Updated on April 19th, 2023

Top 12 Reasons To Sue Your Employer

Are you considering an employee lawsuit against your employer? There are many reasons why an employee may sue their employer, too many in fact, to share in this article. However, these are the most common reasons why an employee might suing employers. Any time an employee’s employment rights have been violated, they are able to sue. This is to protect employees from retaliation, discrimination, and other violations of rights.

Brad Nakase, Attorney

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12 Common Ground for Suing Employer

The top 12 common grounds for employees search for lawyers to sue employers. It is simply the top 12 reasons for employer lawsuit.

  1. Illegal interview question

All applicants must be treated equally during the interview process. This means they are evaluated on their skills and experience rather than other irrelevant factors. Unfortunately, illegal questions are still common during interviews. Women are often asked about if they have children or plan to have children and people with disabilities will be asked questions about their disability. These situations are discriminatory and illegal. If an applicant believes they were not offered the job because of their disability, gender, or other protected classes, they can sue.

  1. Unfair discipline/ Retaliation

Rash discipline in the heat of the moment could lead to a lawsuit; also employment retaliation will probably lead to a lawsuit. It is important that all employees are treated equally, and therefore disciplined equally to coworkers in similar situations. Most employers have a company discipline policy to ensure all employees are treated similarly, and supervisors and managers are expected to stick to it. All employees should be familiar with the discipline policy, and all employee discipline should be handled the same way. Learn more about workplace retaliation.

  1. Wrongful termination

Separations in an employment relationship can happen at any time; however, wrongful termination can still sometimes occur. The reason for termination must not be one that violates federal or state employment laws. Illegal termination includes:

  • Poor performance without any negative performance reports or discipline
  • Retaliation after filing a complaint
  • Lack of a reason for termination
  • Discrimination
  • Delayed investigation
  • Manager or supervisor not following company policy

A wrongful termination is often a reason for suing employer. Learn more about wrongful termination.

  1. Illegal decisions about medical requests

Employee’s rights to reasonable accommodation and medical leave are protected by FMLA, ADA, and workers’ compensation. You have a right to reasonable medical requests and medical leave, and if those requests are denied, you may be able to sue your employer.

  1. Unlawful exemption decisions

Being misclassified as an exempt employee means you are missing out on overtime pay. Employers regularly make this mistake, and it can cost them in penalties, back pay, interest, and in some cases, their employees may even bring class-action lawsuits against them. Seek legal advice from an employment attorney as to whether you have been correctly classified. You may learn more about independent contractor vs employee in California.

  1. Docking pay or Unpaid Wage

There are very few reasons why an employer is allowed to dock pay, and discipline is not one of them. Employers are also not legally allowed to dock employees’ pay so that it falls below minimum wage or overtime laws. Employees also cannot waive their overtime pay or be asked to waive overtime. Nor can employers ask employees to do work off the clock. An employer who violates wage law may receive an employee lawsuit.

  1. No Rest Break or Lunch Break

California rest break laws, lunch breaks law, and meal break laws requires that employees are given a thirty minute break every five hours worked. In California, a business is not allowed to hire someone without giving them a lunch break every five hours. The terms “meal breaks” and “lunch breaks” are used interchangeably. Learn More about Rest Break and Lunch Break Law. Also, learn more about sue employer for no lunch break.

  1. Employment Discrimination

Employment law is constantly reviewing and redefining what counts as discrimination. Obvious discrimination, while shocking, is easy to recognize and handle. Subtle discrimination is often more difficult, as while you often feel uneasy, at the time you may not realize that you have been victim to discrimination. To bring a discrimination lawsuit against your employer, you must be able to prove four things. First, that you are part of a legally protected class. Second, that you are able to perform your job well. Third, that you have suffered a negative employment action. Fourth, that the negative employment action is based on your protected class. At Nakase Accident Lawyers & Employment Attorneys, we believe that it is important to sue for discrimination to bring about change. We want everyone in California to have a safe work environment. Learn more about employer discrimination on our site.

  1. Workplace harassment

Unfortunately, isolated incidents of inappropriate or offensive comments or jokes are not considered harassment by the law. However, constant comments or jokes are workplace harassment. It can bring about more serious hostile work environment complaints. Harassment often happens due to an employee of protected status. Learn more about employee harassment.

  1. Sexual harassment

Unwelcome sexual attention or advances in the workplace are illegal. If the sexual harassment is from a supervisor, manager, or boss, then the employee also faces negative employment action when they refuse the advances. It is important to first file a complaint with HR or contact a neutral supervisor to give your employer a chance to rectify the situation. If no resolution occurs, you may proceed with an employee lawsuit. Learn more about sexual harassment at work.

  1. Retaliation

If your boss retaliates against you for exercising your legal rights or helping another person exercise their legal rights, then you can sue your employer. Retaliation includes harassment, demotion, excessive schedule changes, and firing. You will be protected by the law against retaliation, and you can add retaliation to your original claim.

  1. Working Without Clocking In

Off-the-clock labor work is often unpaid or does not add to overtime pay and is generally illegal. According to the wage and hour law of California, employers should not ask employees to work overtime without pay.1 Unpaid work that is done by employees for their employer, with their knowledge, is defined as off-the-clock work.

Regardless, employers are required by California law to compensate employees for all off-hour work. You can acquire help of a California employment lawyer to get the compensation that you are rightfully entitled to. Learn more about working off the clock.

Contact attorney Brad Nakase for Suing Employer

Employees who are considering a lawsuit against employers are invited to contact attorney Brad Nakase for a free consultation on suing employer. We will discuss your case and advise on next steps for your employer lawsuit. If you plan to sue your employer, you will need a skilled California employment lawyer who knows the laws inside and out. Consult with us today.

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What Is A Hostile Work Environment?

The law defines an unlawful hostile work environment to mean when a superior or coworker communication or behavior that is offensive, intimating, or discriminate on the basis of gender, religion, race, ethnicity, etc.

Can you take unpaid time off in California?

There is no legal requirement in California that an employer provide its employees with either paid or unpaid vacation time. However, the federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) gives eligible employees the right to take up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave per year.

DFEH Right to Sue

To file a lawsuit for discrimination, you must file a complaint with DFEH and obtain a Right-to-Sue notice.

Is It Illegal To Not Pay Overtime?

Yes, it is illegal for employer to not pay overtime because California law requires that employers pay overtime, whether authorized or not.

What Is Rate Pay Meaning?

The meaning of pay rate is the average hourly rate an employee is paid calculated by dividing the total pay for employment in a work week by the total number of hours actually worked.

California Break Laws

Under California law, non-exempt workers are entitled to two paid 10-minute rest breaks and one unpaid meal break during their eight-hour shift. 

Not Getting Paid for Work I Have Done

Workers who have not been paid for work have the right to file a claim with the federal and state Department of Labor for unpaid wages.

California Overtime Law

Under California overtime law, an employee who works over eight hours a day or over forty hours per week is entitled to overtime pay at one and one-half times the regular rate of pay.

Who is exempt from overtime pay?

As of 2023, to be exempt from overtime pay, any employees who are paid at least $62,400 per year and work are primarily professional, executive, creative, managerial, or intellectual and require the exercise of independent judgment.

Can Previous Employers Talk Bad About You?

There are no state or federal laws prohibiting what a previous employer can or cannot say about a former employee. However, previous employers are not permitted to make up lies to damage your reputation and make it difficult for you to get another job.

Can An Employer Cut Your Pay as Punishment?

Employers cannot cut hours to retaliate against employees. Cutting the hours of an employee should never be used as discipline or in an attempt to make an employee quit. 

California Random Drug Testing Law

Random drug testing is not permitted in California, and employers must give their employees notice before a drug test is given.

What happens if you get caught working under the table?

Generally, it is not illegal for your employer to pay you in cash. However, if the employer paid you under the table and did not report your earnings, you may be entitled to money damages under California Labor Code 226.

ADA Proof of Disability

An employer has no right to ask an employee to provide proof of disability unless the employee requests a reasonable accommodation and the employer does not believe disability exists.

FMLA Retaliation and Wrongful Discharge

An employer is prohibited from retaliating, interfering with, restraining, or denying an employee’s exercise of any FMLA right. If an employer wrongfully terminates an employee for FLMA taking medical leave, the worker could have a lawsuit against the employer.

Per Diem Employee Rights

A per diem employee is a worker who work on an as needed basis. A per diem employee does not have a regular schedule or shift but instead works hours as assigned.

How To File A Workplace Harassment Complaint

You can always file a harassment complaint with the EEOC about the harassment. Also, you can retain our employment law attorney to help with no upfront money from you.

Wrongful Termination Settlements

When a worker wins a wrongful termination lawsuit, the average payout amount is $9000 to $95,000, depending on how much the worker would have made during employment.

Can employer ask for proof of disability?

If a worker asks for reasonable accommodation, the employer can ask for proof of disability. However, an employer cannot ask for proof of disability if its part of a hiring decision.

What is an EDD Audit?

An EDD audit is a payroll tax audit initiated when a former worker you classified as an independent contractor applies for unemployment with EDD.  The EDD thinks you misclassified the worker as an independent contractor and audits your company. 

Using PTO for Paid Vacation Time

PTO is any time an employee gets paid while away from work, including paid vacation time. PTO is paid time off, meaning a worker may use PTO for any reason, such as paid sick leave or paid vacation time.

When to hire an employment attorney?

You should hire an employment attorney as soon as you are aware of the issue or believe something is wrong and that the employer is not remedying the issue, such as harassment, wrongful termination, or discrimination.

Is PTO Required by Law?

Employers in California are not required to provide any PTO, such as paid time off or paid or unpaid vacation, to their employees.

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