Walnut Creek Employment Lawyer
Walnut Creek Employment Lawyer Fighting for Employee Rights
California employees have many protections under state and federal labor laws. Workers who have been wrongfully terminated, harassed, denied overtime or subject to other workplace violations have the power to hold employers accountable for their illegal practices. A qualified Walnut Creek employment lawyer can help you recover damages.
When unlawful treatment in the workplace is threatening your livelihood, attorney Jason Erlich is on your side. Erlich Law Firm is committed to helping workers in Walnut Creek and across the East Bay stand up for their rights.
Major Industries in Walnut Creek
More than 52,000 people from across the Bay Area commute into Walnut Creek for work each day. Of local jobs, around 9,500 or 15 percent are filled by city residents. Over a third of employees who commute into Walnut Creek are from neighboring communities in central Contra Costa County.
Walnut Creek has around 63,220 jobs spread across a variety of industries. While the city has many different types of employers and businesses, five major sectors account for 71 percent of all jobs in the area. These employment sectors are:
- Professional services
- Financial services
Employment Violations in Walnut Creek
No matter the industry you work in, you deserve a fair and safe workplace. Unfortunately, far too many employers regularly violate labor laws. Erlich Law Firm is dedicated to representing workers in a wide range of employment law cases. Whether your employer is withholding your wages or discriminating against you, we can help. Here are some of the cases we handle:
- Wrongful termination
- Disability discrimination
- Age discrimination
- Pregnancy discrimination
- Sexual harassment
- Wage and hour violations
- Medical leave violations
Below, we take a closer look at the top industries in Walnut Creek and common employment violations that may take place.
Healthcare is Walnut Creek’s biggest industry, accounting for 28 percent of all employment. With 1,956 healthcare jobs per 10,000 residents, the city serves as a regional medical hub for surrounding areas.
Walnut Creek is home to several major hospitals including Kaiser Permanente Walnut Creek Medical Center, UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital and John Muir Medical Center. The latter is the largest employer in the city, with more than 500 workers.
Healthcare encompasses many different types of jobs within the field. Walnut Creek employees work in urgent care, outpatient centers, physical therapy, diagnostic clinics, doctor and dental offices, and psychiatric clinics among other healthcare settings.
Wage and hour violations are one of the most common types of unlawful employment practices that take place in the healthcare sector. The pandemic has highlighted the pressures that nurses and other healthcare workers face. According to a University of California San Francisco study, there is currently a shortage of RNs that is expected to last until 2029.
Registered nurses and certified nursing assistants often end up working extra hours due to the demanding nature of their jobs. Under California labor law, nurses are entitled to overtime wages at a time-and-a-half their regular rate of pay for all hours worked over eight in a day. Healthcare employers must also provide meal and rest breaks to workers.
Hardworking healthcare employees who are forced to work long hours without proper pay can file a claim to recover their unpaid wages. At Erlich Law Firm, we are not afraid to stand up to employers of all kinds, no matter how big, to pursue justice for clients who have suffered from illegal pay practices.
With a vibrant downtown shopping scene, it is unsurprising that retail is Walnut Creek’s second-largest employment sector. Shoppers from across the East Bay visit Broadway Plaza, an open-air mall that has restaurants and more than 80 stores, including Macy’s, Nordstrom, Apple, Lululemon, Zara and specialty shops. The city is also home to big-box retailers like Target and Big 5 Sporting Goods.
On the surface, working in retail seems straightforward. Retail employees typically carry out tasks such as restocking shelves, managing stores and helping customers. However, there are many ways in which employers may try to take advantage of workers who do not know their rights.
It is no secret that the retail sector has been struggling in recent years. Unfortunately, when businesses feel the pinch of slumping sales, workers are more likely to suffer wrongful termination, discrimination, retaliation and wage theft. For example, employers may use economic reasons as a pretext for firing workers based on unlawful, discriminatory motives.
While certain illegal treatment may be obvious, other labor law violations may be harder to detect, such as off-the-clock bag searches. California law requires companies to pay retail workers for all hours worked, including any time controlled by the employer.
In August 2022, a judge approved a $30 million settlement in a lawsuit that accused Apple of failing to pay thousands of its California retail workers for time spent on mandatory security checks. Apple Store employees recovered compensation for having to wait for and undergo bag searches on the employer’s premises at the end of each workday.
Many retail employees are hesitant to take legal action because do not want to get fired or hurt their chances of finding employment with other retailers. Employers sometimes feel they can get away with unlawful practices, particularly when workers fear retaliation for speaking up. A skilled Walnut Creek employment lawyer, however, can help you put an end to your employer’s wrongdoing.
Professional services is an umbrella term for a wide array of employers. The industry includes accounting firms, architecture and engineering businesses, advertising firms, computer software companies, law firms and marketing.
Certain industries struggle with stereotypes about what a typical worker should look and be like, which can give rise to workplace discrimination. For example, marketing firms may engage in gender discrimination by unlawfully paying male employees higher salaries than female employees.
Another common type of employment discrimination is age discrimination. California law makes it illegal to discriminate against workers and job applicants who are over 40 years old based on their age.
More than a third, or 36.5 percent, of Walnut Creek residents are in the prime working age range of 25 and 54. The median age in the city is 48.6, which is about a decade older than that of the East Bay, which is 38.2. Walnut Creek also has a higher number of residents over the age of 65 compared to the rest of Contra Costa County and the East Bay.
Age should not be a consideration in workplace decisions. However, the availability of a younger workforce can be a major factor for certain industries. Employers may try to force out older workers in favor of younger employees with the assumption that they are more likely to bring fresh and innovative ideas to the workplace.
Age-related stereotypes are common in tech companies. While the tech sector is not a major employer in Walnut Creek, in recent years the city has seen strong growth in related subsectors, including software and telecommunications. Companies like YapStone and Zoopify have offices in Walnut Creek.
Age discrimination, however, is not just limited to tech firms and professional services. It can take place in any type of workplace. No matter where it occurs, discriminating against a worker based on their age is illegal.
Walnut Creek’s hospitality sector consists of restaurants, bars and cafes, as well as hotels. Travelers have many choices when it comes to hotels and motels in the city. Some popular names include Marriott, Embassy Suites by Hilton, Holiday Inn Express, Renaissance, Diablo Mountain Inn and Motel 6.
The city’s dining scene ranges from fast food joints like Chick-fil-A and Burger King to family restaurants such as The Cheesecake Factory and Gott’s Roadside. There are also fine dining establishments like Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse and Telefèric Barcelona.
Walnut Creek restaurant employees work hard to provide quality food and service. However, this does not always translate into fair treatment in terms of pay, hours and working conditions.
Employment in the hospitality industry often consists of tip-based shift jobs. Waiters, bartenders, hotel housekeeping staff and other hospitality workers rely on managers for shift assignments and customers for tips to earn a living. This puts workers in a compromising position that exposes them to the risk of sexual harassment on the job from managers, coworkers or even customers.
As many as 90 percent of women and 70 percent of men have experienced some form of sexual harassment in the U.S. restaurant industry. The hospitality business upholds the notion that the customer is always right, which can be problematic for workers. Some workplaces create an environment in which sexual harassment is tolerated. When employees report misconduct, management may ignore them, not take their complaints seriously or even retaliate against them.
The hospitality sector is also a hotbed for wage and hour violations. When restaurants get busy, employers may force employees to give up their meal and rest breaks. Another common violation includes counting the tips of waitstaff toward their pay instead of paying them the full wages they are owed.
Hospitality workers often fear retaliation for speaking up. Retaliation can take many forms besides wrongful termination. For example, a hotel manager may assign undesirable tasks to workers, or threaten to reduce their hours or pay. Under California law, it is unlawful for employers to retaliate against workers who report unsafe working conditions, complain about sexual harassment or ask for their owed wages.
Rounding out the top five industries in Walnut Creek is the financial services sector with around 6,232 jobs. The city serves as a regional financial hub for central Contra Costa County. Employees in financial services work at a variety of banks, credit unions, insurance companies, consumer finance, investment funds and stock brokerage firms.
It is not uncommon for employers to require finance professionals to work long hours. Selling banking products and services may require working early mornings and late into the night. California labor laws require banks, insurance companies and other financial institutions to pay workers overtime wages for working more than eight hours a day.
Sometimes employers misclassify certain workers as exempt to avoid paying overtime. However, there are specific rules in place to determine whether an employee qualifies for an executive, administrative or professional exception that bars them from receiving overtime pay.
Workers in the financial sector may experience other employment violations besides unpaid overtime. Wrongful termination occurs when an employer fires an employee in violation of California public policy. It is illegal for an employer to fire a worker for taking medical leave, refusing to commit an illegal act, participating in an investigation or engaging in whistleblowing activities.
For example, in 2022 Wells Fargo was ordered to pay $22 million for firing a senior manager in retaliation for speaking up about financial misconduct. The executive was wrongfully terminated after repeatedly reporting alleged breaches of financial law, which included the employer telling employees to falsify customer information.
Workers in the financial sector have important protections against labor law violations. Consult a Walnut Creek employment lawyer if you suspect you have been fired for unlawful reasons.
Filing an Employment Lawsuit
When you are experiencing workplace harassment, discrimination or wage violations, it can often be challenging to come forward and speak up. If your rights have been violated, you may be able to file an employment lawsuit against your employer to recover damages.
You can pursue compensation for lost wages, benefits and emotional distress. The exact amount you receive depends on the details of your case. In certain circumstances, you may be eligible for punitive damages. Courts may award punitive damages in serious cases that involve malicious or willful wrongdoing on your employer’s part.
There are many steps in the legal process, from thoroughly investigating a claim and gathering evidence to negotiating settlements and fighting a case in court. A skilled employment lawyer can handle your lawsuit from start to finish, getting you the compensation you deserve.
How a Walnut Creek Employment Lawyer Can Help
Walnut Creek employment lawyer Jason Erlich has more than 20 years of experience standing up for workers who are experiencing unlawful treatment at work. He has represented clients in all kinds of employment law cases, even taking on class-action lawsuits that involved large groups of California workers.
Many factors need to be considered when building a strong case. For example, if you are filing a wrongful termination claim, we will examine your employment history and review the circumstances of your termination. Details matter in employment law cases, and your employment lawyer will make sure to investigate your case thoroughly.
While some cases may be resolved through a settlement agreement, other lawsuits may go to trial. Jason is prepared to provide you with experienced legal representation, no matter what.
Erlich Law Firm is equipped to deal with employers both big and small. Many workers are fearful of taking legal action against their employer. When you hire us, you will get a compassionate employment lawyer who is dedicated to holding your employer accountable and making things right.
Call for a Free Case Evaluation
If you have suffered wrongful termination, discrimination, sexual harassment or other workplace violations in Walnut Creek, you may be able to get compensation and put a stop to your employer’s illegal practices. Contact the experienced Walnut Creek employment lawyers at Erlich Law Firm today to get started.
FREE CASE REVIEW
When employees' legal rights are violated, we take time to explain their legal options, listen to their goals, and aggressively argue their case until we achieve the resolution they deserve.