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When most people seek to gain employment, they are probably not thinking about whether or not they are an “at-will” employee. However, it is important to understand that California is an “at-will” employment state. This means that either you or your employer may decide to end the employment arrangement at any time and for just about any reason. However, there are certain ways in which termination could violate various state or federal laws. Here, we want to discuss what it means to be an at-will employee in California, as well as some of the reasons why it may be illegal to end a person’s employment.
In general, most jobs in the state of California will be considered at-will. This type of employment has benefits, both for the employee and the employer. For the employee, this means that they can leave their job at any time and for any reason. They owe no obligation to let the employer know that they are leaving (though giving notice is customary), and an employee must be paid for any time they have worked already, even if they do quit their job.
Conversely, an employer generally owes no obligation to an employee. Employers can terminate workers anytime they wish and for almost any reason. While it may not seem fair, a person could lose their job for the simple reason that their employer does not like the T-shirt that an employee is wearing for their off-duty social media posts.
One of the major alternatives to at-will employment is if there is employment by contract. Employment contracts are recognized under California law, and both the employer and the employee must abide by the terms of that contract. Typically, employment contracts will include a certain length of time for the employment as well as an agreed-upon compensation amount. Employment contracts may even include severance agreements that the employer is required to abide by. If an employee in California signs a contract, then they are generally not an at-will employee.
Employers often make use of handbooks or other written policies that layout terms of disciplinary processes and termination procedures. These employee handbooks or policies will generally be construed to mean they are contracts between the employer and the employees. These handbooks and policies may state that an employer can terminate an employee for “any reason” or they may lay out a step-by-step process for termination.
Both state and federal laws prevent employers from terminating an employee based on certain discriminatory reasons. This includes discrimination based on a person’s color, race, national origin, age, disability, gender, pregnancy status, marital status, religion, and more. It is also illegal to fire an employee if that employee has raised concerns about workplace safety, illegal activities in the workplace, unfair wage practices, or discrimination/harassment in the workplace. An employer may not terminate an employee for requesting allowable leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act or for filing a valid workers’ compensation claim.
If you believe you have been terminated from your employment for an illegal reason, you should seek assistance from a skilled Orange County work injury lawyer as soon as possible. These cases can become incredibly complex, but an attorney can conduct an investigation into your entire case. You may be entitled to significant compensation if you have been wrongfully terminated. Just because California is an at-will state, this does not give employers the right to act illegally.Read More
If you or somebody you love sustains a workplace injury or illness, you should be entitled to recover workers’ compensation benefits. The workers’ compensation system in California is a “no-fault” system, which means that an employee is entitled to benefits regardless of who caused the injury. There are very few circumstances in which a person is not eligible for workers’ comp benefits after sustaining an injury at work. However, workers’ compensation insurance carriers and employers can be incredibly difficult to deal with, and it may be necessary to secure assistance from a skilled Orange County workers’ compensation lawyer to help with your case.
The absolute best time to seek assistance from a workers’ compensation attorney in California is as soon as you have sustained a workplace injury or illness. An attorney with experience handling these cases will be in the best position to guide you through this entire process in order to secure full compensation for your losses.
Your first step in this process will be to seek medical assistance as soon as possible after your injury. This is recommended even if your work injury is relatively minor. You should also report the incident to your employer as soon as possible and no later than 30 days from the date the injury occurs or 30 days from when your doctor tells you that you have sustained a work-related injury or illness.
By working with an attorney early in the process, you can be sure that your claim will be filed on time. However, even if you do not secure an attorney right after your injury, there are various reasons why you may need to consider doing so. This could include:
You should also consider working with an attorney if you feel uncomfortable handling your claim in any way. This process can become complicated, particularly if you think the employer or insurance carrier is looking for a reason to deny your benefits. If the insurance carrier pushes back on your claim, you will need to be in constant contact with your lawyer. Insurance carriers will typically do whatever they can to avoid making payments in these cases.
A workers’ compensation hearing is not always going to be necessary. However, if the insurance carrier or employer denies a claim or is not willing to pay enough to handle your expenses, your case may need to go through the appeals process and possibly escalate your case to a workers’ comp hearing. The first step in the workers’ compensation appeals process in California is a mediation hearing, which is an informal conference. In these situations, a neutral third party will attempt to help resolve the dispute between you and your insurance carrier.
However, if mediation is unsuccessful, the case will need to go before a workers’ compensation judge to be heard. At a hearing, you and your insurance carrier will have the opportunity to present evidence and testimony to the judge. After the hearing is completed, the judge will review all the evidence and issue a written decision. If you do not agree with the judge’s decision, you will be able to appeal to the First District Court of Appeals.Read More
There is a difference between being fired for a job and being wrongfully terminated. While being fired is not terribly uncommon, a person who is wrongfully terminated is one who has lost their job for a reason considered illegal in the eyes of the law. The person who has been wrongfully terminated may be entitled to significant compensation through a civil wrongful termination lawsuit. It is important to understand what wrongful termination is in California before deciding whether to move forward with the lawsuit. It is strongly advised that you work with a skilled Orange County workers’ comp attorney before making any decisions regarding your case.
There are various reasons for termination that may be considered “wrongful” and thereby illegal in California. While FL may be an at-will employment state, if a person loses their job for the following reasons, it may result in a wrongful termination case:
There may be various types of compensation available to those who are successful in their civil wrongful termination case. This could include:
It is incredibly important to work with a skilled California employment law attorney if you think you have a valid wrongful termination case. These claims can become incredibly difficult, but an attorney will have the resources and legal experience necessary to conduct a full investigation into your case.Read More
Severance pay is compensation that employers provide to employee upon termination of their employment. Under California law, businesses are generally not required to offer severance pay to a terminated employee. Similarly, the U.S. Department of Labor does not generally require that employers offer severance pay to employees. However, that does not mean there are no circumstances in which a person in California will receive severance pay. If there is an existing contract that outlines a severance pay agreement between an employer and an employee, this creates a legal obligation to satisfy the payment terms.
Severance pay, commonly referred to as a severance package, is compensation that an employer will pay to the worker after the worker is terminated, or is about to be terminated, from their job. Severance pay is typically made through monetary means, though it could include extended benefits such as retirement account payments, stock options, health insurance benefits, help finding a new job, or assistance in training for a new vocation.
In California, severance pay also includes paying out any unused paid time off (PTO), sick leave, or vacation pay.
In many cases, a severance payment will be made only upon the employee agreeing not to pursue any future legal action against the employer. Severance agreements will often include the following:
If you are being offered a severance agreement by your employer, it is strongly advised that you seek assistance from an Orange County workers’ compensation lawyer as soon as possible. An attorney can review the terms of a severance agreement to ensure that you are being treated fairly by your soon to be former employer. While severance agreements are not required in California, any severance agreement that is offered or made is considered a legal agreement between two parties. Therefore, you should have a legal expert review the terms of the agreement.Read More
Sustaining an injury can be a major setback for a victim. Injuries are more than just a simple inconvenience. Anybody who has been injured in an accident caused by the careless or negligent actions of another person should be able to recover compensation for their losses. While many injuries caused by other parties are relatively minor, that is not always the case. A personal injury can result in significant financial disruption for a victim and their family.
If you or somebody you care about has been injured by the negligence of another party, you may wonder how much compensation you will receive. Here, we want to focus on the various types of compensation that may be recoverable in the aftermath of sustaining an injury.
In the aftermath of sustaining an injury caused by the careless or negligent actions of another person, business, or entity, a person may be entitled to various economic and non-economic damages.
Economic damages are those that are considered calculable. That is, an injury victim and their Orange County personal injury attorney will be able to calculate these expenses by gathering various bills, receipts, and pay stubs. Some of the most common economic damages include:
Non-economic damages are those that are going to be a bit more difficult to calculate than the compensation mentioned above. These damages are often referred to as pain and suffering damages that simply do not come with any bills or receipts. Non-economic damages are going to cover the emotional and psychological injuries as well as physical pain that a person sustains as a result of their physical injuries.
In many cases, a “multiplier method” will be used to calculate non-economic damages. This means that an injury victim’s total economic damages will be added up and then multiplied by a set number (typically 1.5 to 4) to arrive at a fair amount for their pain and suffering damages.
If a personal injury case also includes damage to property, such as a motor vehicle, the victim should be able to recover compensation to either replace or repair the property.
If an injury case involves extreme carelessness, gross negligence, or intentional actions on the part of the defendant, then punitive damages may be awarded. The damages are not intended to cover a victim’s losses. Rather, they are designed to punish the defendant to ensure that this type of behavior does not occur again.Read More
If you or somebody you care about has been injured due to the careless or negligent actions of another party, it may be necessary to seek compensation through an insurance settlement or a personal injury lawsuit. The vast majority of personal injury cases are resolved through settlements with insurance carriers. While these cases are not always easy, personal injury victims need to know how quickly they can expect to receive their settlement check when their matter is resolved.
Once a final settlement amount is agreed upon with the insurance carrier for a personal injury case, there are various administrative steps that the personal injury victim needs to be aware of.
Structured settlements are an arrangement that involves a victim receiving portions of their settlement over longer periods of time. Typically, a structured settlement occurs when the victim is a minor or has sustained a catastrophic injury that involves ongoing medical treatment. Structured settlements are paid and a guaranteed amount on a fixed schedule. For example, an injury victim may receive a portion of their settlement every month or annually.Read More
If you or somebody you care about is injured by the careless or negligent actions of another person, business, or entity, you may wonder how long it will take for you to secure the compensation you need. The timeline of a personal injury case will vary depending on the circumstances related to each particular situation. There are many factors that go into successfully resolving a personal injury claim. Here, we want to discuss the typical timeline of a personal injury case.
The timeline of a personal injury case begins the moment an accident or injury occurs. The first step that an injury victim needs to take is to seek medical attention immediately. By seeking immediate medical attention, an injury victim is linking their injuries to the incident, giving them a stronger personal injury claim.
Cases that are resolved through insurance carriers before a lawsuit is filed will generally conclude much quicker than cases that officially proceed to litigation. A personal injury case settled through insurance carriers may last a few months or up to a year, but cases that go to trial may not be resolved for well over a year or more.
Regardless of the timeline for your particular personal injury case, it is incredibly important to work with a skilled personal injury lawyer. An attorney will have the experience and resources necessary to help you every step of the way. Your attorney can advise you as to what path is best for your case. While the timeline for a full trial may indeed be longer, the final settlement could be much higher depending on the facts of your particular case.Read More
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), traumatic brain injury (TBI) is a major cause of death and disability across the country. These injuries occur in a variety of ways, and they can leave victims and families with immense pain and suffering. A traumatic brain injury is generally the result of a sudden blow or bump to the head that disrupts normal brain functioning. TBIs can range in severity from mild to severe, and the effects of these injuries can be either short- or long-term. In some cases, a TBI victim is left with lifelong disabilities.
A mild traumatic brain injury is referred to as a concussion. These injuries are incredibly common, particularly amongs those who play sports. In general, a concussion involves a change in a person’s mental status or a loss of consciousness that lasts for less than 30 minutes. Concussions generally reveal no obvious damage on a CAT scan or an MRI. However, concussion victims can still experience a range of symptoms, including the following:
Most concussion victims will not experience all of these symptoms at one time, and these symptoms may not appear until days after the injury occurs. It is important for anybody who receives a sharp blow or bump to the head to seek medical assistance in order to determine whether they have sustained a concussion.
Moderate traumatic brain injuries typically involve many of the same symptoms described above, though they will not go away as quickly, and they could worsen over time. Severe traumatic brain injuries generally involve the loss of consciousness for six or more hours. The impact of a severe TBI will depend on the severity of the initial injury and how quickly a person receives adequate medical care. A severe TBI often results in permanent loss or a lessening of cognitive or sensory functions for victims. This can include a person’s:
Unfortunately, severe traumatic brain injuries can also result in significant emotional and psychological changes for the victim. This can include the following:
Finally, a severe traumatic brain injury can result in significant physical changes for victims. This can include, but is not limited to, the following:
The treatment for a traumatic brain injury will vary depending on the circumstances surrounding each particular situation. Some people are able to make significant recoveries after undergoing rehabilitation and physical therapy. However, some traumatic brain injury victims may require lifelong medical care as a result of their injury and subsequent disabilities.
If you or a loved one have suffered a brain injury as a result of someone else’s negligence, contact an Orange County personal injury lawyer for legal assistance.Read More