You may have been employed for decades, but there’s a good chance that you don’t know your employment rights. And that’s a huge mistake, as you need to recognize the signs of unlawful conduct in the workplace to know when you should OR shouldn’t sue your employer.
Today, our Pasadena employment law attorney Jeffrey Rager is going to review the most common misconceptions about employment law and employee rights in California.
Misconception #1: I can’t be fired for no reason
Just because your employment was terminated for an absurd reason or no reason at all doesn’t give you ground to file a wrongful termination lawsuit against the employer.
That’s because the vast majority of workers in Pasadena and all across California are employed at an “at-will” basis, which means you can be fired for just about anything (or for nothing at all).
However, it’s important to understand that there are certain things even at-will employees cannot be fired for, including but not limited to discriminatory reasons, harassment, retaliation for whistleblowing, breach of contract, and others.
Misconception #2: I have a right to earn the same as my coworkers
Unless your employer fails to provide equal pay on the basis of gender (when men and women doing the same job) or you’re an older employee who is earning less than your younger co-worker in the same position, laws guaranteeing equal pay may not apply to your situation.
Just because your coworker who does the same job is earning more than you doesn’t necessarily mean that your employer has violated employment laws in California, as that works with a higher salary may have more experience or more seniority than you.
Whatever is the case, it’s advised to speak to a Pasadena employment law lawyer to find out whether or not you can sue your employer alleging equal pay violations.
Misconception #3: My employer can’t cut my salary
It would be naïve to think that you can sue your employer for reducing your pay. If the financial performance of your employer’s business is going through a rough patch, the reduction of your pay is most likely justified and legal.
However, if you’re the only one facing a pay reduction – and you suspect discrimination may be a contributing factor – it may be illegal to cut your pay. Also, it would be illegal to reduce your salary if you were a member of a labor union, have an employment contract or a collective-bargaining agreement.
Misconception #4: My employer cannot read my emails
If we’ve learned anything from the email scandal involving former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is that you must exercise extreme caution when sending or receiving emails through a company server. Or surfing the Internet at work, for that matter.
Here’s the thing: your emails bound to a company server are not your private property.
Misconception #5: I’m entitled to workers’ compensation for any injury
Not all workplace injuries result in workers’ compensation benefits. In order to be entitled to workers’ comp benefits, you must prove that your injury occurred in the workplace (while you engaged in your work duties) or was caused by your job (that doesn’t necessarily mean that your injury must occur at work, as some on-the-job injuries may manifest themselves when you’re at home or develop gradually and overtime).
In any case, it’s highly advised to get a free consultation from a skilled employment law attorney in Pasadena to find out whether or not you can recover workers’ comp benefits.
If any element of employment law seems confusing or you aren’t sure how it’s related to your specific situation, contact a lawyer. Call our attorneys at Rager & Yoon – Employment Lawyers at 310-527-6994 or fill out this contact form for a free case evaluation.