What is Wrongful Termination?

Employment is At-Will with Exceptions The vast majority of employers and workers in California have heard the term “at-will” employment.  Employers often interpret at-will employment to mean that employees could be terminated at the employer’s will.  Workers often interpret it to mean it that employers may not terminate an employee without a reason or notice or for unfair reasons. The legal standards are somewhere in the middle. In California, “at-will” employment means that an employer may terminate the employment relationship for any reason or for no reason at all.  On the flip side, employees may also quit for any reason or for no reason at all with or without notice.  However, on the employer side, there are certain restrictions or exceptions to the “for any reason or for no reason at all.”  That is, employers may not terminate (or make conditions such that an employee has no other choice but to quit) for a wrongful reason.  In other words, employers may terminate the relationship so long as the reason for the termination is not discriminatory, in breach of a contractual … Continue reading

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What is PAGA?

“Paga” means “pay” in Spanish, which is an apt acronym for the California Labor Code Private Attorneys General Act (“PAGA”). In California, PAGA authorizes aggrieved employees to file lawsuits to recover civil penalties on behalf of themselves, other employees, and the State of California for an employer’s Labor Code violations.  The aggrieved employees generally retain 25% of any civil penalty recovered and the remaining 75% goes to the California Labor and Workforce Development Agency (LWDA).  Additionally, the aggrieved employee may bring separate claims for penalties the are directly recoverable by the employee.  In short, a PAGA claim allows an employee to step into the state’s shoes to enforce certain labor code violations as it applies to the employee and other employees.  Since employees who prevail on PAGA claims could recover attorney’s fees and costs in addition to the penalties as they apply to each employee, an employer’s potential exposure on PAGA claims are quite significant. Sending a written notice of a PAGA claim by certified mail to an employer (and online to the State of California) is the first step … Continue reading

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