As a California employee rights attorney, I am constantly dealing with California’s Fair Employment and Housing Act, known as “FEHA”. The FEHA prohibits employment discrimination and harassment because of:
- gender identity or expression
- sexual orientation
- marital status
- national origin
- mental and physical disability
- medical condition
- age (40 or over)
- denial of medical and family care leave
- pregnancy disability leave
- retaliation for protesting violations of FEHA
I like to read all the new court opinions under FEHA and I like to read about lawsuits implicating FEHA. I started keeping notes in Evernote whenever I read a new court opinion or read of lawsuits of interest so I decided to create a blog specifically covering FEHA-related news.
I often hear about how difficult employers have it in California because “California is a sue-happy state, especially for employees suing employers.”
Well, that is not exactly the case. California is an at-will employment state. California Labor Code § 2922 says:
An employment, having no specified term, may be terminated at the will of either party on notice to the other. Employment for a specified term means an employment for a period greater than one month.
So under this well-established law, California employers can terminate an employee at will. And an employee can quit at will.
What California employers cannot do is discriminate against employees because of one of the issues listed above. So even though an employee is at-will, an employer cannot fire an employee for complaining of sexual harassment. An employer cannot fire an employee because he announced he is gay. An employer cannot fire an employee because she got divorced.
For most people, this is simply common sense.
Laws can get complicated and FEHA is no exception. But most employers who are ensnared in a FEHA lawsuit or investigation got there by ignoring common sense.
Even though I am a plaintiff’s attorney, meaning I represent employees or former employees, does not mean that I ignore common sense, either. There are many employment cases filed that should not be filed. Those are usually dismissed after the employer files a motion for summary judgment.
In my experience, employers that have problems with multiple employee-related lawsuits or complaints usually deserve them because the employer is not exercising common sense, does not have competent legal counsel or ignores the advice of competent legal counsel.
So readers will see posts on this blog that seem heretical to the plaintiff’s bar. But I just call them as I see them.
Oh yeah, and what kind of lawyer would forget a disclaimer?
Well, here’s mine:
Nothing on this blog should be considered legal advice. I do not provide legal advice to anyone unless I have a signed attorney-client contract. Cases and authorities cited on this blog are hyperlinked with the original source so the reader can go directly to the source. This blog is simply comprised of posts expressing my views and opinions on FEHA and other legal matters and the reader may disagree with my expressed views.
I welcome emails from readers.
greg AT lawmgm.com