Employees sue their employers for a variety of reasons, and generally seek advice from an employment attorney if they have a sense that their rights have been violated due to a protected characteristic. Many employees do not know what federal or California employment laws entail, but want to ensure that justice is served and their dignity is restored. If you are thinking about suing your boss, it can be helpful to know some of the most common reasons why other employees sue their employers.
Why Do Employees Sue Their Employer?
If you are being mistreated by management or your supervisor, it can be emotional, dehumanizing, and even illegal if the shoddy treatment is considered a violation of California employment law. Unlawful employee mistreatment can come in many forms such as a demotion, pay cuts, and unfair performance reviews due to an employee's membership in a protected class. Sometimes the mistreatment is used to make an employee so miserable at work that he or she "voluntarily" quits - which could warrant suing your employer for constructive discharge.
Sometimes employees find themselves in a position where they want to defend a coworker who is facing discrimination, blow the whistle on their employer who may be engaging in illegal workplace activities, or file an internal complaint against their employer for mistreating them. And often, standing up for a coworker or yourself can result in workplace retaliation. Common forms of workplace retaliation can range anywhere from verbal abuse, exclusion from workplace activities, getting the "cold shoulder" from your boss, and even wrongful termination.
- Discrimination and Harassment
Many times employees feel undervalued, abused, and embarrassed if their employer subjects them to discrimination or harassment in the workplace. If you are being subjected to offensive jokes, slurs, or insults due to your membership of a protected class, then you may have a valid workplace harassment case on your hands. Similarly, mistreatment such as denial of a raise, denial of a promotion, or being fired due to a protected characteristic can often be a good reason to file a workplace discrimination claim.
- Wage and Hour Issues
Employees are hired to help companies make more money. But sometimes, these companies do not pay their workers fairly, deny meal and rest breaks, or misclassify employees as exempt. When this happens, an employer could be violating the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and a variety of California wage and hour laws. If you are not being paid fairly, are a victim of wage theft, misclassified, denied overtime, or denied breaks, you may be able to file a wage and hour claim.
- Denied Reasonable Accommodation
Some California employees may need to file a claim against their employer for being denied reasonable accommodation due to a disability or their religion. Under federal and California disability laws your employer is required to provide reasonable accommodations to qualified employees with disabilities unless doing so would pose undue hardship on the employer. California also extends reasonable accommodation laws to those who ask for job modifications for religious purposes. For instance, if you need time off for a religious observance, or need your employer to make an exception to the employee dress code so you can wear religion-based attire, if the request is reasonable, your employer must accommodate.
Sometimes employers let employees go for unlawful reasons. Because California is an at-will state, your employer can fire you at any time and for any reason without warning or due process. However, if you are fired due to a protected characteristic or if your employer violates anti-discrimination, harassment, and retaliation laws, you should file a wrongful termination claim.
- Bully Bosses Who Go Unpunished
Workplace bullies can sometimes be a manager or supervisor and employees will often file workplace harassment suits for bullying. If your boss is making your work environment hostile and violating federal or California employment laws with their bullying behaviors, then you may be able to sue your boss for being a bully. While unfortunate, there are many managers and supervisors who feel they can simply ignore company policies and employment laws due to their status at a company. In fact, employees often sue their employers when human resources departments fail to do their jobs by favoring managers over employees.
Sue Your Employer in California
If you feel that your employer is violating California or federal employment laws, you may be able to file a complaint with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, or the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing. The experienced California employment attorneys at Hennig Ruiz will ensure that your complaint is filed with the right agency and on time. Contact us today for a free consultation.