Based in Sherman Oaks and representing clients throughout the greater Los Angeles area, Reisner & King assists Southern California workers in employment rights matters ranging from discrimination to wage and hour violations to family and medical leave issues. In the interest of sharing some general information, we offer the following answers to some frequently asked questions about employee rights. To discuss your specific legal concern, please contact our office.
What is “retaliation” in the workplace?
Federal and California laws protect employees from retaliation by employers for asserting protected rights, such as the right to work in a nonhostile environment, the right to proper overtime pay and the right to pregnancy disability leave. The basis for a retaliation claim is that the employer disciplined, suspended, terminated, or otherwise improperly treated the employee for doing something that is protected by law. In order to win a retaliation claim, an employee must show that he or she:
- Engaged in protected conduct
- Suffered an adverse action by his or her employer
- Suffered the adverse action because of the protected conduct
Please see our discrimination, harassment and retaliation page for further information about employee protection from retaliation and actions that constitute retaliation.
What is a Qui Tam action?
Commonly referred to as a whistleblower lawsuit, a qui tam action can be brought under the federal or California False Claims Act. Both acts allow private individuals with knowledge of past or present fraud or wrongdoing committed in the workplace to bring a lawsuit against the wrongdoer on behalf of the government.
If a whistleblower successfully exposes fraud on the government, he or she receives a share of the government’s recovery, which may be up to three times the amount of money actually lost. In order to bring a qui tam action, it is not necessary to suffer personal harm on account of the defendant’s fraudulent claims; rather, the plaintiff is acting as a stand-in for the government. Please see our whistleblower and wrongful termination page for more information about protecting your employee rights in a whistleblower situation.
What is the Family and Medical Leave Act?
The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) provides protection and unpaid leave to eligible employees should they miss work for family and medical purposes. Under the FMLA, a protected employee can take a leave of absence to care for his or her own serious medical condition or to care for an immediate family member with a serious medical condition.
Not all employers are covered under the Family and Medical Leave Act. Whether or not your employer is covered depends on the size of the employer in addition to other criteria. Furthermore, even when an employer is covered under the act, not all employees will be provided protection. Whether or not an employee is covered depends on how long the employee has worked for the employer as well as the number of hours the employee has worked during the applicable period of time. For more information about FMLA qualifications and protections provided under the act, please see our family and medical leave page.