Employment law, which is also called labor law, is a broad area of law which governs the rights and duties between:

  • Employers;
  • Employees; and
  • Independent contractors.

Employment law provides specific guidelines which employers and employees must follow. Employment law also governs safety conditions in the workplace. For example, certain employment laws may apply to cases which involve employment discrimination while others may be used to provide guidance when a company is drafting their policies or employee handbooks.

The main intent of employment law is to protect individuals who are part of the workforce. Employment law may be used to:

  • Establish protections for employees when they have a dispute against:
    • A colleague;
    • An employer; or
    • A company;
  • Ensure that businesses do not discriminate against job candidates or employees during the following employment related processes:
    • Interviewing;
    • Hiring;
    • Promoting; or
    • Terminating;
  • Grant rights to independent contractors, or individuals who are self-employed;
  • Ensure that interns and volunteers are not sexually harassed, discriminated against, or retaliated against in the workplace; and
  • Numerous other topics which affect employment rights.

It is important to note that employment laws may vary across jurisdictions. Therefore, a right may be protected in one state which is not available in another state. It is also important to be aware that certain issues are governed by both federal and state employment laws, such as pregnancy leave.

What Can an Employment Lawyer Do For You?

Employment lawyers handle many aspects of employment law violations. This may range from a simple employee dispute to a wide-spread corporate violation. Employment law is a broad area which covers disputes including:

  • Wage/hour claims;
  • Disability;
  • ADA violations;
  • Employee contracts;
  • Company policies;
  • Labor union disputes; and
  • Various other issues.

Because of this, employment lawyers can work in a variety of areas of law and with many different departments. For example, discrimination claims will often involve an investigation by a government agency. Therefore, an employment lawyer will be involved with many parties who regulate and enforce according to federal and state statutes.

In some cases, employment law can overlap with other areas of law, such as immigration law. An employment lawyer can assist with ensuring that an employer is complying with immigration laws as well as employment laws. For example, a lawyer may cooperate with local officials to help ensure that a company is not illegally hiring employees.

Employment lawyers may also provide services outside of the courtroom. For example, an employment lawyer can assist with drafting, negotiating, and reviewing the terms of an employment contract prior to the parties signing it. This helps ensure the rights of all of the parties to the contract are protected.

What Can a California Employment Lawyer Do For You?

California labor laws are more generous to employees than federal laws. This means that California employees are afforded more protections than any other employees in the United States.

California employees enjoy rights and benefits in the areas of:

  • Wages;
  • Rest breaks;
  • Meal breaks, and
  • Heightened protections against issues such as:
    • discrimination;
    • harassment;
    • paid time off;
    • sick leave;
    • maternity and paternity leave;
    • privacy; and
    • relations among other employers and employees.

Employment law attorneys can represent many parties to employment issues, including:

  • Employers;
  • Managers;
  • Employees;
  • Independent contractors; and
  • Unions.

An employment attorney advises their client on legal standards for different areas of law. For example, if an employee is suing their boss for sexual harassment, an attorney who represents the employee will provide advice regarding whether that employee meets the requirements to demonstrate that they were sexually harassed.

Conversely, if the attorney is representing the employer, their attorney would defend them against the claim of sexual harassment by presenting a defense, which may include:

  • The employee not being truthful or forthright;
  • A misinterpretation of conduct on the part of the employee; or
  • Another available defense.

What Areas of Law Does Employment Law Cover?

Labor law is a broad area of law which covers numerous topics related to employment. Common examples of disputes involving employment law include:

A discrimination lawsuit is the most common type of employee lawsuit that is filed against employers. Discrimination may occur when an individual is treated differently based upon their race, sex, nationality, or other protected class. Pursuant to the California Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA), California provides further protections against discrimination based upon:

  • Gender identity and expression;
  • Age, if the individual is 40 year of age or older;
  • Disability; and
  • Marital status.

Harassment involves any verbal or physical behavior which may be considered intimidating, hostile, or offensive. Harassment includes unwelcome conduct engaged in by an employer towards an employee or a coworker which is based upon the employee’s:

  • Race;
  • Color;
  • National origin;
  • Gender;
  • Age;
  • Marital status;
  • Family status;
  • Sexual orientation;
  • Genetic information; or
  • Disability.

Harassment may include behavior which is seemingly harmless. This type of behavior may include:

  • Name-calling;
  • Joke telling;
  • Showing offensive pictures;
  • Physical assaults; and
  • Verbal threats.

Retaliation typically occurs after an employee exercises one of their legal rights and is subsequently terminated. For example, if an employee reports illegal activity which is committed by the employer and is then terminated due to the reporting. In this instance, the employer has illegally retaliated against that employee.

In California, there are specific state requirements in the overtime laws. In California, the overtime rate is one and one-half times the regular rate for the employee for every hour which is worked that exceeds 8 hours per day or 40 hours per week. It is common for a labor law lawsuit to involve an unpaid overtime claim.

How Much Do Employment Lawyers in California Cost?

Employment of any type of attorney may be costly, especially with the addition of legal fees and court filing fees. Many attorneys charge an hourly rate.

This hourly rate will depend on the services provided and the experience of the attorney. An individual can usually expect to pay several hundred dollars per hour.

In some cases, an attorney will charge on a contingency fee basis. A contingency fee means that the attorney is paid a fixed percentage, often around one-third, of the client’s recovery award. If, however, the client does not prevail and there is no recovery, the attorney is not paid and any costs of the litigation are paid out of the attorney’s personal pocket.

For some types of cases, typically simpler ones, an attorney may charge a flat fee. This means that the client pays one amount for all of the services provided. This is not a common fee structure in employment law cases because the issues are often complex and require substantial litigation to resolve.

Where Can You Find the Right Attorney?

It is important to have the assistance of an California contract lawyer for any employment law issues you may be facing. It may be overwhelming to begin the search process for an attorney.

Many individuals ask their friends and family. Other individuals search on the internet. However, these methods do not provide much information regarding the individual attorneys.

Every case is unique and it may be difficult to find an attorney who can handle all aspects of your case. An easy and convenient way to find the right attorney for you is by using LegalMatch.com’s referral service.

It is free to submit your case to LegalMatch and only takes a few minutes. Within approximately 24 hours, you will receive information from multiple attorneys who believe they can handle your case.

You will also be provided with background, education, and fee information as well as ratings from other LegalMatch users. LegalMatch is a simple and cost-effective way to find the lawyer who is right for your case.