Chami Law provides aggressive representation to individuals throughout Southern California who have suffered from employment discrimination, sexual harassment, wrongful termination, and related harms.
Discrimination and Wrongful Termination
When there is no contract setting out the terms of employment, an employee is said to be hired “at-will,” and is therefore subject to termination at any time for good, bad, or no reason. Yet several exceptions to this doctrine have been made by state and federal laws, which have established reasons for which it would be illegal or against public policy to terminate an employee. Most prominent among these reasons is discrimination based on one’s membership in a legally-protected class, such as race, color, national origin, gender, age, religion, or disability. An employer may not fire an employee for any of those reasons. In fact, any type of adverse employment action, such as not hiring, demoting, transferring, or denying a raise based on the above characteristics, is most likely illegal employment discrimination.
An employee who has been unlawfully discriminated against in any of the above ways may file a lawsuit for wrongful termination, and may be entitled to reinstatement with back pay and interest, as well as other monetary damages.
Whistleblowing and Retaliation
Many laws prohibit termination or other adverse action as retaliation for reporting violations of the law or safety standards, either to the employer’s chain of command or the appropriate government authorities. Known as whistleblowing, this activity is protected in most instances.
Sexual harassment is another type of illegal discrimination. In the traditional type of quid pro quo harassment, the supervisor threatens the subordinate with unfavorable job treatment – or conditions favorable treatment – based on the subordinate’s compliance with requests for sexual favors or other romantic involvement.
The law also recognizes sexual harassment through the creation of a hostile environment, which involves unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature that is so severe and pervasive that it creates a threatening or intimidating atmosphere. A hostile environment may be the product of offensive touching, rude comments, obscene gestures, or inappropriate graphic materials present in the workplace. Moreover, a hostile environment can be created not only by the supervisor but by co-workers as well. Harassment in this context can be conducted by females on males as well as male to female, and by members of the same sex as well.
Family Leave Discrimination (FMLA/CFRA)
Employers are prohibited from discriminating against employees who utilize their right to family medical leave. The FMLA and CFRA provide that a full-time employee with at least 12 months consecutive service may take a period of up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave for the purpose of personal medical leave (such as pregnancy or other serious medical conditions) or family medical leave (such as to care for parent or other immediate family member) without being terminated, demoted or otherwise discriminated against. However, many employers are notorious for violating CFRA and FMLA laws in Southern California.
When wrongful termination or workplace discrimination claims arise following a return from family medical leave, the employer must prove that the termination or adverse employment action was the result of a non-family leave related issue. At Chami Law we investigate whether the employer’s stated reason for the adverse employment action (e.g. termination or demotion) was actually a pretext for an illegal or discriminatory motive.
Free Initial Consultation and Case Evaluation
There are time limits for filing statutory claims under the Labor Code and other Codes protecting workers’ rights — some as little as six months. Chami Law represents both individuals and groups of employees who have been victimized by their employers. If you believe that you have been the victim of unlawful employment discrimination or another wrongful practice in the workplace, contact the offices of Chami Law for a free consultation regarding your rights.