at The Swenson Law Firm provide a variety of business law services to entities of all sizes.