In the News

Haeggquist & Eck Represents Detectives in Sexual Harassment Suit Against San Diego County Sherriff’s Department

Haeggquist & Eck Partner, Jenna Rangel, is proudly representing two former San Diego Sherriff’s Department detectives in a Sexual Harassment suit against San Diego County and former Sgt., Shawn Silva. Find out the full details below.

If you have been sexually harassed in your place of work, our San Diego sexual harassment attorneys at Haeggquist & Eck, LLP want to help. Contact us today to discuss your options.

​Overview of California Minimum Wage and Overtime Requirements

No matter your occupation, you want to ensure that you receive payment for the time you worked. If your employer asks you to work overtime, you want to ensure that your paycheck reflects each hour – and partial hour – you work overtime. When employers fail to pay employees their overtime and minimum wage requirements, it is not just unethical but illegal in California.

Federal and state laws require employers to pay their employees minimum and overtime wages. When your employer violates your wage rights, you need help from an experienced wage and hour lawyer to review your case and fight for your rights to proper compensation.

What is the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA)?

The federal legislation that helps establish mandatory wage laws for employees is the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). This federal law incorporated mandatory minimum wage and overtime pay requirements for all federal, state, and local government employees and the private sector. This law entitles all non-exempt employees who work over 40 hours per week to one-and-a-half times their regular pay.

California minimum wage requirements

In addition to the FLSA, California state law requires employers to pay employees a required minimum wage rate. California laws are more employee-friendly than federal law (or most other states), so the minimum wage requirements are stricter in the Golden State.

The minimum wage for companies with more than 25 employees is $15 an hour, while smaller companies must pay $14 per hour. Certain localities have higher wages, so employers and employees should stay aware of state and local laws. The minimum wage laws routinely increase in California, and employees should always know what they deserve per hour and ensure they receive the proper wages.

Exempt employees

Federal and state laws require all employees to receive the minimum wage. This means that even if an employee agrees to work for less than the wage rate, they cannot lawfully do so. Each employee should receive at least the minimum wage rate except for a few groups working specific jobs.

Some workers who are exempt from the California minimum wage requirements include:

  • National service program participants
  • Mentally or physically disabled employees participating in authorized nonprofits and rehabilitation institutions
  • Student employees
  • Camp counselors
  • Organized camp program counselors
  • Outside salespeople

If you do not work in one of the above professions, you should receive the minimum wage – or more – for every hour you work for your employer. If you do not, you might have a wage claim against your employer, and you should seek a consultation with a wage and hour attorney immediately.

Additional exceptions to minimum wage requirements

In addition to the other groups of exempt employees, independent contractors are also exempt from receiving minimum wage rates from employers. Independent contractors are workers who perform services for other employers while maintaining full control of how they work. Because independent contractors are not under the control of an employer, they are not entitled to the benefits that other employees will receive while working with the employer.

Employers will often misclassify employees as independent contractors to avoid paying employment taxes and the wages and benefits employees deserve. Employers can be liable for this deliberate violation when they misclassify employees as independent contractors. If you believe a company misclassified you and denied you proper wages, seek legal help.

Overtime pay requirements

Just like in other states, California considers eight hours a regular workday. Employees who work past 40 hours in a workweek have the legal right to receive one and one-half times the regular rate of pay they earn. Employees who work up to 12 hours in a workday are entitled to this overtime pay requirement. Employees who work past 12 hours in a workday are entitled to receive double their regular pay rate.

Exemptions to overtime pay requirements

As with the minimum wage, not every employee receives overtime pay.

The law exempts these employees from receiving overtime pay:

  • Administrative employees
  • Computer employees
  • Executive employees
  • Licensed professionals
  • Outside sales employees

In California, exempt employees must earn at least $1,120 a week if employed by a company with 25 employees or less. Workers at a company with 26 or more employees must earn at least $1,200 weekly.

Employees should expect to receive fair pay for the hours of overtime they worked, regardless of whether the employer authorized overtime or not. That means that if an employer withholds an employee’s overtime pay for working unauthorized overtime, they can be legally liable for wage and hour violations. Employees should receive mandatory overtime pay rates when they work overtime.

When employees must receive overtime wages

Another wage and hour violation that employers can commit is delaying overtime wages to employees. Employees must receive overtime wages by the next payroll period after they earn them. An exception might allow employers to delay payment until the second-next payroll period. When employers unlawfully delay the overtime wages that employees deserve, that is a serious wage and hour violation, and employers should face liability.

Violating overtime and minimum wage laws in California

There are several reasons employers violate their employees’ wage and hour laws. The main reason is to save money. Other reasons include discriminating against certain employees based on race, age, and gender. Some employers make unintentional mistakes while dealing with payroll and forget to include the overtime wages for every employee.

Regardless, you have the right to sue when your employer violates your wage and hour rights. It does not matter whether the violation was intentional you have the right to hold your employer liable for unpaid wages.

Employers violate minimum wage and overtime pay laws by:

  • Misclassifying employees as independent contractors
  • Failing to pay the standard minimum wage rate to employees
  • Failing to pay employees when they work during rest or meal breaks
  • Illegal deductions from an employee’s wages
  • Failing to keep an accurate record of hours worked or pay for all time worked

Employers can be liable in civil court when they commit these wage and hour violations. If you believe your employer has violated your wage and overtime rights, be sure to speak with a wage and hour attorney as soon as possible about your situation.

Legal options when you believe your employer violated your wage rights

When your employer withheld your wages or otherwise failed to pay you the wages you earned, they committed a wage violation under FLSA and California law. There are different methods to enforce your rights and seek legal relief. A wage and hour lawyer can explain your legal options in further detail, as your wage claim can proceed in several ways.

Informal negotiations

The first way is through informal negotiations and a settlement, which many employers may offer to avoid a trial. Simply having a lawyer contact your employer might be enough to resolve the matter.

Employers often make errors they will correct to avoid further legal action. Your lawyer will inform your employer how much you need for your unpaid wages, and your employer might pay you shortly to resolve the matter quickly and quietly. Avoiding a public wage case can protect the employer’s resources and reputation, which is often where the process starts.

Labor Commissioner or DOL claims

Your attorney can help you file a wage claim with the California Labor Commissioner’s Office or the Department of Labor (DOL). These agencies enforce wage and hour laws and investigate employers for violations. Because California wage laws are stricter than FLSA, many employees file wage claims on the state level instead of with the federal DOL. In other states, federal claims might be more common.

Your lawyer can handle the entire process of filing your claim and navigating the investigation process on your behalf. Suppose the Labor Commissioner’s Office finds your employer violated the state Labor Code. In that case, it can impose penalties on your employer and order the company to pay your unpaid wages, among other financial recovery.

Civil Lawsuit

Your lawyer might also file a lawsuit in civil court to seek your unpaid wages. Your case will follow standard litigation procedures, including a trial if necessary. Your employer might agree to settle during litigation, or you might have to put your case in the hands of a judge or jury.

Some wage violations affect numerous employees from the same organization, as an employer’s policies might deprive large groups of their rightful wages. When this happens, your lawyer might recommend a class action lawsuit, which combines all of your wage claims into one large lawsuit against your employer.

Why do you need a wage and hour lawyer?

Because the Labor Commissioner regularly oversees wage and hour issues and enforces the law, you may think you do not need to hire a wage and hour lawyer. This is incorrect, as hiring a wage and hour lawyer to handle your lawsuit will benefit you greatly.

A wage and hour lawyer can explore many options to obtain significant outcomes that representatives from the Labor Commissioner cannot. A wage and hour lawyer can protect your legal rights and secure the compensation you deserve.

Laying out your legal options

Depending on your wage and hour violation, your lawyer can decide on the best method to resolve your matter. As we discussed above, a wage claim can take many paths. Your lawyer can determine the best course of action, given your circumstances and the willingness of your employer to cooperate and admit liability.

Assessing your damages

Another way a wage and hour lawyer can help you is by assessing the damages of your lawsuit. Your lawyer can identify many damages you may not consider in your claim. In addition to the unpaid wages you seek, you can include your lawyer’s fees as damages and enforce additional legal penalties employers should pay under the law. California, for example, has a “waiting time” penalty where an employer must pay the equivalent of 30 days of an employee’s unpaid income.

Providing personal attention to your lawsuit

The right wage and hour lawyer will exhaust all options possible to recover the most compensation from your lawsuit. If settlement negotiations do not work, they can move on to a Labor Commissioner claim or lawsuit. They know your options under the law and take time to pursue every available avenue to obtain your unpaid wages.

Operating on a contingency fee basis

Another benefit of hiring a wage and hour lawyer is that they work on a contingency fee basis. With a contingency fee arrangement, you agree to pay your lawyers’ fees from a percentage of your compensation when you win your lawsuit. Instead of paying hourly fees, which can become expensive for some clients, your lawyer will set up an arrangement to receive a percentage of your compensation. This arrangement is beneficial for both you and your wage and hour lawyer. You do not stress about paying your lawyer out of pocket, and your lawyer will do their best to help you obtain maximum compensation.

Consult with an experienced wage and hour lawyer today

No matter your occupation, you want to ensure that you receive payment for the time you worked. If your employer asks you to work overtime, you want to ensure that your paycheck reflects each hour – and partial hour – you work overtime. When employers fail to pay employees their overtime and minimum wage requirements, it is not just unethical but illegal in California.

Federal and state laws require employers to pay their employees minimum and overtime wages. When your employer violates your wage rights, you need help from an experienced wage and hour lawyer to review your case and fight for your rights to proper compensation.

What is the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA)?

The federal legislation that helps establish mandatory wage laws for employees is the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). This federal law incorporated mandatory minimum wage and overtime pay requirements for all federal, state, and local government employees and the private sector. This law entitles all non-exempt employees who work over 40 hours per week to one-and-a-half times their regular pay.

California minimum wage requirements

In addition to the FLSA, California state law requires employers to pay employees a required minimum wage rate. California laws are more employee-friendly than federal law (or most other states), so the minimum wage requirements are stricter in the Golden State.

The minimum wage for companies with more than 25 employees is $15 an hour, while smaller companies must pay $14 per hour. Certain localities have higher wages, so employers and employees should stay aware of state and local laws. The minimum wage laws routinely increase in California, and employees should always know what they deserve per hour and ensure they receive the proper wages.

Exempt employees

Federal and state laws require all employees to receive the minimum wage. This means that even if an employee agrees to work for less than the wage rate, they cannot lawfully do so. Each employee should receive at least the minimum wage rate except for a few groups working specific jobs.

Some workers who are exempt from the California minimum wage requirements include:

  • National service program participants
  • Mentally or physically disabled employees participating in authorized nonprofits and rehabilitation institutions
  • Student employees
  • Camp counselors
  • Organized camp program counselors
  • Outside salespeople

If you do not work in one of the above professions, you should receive the minimum wage – or more – for every hour you work for your employer. If you do not, you might have a wage claim against your employer, and you should seek a consultation with a wage and hour attorney immediately.

Additional exceptions to minimum wage requirements

In addition to the other groups of exempt employees, independent contractors are also exempt from receiving minimum wage rates from employers. Independent contractors are workers who perform services for other employers while maintaining full control of how they work. Because independent contractors are not under the control of an employer, they are not entitled to the benefits that other employees will receive while working with the employer.

Employers will often misclassify employees as independent contractors to avoid paying employment taxes and the wages and benefits employees deserve. Employers can be liable for this deliberate violation when they misclassify employees as independent contractors. If you believe a company misclassified you and denied you proper wages, seek legal help.

Overtime pay requirements

Just like in other states, California considers eight hours a regular workday. Employees who work past 40 hours in a workweek have the legal right to receive one and one-half times the regular rate of pay they earn. Employees who work up to 12 hours in a workday are entitled to this overtime pay requirement. Employees who work past 12 hours in a workday are entitled to receive double their regular pay rate.

Exemptions to overtime pay requirements

As with the minimum wage, not every employee receives overtime pay.

The law exempts these employees from receiving overtime pay:

  • Administrative employees
  • Computer employees
  • Executive employees
  • Licensed professionals
  • Outside sales employees

In California, exempt employees must earn at least $1,120 a week if employed by a company with 25 employees or less. Workers at a company with 26 or more employees must earn at least $1,200 weekly.

Employees should expect to receive fair pay for the hours of overtime they worked, regardless of whether the employer authorized overtime or not. That means that if an employer withholds an employee’s overtime pay for working unauthorized overtime, they can be legally liable for wage and hour violations. Employees should receive mandatory overtime pay rates when they work overtime.

When employees must receive overtime wages

Another wage and hour violation that employers can commit is delaying overtime wages to employees. Employees must receive overtime wages by the next payroll period after they earn them. An exception might allow employers to delay payment until the second-next payroll period. When employers unlawfully delay the overtime wages that employees deserve, that is a serious wage and hour violation, and employers should face liability.

Violating overtime and minimum wage laws in California

There are several reasons employers violate their employees’ wage and hour laws. The main reason is to save money. Other reasons include discriminating against certain employees based on race, age, and gender. Some employers make unintentional mistakes while dealing with payroll and forget to include the overtime wages for every employee.

Regardless, you have the right to sue when your employer violates your wage and hour rights. It does not matter whether the violation was intentional you have the right to hold your employer liable for unpaid wages.

Employers violate minimum wage and overtime pay laws by:

  • Misclassifying employees as independent contractors
  • Failing to pay the standard minimum wage rate to employees
  • Failing to pay employees when they work during rest or meal breaks
  • Illegal deductions from an employee’s wages
  • Failing to keep an accurate record of hours worked or pay for all time worked

Employers can be liable in civil court when they commit these wage and hour violations. If you believe your employer has violated your wage and overtime rights, be sure to speak with a wage and hour attorney as soon as possible about your situation.

When your employer withheld your wages or otherwise failed to pay you the wages you earned, they committed a wage violation under FLSA and California law. There are different methods to enforce your rights and seek legal relief. A wage and hour lawyer can explain your legal options in further detail, as your wage claim can proceed in several ways.

Informal negotiations

The first way is through informal negotiations and a settlement, which many employers may offer to avoid a trial. Simply having a lawyer contact your employer might be enough to resolve the matter.

Employers often make errors they will correct to avoid further legal action. Your lawyer will inform your employer how much you need for your unpaid wages, and your employer might pay you shortly to resolve the matter quickly and quietly. Avoiding a public wage case can protect the employer’s resources and reputation, which is often where the process starts.

Labor Commissioner or DOL claims

Your attorney can help you file a wage claim with the California Labor Commissioner’s Office or the Department of Labor (DOL). These agencies enforce wage and hour laws and investigate employers for violations. Because California wage laws are stricter than FLSA, many employees file wage claims on the state level instead of with the federal DOL. In other states, federal claims might be more common.

Your lawyer can handle the entire process of filing your claim and navigating the investigation process on your behalf. Suppose the Labor Commissioner’s Office finds your employer violated the state Labor Code. In that case, it can impose penalties on your employer and order the company to pay your unpaid wages, among other financial recovery.

Civil Lawsuit

Your lawyer might also file a lawsuit in civil court to seek your unpaid wages. Your case will follow standard litigation procedures, including a trial if necessary. Your employer might agree to settle during litigation, or you might have to put your case in the hands of a judge or jury.

Some wage violations affect numerous employees from the same organization, as an employer’s policies might deprive large groups of their rightful wages. When this happens, your lawyer might recommend a class action lawsuit, which combines all of your wage claims into one large lawsuit against your employer.

Why do you need a wage and hour lawyer?

Because the Labor Commissioner regularly oversees wage and hour issues and enforces the law, you may think you do not need to hire a wage and hour lawyer. This is incorrect, as hiring a wage and hour lawyer to handle your lawsuit will benefit you greatly.

A wage and hour lawyer can explore many options to obtain significant outcomes that representatives from the Labor Commissioner cannot. A wage and hour lawyer can protect your legal rights and secure the compensation you deserve.

Depending on your wage and hour violation, your lawyer can decide on the best method to resolve your matter. As we discussed above, a wage claim can take many paths. Your lawyer can determine the best course of action, given your circumstances and the willingness of your employer to cooperate and admit liability.

Assessing your damages

Another way a wage and hour lawyer can help you is by assessing the damages of your lawsuit. Your lawyer can identify many damages you may not consider in your claim. In addition to the unpaid wages you seek, you can include your lawyer’s fees as damages and enforce additional legal penalties employers should pay under the law. California, for example, has a “waiting time” penalty where an employer must pay the equivalent of 30 days of an employee’s unpaid income.

Providing personal attention to your lawsuit

The right wage and hour lawyer will exhaust all options possible to recover the most compensation from your lawsuit. If settlement negotiations do not work, they can move on to a Labor Commissioner claim or lawsuit. They know your options under the law and take time to pursue every available avenue to obtain your unpaid wages.

Operating on a contingency fee basis

Another benefit of hiring a wage and hour lawyer is that they work on a contingency fee basis. With a contingency fee arrangement, you agree to pay your lawyers’ fees from a percentage of your compensation when you win your lawsuit. Instead of paying hourly fees, which can become expensive for some clients, your lawyer will set up an arrangement to receive a percentage of your compensation. This arrangement is beneficial for both you and your wage and hour lawyer. You do not stress about paying your lawyer out of pocket, and your lawyer will do their best to help you obtain maximum compensation.

Consult with an experienced wage and hour lawyer today

Alreen Haeggquist - Fair Labor Standards Act Wage Claims Attorney in San Diego
Alreen Haeggquist – Minimum Wage and Overtime Requirements Attorney

When your employer fails to pay you the wages you deserve, they violate your legal rights under the law and cause you financial losses. Your employer must be accountable for failing to pay you what you earned. Holding them liable is not always easy, especially when your employer denies a violation or tries to cover up unlawful conduct.

Employment law is a particular area of law with different procedures and nuances. You need a wage-and-hour attorney handling your claim from the start.

Reaching out to an experienced wage and hour lawyer will relieve stress and help you clarify how best to proceed. The sooner you speak to an experienced attorney, the sooner you will know your rights and how to protect them.

California Dentist Dr. David Evans Webb Accused of Sexually Assaulting Patients

We are currently representing a victim who reported that she believed Dr. David Webb was fondling her breasts while he was performing a dental procedure on her while she was under anesthesia. Her allegations were dismissed by Dr. David Webb at the time. After the news about the Vacaville dentist aired, she realized she was not alone in her allegations.

The Dental Board of California has been investigating Dr. Webb after receiving complaints from four victims. Court documents say that he rubbed his penis against them, while clothed, and placed it in the palm of her hand. Dr. Webb is also accused of initiating unwanted, sexually explicit, and sexually harassing conversations.

Attorney General Joshua Room filed a complaint on behalf of the victims asking for Dr. Webb’s license to be revoked. On August 16, 2022, Dr. Webb did not appear for his court hearing. KCRA1 reported:

Alleged victims who went to court, specifically to face Webb, were disappointed he did not show up in person.

“I’m here because I believe in justice, and to stop him,” said one of Webb’s accusers, who asked that KCRA 3 not identify her by name. “He’s a coward for not showing up to face his accusers, and he should have been here today.”

Cameras were not allowed inside the court to capture a brief, but tense exchange between Supervising Deputy Attorney General Joshua Room and Judge D. Scott Daniels.

Room, representing the Dental Board of California, asked that Webb’s license be suspended while the four misdemeanor cases against Webb are in the courts.

The judge denied that request.

Doctor David Evans Webb has been doing business under the fictitious name Northern California Facial & Oral Surgery, Dental Practice of David Webb DDS, FACS, FAACS located in Vacaville. In addition to providing oral surgery procedures, Dr. Webb also performed cosmetic procedures such as facial fillers. According to his LinkedIn profile, Dr. Webb was an Attending Surgeon, Oral Maxillofacial/Head and Neck Surgeon for the United States Air Force at Travis Air Force Base in California.

KCRA also reported that the building in Vacaville where Dr. David Webb practiced removed the Northern California Facial & Oral Surgery signage and shows no signs related to Dr. Webb. The dentist’s website has also been removed from the internet.

What Can I do If I Was Sexually Assaulted By My Dentist?

File a complaint with the Dental Board of California who will investigate the complaint. In addition to filing a complaint with the Dental Board of California, or if you are not sure if you should file a complaint, it would be helpful to seek a free consultation from an attorney who can answer your questions confidentially. Then you can make the decision about how you would like to proceed.

If you believe you were sexually harassed or assaulted by Dr. David Evans Webb, give us a call at 619-342-8000. We are currently working with another victim and know the case well. We are here to answer all your questions with no pressure or obligation to you. We have a credentialed victim advocate on staff and our team is trauma informed. There is no need to feel ashamed or scared, although we understand those feelings are quite normal.

What Is the Dental Board of California and What Do They Do?

The Dental Board of California is part of The Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA). The DCA is a regulator. The DCA investigates consumer complaints on issues under its jurisdiction. If violations are found, license holders can face discipline that includes probation, suspension or revocation of a license, fines and citations, letters of reprimand, or cease and desist orders.3

Anyone can search for the license of a dentist, doctor, or any of the 280 license types regulated by the DCA. The details should show if there has been disciplinary action taken. Often, these investigations can take years to complete and are not always noted on the licensee’s profile, putting uninformed and unsuspecting patients at risk. For example, the Dental Board of California4 does not currently show any disciplinary actions against Dr. David Evans Webb even though he has been under investigation for years and the Attorney General filed a complaint on behalf of four victims.

In 2019, the Patient’s Right To Know Act SB 1448 went into effect requiring physicians and surgeons who are placed on probation for the acts of sexual abuse, misconduct, or relations with a patient as defined in Business and Professions Code section 726 or 729 to notify patients of their probationary status. Because the judge ruled against suspending Dr. Webb’s license for the time being, it is unlikely that any patients have been notified.

What Can I Do If The Dentist Made Me Uncomfortable And Made Sexual Comments But I Am Not Sure If It Is Considered Assault or Harassment?

There are a lot of misconceptions about what is or is not considered sexual harassment or sexual assault. There are many actions to hold a dentist or doctor accountable for the way they treated you. The best way to determine if you can hold them responsible is to first call an attorney and seek a free consultation. An attorney will be able to answer all your questions confidentially and without any obligation on your part.

What If I Was Under Anesthesia and I Am Unsure What Happened?

That is okay. It is a scary feeling to know that you were under anesthesia with a doctor who has now been accused of sexual assault. We understand the vulnerable position you were put in and can answer your questions better after hearing what happened to you.

The Haeggquist & Eck Team Gets Results

We get you the results you need and provide legal advice through the whole court process. Don’t be unprepared when you could have one of the best legal teams out there to assist you. Reach out to us today to get your consultation.

Contact

What If It Happened to Me More Than a Year Ago?

No need to worry. Once we hear your story, we can determine the statute of limitations. Even if you have been turned down by another attorney, we are experts at these cases, and go the extra mile to see what we can do for your case.

What If I Cannot Afford an Attorney?

Alreen Haeggquist - Fair Labor Standards Act Wage Claims Attorney in San Diego
Alreen Haeggquist – Sexual Assault Attorney

At Haeggquist and Eck, we work on these cases on a contingency fee basis. That means you do not pay anything upfront, and you do not pay fees unless we win.

We understand that it may be hard to discuss what happened to you. We are here when you are ready. These matters do have statutes of limitations, so it is important to speak to an attorney sooner rather than later. We provide trauma-informed, free consultations with no obligation to you. Contact us today to get your consultation.

Sources:

  1. KCRA
  2. LinkedIn
  3. Department of Consumer Affairs

Dental Board of California

What Is Disability Pride?

Disability pride is accepting and honoring each person’s unique experience with differing abilities and seeing it as a natural and beautiful part of human diversity with the intention of ending the stigma of disability. People with disabilities are the largest and most diverse minority in the population, representing all abilities, ages, races, ethnicities, religions, and socio-economic backgrounds.1

Disability Pride Month

Disability Pride Month is an opportunity to create awareness, combat ableism, listen to and amplify voices from people with disabilities, share resources from and for people with disabilities, and learn how to be an ally.

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) was signed into law in 1990. That same year, Boston held the first Disability Pride Day. The first official celebration of Disability Pride Month occurred in July 2015, which also marked the 25th anniversary of the ADA.2

“Rights are the things we get when we are strong enough to make good our claim on them.” Helen Keller Author, activist, and co-founder of the ACLU.

Beyond Diversity and Inclusion: Intersectionality and Disability Justice

Intersectionality refers to the intersection of a person’s identities such as gender, race, and class and the discrimination and social inequalities that are compounded. Jonnie Lacy, founder of the first Center for Independent Living and a Black disability rights leader who worked to tackle ableism in the Black community and racism in the disability community said, “One of the things that I have learned is that I cannot allow myself to fall into the trap of being identified by others, that I have to have a sense of my own personal identity. And that sense is very much tied into who I am as a woman of color and as a disabled person, and I try not to distinguish between the three identities anymore.”3

Disability Justice builds on the disability rights movement, taking a more comprehensive approach to help secure rights for disabled people by recognizing the intersectionality of disabled people who belong to additional marginalized communities.4

Disability in the Workplace

Disability is one of the protected classes in the workplace that cannot be discriminated against. Workplace accessibility is vital to maintaining a functional and sustainable workforce that benefits and champions all employees regardless of ability. In California, anyone with a disability is protected under the Fair Employment and Housing Act, or FEHA.

The state of California offers broader protections to employees who bring anti-discrimination cases. California employment laws may apply to employers with at least five employees, and federal laws may apply to employers with at least 15 employees. California residents may prefer to file an employment discrimination complaint with DFEH.

These are some of the reasons it is imperative that an individual who wants to file an employment discrimination claim seek out legal representation. An employment law attorney can assist you with specific questions related to your claim. Also, an experienced attorney can explain to you the benefits of filing your case with a specific agency.

Medical Condition

By law, employers evaluate job applicants without regard for their actual or perceived medical conditions. California laws and the ADA protect employees with medical conditions from discrimination in the workplace. Employers must provide reasonable accommodations to employees or applicants with a medical condition unless it results in an undue hardship. Undue hardships are anything from significant difficulty or expense. Employees have the right to file medical discrimination claims if they believe they experienced unlawful discrimination.

Mental Disability

Not all disabilities are visible. Under FEHA, mental impairments that limit a major life activity qualify as a disability. Intellectual disabilities, mental disorders, and mental health issues can also be considered disabilities. Stress, anxiety, arthritis, irritable bowel syndrome, depression, and PTSD could all qualify as disabilities.

Reasonable Workplace Accommodations

The law requires employers to make reasonable accommodations so that employees with disabilities can continue to work with their conditions. Conditions where disability accommodation may be required include a physical disability, mental disability, medical condition, or pregnancy.

Reasonable accommodations are any measures that allow the employee or applicant to perform the essential job functions. The reasonable accommodation can include restructuring the job, modifying work schedules, part-time scheduling, reassignment to a vacant position, adjustments to training materials, providing readers or interpreters, modifying equipment, modifying work policies, or allowing a service dog to support the employee.

Proving a Disability Discrimination Claim

There are many steps involved in showing the court that you have been discriminated against as a person with disabilities. First, you must prove that you are a member of a “protected class.” Then you must prove that your employer utilized adverse employment practices to discriminate against you. Medical conditions, pregnancy, and mental and physical disabilities are all protected classes under the FEHA in California. Not all conditions meet the requirement, however, California laws cover a broader range of disabilities than federal laws.

Wrongfully Terminated or Retaliated Against

Employers cannot terminate employees for filing a workplace discrimination or harassment lawsuit. Terminating an employee for filing an employment discrimination claim is a retaliatory action, and this may constitute wrongful termination.

An employee who suffers retaliation may need to file a complaint with the DFEH for retaliation. Employees who suffer retaliation may file a lawsuit against an employer for wrongful termination or retaliation.

If you are offered a Severance Agreement, be sure to read through it carefully. Here we cover what you should look for in the agreement: Should I Sign the Severance Agreement My Boss Gave Me?
If you believe you have been discriminated against at work or applying for work, give us a call. At Haeggquist and Eck, we firmly believe in equal rights for all and fight tirelessly for the rights of the disabled. If you feel you have been discriminated against at work or applying for work or if your employer has failed to make reasonable accommodations for you, reach out to us for help seeking fair and just compensation.

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