Basics of Wrongful Termination in California

When employers take it upon themselves to fire their employees in violation of the statute or policy of the business or state, it constitutes wrongful termination. You will always find that in almost every work situation, the employee always thinks that their continued employment in any business or company is under the sole discretion of their bosses and that they don’t have any protection from being fired whenever their boss/employer deems it necessary.

But, there are instances where the employer can be committing employment violation by terminating an employee’s contract. It is vital that you, as the employee, know all of your rights as a worker in any business, especially the ones that touch on your employment and termination of a contract. There are steps that you can take to protect yourself against any wrongful termination in your place of work. Sometimes, it is your ignorance that is what will end up getting you fired. Like not knowing the limits and situations with which your employer has the power to fire you.

Every business is different. Each business has a different set of rules and regulations which they need to abide by. And the employer also has his/her own set of rules and regulations which he/she must follow. Firing an employee may be among some of the powers that an employer is allowed and granted, but only under certain circumstances, and not at his/her own leisure and feelings.

That being said, here is some basic information that you need to know which might help protect you from wrongful termination of your contract at your place of work.

At-will employment

This is a type of employment where an employer and employee relationship at work is of an indefinite duration. This means that either of the parties has the power to terminate the relationship even for reasons that are not illegal. Maybe even for no reason at all. In most cases, you can find that some of the work relationships between the employer and the employee that start as at-will is usually transformed into an employment situation by the employer. From here, the employer can only fire the employee for a just cause, and either through oral statements or written material.

There are, however, some exceptions that count when referring to the at-will employment rule. In situations where an employer fires an  employee in violation of the stature and public policies of the business and of the state, it is referred to as wrongful termination. But the California prohibits employers from discriminating any employees based on employment decisions, wrongful termination inclusive, on the basis of factors such as, but not limited to the following:

  • Race
  • Gender
  • Marital status
  • Pregnancy
  • Medical conditions
  • Disability
  • Ancestry
  • Age
  • National origin
  • Religious creed
  • Sexual orientation

So, if an employer were to fire any of his/her employees based on any of these factors, then that would be considered wrongful termination. Wrongful termination can also occur if an employer fires his/her employee for refusing to break the law.

Do you think you have been wrongfully terminated? Click here to contact Von Esch Law today!

Financial Fraud Laws in California

Fraud is another way of referring to malicious or trickery behavior that one person or entity uses to gain a dishonest advantage over the other. So, financial fraud means that one individual, otherwise known as the fraudster, dupes another and gains some monetary advantage over the victim.

In California, for one, you will notice that people never hesitate one bit when they realize that they can gain some monetary advantage at the expense of some unaware individual. They will violate any rule there is regarding fraud at any time and day. These financial fraud cases are usually more prevalent among family members or someone related to the fraudster in a significant way. Engaging in acts that dupe another victim, which can end up injuring or harming him can also be considered fraud in California.

Fraudulent acts are usually driven by two motives and the first and most common motive is usually the financial gain aspect of it all. The second motive is when the fraudster is looking to try and escape some criminal activity of some kind and with those two in mind, you can ascertain that there are quite a number of fraudulent acts that require the attention of the laws in California. When you do enough study in this field, you will notice that even though most of these fraudulent acts may be based mostly on these two motivators, some are completely different and are not even linked to the said motivations.

Laws and penalties

In California, these fraudulent crimes are referred to as the “white collar crimes.” Any case concerning fraud is usually a very serious offense and need to be handled with care. In most cases, the fraudsters are usually subjected to very harsh fines or a substantial number of years in their prison sentences.

Fraud-related crimes always carry different and specific penalties for them. In fact, many of the fraudulent acts committed in California, called the California Wobbler offenses, are a short way of saying that they will all be charged using the California theft laws in relation to the perpetrator’s felony offenses or misdemeanors.

The degree of sentencing you are going to receive in regards to your fraud case depends a lot more on your criminal records and history and the facts that have been presented in the case. California also regards some types of fraud cases as automatic felonies like cyber fraud which are under the federal crimes department. If found guilty of such a fraud case, you stand a chance of being prosecuted in state or federal law courts and this will only subject you to even higher penalties than with the lower cases.

Fraud defense

Most of the time you find that many of the attorneys of the defense teams using serious legal defenses in an attempt to try and have the initial penalties that the defendant is expected to pay to be lowered. Most of them use defense strategies that many of the attorneys in the defense teams usually use is the matter of intent of the defendant. If the attorney can be able to prove that the defendant never really had any intentions of defrauding anyone, then the charges can be significantly dropped, and in some rare cases maybe even dismissed.

Do you have a question about financial fraud laws in California? Click here to contact Von Esch Law today!

California Property Division Laws

Divorces may rank among some of the most horrifying moments married partners have to deal with and it gets even more complicated and stressful when properties are involved.

For instance, one partner contributes a larger sum of finances into an investment owned by the two parties like a residence or even in cases where there are pension and retirement benefits to divide. Chances are that tempers will rise and words will be thrown and finally a lawsuit will be filed. Here is where the stakes get higher.

Family law litigation will definitely ensure that the whole divorce process takes longer than anticipated and more legal expenses will also be incurred in the long run. At the end of the day, you will realize that the emotional and financial aspects of it all may cost so much that you even start thinking whether it was a wise choice to go to court.

But if you believe that the court can rule in your favor, then this is the time you need to look for a good and experienced attorney in the field who will advise you on how you should proceed with the case.

Marital property

Marital property can be classified into many different classifications, namely the quasi-community property and the quasi-marital property. At this stage, the judges and attorneys attempt to figure out the total assets and debts of the two partners and their attributes towards these debts as both community and separate properties.

Community property

This is a fancy name of calling the property that is obtained during a marriage and is still owned until the date of the separation, and which may also be subjected to be community property as per the laws of California. In such cases, each of the separated parties has 50% ownership interest in all of the community properties as well as the equal rights of the control and management of the properties.

Community property usually includes all the assets and debts of the separated couple in a marriage as well. This is usually a vital step in trying to determine who will be responsible for paying off the debts during the legal separation or marriage dissolution.

Quasi-community property

This is also another very important consideration you need to have in mind when filing for a divorce if the property involved was acquired by both partners outside of California during the marriage. It’s no big news to find married couples that own houses in other states or countries together these days as people tend to move around a lot. And in the process, you and your spouse may decide to buy new residences in other states which can be a real headache, especially when the couple now wants a divorce and both are laying claim to these properties.

These types of assets are usually referred to as the “quasi-community properties” which is another way of saying that this is a case of legal separation between two parties who acquired property from another state while they were still married.

In such cases, the quasi-community properties are usually treated as part of the “community estate” and are always divided as with the community property. Equal treatment is given to both sets of property by the law of California.

Do you have a question about division of property during a divorce? Click here to contact Von Esch Law today!

Child Support Guidelines in California

One of the most disputed issues in any divorce is child support. Usually, you find that the parent who is most likely winning the case, intends to limit the other parent’s time spent with the child proactively. And in most cases, you will also find that other ex-spouses attempt to underreport their original income to limit the amount that they will have to pay for child support.

Either way, you should know that paying child support is obligatory in California, but with one exception. This article will highlight some of the child support guidelines that have been set in the state of California.

Overview of child support guidelines

In California, both parents are required to always provide child support to their young children in case of any separation of the spouses before the children come of age. Usually, the amount of child support that each parent puts into the child support is based on the circumstances that the parents are in at the moment. This means that the child support that each parent puts up is based on the amount of income they make.

Both parents are obliged to contribute child support for the child until the child is 18 years old when the state officially recognizes the child as an adult. As a parent to the child affected by your separation between you and your spouse, you are allowed to put more money in your child support amount than required, but must never pay any amount below the one stated by the court.

If both parents fail to reach an agreed child support amount, then the parties can agree to file a motion for a temporary child support order that will be active throughout the divorce period. The temporary child support order will only be active until the court activates a permanent order.

Child support add-ons

Add-ons such as child health care and other forms support also qualify as mandatory and need to be paid in addition to the child support as stated in the child support laws in the state of California. In this regard, the court usually orders each of the parents to pay half of the child care expenses that are needed by the parent who has custody of the child.

Retroactive child support payments

Usually, the retroactive child support payments are made when the non-custodial parent fails in his/her duty to provide child support during the specified periods. In such cases, the court usually issues an order that will have the non-custodial parent making child support payments earlier that when the actual order was made.

The consequences that come with child support

You need to know that child support payments are not categorized under taxable income, and so these payments cannot be written off by the parent paying them on their income taxes. The parent that receives the child support is not obliged to report these payments on his/her income taxes.

Would you like to learn more about child support guidelines in California? Click here to contact the experts at Von Esch Law today!

 

Wage and Hour Laws in California

There are strict laws that protect Californian employees from violations by their employers. These are the wage and hour laws. Some of the common violations include:

  • Failure to pay overtime
  • Failure to pay minimum wage
  • Exempting employees from their wage/hour requirements
  • Demanding for “work off the clock”
  • Failure to provide the required rest and breaks

If you suspect that your employer may be violating your wage/hour rights, then you can always look for a trained California employment lawyer to guide you through the whole process to file a wage/hour lawsuit.

Do the California wage/hour laws apply to you?

The California wage/hour laws apply to the non-exempt employees of California. What this means is that some laws on overtime and meal breaks will probably not apply if you are a independent contractor or an “exempt employee.”

Employees vs Independent contractors

Because these laws only cover California employees, you should not expect to be protected if you are an independent contractor.

You can find some employers attempting to evade payroll taxes by classifying some of their employees as independent contractors. Doing this will also exempt the employers from having to pay up the employee overtime and minimum wages should they deem so.

Exempt vs non-exempt employees

The California state laws say that the wage/hour laws do not apply to the exempt employees. These laws also do not apply to the administrative, executive, and professional employees. The employees who work in the software field, licensed surgeons and physicians, and also teachers are part of the exempt employees category. It is also not a rare case to find many employers classifying their non-exempt employees as exempt.

Minimum wage

It is the law that all non-exempt California employees ought to be paid the minimum wage. There are special exceptions, however, like the inclusion of exempt employees minus the independent contractors to be paid the minimum wage as per the state laws. You also need to realize that different counties and cities in California apply different minimum wages.

Overtime

It is also a California state law that all non-exempt employees are entitled to overtime pay.

Time and a half

It is the law that employers pay their non-exempt employees 1.5 times the regular pay rate for any overtime work done.

Double time and overtime

All the non-exempt employees that work for more than twelve hours on a single day are entitled to double overtime as per the California state law on wage/hour.

Rest and meal breaks

The wage/hour law also entitles all the non-exempt employees to regular rest and meal breaks.

Meal breaks

If you are a non-exempt employee in California who works for more than five hours, then you should know that you are entitled to a meal break of no less than 30 minutes. If you work more than 10 hours a day, it is the law that you receive two meal breaks that should go for no less than 30 minutes each.

Rest breaks

For every four hours of work, the California wage/hour law entitles all non-exempt employees with a 10-minute break.

Do you have a question about wage and hour laws in California? Click here to contact the experts at Von Esch today!

 

Tips on Preparing to Divide Your Marital Assets in a Divorce

There are a lot of decisions that you will need to make after getting a divorce. Your whole life may end up changing completely, your world will turn upside down. There is also the issues of who gets custody of your children, deciding whether your spouse will get alimony after the divorce, and thinking about how your marital property will be assigned to both of you. The list can range from being pretty simple to very long depending on where you stood in your relationship.

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Workplace Harassment Laws in California

Have you experienced harassment and bullying in a workplace in California? If your answer is yes, this behavior could be disregarding the California Labor Law. California was among the first states in the nation that introduced the anti-bullying legislation in the year 2003 and the Healthy Workplace Bill. It is sad that there is currently still an occurrence of workplace bullying in California.

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California Overtime Laws

All employees are entitled to overtime if they work more than 40 hours weekly or 8 hours in a day. Those who work more than 12 hours daily are owed double time. Double time is also available for employees who work seven consecutive days in a week with no day off. The rules are not applicable to caregivers who are required by law to work for 45 hours weekly or 9 hours daily to qualify for overtime. Overtime pay is only entitled to employees who are nonexempt. Read more

Alimony Laws in California

The State Laws in California, which relate to the alimony legislations affect the decisions of both spouses in a marriage. How the couple will deal with the case, the complexity and length of the case, and settlements can turn a simple divorce case into a very complicated legal battle with no end. These factors are the complex factors of all Californian divorce trials. Alimony is also another heated issue, especially when the higher earning spouse isn’t willing to pay for the maintenance. On the other hand, the low earning partner will want to get the alimony; such disagreement can result in years of court battles unless the two parties reach a compromise.

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How Does Age Play a Role in Child Custody Cases?

Parents dealing with child custody issues oftentimes wonder if the court takes age into consideration when deciding. Here is a break down of child custody rules by age.

Age 0-2

When it comes to infants and toddlers in this age group, the separation time from both parents should be very small. This will help reduce the child’s anxiety and maintain the bond between both the child and parents. The implication of extended separation time with children in this age group is related to the lack of long-term memory. An infant or toddler could lose an attachment with a parent fast if there is not a consistent and frequent level of contact. Contact days between the noncustodial parent and child needs to be consistent.

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