Got Beef With Your Boss? Here Are 7 Signs It’s Time to Call an Employment Lawyer

Dealing with issues at work can be really frustrating. As an employee, you have rights. But if your employer is violating those rights, things can get complicated fast.

That’s when it helps to have an experienced employment lawyer in your corner.

Let’s walk through some common situations where legal help comes in handy. Our employment lawyers will explain in simple terms and guide you on getting the help you need.

You Got Fired for No Good Reason

Getting suddenly terminated stings no matter what. But it also may be illegal if there isn’t a valid reason behind it. See, in California, most employees are considered “at-will.” Essentially, employers can fire people for any reason or no reason at all. It’s harsh, I know.
However, there are some exceptions.

If you get fired because of a discriminatory reason or as retaliation for “blowing the whistle” on the employer’s illegal activities), that could amount to an unlawful termination. An employee’s attorney can dig into the details and determine if your case crosses legal lines. If so, we can walk you through options like negotiating a settlement or filing a lawsuit.

Your Boss is Harassing or Discriminating Against You

Being treated unfairly because of race, gender, age over 40, disability status, or other protected classes is illegal. It violates anti-discrimination laws at both federal and state levels. If you’re dealing with harassment, discrimination, or a hostile work environment, don’t suffer in silence. An experienced employee’s lawyer can be your advocate.

Here’s what they can do: submit official complaints to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) or the California Civil Rights Department (CRD), demand an internal investigation at your company, and/or represent you in settlement talks or lawsuits. You deserve to feel safe and respected at work.

You’re Not Getting Paid for All Your Hard Work

Nothing kills morale faster than wage theft. When employers don’t pay you properly for regular hours or overtime, they violate California and federal labor laws. And you have every right to recover those unpaid wages, plus penalties and fees.

An employment attorney can help you recover these unpaid wages through a demand letter made to your employer . They can also file claims with the labor commissioner’s office on your behalf. If needed, they’ll stand by your side in court until you get the back pay you deserve. Don’t let yourself get shortchanged.

Your Employment Contract Has Been Violated

Signed an employment agreement with certain terms, only to have your employer break them? Yeah, no bueno. Common examples are not receiving a promised bonus or commission or not getting severance pay after termination.

If your written contract has been breached, a lawyer can firmly remind the company they need to honor it. Official communications from an employee’s lawyer often motivates employers to make things right. If not, attorneys can take the case to court and fight to enforce the agreement. You worked hard; now, make sure you get what you were promised in writing.

You’re Being Punished for Whistleblowing

Punishing employees for reporting unlawful activities – also called retaliation – is illegal. If you find yourself demoted, denied raises, disciplined, or treated poorly after calling out misconduct, that’s a huge red flag. Don’t let them intimidate you into silence.

Fight back with help from an employment lawyer. They can demand that the employer open an investigation, interview relevant witnesses, and provide reasonable explanation for your demotion or termination. If the employer cannot, the employee’s attorney can demand you would have evidence of proof that you’re being retaliated against. Then, they’ll force the company to make things right through settlement negotiations or formal claims. You spoke up for a good reason – don’t let them get away with retaliation.

You’re Dealing With an Unsafe Work Environment

Health and safety should be a top priority at any job. By law, you have the right to safe working conditions free of hazards. If your employer ignores serious issues like toxic chemicals, faulty equipment, harassment, or other dangers, they need a wake-up call.

An experienced employment attorney can hold them accountable. They can file OSHA complaints on your behalf, demand stronger safety protocols, and even pursue legal action if needed. Don’t tolerate risks – you shouldn’t have to choose between a paycheck and your well-being.

Your Boss Won’t Allow Time Off Under Federal or State Law

If you need extended time away from work for a health issue, federal and state laws have your back. FMLA, the federal Family and Medical Leave Act, guarantees job-protected leave for medical reasons. Qualified employees can take up to 12 weeks off without losing their position. In California, the state law CFRA (California Family Rights Act) provides similar protections.

CFRA authorizes eligible employees to take up a total of 12 weeks of paid or unpaid job-protected leave during a 12-month period. While on leave, employees keep the same employer-paid health benefits they had while working. Eligible employees can take the leave for reasons such as the birth or adoption of a child, to care for an immediate family member with a serious health condition, or when the employee has a serious health condition. But sometimes, companies deny or interfere with FMLA and CFRA rights unfairly.

If your request for medical leave under FMLA or CFRA was rejected, talk to an attorney. They can verify if you’re legally eligible based on hours worked, then formally remind your employer they must comply with both laws. If they refuse, the lawyer can file a claim with the Department of Labor or sue the company for damages.

Dealing with employment issues is the worst, we know. But in times like these, working with an experienced lawyer can make a huge difference. Don’t wait until something escalates – get legal advice early. The sooner you talk to an attorney, the more options you’ll have.

Contact TONG LAW to speak with an experienced employment lawyer.

Author Bio

Vincent Tong

Vincent Tong is the CEO and Managing Partner of TONG LAW, a business and employment law firm located in Oakland, CA. Vincent is a fierce advocate for employees facing discrimination and wrongful termination. With several successful jury trial victories and favorable settlements, he has earned a strong reputation for delivering exceptional results for his clients.

In addition, Vincent provides invaluable counsel to businesses, guiding them on critical matters such as formation and governance, regulatory compliance, and protection of intellectual property assets. His depth of experience allows him to anticipate risks, devise strategies to avoid legal pitfalls, and empower clients to pursue their goals confidently.

Vincent currently serves as the 2021 President of the Board of Directors for the Alameda County Bar Association and sits on the Executive Board for the California Employment Lawyers Association. Recognized for outstanding skills and client dedication, he has consecutively earned the Super Lawyers’ Rising Star honor since 2015, reserved for the top 2.5% of attorneys. He also received the Distinguished Service Award for New Attorney from the Alameda County Bar Association in 2016. He is licensed to practice before all California state courts and the United States District Court for the Northern and Central Districts of California.

LinkedIn | State Bar Association | Super Lawyers | Google