Areas of Practice

Know Your Rights

You have rights in the workplace. If you have been treated unfairly, we will help you assert those rights. Call a lawyer before you resign your job or sign any legal document.

At McCormac & Associates, our California discrimination law practice is devoted exclusively to representing employees in employment law disputes, such as discrimination and harassment. We represent employees throughout Northern California. California anti-discrimination laws and federal civil rights laws provide extensive protection for employees from discrimination in the workplace. We are dedicated to making sure our clients receive all the protection they are entitled to under those laws.

If you have been denied employment or advancement, disciplined, or discharged from employment because of your race, color, ethnicity, national origin, age, gender, sexual orientation, disability status, pregnancy or religion, we can help. If you are suffering sexual harassment on the job, our employment discrimination attorneys can assist you.

If you are having disagreements with your employer over use of the Family and Medical Leave Act, we can be your advocate. We also have considerable experience representing clients that have suffered employment discrimination due to disability, and have a proven track record of getting employees the necessary accommodations and restrictions so they can return to their jobs. Our staff has a broad range of backgrounds, including our attorney Kathleen McCormac, who uses her 12 years of nursing experience to benefit clients who need help understanding their medical disabilities and establishing what types of work duties disabled workers, especially health care workers, can reasonably be expected to perform.

Whether your employment law dispute can be resolved through negotiation or we must proceed to trial, we will work tirelessly to advocate for you and see that your interests are protected.

 

Employers are prohibited from discriminating against employees based upon certain protected classes. If you have been terminated, disciplined, or denied employment or advancement in employment due to race, color, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, pregnancy, disability or perceived disability, religion, or age, please contact us in order to preserve your legal rights.

The law protects individuals from discrimination in employment based upon race, color, or national origin. This type of discrimination may occur in the form of racially motivated comments or jokes and may involve disciplinary action or a termination. Sometimes employees that are discriminated against based upon their race, color, or national origin are also being harassed. One racially motivated comment is generally not enough under the law, and a bad boss does not necessarily mean discrimination or harassment is occurring. The harassment must be severe or pervasive.

If you believe you are being discriminated against or harassed you should immediately complain to your employer and seek legal advice.

Employers are prohibited from treating employees differently due to their gender, sex, or sexual orientation. The discriminatory treatment may be verbal or physical. Employers may treat all persons of a particular gender a certain way, or might only treat one person differently due to their protected status.

Employees that are discriminated against are often also sexually harassed. Offensive conduct, gestures, and statements based upon sex may amount to harassment under the law. Some managers are just bad at their jobs and that is not necessarily illegal. The harassment must be severe or pervasive. Employers must investigate complaints of harassment and you are allowed to have legal representation if you participate in such an investigation.

Employees who believe they are being subjected to discrimination or harassment should immediately complain to their employer and seek legal advice.

Pregnancy discrimination is another form of sex discrimination and is prohibited by law. Many women are treated differently after their employer learns of their pregnancy. Sometimes women are unable to return to work after the baby-bonding time due to a complication or health condition caused by the pregnancy and need additional time off to recover. If your employer is discriminating against you because of your pregnancy, or is refusing to return you to work or grant you additional leave, you should seek legal advice.

If you have been injured, either on or off the job, you may have a disability or medical condition and require accommodation at work. Your employer is obligated under the law to engage in a good faith interactive process with you to enable you to perform your job with or without reasonable accommodation. If a determination is made that the employee cannot perform his or her position with or without reasonable accommodation, the employee may be reassigned to a different position.

Sometimes employers fail to engage in a good faith interactive process or provide a reasonable accommodation and may terminate an employee with a disability. Many times employers leave disabled employees on extended and involuntary leaves of absence without exploring potential accommodations. This is illegal and you should seek legal advice if you believe you are being discriminated against on the basis of your disability or medical condition.

Many employees over 40 believe they are subjected to discrimination in the workplace due to their age. Sometimes an employee is told overtly that they are being treated differently due to their age, but often this discrimination is of a more subtle nature. If you have concerns that your termination or demotion is due to your age you should seek legal advice.

Employers cannot take action against an employee who filed a complaint, testified or participated in any investigation or hearings. If you engaged in these types of protected activities and then experienced a negative reaction from your employer, such as a poor performance review or termination, you may have been retaliated against. You should seek legal advice to see what rights you have when you have been punished for engaging in protected activity at work.

Often the best resolution to your employment dispute is a negotiated severance package. Our attorneys have represented individuals in severance agreement negotiation from their employers for over 20 years. We negotiate and or review potential severance offers on an hourly basis. Likewise we can advise you as to whether or not we see discriminatory reasons for your selection in a layoff or early retirement. Do not sign a severance agreement without consulting a lawyer regarding whether your rights may have been violated and what other options exist.

California and Federal law provides that certain employers must provide at least 12 weeks of leave for the employee’s own serious health condition, or the employee’s spouse or child’s serious health condition.  These protections are found under Family Medical Leave Act (“FMLA”) and the California Family Rights Act (“CFRA”).  Sometimes employees need intermittent leave under these provisions.  Employers must reinstate employees at the conclusion of the leave.  If you believe you have been denied medical leave or your employer refused to reinstate you, you should seek legal advice.

Health care professionals understand that without their license they will be unable to work. The impact of an investigation or action by your Professional Licensing Board can be devastating both personally and professionally. Kathy McCormac has over 20 years experience representing health care professionals. It is best to get advice as early as possible even before you meet with any investigator. The Professional Board that is charged with protecting the public is often adversarial to the licensee in these proceedings and you do not want to wait to get advice until it is too late.

Employers must pay their employees for all hours worked, including payment at the legal overtime or double-time rate for non-exempt employees. Many employees are denied overtime compensation and only paid at their normal hourly rate for all overtime hours. In general, employees should be paid at time-and-a-half for all hours beyond 8 in one day, and double-time for all hours worked beyond 12 in one day. Some employers misclassify employees as exempt in order to avoid paying overtime in violation of the law.

Employers are required to keep a record of all the time their employees work. However, you should maintain a record for yourself of all hours worked, including meal and rest breaks.

Additionally, employees cannot be prohibited from taking a meal or rest breaks and may be entitled to penalties if you have not been permitted to take a meal or rest break.

You should seek legal advice if you believe your employer is not paying you according to the law or if your employer is denying you meal and rest breaks. Remember to keep documentation of all of your hours worked, including breaks, and work expenses.