PRACTICE AREAS

EMPLOYMENT LAW

Employment, Labor and Civil Litigation

The Goularte Law Firm specializes in employment, labor, and civil litigation. Our focus is to provide the most meaningful and responsive representation, while offering insightful, practical and effective legal advice to our clients. Our experienced litigation team provides personal and undivided attention in what can be extremely stressful and complex at times.

Employers with 25 employees or less - Basic Minimum Rate (per hour): $11.00 Employers with 26 employees or more - Basic Minimum Rate (per hour): $12.00 (see Minimum Wage link above for details). From 2017 through 2023, the minimum wage will increase annually on a set schedule and will be adjusted annually thereafter.

 
 

California overtime law mandates employers to pay employees overtime for every hour worked over 8 per day or 40 per work week, regardless of the size of the company. Overtime must be paid at a rate of at least one and a half times the employees normal working wage. Exemptions can apply.  Call us for details!

California state law requires several different types of breaks for employees, including 30 minute duty free meal breaks, 10 minute consecutive rest & recovery breaks, as well as a day of rest breaks. Break laws in the State of California are often more complicated by the job duties and job requirements of your employer, please contact us for details.

 

There are specific laws to protect employees affected by pregnancy from discrimination in hiring, firing, pay, job assignments, promotions, layoff, training, fringe benefits, such as leave and health insurance, and any other term or condition of employment. The Pregnancy Disability Act (PDA) provides certain rights and provisions under state and federal law in order to protect employees with pregnancy-related conditions. 

 

If you have been let go while on disability leave - whether covered by Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) or not - call us, you may have a claim for wrongful termination under the FMLA and/or Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). A complaint must be filed with the Equal Employment Opportunities Commission (EEOC) before filing a lawsuit. We can help!

 

Discrimination of employees based on age, disability, equal pay/compensation, genetic information, harassment, national origin, pregnancy, race/color, religion, retaliation, sex, and sexual harassment are all classified as workplace discrimination.  Often times work place discrimination can also lead to a hostile work environment (see harassment below). Each employee is encouraged to report any type of work place discrimination against themselves or their coworkers under state and federal law, and are protected for their reporting. 

 

Gender discrimination involves treating someone (an applicant or employee) unfavorably because of that person's sex. Discrimination against an individual because of gender identity, including transgender status, or because of sexual orientation is discrimination and is forbidden by law in violation of Title VII.

 

Workplace harassment is illegal both under federal and California state law. Some examples of a harassing, hostile work environment may include, but are not limited to: offensive jokes, racial or sexual slurs, epithets or name calling, physical insults, objects or pictures that are offensive in nature, and any other conduct that directly interferes with an employee's work performance. The victim does not have to suffer an economic injury or be terminated from employment in order to prove a hostile work environment - the victim does not even have to be the direct recipient of the unlawful behavior. 

It is unlawful to harass a person (an applicant or employee) because of that person’s sex. Harassment can include “sexual harassment” or unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical harassment of a sexual nature.

 

Whistleblowers are persons, often employees or former employees, who report illegal or fraudulent activity by an employer, government or organization. Employees may risk retaliation from their employers for making such reports, which has provided more state and federal protections for whistleblowers. 

 

Under California law, workplace retaliation is unlawful if your employer punishes you for protected activities which include: reporting illegal conduct, refusing to engage in illegal conduct, reporting fraud, filing a wage claim with the California Labor Commissioner, filing discrimination lawsuits, complaining of workplace discrimination or harassment and assisting other employees in filing a lawsuit or complaint of illegal activity in the workplace.

Federal law also protects you from workplace retaliation if you file a discrimination or harassment complaint at work. Your employer also cannot lawfully punish you for cooperating with FEHA/EEOC investigations if you decide to serve as a witness against your employer. This is also true with whistleblower activities such as complaining of unsafe working conditions.

 
 

Wrongful termination in the workplace violates both California and federal law.  If you believe you have suffered wrongful termination at work, you may be able to obtain compensation - your legal remedies could include both money damages including front pay and back pay. Although California uses the legal concept of "employment at will" there are a number of exceptions to this doctrine. We would need to provide proof that the termination was "wrongful" in the sense of violating the employee's legal rights. Call us for those details!

BUSINESS LAW

Business Consulting and Transactional Attorney

The Goularte Law Firm has a select number of business partners, clients that are advised in all aspects of corporate, partnership, and business transactions. We represent privately held companies in California such as S-Corporations, C-Corporations, LLCs, and LLPs, advising on all corporate formalities and transactional matters.