You may be asking yourself, "What is employment law"? and "What kind of employment lawyer do I need"?
Employment law is a complex field of law that governs the relationship between employers and employees. Specifically, it deals with the rights of employees and the responsibilities of employers. Employment law is a broad field of law comprised of numerous substantive issues regarding the employment relationship. These substantive issues are enacted into law by state and federal legislatures and codified by state and federal statutes and regulations. State and federal courts interpret these numerous laws creating precedent. Administrative agencies such as California's Department of Fair Employment and Housing and the EEOC also enforce these laws alongside employee-side employment attorneys such as The Sampath Law Firm (SLF) and have their own administrative exhaustion requirements before an employee can file a lawsuit.
Employees face a wide range of issues and not all employment lawyers focus on or specialize in the same issues. Therefore, it is important to find the right attorney for your situation and to know your options.
For example, traditional "labor lawyers" focus on working with union employees whose employment is governed by a collective bargaining agreement and other specific laws and procedures. While some employment lawyers have practices similar to SLF and typically do not represent union workers, other lawyers have practices that focus on labor law and union representation. Based on your specific employment status as either a union or non-union employee, an important question to ask an attorney when you call or email them is whether they represent union workers.
Other employees may face issues regarding a workplace injury and need help filing a worker's compensation claim and lawsuit. These employees should specifically look for a "worker's compensation attorney". SLF does not engage in worker's compensation representation. However, sometimes our clients have an existing worker's compensation case with another attorney and have a cross-over disability discrimination claim. It is always important to tell an employment attorney whether or not you have an existing worker's compensation claim or a case pending.
Many employees work for public entities (for example, a city, county, state, or the federal government) and should seek an attorney who specializes in representing public sector employees due to the special rules and laws governing these workers.
Employment law, particularly in California, is a complex and ever-changing field of law. In order to successfully vindicate your legal rights as an employee, it is important to find a firm that is up to date with new legislation and case law.
SLF focuses on the rights of employees to be free from unlawful employment discrimination, harassment, and/or retaliation in the workplace based on:
- Race, color
- Ancestry, national origin
- Religion, creed
- Age (40 and over)
- Disability, mental and physical
- Sex, gender (including pregnancy, childbirth, breastfeeding, or related medical conditions)
- Sexual orientation
- Gender identity, gender expression
- Medical condition
- Marital status
- Taking a Protected Leave
While California is an at-will state and most employers (not governed by collective bargaining agreements) can fire employees for any reason and employees can leave their company for any reason, an employer cannot improperly discipline or wrongfully terminate a worker or for an unlawful reason. California employees are fortunate; the Golden State is one of the most pro-employee states (if not the most) in the country. Contact us today to schedule an appointment to understand if your employment rights have been violated.