How Do I Know if My Employer Has Crossed the Line?

Everyone has a right to a safe and stress-free workplace. But do you ever feel like maybe your employer makes inappropriate comments, doesn’t follow safety codes or even terminated you without just cause?

Having an issue with your employer can be more than just stressful. At the Palm Springs Law Office of Jeff M. Yoss, we understand that job-related issues can affect your health, happiness, and literally your livelihood and ability to take care of yourself and your family. Here are just some of the ways to know if your employer may have crossed the line:

Discrimination/Harassment – an employer cannot discriminate against an employee or applicant in any way. There are many types of discrimination, including: age, race, pregnancy, religion, gender, disability and more. Your employer cannot treat you differently or in any way or make comments (even “jokes”) based on any of these areas. You cannot be demoted, passed up for a promotion, paid differently or terminated for these reasons. If you think your employer has treated you unlawfully or discriminated against you, you should consult an employment attorney.

Sexual Harassment – no one in the workplace has the right to make anyone feel uncomfortable. Sexual harassment can be anything from inappropriate comments about an employee’s appearance to pressure for sexual favors. And, keep in mind, both the victim and (delete the) harasser can be either a woman or a man, and the victim and harasser can be the same sex. It can be between a supervisor and subordinate, between two coworkers of the same level or even a client or customer. If someone at work has made you feel uncomfortable, this is a form of harassment and should not be tolerated.

Wrongful Termination – most jobs are considered “at will,” meaning that you can be terminated at any time without reason, however, in some cases this can be illegal. Maybe you think you were fired because of an extended illness or to keep you from receiving due commissions. Other possible challenges to termination are if you were fired for taking time for voting, jury duty or serving in the military. Finally, if you feel you were fired because you spoke out against the company or employer’s harmful practices (whistle blowing), you should seek the advice of an employment attorney.

Breach of Contract – usually most of the details of employment and benefits will be agreed upon before you begin a new job. If an employer fails to live up to this agreement, you may have cause to sue. Some examples of breach of contract include, paying you differently than promised (wage amount or frequency), taking unlawful deductions from your pay, not paying for overtime work, and not honoring sick/vacation days. Sometimes there may be a breach of contract even if the agreement was only verbal, therefore, it is important to seek an attorney’s advice if you are involved in this kind of dispute.

Work Conditions/Safety – the law requires employers to provide a safe work environment. This means your workplace must be free from known hazards that can cause death or serious harm to employees. All employers must comply with the safety and health standards that are published by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, and employers have to keep all records of all injuries, deaths, illness, and exposures to toxic substance of all their employees. If you think your employer is not complying with these standards, you should seek legal advice.

Retaliation – if you think your employer is dealing with you in any negative way because of some legal action that you took, this is retaliation and it is illegal. This may occur because of a Human Resources complaint, worker’s compensation claim, discrimination claim or other such action. Your employer cannot harass, demote or terminate you for having made these kind of claims.

If you believe your employer is treating you in an illegal way, it’s important to document all of your interactions. Write down everything regarding how you have been mistreated with dates and details to remember all the facts as you see them. Keep any emails, forms, letters, evaluations, contracts, pay stubs, timesheets, etc., that may be inaccurate or are examples or evidence of (delete the) mistreatment. Speak with your Human Resources department, and allow them to try to resolve the issue. However, if you do not feel that the issue is resolved adequately, then you will want to speak with an employment attorney.

Please call us at the Law Office of Jeff M. Yoss at (760) 322-6690 for a one-on-one consultation to discuss your case. We handle cases from all of the desert cities, including: Palm Springs, Cathedral City, Rancho Mirage, Palm Desert, Indian Wells, La Quinta, Indio, Coachella, Thermal, Desert Hot Springs, Banning, Beaumont, El Centro and Temecula. We also represent clients in San Diego, San Bernardino, Los Angeles, Riverside and Orange counties. For more information, visit YossLaw.com.

About the author

Jeff Yoss Author: For nearly 20 years, Jeff M. Yoss has successfully represented clients in a various types of litigation cases throughout Palm Springs, the Coachella Valley and beyond. He has extensive trial knowledge, and is admitted to the California Bar, Oregon Bar and the District of Columbia Bar. Google