California has a significant tech industry that provides employment for many people. However, the scale and exponential growth of the industry can often make some employers fail to meet, or purposefully skirt, the essential precautions, guidelines, and laws that protect employees. Tech employees can face unique challenges with their workers’ rights, despite being provided the same employee rights as other California employees.
Whether you are employed at a tech start-up or are working for a large corporation, your rights could be violated through employee misclassification, wage and hour violations, and wrongful termination. If you have experienced these or other rights violations in the tech industry, it’s vital to contact a tech employment attorney right away. They can help you understand what legal action you can take as well as recover the compensation that is owed to you.
Fast-growing industries often fail to adequately protect their employees, who are the very people driving the company’s success. All employees deserve accurate and fair compensation and safe work environments. At Clapp & Lauinger LLP, we believe in fighting for employee rights and interests, and we have proudly served our community in Carlsbad and throughout Southern California for 30 years.
Our firm has successfully handled individual claims and class-action suits. We are experienced in litigating in court and reaching fair settlements for our clients. Our attorneys have years of successful trial experience and are not afraid to fight.
If your employer has failed to pay you, retaliated against you for reporting or taking legal actions, or you believe you have been wrongfully terminated, you deserve monetary compensation and back pay. An experienced employment attorney will ensure that your rights are protected and improve the possible outcome against your employer. We welcome the opportunity to review your employment situation to determine what rights were violated, help you understand the legal options available to you, and file the necessary claim to get your case started.
The tech industry covers several sectors of employees, including telecommunications, computer systems design and integration, software development, biomed, and semiconductor device manufacturing. Employees in these technology fields and others, receive legal protections like all California employees.
Here are examples of how basic employee rights are relevant in the tech field:
Tech employees are frequently bound by a contract or are contract employees. Independent contractors do not often appear to have the same employment protections as salaried or hourly employees, but there are still state and federal protection laws.
Additionally, the contracts that independent contractors work under must be upheld by the employer. If your employer fails to uphold the contract, you can file a claim for breach of contract. Additionally, it’s illegal for employers to enforce non-compete agreements. These can be in employment contracts, but they are not legally binding.
California has strong employee protections that also apply to employees in the tech industry. State and federal laws include:
Failure to pay an employee’s required overtime pay or allow them the required rest and meal breaks could mean that an employee is subject to receive significant back pay. Failure to provide an employee with meal or rest breaks could mean that they earn up to 2 hours of their regular rate of pay each workday without a break.
Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, as well as several other federal laws, provides employees with protection from discrimination and harassment. California’s Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) also provides similar and additional protections. An employee or potential employee can’t be discriminated against based on protected characteristics such as race, sex, disability, age, or religion. It’s also illegal for employers to retaliate against employees who file these claims.
Employers cannot take negative employment actions against employees exercising their rights. This includes an employee’s right to report unsafe or illegal activities, the right to file for workers’ compensation, and the right to take protected medical leave.
State privacy laws apply to the tech industry the same as any other industry. These laws govern how employers can monitor employee computers, complete background checks, record videos of the workplace, and safeguard employee information.
Although California is an at-will employment state, employers cannot fire employees for any illegal reason. This includes termination because of an employee’s protected characteristic or as retaliation for reporting illegal acts.
Layoffs at a tech company are an unfortunate concern statewide. The Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification (WARN) Act refers to both a federal and a state law that provides some protections for employees who have been laid off.
Both the state and federal laws require that employers provide their employees with 60 days of warning prior to layoffs. This was established to allow employees time to transition back into the workforce. Under federal law, an employer who fails to provide the required notice must provide employees with up to 60 days in back pay. Under the California labor code, the employer is also liable for any medical care employees need that would have been covered by their benefits during that time.
During and after a layoff, it’s also important to review your employee contract and severance package. The employee contract may have provisions that were violated during the layoff. Severance packages can prevent employees from bringing a claim against their employers. If you have been laid off and are unsure if your rights have been violated, it’s in your best interest to talk with an attorney as soon as possible. The experienced employment attorneys at Clapp and Lauinger LLP can help you determine whether your termination was illegal in any way.
It is illegal for employers to purposefully misclassify employees, but it is an unfortunate common occurrence. Employment law doesn’t require that independent contractors receive overtime pay, workers’ compensation, benefits, or breaks. However, independent contractors are allowed certain freedoms that standard employees don’t have. If you are receiving pay and benefits as an independent contractor but are fully under the control and discretion of your employer, it’s likely that you are a misclassified worker. Purposeful misclassification is a common tactic in the tech industry, and employees that get tangled up in this sort of practice can file a claim against their employer.
To be considered an independent contractor, the following conditions must be met:
Misclassified employees are entitled to significant compensation. An experienced employment attorney can help you determine if you have been misclassified and the next steps to take
Tech industry employees may receive stock options. If an employer later denies the vested interests or transactions you have in these stocks, you may be able to file a claim for breach of contract. Additionally, if you were wrongfully terminated from your job, there are some cases where you could recover the vested interests that you would have gained had you not been terminated.
Filing a claim for wage theft, discrimination, or other unlawful conduct is possible without an attorney. However, employment law is complex, and mistakes can be costly and time-consuming. When filing a claim with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the California Civil Rights Department (CRD), or another relevant agency, the complaint needs to follow certain guidelines. An attorney can ensure that the filing is done correctly and has the highest chance of success. The agency will grant you a right-to-sue notice if they approve your claim, and you can then file against your employer.
In other cases, you can directly sue your employer for their illegal actions. An employment attorney can help walk you through the correct steps necessary for your case and advocate for your interests in negotiations or litigated in court . Working with a Southern California employment lawyer increases the likelihood of success and the compensation and back pay that you deserve.
Skilled tech employees have propelled the tech industry forward, and they deserve protections and compensation that matches those contributions and the law. At Clapp & Lauinger LLP, we have dedicated decades to protecting employee rights. s. Whether you have been misclassified or were wrongfully terminated, we can defend your interests and right to compensation. Contact our team today to see how we can help.