Employment discrimination, the wrongful withholding of wages, and misclassification of employees continue to plague workers in Orange County. Fortunately, an Orange County employment lawyer can provide the advice and representation that employees need when they seek back wages, reinstatement, compensation, and other remedies for an employer’s misconduct. The Cooper Law Firm helps Orange County employees seek justice when their rights have been violated.
When tourists think of Orange County, they think of Disneyland and Knott’s Berry Farm. Vacationers might also choose afternoons of sunshine, sand, and surf at Newport Beach, San Clemente, or any of Orange County’s other beach destinations.
Of course, Disneyland isn’t the only amusement park in Orange County. Kids and their parents love to visit Adventure City, Balboa Fun Zone, Knott’s Soak City, or any of the other Orange County theme parks and water parks.
Visitors searching for history enjoy visiting the mission in San Juan Capistrano while art lovers can’t get enough of the Pageant of the Masters in Laguna Beach. Those who want to combine sightseeing with shopping often stop at Irvine Spectrum Center or Fashion Island for a unique blend of stores and restaurants.
Residents of Orange County enjoy those places too, but Orange County employees keep the economy moving. Whether they work at Discovery Cube or Bowers Museum in Santa Ana, lead whale watching excursions in Dana Point, or mix drinks at a Huntington Beach nightclub, employees help the tourism industry thrive.
Orange County also offers employment in many other industries, including manufacturing, retail sales, construction, agriculture, health care, and information technology. While employment has become relatively easy to find in Orange County, it is not always easy to find an employer that treats workers well and obeys all employment laws.
When discrimination happens a California employment discrimination attorney may be able to help. California and federal laws prohibit Orange County employers from discriminating against employees or job applicants because of their:
Unlawful discrimination includes any adverse employment action that is motivated by any of the factors listed above. Examples of adverse employment actions include:
It is also unlawful to refuse a reasonable accommodation of an employee’s disability or religious practices. In the case of a disability, employers must make reasonable changes in the work environment or in non-essential job duties that will help a qualified disabled employee perform the job or enjoy the same opportunities as other employees. Employers violate the law when they refuse to do so.
Racial and sexual harassment, as well as harassment based on membership in any of the protected classes identified above, violates the law when it is tolerated in a workplace. In Orange County, sexual harassment includes harassment because of sex, transsexualism, sexual orientation, gender identity, or how the employee chooses to express gender.
Harassment by co-workers violates the law when it creates a hostile work environment. A work environment is regarded as hostile when it substantially interferes with the ability to work. Pervasive taunts, threats, insults, sexual advances, and mocking are examples of the kind of oppressive actions that can create a hostile work environment when they are motivated by a victim’s membership in a protected class.
Harassment committed by an owner or manager may violate the law even if the work environment as a whole is not oppressive. Offering a raise or promotion in exchange for sexual favors is an example of sexual harassment by owners or managers that the law forbids.
Orange County employers have an incentive to save money by avoiding payment of overtime and minimum wage. For example, a showroom salesperson might be paid a commission on sales. During pay periods in which the salesperson does not earn sufficient commissions to meet minimum wage for the hours worked, the salesperson may be entitled to a supplemental wage payment that assures the salesperson receives minimum wage.
Most Orange County employees are entitled to overtime when they work more than 8 hours in a day, more than 40 hours in a week, or more than 6 consecutive days. Employees who are denied overtime have the right to make a wage claim for unpaid earnings.
Most Orange County employees are also entitled to a paid 10-minute rest break after working more than 3-1/2 hours, a second rest break after working 6 hours, and an unpaid meal break when they work 5 consecutive hours. Employers can be held responsible for compensating employees when meal and rest breaks are denied.
Employers in Orange County often misclassify employees as exempt from overtime laws. While some administrative, executive, and professional positions – and under certain conditions, commissioned sales positions — can lawfully be classified as exempt, employers often stretch those exemptions beyond their breaking point.
As an example, some employers classify clerical workers as exempt administrative assistants. The exemption depends on job duties, not job titles. Unless the employee’s job duties meet strict criteria (including substantial independence and little supervision), it is unlawful to classify the employee as exempt.
Employers also misclassify employees as independent contractors. That allows them to avoid minimum wage and overtime laws, to avoid paying their share of payroll taxes, and to avoid the cost of unemployment and worker’s compensation benefits.
The Cooper Law Firm attorneys help employees who have been denied minimum wage, who have not been paid for their overtime hours, who did not receive required meal breaks or rest periods, or who have been misclassified as exempt or as independent contractors.
Our employment lawyers also help victims of employment discrimination and harassment. In addition, we represent employees who are subject to retaliation for complaining about discrimination or for making wage claims.
Helping employees in Orange County obtain justice is the mission of The Cooper Law firm. Contact us by telephone or by submitting our online form to learn more about how we can help you.