Protect Your Company from Discrimination Claims
At the Wright Law Firm Employment Lawyers, we believe that the best approach is a proactive approach. While most management decisions are well intentioned, there are unfortunately many pitfalls that can result in a company facing litigation related to discriminatory practices within their office. These types of lawsuits can be minimized and usually avoided when procedures are put in place that guide your staff and spell out your company’s policies and procedures. The Wright Law Firm Employment Lawyers helps companies protect themselves from discrimination lawsuits by advising them on best practices for hiring, firing, managing, and promotion of employees in the workplace. The following are common types of employment discrimination and how your company can insulate itself from discrimination litigation.
Our Employment Law Services for Los Angeles Businesses
The Wright Law Firm Employment Lawyers offers law counseling to companies managing Southern California’s robust and extensive labor laws. This includes providing effective counseling to executives, conducting internal investigations, managing severance agreements, and managing a full range of employee/employer disputes. The Wright Law Firm Employment Lawyers also defends employers in California courts.
Los Angeles area employers must understand that when they offer a job to a prospective applicant, it creates rights and responsibilities between both parties. When it comes to protecting your company and its reputation from discrimination lawsuits, prevention is the best medicine.
Hiring and Firing: What Works and What Does Not
To avoid discrimination lawsuits, landlords are instructed to take the “first qualified applicant.” But employment situations are much more complicated, and the relationship is one of codependency and mutual trust rather than customer and provider. Companies routinely vet hundreds of employees to fill one position. How can a Los Angeles area employer avoid the appearance of discrimination?
It is not rocket science. Having a transparent system in place for hiring, making your needs known in terms of qualifications, and having a system in place for handling disputes or issues related to an employee is key to showing the court that your decisions were reached on a non-discriminatory basis.
The Wright Law Firm Employment Lawyers can help California employers prevent damaging discrimination lawsuits that could destroy their reputation in this political climate. It is mostly just a matter of effective planning. Our law firm helps Los Angeles employers draft effective employment agreements such as consulting agreements, inventive packages, offer letters, employee handbooks, and more.
Employee Handbooks: When to be Careful
California has traditionally enforced “implied” contracts. That means that anything you say in your employee handbook can be interpreted as a contractual obligation by a court. On the other hand, carefully written employee handbooks can form the foundation of effective practices in the workplace.
The Wright Law Firm Employment Lawyers can help your company draft an employee handbook that insulates you from litigation as opposed to exposing you to litigation. We have years of experience working with companies of all sizes and in varying industries, and will customize the handbook to be suitable for your company’s policies and work culture.
Employee Termination and Severance Packages
The Wright Law Firm Employment Lawyers can help California employers who face lawsuits after firing an employee. Let’s face it. Not every employee you hire is going to work out. You want to be able to get someone into the position who will effectively perform the duties of that position. You cannot do that if that person is not living up to expectations.
California is an “at-will” state when it comes to employment. That means that either party may terminate the agreement at any time without giving a reason. However, if an employee can effectively argue that discrimination or retaliation was the reason for the firing, the employer may face a lawsuit even if they have done nothing wrong.
Since employment attorneys who represent employees generally work on contingency, it is important to understand that they will not take a case that they know they are likely going to lose. By effectively drafting a prescriptive employee handbook and ensuring that the terms of severance are clear, you can prevent an employee from finding an attorney to take their case.
Lawsuits Filed by Employees
Employees are entitled to file lawsuits against their employers under both federal and California State law. Common lawsuits include:
- Discrimination in hiring, firing, or promoting – When an employee alleges that they were not given due consideration for a position, fired because of a protected characteristic, or passed up for a promotion given to a less qualified employee, the employer may be forced to justify the hiring, firing, or promotion in court. If the person passed up was highly qualified, this can be quite difficult.
- Unequal pay for equal work – Pay is expected to be the same across gender and race. Even in cases where pay is based on the employee’s last salary, it can be considered discriminatory if (for instance) a white man is hired for the same job at a higher salary. In other words, claiming that the salary was based on their last job will not save a company from a discrimination lawsuit.
- Hostile work environment lawsuits – If an employee is the subject of harassment, bullying, or unwanted sexual advancements, they can file a lawsuit against an employer who does not respond appropriately to requests to remedy the situation. Most of these lawsuits can be avoided by listening to the employee’s complaints and addressing the situation with problem employees. Lawsuits often emerge due to a failure to address the situation before it explodes into chronic harassment.
- Wage and misclassification lawsuits – California is now forcing independent contractors to be considered employees whether they want to or not. Employers prefer classifying laborers as independent contractors because of the cost savings. Employees are due overtime, benefits, and workers’ comp coverage. Nonetheless, California strictly interprets the definition of independent contractor to prevent companies from denying their obligations to individuals who work for them. Our attorneys will look at your company’s situation and advise you regarding classification.
Call a Los Angeles Employment Attorney Today
Whether you are a Silicon Beach startup looking to make its first hire or an established company with hundreds of employees, having a system in place for hiring, firing, and promoting can prevent many of the lawsuits that find their way into California courts. Call Los Angeles office of The Wright Law Firm Employment Lawyers today to discuss safeguarding your company from discrimination lawsuits.