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Some basics about employment contracts

Many employees in California have relationships with their employers that are governed by employment contracts. The terms of these contracts can be fairly extensive, governing most aspects of the duties and obligations expected from both sides. However, there are some basics about employment contracts that our readers should be familiar with.

For starters, almost all employment contracts will address the length of the term of employment and how employment can be terminated by either side. For instance, the employee may want to include a condition that they can leave at any time with no notice, while the employer will likely seek a defined period of time in which the services of the employee are exclusive to the employer.

California employer faces discrimination lawsuits

Our readers in California are used to seeing news reports about gender and race discrimination occurring in Hollywood by now. But, these prominent news stories can easily drown out discrimination cases that have originated from other sources during the same time period of the last year or so.

According to one report, one of the top biomedical institutes in America - located in California - is facing a number of discrimination lawsuits from employees who are alleging that assault and harassment of a sexual nature, as well as gender discrimination, occurred in the workplace. The allegations have come forward over the course of the last year and are directed not only at the biomedical institute, but one of the biologists who works there personally as well. As a result, some of the top-level leaders of the institute have either left the organization or have been suspended pending an investigation.

Consider your options after a wrongful termination

In the recent past in California and throughout the country, most people were just happy to have a job during the so-called "Great Recession." Now, the economy is doing so well that some reports state that there are more jobs available than there are employees to fill them. But, the strength of the economy is no reason for employees to suffer abuses of employment laws from their employers.

It is a sad fact that in today's business landscape, there are still employers who attempt to take advantage of employees. Perhaps the employers don't think that employees know about the various employment laws that provide them with protection. Or, perhaps the employers don't see the legal violations when they occur. Regardless of the circumstances, whenever employers violate state or federal employment law, they can and should be held accountable.

Overview of California's child labor rules

Like the federal government and many other states, California has rules specifying when children under 18 can work. The idea behind these rules is to protect children from abuse and make sure they are able to get the education they need without a job interfering.

Every child under 18 needs to have a valid work permit before they can take on a job. This permit can be revoked under certain conditions, such as if the student is not doing well in school.

California employer settles EEOC disability discrimination claim

A telecommunications company in California that formerly had ties to AT&T recently settled with the United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission in order to resolve a disability discrimination claim.

The claim involved an employee who was hard of hearing. The employee had asked for someone to interpret via sign language what was transpiring during company meetings. The employer declined this request and instead accommodated the employee's needs by writing down what happened at the meeting so that he could understand after the meeting was over. Of course, this limited his ability to participate meaningfully in the meeting.

What is ERISA?

The Employee Retirement Income Security Act, or ERISA, is a federal law that was passed in 1974 and took effect in 1975.

Although the scope of ERISA has been broadened many times via amendments to address issues that arose after the law, the primary purpose of the law remains the protection of an employee's pension or other retirement plan. ERISA also applies to employee health plans.

UCLA employees sue university; allege sexual harassment

Four employees of UCLA, a California university well-known to residents of the greater San Diego area, have sued the school alleging that their sexual harassment claims against a former supervisor were not taken seriously.

Beginning in 2016, the supervisor slapped the women's bottoms and also rubbed their thighs and made inappropriate comments to the employees. The university terminated the supervisor, who was also female, in 2017 in the wake of the women's allegations against her.

Review of unemployment compensation in California

Although this blog has discussed California unemployment compensation before, a review of the eligibility requirements may be helpful. After all, San Diego employees who either have recently lost their jobs or sense they are in immediate danger of doing so may rely on unemployment insurance benefits to support themselves and their families while they look for new work.

Most fundamentally, a person who wants unemployment benefits has to be able and ready to go to work as soon as possible. A person who has decided to take some time off cannot receive unemployment. Indeed, someone who is already receiving benefits will have to show each week that he or she is ready to accept and is searching for a new job.

Representing terminated workers in severance negotiations

As a previous post on this blog discussed, workers in San Diego who are let go from their job may be offered a severance agreement as they are on the way out to door. This is obviously a stressful time for a worker, and it may be hard to think clearly about whether the severance agreement is in their best interest. As a result, they may be tempted to sign an agreement even though they do not understand it. However, such agreements may put a person at a significant disadvantage should they sign it.

This is why our law office, as part of its comprehensive employment law practice, helps employees who are facing termination review the proposed severance package. It is important that employees facing a severance package understand the legal implications of signing it. This way, an employee can evaluate the agreement and decide whether they should sign it or whether they should explore other legal options.

What should I look for in a severance agreement?

Even when a San Diego employee knows that they are at the end of their tenure at their present job, getting let go is still an emotionally difficult experience for a variety of reasons. In addition to having to go through the embarrassment of being unemployed, a worker will also likely be doing some fast thinking to figure out how they will support themselves and their families.

Given this, it is no wonder that many employees do not think much about whether or not they should sign a severance agreement when their soon-to-be former employer offers one to them. They may even see such an agreement as a lifeline that will give them a little bit of extra money to get by while they look for another job.