Palm Desert Employment Law Attorneys for Employees
Employees in California are protected by some of the strongest legal standards in the country. If you and your employer are involved in a dispute, you might feel intimidated. Often, employees do not think they can engage in disputes with the person who provides their income. It is important to understand that you do have rights and that the law works to protect California workers. Call the Law Office of Karen J. Sloat today to speak to an experienced Palm Desert employment law attorney.
Discrimination and Harassment Claims in Palm Desert, California
Employers in California cannot discriminate against or harass their employees based on the employee’s membership in a protected class.
Generally, harassment claims arise when an employee is subjected to a hostile work environment in which coworkers or employers make that individual feel uncomfortable or unsafe based on any of the following characteristics:
- Age (40 and over)
- Ancestry, national origin (including language)
- Disability (including mental and/or physical, genetic, cancer, HIV/AIDS)
- Domestic Violence Victim Status
- Gender identity, gender expression
- Marital Status
- Medical Conditions (including genetic characteristics/information)
- Military or Veteran Status
- Political Affiliation (when a civil rights violation)
- Race, color
- Religion, creed, ethnicity
- Requests for certain leave
- Sex, gender (including pregnancy, childbirth, breastfeeding or related medical conditions)
- Sexual orientation
Sexual harassment is often the first type that comes to mind when people think about a hostile work environment, but harassment based on any of the above categories is illegal.
Discrimination is somewhat different from harassment. An employer who makes employment-related decisions that negatively impact the employee based on the fact that that employee is a member of any of the above protected categories is in violation of state law.
Employees need to know that they are not powerless. Hiring a dedicated Palm Desert employment attorney will help ensure that your rights are protected and that you are able to do your job without suffering from hostile conditions or discrimination.
Misclassification of Employees as Independent Contractors in Palm Desert
Employees are entitled to certain benefits from their employers. Health benefits and workers’ compensation, along with protected leaves of absence, are just a few of the benefits to which employees are entitled, but independent contractors are not. Sometimes, an employer may categorize a person as an independent contractor and deny these benefits to that individual when, in reality, the person is doing the work as an employee. A person is not an independent contractor simply because the employer calls them a contractor or pays them by a 1099 Form. Courts will review many attributes of a person’s work to determine whether an individual is, in fact, an independent contractor or is instead a misclassified employee. For instance, people who are paid hourly wages, directly supervised by their employer, work full-time for one company, and are issued equipment or receive training by that company to do the work of the company are probably employees, not independent contractors. Independent contractors, on the other hand, tend to function as their own business. If you believe that your employer incorrectly categorized you in order to deny you proper wages and benefits to which you are entitled, contact a Palm Desert employment law attorney today.
Palm Desert Wage and Hour Disputes
California law ensures that employees receive a certain minimum wage as well as overtime pay for certain work and meal and rest breaks. Employers who violate California law related to wages and work hours can face severe consequences. You do not have to ignore mistreatment at the hands of your employer. If your employer is not paying you the wages to which you are entitled or is forcing you to work without legally protected break times, contact a Palm Desert employment law attorney at the Law Office of Karen J. Sloat. Remember that employers cannot retaliate against an employee who files a claim to disclose their employer’s wrongful actions.
ADR and Litigation of Employment Claims in Palm Desert, California
Disputes between employees and employers can be handled in a variety of different ways. Employers often attempt to avoid litigation, as it can be costly for businesses, and seek alternative dispute resolution (ADR) to resolve employment disputes with their employees. Sometimes a mediator will be able to help the parties achieve an agreement with which both parties are satisfied, but mediators are not able to issue a binding decision. Arbitrations are another form of ADR, like an informal trial, and arbitrators can issue a decision that will be binding on both parties. Courts will generally uphold an arbitrator’s decision, which can be converted into a judgment. There are also situations between employees and employers where the best or only viable course of action is to file a lawsuit. To learn more about your options for resolving a dispute with your employer, contact an experienced Palm Desert, California employment law attorney today.
Palm Desert Employees – Call the Law Office of Karen J. Sloat Today
The Law Office of Karen J. Sloat has decades of experience representing California’s dedicated workers. Call us today at 760-779-1313 to learn more about how we can help you.