California and federal law provide significant protections and responsibilities for both employers and employees. Altemus & Wagner maintains a highly successful employment law practice representing employees in matters affecting the workplace. Federal and California employment laws regulate everything from what kinds of questions can be asked of potential job applicants to how employees are to be treated in the workplace. In some situations, California employment laws are more stringent than the Federal employment laws, and vice versa.
If you are considering pursuing a claim against your employer for unlawful discrimination, both federal and state civil rights laws generally require that you must first file a charge of discrimination with the EEOC or state civil rights agency. There are strict time limitations in filing a charge, so do not procrastinate.
Filing a charge with the EEOC or state civil rights agency is not the same as filing a lawsuit against your employer. Rather, it gives either organization the chance to gather information and investigate your claim. While the EEOC may represent you in a lawsuit down the road, they have no obligation to do it, and usually do not due to limited resources. More commonly, once the EEOC has completed its review of your case, they will issue to you a “Notice of Right-to-Sue”. This document essentially informs you that the EEOC is closing out your case, and gives you permission to pursue further legal action against your employer by filing a lawsuit. Here, it is important to note additional time limitations. Once you receive your Right-to-Sue letter, you only have 90 days to file a lawsuit against your employer.
If you fail to file your initial charge with the EEOC or state civil rights agency in a timely manner, or fail to file your lawsuit within 90 days of receiving your Right-to-Sue letter, you may be forever prohibited from taking any further legal action.
Third, you should contact a qualified employment discrimination attorney as soon as possible. Laws involving employment discrimination are complex and constantly changing. You should look for an attorney who not only has a comprehensive understanding of the latest developments in employment law, but also understands the process and procedure for filing a lawsuit and bringing the case to trial. It especially important to contact an experienced attorney as soon as possible. An experienced attorney can guide you through the many stages involved in handling employment discrimination claims, from the initial filing process through all stages of litigation, should it be necessary to file suit. Most importantly, a qualified attorney will help ensure that your rights are protected.
Employment law covers a complex network of laws that controls how employers must treat employees, former employees, and applicants for employment. The firm has significant experience in interpreting and construing state and federal statutes and case law, and representing employees, in such areas as:
- Employment discrimination
- Age Discrimination
- Pregnancy Discrimination
- Affirmative action
- Sexual harassment
- Whistleblower litigation
- Wrongful discharge
- Employment contracts
- Title VII
- Civil rights Act of 1964
- Americans With Disabilities Act
- Family Medical Leave Act
- Worker Adjustment & Retraining Notification Act
- Federal Employer’s Liability Act
- Occupational Safety & Health Act
- Laws governing municipal employment
- Wage & Hour Disputes
Since the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s, the federal government has enacted many laws that bar an employer from discriminating against employees on almost any basis except the quality of an employee’s work or the nature of an employee’s personality.
The best known such law, Title VII, prohibits any employer with fifteen or more employees from discriminating on the basis of race, national origin, gender, or religion. It is illegal under Title VII for an employer to refuse to hire, discipline, fire, deny training or promotion, pay less, or harass an employee based upon his or her membership in a class protected by Title VII.
Employees who are discriminated against are entitled to damages that will restore them to the economic positions they would have occupied but for the unlawful conduct of their employer. These damages include back pay, future pay and the value of lost employment benefits. State and federal laws prohibit an employer from taking any adverse employment action – including discharge, lack of promotion and unequal pay – because of an employee’s race, color, sex, age, national origin, religion, disability, pregnancy and, in certain situations and jurisdictions, (e.g., California), sexual orientation. Congress has also authorized compensation for emotional pain; mental anguish; loss of enjoyment of life; inconvenience and other non-economic losses up to certain statutory limits. In some cases, punitive damages can also be awarded.
The firm represents employees who have been discriminated against because of age, race, gender, national origin, pregnancy, disability or perceived disability and sexual orientation, as well as people fired because of a criminal conviction. The firm also represents federal employees in discrimination cases filed against the government.
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