At Minnis & Smallets it’s our mission to help employees understand the important rights that are guaranteed to workers by California and federal employment laws.
Employment law is the collective name given to the statutes, ordinances, regulations, administrative rules, and court decisions that govern relationships between employers and employees. Employment law overlaps with labor law, which traditionally refers to legal matters relating to labor unions, collective bargaining, and the rights of employees to work together to improve working conditions.
In California, employment is generally “at will.” An employee whose job is not protected by an employment contract – either written, verbal, or implied-in-fact, a labor union collective bargaining agreement, or a civil service law is employed at will. An at will employee can be fired at any time for any reason or no reason, so long as the reason that motivates the termination does not violate a statute, an administrative rule, or a public policy. Thus, exceptions to at will rule include the following.
Discrimination laws prohibit employment discrimination on the basis of membership in a protected class, such as sex, race, disability, and age. They also prohibit workplace harassment based on protected class membership like sex, sexual orientation, or race.
Leave laws give employees the right to take an unpaid absence from work for their serious health conditions and those of spouses, children, and parents. These laws also permit leave for child bonding after birth or adoption and for pregnancy-related disabilities.
Wrongful discharge laws refer to a collection of laws, rules, and court decisions that protect at-will employees for terminations that violate the public policy of the State of California. Firing an employee for reporting an employer’s misconduct (whistleblowing) or for refusing to carry out an illegal act are examples of wrongful discharge.
Wage and hour laws ensure that non-exempt employees receive a minimum wage, extra compensation for working overtime, and (in California) meal breaks and rest periods. Certain categories of salaried employees and commissioned salespersons are exempt from those protections, as are independent contractors.
An employment attorney in San Francisco generally helps clients with employment-related legal issues. Employment lawyers in some law firms focus primarily or exclusively on representing businesses.
The employment lawyers at San Francisco’s Minnis & Smallets represent employees. Protecting the rights of employees, and helping our clients navigate difficult employment issues, is our first priority.
As San Francisco employment lawyers we pride ourselves on being a premier law firm in the Bay Area, employing some of the best and most recognized employment lawyers in San Francisco and San Jose, dedicated to protecting the rights of employees. We help employees resolve the following problems.
Employment discrimination based on race, sex, national origin, gender identity, gender expression, disability, age, religion, or membership in another protected class. Acts of discrimination include:
Leave violations including:
Wrongful discharge including termination of employment due to:
Unpaid wages including:
Employment contract issues, including:
We also represent employees who experience retaliation for exercising their right to complain about, or seek remedies for, any of the statutory violations described above.
Navigating around the legal roadblocks that stand in the way of successful employment law claims can be difficult. Some claims must be filed fairly quickly while a longer time limit applies to other claims. Some claims must be filed with an administrative agency before they can be filed in court.
Some claims should be filed under state law while others arise under federal law. When there is a choice of laws, it is important to select the law that is most favorable to the claim that the employee wants to raise.
In some cases, it may be possible to work with the employer’s attorney to attempt a resolution of a problem before filing a legal claim. In other cases, a claim can be filed as soon the employer violates the law.
Our employment attorneys in San Francisco and San Jose can help avoid roadblocks to success and, through their experience handling similar cases, position the employee toward obtaining the best outcome based on the employee’s needs, whether that is through settlement, litigation, or trial.
Employees who need an employment lawyer should choose a firm that has earned a strong reputation for protecting the rights of employees. Look for attorneys who are dedicated to representing employees in the area of employment law, who are knowledgeable about the law, who have been acknowledged by their peers, and who have experience bringing employment claims in a variety of courts and administrative agencies.
Where Can I Get Legal Help?
The best way to choose an employment attorney is to meet with one and decide whether you feel comfortable with the lawyer’s ability to represent you. Make an appointment with one of the San Francisco employment lawyers at Minnis & Smallets by calling 1-415-551-0885. You can also inquire about our services by submitting our online contact form.
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