Coronavirus (COVID-19) Laws

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the work environment and the employment status for thousands of workers in California. During this unprecedented time, recent laws have been enacted to protect workers. Despite the business challenges they may be facing, companies are still required to comply with California’s wage and hour laws and cannot mistreat, wrongfully fire, or discriminate against employees due to a disability or due to their race, ethnicity, or national origin. This means your employer cannot fire you or take any adverse employment action against you if you test positive for COVID-19. In California, there are also various rights, benefits and protections for workers impacted by the Coronavirus, including paid sick leave and family leave.

During these difficult times, please stay safe and if you have questions about your rights, or believe your rights have been violated, please consult our attorneys to discuss the legal options and resources available to you.

Wrongful Termination

Our attorneys are not afraid to stand up to companies who treat their employees unfairly. One of the most common ways workers are wrongfully treated is when they are fired for an unlawful reason. This is referred to as a wrongful termination or wrongful discharge under the law. There are many different reasons why a termination can be considered unlawful. For example, a termination is illegal if it is based on any of the following reasons:

  • an employee’s sex, race, gender, sexual orientation, religion or nationality;
  • an employee’s mental or physical disability, health or medical condition, or pregnancy;
  • the employee filing for workers’ compensation after a work injury;
  • an employee’s complaint or report of unlawful working conditions or illegal activity by the company; and
  • an employee exercising his or her right to medical or family leave or otherwise asserting their rights under the law.

If you believe you were wrongfully fired, consult our experienced team of attorneys to discuss the facts of your case and the legal options available to you.

Unpaid Wages, Overtime, and Other Unlawful Pay Practices

For most people, the most important part of their job is their pay. Our firm proudly represents individuals who have suffered illegal pay practices by their employers in violation of state and federal wage and hour laws. These include claims for unpaid wages and overtime, wrongful classification of employees as “exempt” or “independent contractors,” missed meal and rest breaks, unpaid reporting time, lack of suitable seating, unlawful deductions and incomplete wage statements, unpaid vacation time, and unreimbursed business expenses.

Workplace Discrimination and Sexual Harassment

We strongly believe in the fundamental principle that all employees have a legal and ethical right to a work environment free from unlawful harassment, offensive and insulting behavior, and discriminatory treatment. This includes unwarranted touching, denial of promotions, unrealistic performance goals, and other negative treatment in the terms and conditions if employment based on an employee’s protected class. These indignities have no place in the workplace and yet they are still rampant.

Workplace harassment and discrimination can have a tremendous negative impact for an employee not only while they are at work but in all other aspects of their life, including their health, relationships, career, and overall well-being. This can be the case even for co-workers who are not themselves personally victimized by the unlawful behavior.

Our attorneys take pride in being the voice for those who have been victims of unlawful harassment, hostility, or discrimination treatment due to their sex, age, race, religion, sexual orientation, pregnancy, disability, or any other protected classification. If you believe you have been the victim of discrimination or harassment, consult Proxy Law Firm to discuss your situation and your legal options.

Gender Equality and Equal Pay

As a female founded firm, Proxy Law Firm is committed to ensuring equality and equal pay in the workplace. California’s equal pay laws prohibit lower pay to an employee because of the employee’s gender, sex, color, race, or any other protected class. Among other things, these laws require that men and women be given equal pay for equal work.

Although equal pay laws have been in existence for years, many employees still suffer a significant and unlawful pay gap. Our attorneys will fight to break these “Glass Ceilings” and will advocate for the full and fair compensation you deserve.

Meal Breaks and Rest Breaks

Companies must provide uninterrupted meal and rest breaks to employees who have worked a certain number of hours during their shift. The breaks must also be provided within a certain amount of time. If a company fails to comply with meal and rest break laws, they are liable for penalties and premium payments to employees for each missed break. Generally, hourly employees have the right to receive a 30-minute unpaid, uninterrupted, and off-duty meal period for every five hours of work, as a well as a 10-minute paid uninterrupted rest period for every hour worked. These statutory breaks are important to workers and provide them the opportunity to eat, drink, sit, relax, and simply recover from the labor of their duties at work. Unless an employee is relieved of all duties during his or her break, the break is considered an “on-duty” break that must be compensated at the employee’s regular rate of pay. In addition, if the employer requires the employee to remain at the work site or facility during the break, the break must be paid.

If you have been forced to miss or skip your breaks or are on-duty during your breaks, or if your breaks are interrupted and cut short, your meal and rest break rights may be violated and you may be entitled to compensation. Consult our attorneys to discuss the facts of your case and the legal options available to you.

Pregnancy Rights

Despite the blessings a new child brings to the world, pregnant employees face many challenges in today’s workplace, including negative treatment by their employers and supervisors who may consider pregnancy and a woman’s parental obligations a burden to their operations. Pregnancy discrimination is illegal in any form. Under the Pregnancy Disability Leave Law, employers must provide employees who are unable to work due to pregnancy, childbirth, or a related condition up to four months of pregnancy disability leave with continuation of health coverage and other reasonable accommodations. This includes accommodating a employee’s need for time off for medical appointments, prenatal and postnatal care, morning sickness and other pregnancy-related conditions, recovery from childbirth, and loss or end of pregnancy. The California Family Rights Act offers additional leave to employees incapacitated due to pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions.

If you believe you have been the victim of pregnancy discrimination, or if your employer has denied the legal protections available to you, consult our attorneys to discuss the facts of your case and the legal options available to you.

Disability Discrimination

Both federal and California law prohibit employers from discriminating against employees or job applicants with disabilities. In addition, these laws require employers to provide reasonable accommodations so that employees or job applicants with disabilities can perform their job. In California, disabilities are broadly defined and include physical and mental disabilities as well as medical conditions that limit an individual’s ability to perform their job. Employers are also prohibited from discriminating against employees or job applicants because of a perceived medical condition or disability.

Our attorneys are proud to represent employees who have been unjustly discriminated against due to a disability or perceived disability. If you believe you have been the victim of disability discrimination, or if you have been denied the accommodations that are necessary for you to do your job, consult our attorneys to discuss your situation and your legal options.

Workplace and Whistleblower Retaliation

Many employers have so-called “open door policies” that seemingly allow employees to raise concerns of unlawful conduct in the workplace, such as discrimination or harassment, unsafe working conditions, or a workplace injury. Unfortunately, some employers later turn against those employees who raise concerns regarding unlawful conduct in the workplace, or who to turn to Human Resources to discuss their employment rights. This is known as unlawful retaliation and is prohibited under the law. In California, an employer or supervisor may not retaliate against an employee for reporting unlawful conduct, a workplace injury, or for seeking to exercise their leave rights. While unlawful retaliation is often hard to prove, an experienced employment attorney can use the legal process to get all of the facts and hold employers accountable for their unlawful actions.

If you have questions or believe your employer has wrongfully retaliated against you for raising workplace concerns or want to exercise your workplace rights, contact our attorneys to discuss the legal options that are available to you.

PAGA Actions

Due to the government’s limited resources to enforce California’s comprehensive wage and hour laws, the Private Attorneys General Act of 2004 (“PAGA”) empowers aggrieved employees to act as the proxy of the State’s labor law enforcement agency. PAGA allows employees whose wage rights have been violated due to an employer’s unlawful business practices to take legal action to recover losses and civil penalties on behalf of themselves, other employees, and the State. This includes claims for unpaid wages and overtime, missed meal and rest breaks, work that is “off-the-clock,” wrongful classification of employees as “exempt” or “independent contractors,” unpaid reporting time, unlawful deductions and incomplete wage statements, unpaid vacation time, lack of suitable seating, and unreimbursed business expenses.

If you have questions or believe you and other employees have suffered due to your employer’s violation of wage and hour laws, the PAGA attorneys at Proxy Law Firm can help you.

Employment Contracts

Employers and their legal teams have a serious advantage over workers when preparing and negotiating employment agreements, severance packages, settlement agreements and releases. Before signing any of these agreements, it is a good idea to have an experienced employment attorney review the documents to ensure your rights are protected.

Civil Litigation

Proxy Law Firm represents clients in all aspects of civil litigation in state and federal courts, as well in arbitrations and other dispute resolution forums. Our attorneys are experienced and knowledgeable in the areas of breach of contract law, privacy rights, unfair business practices, torts, and the preparation and review of formal legal documents and agreements. With years of experience handling numerous multi-million dollar cases, our firm can help you navigate through all of your civil litigation needs.