San Bernardino County has a workforce of over 977,000 people. While some employees travel to Los Angeles and Riverside for their jobs, many live and work within the county. In fact, the average commute time In San Bernardino County is approximately 30 minutes.
Whether you live or work in San Bernardino, you know that workplace problems can and do happen. If you or a loved one had your rights as an employee violated, call the San Bernardino employment lawyers at The Dominguez Firm for a FREE consultation at 800-818-1818 today. We have successfully helped employees who have suffered sexual harassment, discrimination, wrongful termination, whistleblower retaliation and permanent health complications due to COVID-19. We also work to assist families who have lost a loved one to COVID-19 because of unsafe work conditions.
Below you’ll find out more about employment law and how the San Bernardino employment attorneys at The Dominguez Firm can help if you or a loved one with your employment law issue.
San Bernardino Employment Statistics
With its wide-open spaces and proximity to major urban areas, San Bernardino County has increasingly become home to some of the largest warehouses in the nation. That translates into approximately 100,000 people working in the logistics sectoralone. Many San Bernardino employees are also in the health care sector. The common thread is that these workplaces have been amongst the hardest hit by the COVID-19 epidemic.
These are the largest employers in San Bernardino County:
- Amazon Fulfillment Center – Redlands/ Mail Order Fulfillment Service
- Amazon Fulfillment Center – San Bernardino/ Mail Order Fulfillment Service
- Arrowhead Regional Medical Center – Colton/Hospitals
- Burlington Coat Factory Warehouse – San Bernardino/Retail and Fulfillment Center
- California State University, San Bernardino – Universities & Colleges Academic
- Community Hospital of San Bernardino – Hospitals
- Environmental Systems Research – Redlands/Geographics Information Systems
- Fedex Ground – Bloomington/Delivery Service
- IEHP Community Resource Center – Rancho Cucamonga/Health Services
- Kaiser Permanente – Fontana/Health Services
COVID-19 in San Bernardino
COVID-19 has impacted every aspect of our lives. That also extends to our jobs. The San Bernardino employment lawyers at The Dominguez Firm are keeping up with the unique legal issues arising from the continuing coronavirus pandemic.
Employees who have suffered permanent health problems or families who have lost a close family member to COVID-19 because of unsafe work conditions should contact The Dominguez Firm immediately for a free and confidential consultation at 800-818-1818. Without exception, you and your loved ones have the right to a safe workplace. We strongly believe that companies and organizations that don’t adhere to this belief should be held accountable for their actions.
Employee Rights in San Bernardino
Like other counties in California, San Bernardino has some of the most labor-friendly laws in the nation. Employee rights include the second-highest minimum wage in the country at $14 per hour for employers with 25 or more employees.
Workers in San Bernardino also enjoy protection against adverse work actions due to sexual orientation. Not every state offers its LGBTQ residents the same protections. State laws also protect undocumented immigrants in San Bernardino County and all of California from employer threats and retaliation if they report a workplace violation (AB 263).
Employment law in San Bernardino and even at the national level is always evolving. It can be hard to keep up with the changes. That’s why it’s so important to consult with the San Bernardino employment attorneys at The Dominguez Firm if you are facing problems at work.
Wrongful Termination Actions
You can be fired without notice in San Bernardino because California is an at will state. This is true unless you are a contract employee, which most people are not. Your employer can let you go because they are eliminating your position, or they want to replace you with a friend or relative. However, there are exceptions.
First though, be aware that being fired, and part of a protected class does not automatically qualify as a wrongful termination. If your company is laying off large groups of people and you are one of them, it may not be a case of wrongful termination. However, if it is clear that one specific group is being laid off exclusively, that could very well be a wrongful termination claim.
You cannot be fired solely due to your:
- Gender identity
- Sexual orientation
- Reporting dangerous or illegal activity by your employer (whistleblower)
Another notable exception is if you are a whistleblower. Being fired for reporting illegal or dangerous conditions or activities by your employer is a clear example of a wrongful termination and retaliation. You would possibly have two lawsuits against your employer.
Sometimes an employee quits because their employer has made conditions unbearable for them. Being demoted, given undesirable work shifts or dealing with a hostile work environment can be extremely stressful. Employers do this in the hopes the worker will quit. This form of retaliation is often used against whistleblowers. And while technically, the employee was not fired, it is still considered a wrongful termination in San Bernardino.
Finally, just as an employer can fire you without cause or notice, you can quit in the same fashion. If your employer retaliates for it and refuses to pay you any salaries owed or tries to blacklist you from future employment in your field, that is an example of retaliation.
San Bernardino whistleblowers are protected from employer retaliation at both the federal and state levels. They cannot be fired or face any other type of retaliation from their employers if they report violations or illegal activity. These protections have been updated to include protection for employees who report unsafe workplaces during the COVID-19 pandemic.
One important note, undocumented immigrants are also protected from retaliation if they report unsafe work conditions, discrimination or other illegal activity by their employers.
Resolving Claims of Unpaid Wages
San Bernardino employees are to be paid on time and fairly for their work. This is especially true if they are non-exempt hourly employees. Sometimes, employers try to get around this right. It can be obvious, like not paying overtime wages. Other times it’s more subtle. The following are some of the more common unpaid wage and hour violations:
- Not paying the current minimum wage, which is $14 per hour for an employer with 25 or more employees and $13 for employers with less than 25 employees.
- Using tips, bonuses and commissions towards an employee’s hourly wage.
- Asking employees to work through their 10 minute or lunch breaks.
- Not providing adequate breaks as required by California law.
- Asking employees to run errands such as personal tasks outside their regular hours and not paying them for it.
- Not paying employees for time spent traveling for work.
- Not paying any outstanding wages or accrued vacation and sick time to an employee who was recently terminated or quit. If the employee quits, it doesn’t matter whether they gave two weeks’ notice or not before leaving.
San Bernardino Workplace Harassment
California is at the forefront of laws meant to protect workers from sexual, physical and verbal harassment. One is SB 1343. It requires employers to provide sexual harassment prevention training for all employees in San Bernardino County and California. In light of the Me Too movement, this law was expanded to include employers with five employees or more.
Seasonal, temporary and any other employees who are hired to work for less than six months are also now included so they can be made aware of their rights. Employees in this particularly vulnerable sector of the workforce are sadly over-represented in workplace sexual harassment statistics.
Despite these new laws, workplace harassment still happens in San Bernardino. The legal definition of workplace discrimination is: “Harassment is unwelcome conduct that is based on race, color, religion, sex (including pregnancy), national origin, age (40 or older), disability or genetic information. Harassment becomes unlawful where 1) enduring the offensive conduct becomes a condition of continued employment, or 2) the conduct is severe or pervasive enough to create a work environment that a reasonable person would consider intimidating, hostile, or abusive” according to the EEOC.
Examples of workplace sexual, physical and verbal harassment include:
- Quid Pro Quo harassment, where an employer asks for sexual favors in exchange for favorable actions at work.
- Repeated requests for dates or other unwanted sexual advances.
- Sexual jokes, racial slurs and comments are examples of verbal harassment.
- Hitting, pushing or groping are forms of physical and often sexual harassment.
If the harassment has gone on for some time and is bad enough that it creates a hostile work environment, any employee being negatively impacted can seek legal recourse, not just the target of the abuse. For example, if one or more employees keep making jokes or insulting an employee with a disability, other employees who aren’t the target of the abuse but are upset at the behavior may also have legal recourse.
The first step anyone facing harassment, or a hostile workplace should take is to approach their Human Resources manager and inform them of the behavior. Keep records of any offensive emails or texts and document all incidents. If all internal resources have been exhausted and no changes have been made, then they should contact the San Bernardino employment lawyers at The Dominguez Firm to see what their next step should be.
Contact the San Bernardino Employment Lawyers at The Dominguez Firm
If your workplace rights have been violated, The Dominguez Firm is ready to fight for you. We have the resources and an in-house team of award-winning San Bernardino employment law attorneys that can take on all types of employers and their lawyers.
We also understand that hiring an employment lawyer may seem financially difficult at such a stressful time. But nothing could be further from the truth. The Dominguez Firm works on a contingency basis. That means we receive a percentage of your final verdict or settlement at the end of your case. That percentage will be clearly outlined in the client representation agreement you sign with us initially. And it won’t change depending on the size of your compensation. There are no upfront legal fees or hidden costs.
And in the unlikely event we don’t obtain any compensation for you, you owe us nothing. In other words, if there is no recovery, there is no fee!
Call us at 800-818-1818 today for a free and completely confidential consultation. The San Bernardino employment law lawyers at The Dominguez Firm are here for you!