Our jobs and career give us stability in life. When that stability is taken away, you need an employment law attorney at Strong Advocates on your side to demand respect, fairness and compensation. We handle cases of wrongful termination, discrimination, sexual harassment and workplace abuse.
Our highly skilled legal team works tirelessly to secure your rights in the workplace, so that you can feel valued and get your life back on track – and nothing can get in the way of that promise. We know how important it is to fight back when your rights are violated. When we fight for you, we use their extensive experience to reach extraordinary outcomes. With Strong Advocates by your side, you can be sure that you will have a talented and honorable team committed to helping you regain the respect you deserve.
Our work together begins with evaluating your case. Can you win? How much is it worth? How long will it take? What strategies can we use for a positive resolution? We provide free written case analysis to help you understand your legal rights and options.
Ninety-five percent of employment cases in California settle during negotiations. This is a great solution for a quick(er) resolution. We treat every negotiation like a trial; we work with witnesses, prepare you and come armed with legal and economic analyses.
We are prepared to advocate for you, whether your case profile is simple or complex, an arbitration or class action, wage laws or executive bonuses. White collar to hotel maids. We will prepare you for litigation, never losing sight that your fortunes rest on the outcome.
Knowing your rights is the first step in fighting back against abuse.
Sexual harassment is a type of discrimination that violates state and federal laws. Sexual harassment includes behavior such as unwelcome sexual advances or other verbal or physical conduct that is sexual in nature and occurs in the workplace. In California, regardless of the number of workers an employer has, workers are entitled to the following:
01 | A SAFE ENVIRONMENT
If you feel you are being sexually harassed in a way that is creating a hostile work environment, your right to a safe work environment is being violated and your employer may be liable.
02 | WORKPLACE EQUALITY
Title VII protects the following aspects of a job from discrimination, including sexual harassment: Hiring and firing; compensation, assignment or classification of employees; transfer, promotion, layoff or recall; job advertisements; recruitment; testing; use of company facilities; training and apprenticeship; fringe benefits; pay, retirement plans and disability leave; and other terms and conditions of employment.
03 | WORKERS’ RIGHTS
Not just employees, but also applicants, unpaid interns, professional relationships and independent contractors are protected from sexual harassment under the California Fair Employment and Housing Act.
04 | GENDER
Sexual harassment can occur between any two people in a workplace, regardless of gender, including same-sex harassment. Sexual desire does not have to motivate the harassment.
05 | EMPLOYER RETALIATION PROTECTION
Workers are entitled assert their right to be free from discrimination, called “protected activity” by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). Therefore, it is unlawful for an employer to take retaliatory action against a victim of sexual harassment for complaining about the unwelcome behavior.
National origin discrimination occurs when a person is treated differently because they (or their ancestors) are from a certain place, country or region, or have the physical, cultural or linguistic characteristics common to an ethnic group. Discrimination can also be based on an individual’s association to a certain country or ethnic group, as well as an employer’s belief that an individual is from a particular place regardless of that individual’s actual origin. Under California and federal law, employees have the following rights:
01 | LANGUAGE
Unless your employer shows legitimate reasons for requiring employees to speak English at all times at work, an English-only rule may be an illegal discriminatory practice. Your employer may be acting against the law by requiring employees to be fluent in English if the rule is not necessary for the nature of the job, or if the employer targets employees of a particular national origin.
02 | COLOR OF SKIN
Skin color, as well as race, religion, sex and national origin, are expressly protected under Title VII from discrimination. Discrimination or harassment due to skin color, regardless of whether it is commonly linked to race or national origin, is unlawful.
03 | ASSOCIATION TO RELIGION OR ETHNICITY
It is unlawful for your employer to discriminate against you because of your association to person of a particular religion or ethnicity, including a partner, spouse, child, or friend.
04 | CITIZENSHIP STATUS
Generally, an employer cannot discriminate based on citizenship status if its effect is discriminatory against your national origin. An employer may only require U.S. citizenship status as a condition of employment if it is required for the job by local, state or federal contract. Otherwise, it is unlawful to have a “citizens only” hiring policy, and your employer may not ask about citizenship status during an interview.
05 | EQUAL OPPORTUNITIES
Employers must not treat prospective hires differently during interviews based on their national origin, and must have selection criteria that do not cause a discriminatory effect. Additionally, employers must not implement criteria that limit promotions or assignments for employees of a particular national origin. You must have equal opportunities to hiring, promotion, and reassignment.
06 | CLOTHING OF CULTURAL ORIGIN
The clothing you wear can be an expression of your cultural origin or religious association. It is illegal to discriminate or harass a worker for the clothing they wear. While your employer might argue that your clothing can cause your business to lose customers or make coworkers “uncomfortable,” this is never a justification for discrimination.
Under federal and State law, you are entitled to payment for all hours worked. If your employer has not paid you, you may have a legal claim against your employer for violating federal or state wage and hour law. Examples of unpaid wages, or wage theft, include nonpayment of minimum wage, overtime, business expenses and final paycheck at termination, as well as failure to provide rest and meal breaks or timely paydays. In California, all workers, regardless of immigration status, are protected by labor laws. Under the Federal Fair Labor Standards act and California law, workers are entitled to the following rights:
01 | MINIMUM WAGE
Workers are entitled to the minimum wage as required by State law, regardless of whether they are paid an hourly rate, by piece rate, by commission or a salary.
02 | OVERTIME
Overtime wages must be paid no later than the payday for the next regular payroll period in which the overtime work was completed.
03 | FULL PROMISED PAY
A worker has the right not just to minimum wage, but to the wage promised by the employer. The employer owes the worker the promised hourly rate for all hours worked. If your employer pays you less than the promised rate, you may be able to file a wage claim for the unpaid difference.
04 | MEAL AND REST BREAKS
If an employer does not provide an uninterrupted 30-minute meal break for every 5 hours worked and a 10-minute paid rest break for every 4 hours worked, the employer is committing wage theft.
05 | REIMBURSEMENT OF EXPENSES
An employer must reimburse workers for expenses and tools reasonably necessary to complete their job, such as uniforms and supplies. However, your employer can require you to provide your own supplies for the job if you earn at least double the minimum wage.
06 | FINAL PAYCHECKS AT TERMINATION
An employer must provide a worker’s final wages, including accrued vacation (if applicable), on their last workday if they were fired. If the employer does not provide payment on the last workday, the former employee may be able to file a claim for a day’s wages for up to 30 days that the paycheck is withheld.
07 | BEING PAID ON TIME
Depending on the type of employment, California law requires employers to pay workers within a reasonable period for each payroll period. For example, many employers must pay workers by the 26th of the month for the payroll period of the 1st to the 16th, or by the 10th for the payroll period of the 16th to the end of the previous month.
08 | LIMITED PAYCHECK DEDUCTIONS
Your employer cannot legally make additional deductions from your paycheck other than those required by law, such as social security tax.
The Strong Advocates legal team is fearless, creative, and zealous. They do not shy away from the difficult, complex cases that other lawyers may avoid. I would wholeheartedly recommend them to anyone needing a flexible and passionate advocate.
Betsy Havens, Executive Director of Strong Advocates, has worked extensively over the years to protect the rights of workers who have been treated unfairly. Her intensive litigation experience has amounted to extraordinary outcomes for her clients. Betsy has shared and advanced her deep understanding of employment law and litigation through her experience leading over 50 training programs for lawyers and community groups. Betsy received an Advocacy award from a state Bar Foundation honoring the work her office has done fighting for fair treatment.
Strong Advocates is a non-profit legal organization, and we are focused on doing what is right for you. Unlike most firms, we do not have to settle cases quickly in order to bring in a certain amount of revenue each quarter. We take the time to provide a free written case analysis to help you understand your rights and options and, in most cases, do not charge you for expert witnesses, legal research, mailings, economic damage reports or the use of professional mediators and arbitrators — fees which often eat away at the earnings you receive from your case.
No person should be forced to endure unfair treatment at work. However, many victims do not come forward and file a complaint due to fear of retaliation or the difficulty in finding attorneys they can trust. The experienced employment litigation team at Strong Advocates has helped to bring powerful employers to justice before, and they can help you do the same. We provide you with a highly skilled legal team to fight for your employment and workers’ compensation rights. We offer years of complex litigation experience and a valuable team approach.