Wage, Contract and Other Labor Claims
In addition to more traditional civil rights claims, I help clients pursue their rights in and out of the employment context. I can help with a range of issues from wage and hour claims, to contract disputes, to resolving payments of options, stocks, and other compensation, as well as assist with benefits related issues.
Wage / Bonus / Stock Option Claims
All non-union employees (as opposed to independent contractors and certain union employees) have rights protected under the California Labor Code and the Federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). For example, such an employee has a right to be paid: (a) the amount s/he has been promised (unless given appropriate advance notice of a change); (b) his or her wage in full and on time; (c) earned overtime; and (d) full and timely final pay upon the end of the employment relationship.
Earned bonuses and commissions are often considered “wages” and are also due on time. If your employment ends through no fault of your own, then there is a good argument that you are entitled to a pro-rated share of an earned bonus or commission that has not fully vested at the time of your separation. Not-yet-vested stock options are a bit trickier, but the stock option paperwork is always worth close scrutiny.
Additionally, California and Federal labor codes protect employees from retaliation for good faith attempts to complain about wage & hour violations or enforce wage & hour laws.
Related Unfair and Misleading Business Practice Claims
A handful of laws protect employees and consumers from certain unfair and/or misleading business practices. In California it is also illegal to terminate someone in violation of what the legislature has determined to be a fundamental public policy. Additionally, it is illegal to terminate someone in retaliation for their opposition or refusal to engage in fraud on a) the government; b) shareholders/potential shareholders; or c) customers. Some of these prohibitions are contained in the Federal and State False Claims Acts, the Sarbanes Oxley Act, the Internal Revenue (Tax) Code and the California Business & Professions Code.
In some instances there are whistle-blower finders fees for those who complain directly to the government. But you should consult an attorney before making such a complaint on your own!