California & New York Employment Lawyers

Employment Lawyers for Employees in San Francisco, Los Angeles, and New York

For more than twenty years, Ottinger Employment Lawyers has focused on just one thing: helping employees resolve serious employment problems. We are one of the country’s top boutique employment law firms with offices in San Francisco, Los Angeles and New York.

Ottinger Employment Lawyers Have Been Helping Employees for Over 20 Years

We devote our practice to helping employees in difficult situations throughout California and New York. Formed in 1999, our San Francisco and Los Angeles employment lawyers have helped thousands of employees. We have handled most every kind of employment case imaginable from illegally fired sanitation workers to rock stars and artists engaged in compensation disputes. We have helped top level executives negotiate employment and severance agreements. We have helped financial executives, salespeople, designers, tech workers, drivers, marketing and advertising executives and people in most every industry resolve complex problems. Our employment lawyers handle cases in San Francisco and Los Angeles, and New York that range from employment discrimination, whistleblowing, sexual harassment, and wage & hour class actions. We also have an executive practice area that focuses on severance, employment contracts and non-compete negotiations. We represent clients in Los Angeles, Orange County, San Fernando Valley, the Silicon Valley, the Bay Area and New York City.

Client Reviews

  • Wonderful Experience working with the Ottinger Firm! I was upset and very emotional after losing my job. The attorneys at the firm were very patient, caring and knowledgeable. They fought for me and won!  

    Candith J.
  • Everybody at this firm was helpful, thorough, and knew what they were doing! They efficiently managed to get results. Any questions I had were answered with depth. The process in which they work made things feel very at ease when it came to the case I hired them for. I would highly recommend this firm!

    Christian S.
  • I never hesitate to recommend Robert Ottinger to friends and family. He is thoughtful, responsive, realistic in managing expectations, an expert in employment law and really cares about helping people with their employment situations. I'm grateful for the help he has provided to me.

    Amy Z.
  • Thank you to the Ottinger firm for taking our case, fighting for us and getting positive results. When a business does not pay you what you are owed and you want results, The Ottinger firm is your go to!

    Robin H.

California Employment Law

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Ottinger Employment Lawyers has been helping employees and executives since 1999. We have offices in Los Angeles, San Francisco, and New York. We represent people at all levels from C-suite executives, middle managers to hourly workers. We can help you solve your problem.

Robert Ottinger founded this firm in New York City in 1999. Before starting the firm, he worked as Deputy Attorney General in Los Angeles and clerked for two judges at the Los Angeles Superior Court. We encourage you to browse the resources below to gain an understanding of California employment law.

New York Employment Law

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Since 1999, our New York employment lawyers have been trusted and recommended by New York employees and executives. We have earned this trust by delivering outstanding results and customer service. We represent people in all industries and have extensive experience in the financial, entertainment and technology sectors.

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Ottinger Employment Law Blog

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What Are Considered Part-Time Hours in California?

American workers are the backbone of this country. Employees spend hours working over a burning hot grill, waiting tables, working on assembly lines, delivering packages in time for the holidays, and a multitude of other tasks required to keep our economy going. And despite all this, they are frequently taken advantage of by greedy companies. It is because our workers are so important that we at Ottinger Employment Lawyers fight for them every day. When an employer tries to violate the rights of a worker, they are plucking at the strings that bind us all together. Today, we will be discussing a common tactic that employers use to cheat workers out of rightly earned pay and benefits. That tactic is the misclassification of employees as part-time workers.  Upon reading this, one of the first things you may wonder is, What is considered part-time in California? Today, we seek to clarify this and other issues. If you have questions or would like to speak with a California employment attorney, please contact us today. How Many Hours Is Considered Part-Time In California? Is 32 hours full-time in California? What about 40? Is there a limit at all? Generally, part-time means less than 40 hours per week in California. That said, there really isn’t a California law that sets a hard line for full-time employment. The California Labor Market Review refers to 35 hours or less as part-time, but again, this is more of a guide than a rule. On the Federal side, the Affordable Care Act defines full-time as at least 30 hours or 130 hours per month. Part-time hours in California usually vary by employer. Many employers make an honest effort to properly classify their employees, but some don’t. How Do Employers Use Part-Time to Discriminate? You may have heard that part-time employees do not get the same protection against discrimination as full-time workers— but this is false. California takes discrimination seriously. Know your rights and keep a lookout for attempts to use your part-time status as a reason to discriminate against you. Let’s go over some common ways part-time employees are taken advantage of. Minimum Wage Part-time workers are subject to the same minimum wage regulations as full-time employees. California’s minimum wage is $13 per hour and $14 per hour for organizations with more than 26 employees.  The Federal minimum wage is $7.25 per hour. Despite what you may have been told, you can’t waive your right to minimum wage, even if you only work part-time.  Break Periods Some part-time workers are told they are not entitled to breaks. The truth is, you can take meal breaks and rest periods even if you’re part-time. Typically, you may take a ten-minute break for every four hours worked. You should also be able to take a thirty-minute meal break if you’re working for more than five hours, and two meal breaks when working more than ten. Contact Us Schedule your consultation today. Schedule your consultation today. Overtime If you’re part-time, that doesn’t mean you can’t get paid overtime. Contrary to popular belief, employers often ask “part-time” employees to work more than 40 hours. Regardless of whether you are considered part or full-time, working overtime may entitle you to time and a half or even double your regular pay. That said, there are some exceptions to overtime regulations for certain positions. Most of these exceptions are for executive and professional positions. Shift Work California requires extra pay, called a premium, for split shifts. These are shifts that are broken up throughout the day. Working four hours in the morning and four at night is an example of a split shift. Many part-time employees are asked to work split shifts. Fortunately, the regulations don’t prevent part-time workers from split shift premiums. Benefits & Pay California requires that employees receive pay that is equal to the pay of their colleagues that perform substantially similar work. Substantially similar means work that is similar in skill, effort, and responsibility; and that is performed in similar conditions. For example, two cooks are likely performing substantially similar work, even if one is part-time. Some employers may try to limit your benefits and pay based on your part-time status, but this is not an exception to equal pay. The California Equal Pay Act prohibits this type of abuse.  How a California Employment Lawyer Can Help Many workers are told that they are not eligible for the same benefits and rights as their full-time companions, but we want you to know that this is false. You still have most of the same rights as other employees when you work part-time hours in California. If your employer is using your part-time status to cheat you out of your pay and benefits, give us a call. Ottinger Employment Lawyers know how important workers are. Our employment attorneys have decades of employment law experience. We want to help you fight back against unfair employers. Contact us today for your consultation. Where You Can Find Our LA Office Where You Can Find Our SF Office

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3 Famous Wrongful Termination Cases and Rulings by the Supreme Court

Wrongful termination lawsuits, often rooted in public policy violations, require a compelling link between the employee’s actions and the specific public policy involved. These legal actions are intricate and demanding, offering a means of redress for employees who allege unjust dismissal. One of the most common reasons a former employee may file a lawsuit against their previous employer is in cases of wrongful termination, especially in wrongful termination cases won by employees. This type of retaliation is common in cases where an employee speaks out against workplace harassment, discrimination, or illegal activity. After voicing a complaint, the employers have been known to retaliate by firing the employee as punishment. While it’s not always possible to prevent this from happening, federal and state laws protect workers against such treatment, aided by a couple of famous wrongful termination cases and rulings by the Supreme Court that make it easier for a worker to file a claim, especially if they can point to wrongful termination cases won by their peers. In fact, there are a couple of famous wrongful termination cases and rulings by the Supreme Court that make it easier for a worker to file a claim. Kasten v. Saint-Gobain Performance Plastics Corp. In December 2006, Saint-Gobain Performance Plastic fired Kevin Kasten from his job. According to Kasten, the company retaliated against him for making a complaint about the location of time clocks. Kasten noticed that the company placed time clocks away from the area where employees put on their required protective gear. This meant that employees couldn’t get paid for their time preparing their equipment.  Saint-Gobain Performance Plastic argued that Kasten’s complaints weren’t protected under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) because they were oral instead of written. The District Court and the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals determined that the FLSA did not protect verbal complaints. However, the U.S. Supreme Court overturned the ruling in a 6-2 decision, stating that the FLSA protects an employee who files either an oral or written complaint. If you feel you have wrongful termination case, speak with a lawyer with decades of experience. You may have a winning case at hand. Thompson v. North American Stainless, LP Eric Thompson and his fiancée, Miriam Regalado, both worked for North American Stainless in a manufacturing facility in Kentucky. In September 2002, Regalado filed a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) alleging gender-based discrimination by her supervisors. Three weeks after North American Stainless became aware of the charge, they fired Thompson in retaliation. Thompson then filed a complaint, stating that the company violated section 704(a) of Title VII.  Initially, the District Court and the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals dismissed Thompson’s case since it was a “third-party retaliation claim.” However, in a unanimous 8-0 the ruling, the U.S. Supreme Court found that Title VII’s anti-retaliation provisions cover “a broad range of employer conduct.” Since North American Stainless fired Thompson to punish Regalado, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that they performed an unlawful act under Title VII. Wrongful Termination laws may vary state-to-state. Learn more about wrongful termination laws in New York and California. Pennsylvania State Police v. Suders In August 1998, Nancy Drew Suders quit her dispatcher job with the Pennsylvania State Police. She claimed that sexual harassment from her supervisors was so pervasive that she decided to quit. Before leaving, her supervisors accused her of theft, put her in handcuffs, and questioned her. She decided not to file a complaint since the equal opportunity representative in the department was unsympathetic. Suders then filed a lawsuit in District Court claiming that the discrimination she faced forced her to quit. The District Court granted a summary judgment to the state police since Suders did not use the department’s internal procedures. The 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals overturned the decision, stating that the police were directly responsible for her resignation. Finally, in an 8-1 decision, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that any employee in a situation where a “reasonable person…would have felt compelled to resign” could file a lawsuit against their employer without filing an internal complaint. Your Options After Wrongful Termination As these famous wrongful termination cases demonstrate, you have several rights as a worker. Whether you are fired, demoted, or forced to quit due to a hostile work environment, there are legal options available to you. If your employer retaliates against you for making a valid workplace complaint, an experienced employment law attorney can help. Where You Can Find Our Los Angeles Office Location Where You Can Find Our San Francisco Office Location Where You Can Find Our New York Office Location

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What Are Time Clock Laws in California?

If you’re an employee in California, make sure your employer pays you for your time and lets you rest. Under California labor law, employers are not required to offer mandatory grace periods for clocking in and out. However, employers have the option to provide a voluntary 10-minute grace period for employees when they clock out. This flexibility aims to enhance the ease of clocking in and out for California workers. California law takes proper employee compensation and break times seriously. If an employer violates California time clock laws regarding employee breaks and compensation, they might have to pay damages. To receive damages for time clock violations, employees need to know their rights and their employers’ obligations.  You can reach out to us through our online contact form or give us a call at 866-328-0486. California Time Clock Laws Regarding Compensation California law typically requires your employer to timely and regularly pay you for all your working time. California timekeeping requirements also obligate your employer to keep detailed records of your payroll history and make them available to you.  If you inspect your payroll records, you might notice that the amount of time your employer pays you for doesn’t always match the amount of time you actually work. This is likely because your employer engages in rounding hours. Some employers round the hours or minutes their employees work to simplify payroll calculations. An employer might round your working time to the nearest minute, six minutes, quarter-hour, or other amount. Your employer might round your hours up or down. Since time clock rules for hourly employees require that California employers pay for all working time, is hour rounding legal? Rounding hours worked in CA can be legal, but it depends on the details of your situation. In AHMC Healthcare, Inc. v. Superior Court, the California Court of Appeals decided that an employer’s pay policy that rounded hours worked to the closest quarter-hour were legal since:  This means that if a rounding policy rounds up and down, is not applied to only reduce employee hours, and doesn’t result in constant undercompensation, it’s probably legal. Some California wage laws also closely follow federal law. Under federal law, an employer can round down working time lasting seven minutes or less. This can be disappointing, but the California Court of Appeals indicates that employees should at least break even in a rounding system if they work long enough.  If an employee in California clocks in for work before their scheduled start time with permission from their employer, it generally shouldn’t pose an issue. California labor law allows for flexible clock-in practices when authorized by the employer. However, it’s crucial to ensure accurate record-keeping and payroll management. In California, every minute an employee works must be compensated according to state labor regulations. In California, salaried employees are not required by law to clock in and out, especially if they are exempt from overtime regulations. The decision primarily lies with the employer. However, it’s important to note that non-exempt employees, including some salaried employees, must adhere to time-tracking requirements as mandated by labor regulations in the state. California Time Clock Laws Regarding Meal Breaks California law requires that your employer give you a 30-minute, unpaid meal break if you work more than five hours in a workday. The amount of meal breaks you must receive increases with the amount of hours you work. There are some exceptions to this rule. You can waive your meal break if you and your employer agree, and you don’t work more than six hours. You can also waive your second meal break in a 10 to 12-hour shift, as long as you and your employer agree. While there are some exceptions to the meal break rules, they generally apply to hourly and salaried employees alike. And if your employer doesn’t give you proper, uninterrupted meal breaks, you could have a right to premium pay.  Contact Us Schedule your flat-rate consultation. Schedule your consultation today. What If My Employer Doesn’t Comply with the Time Clock Laws in California? If your employer denies you proper breaks or pays you according to an unlawful hour-rounding policy, you can file a wage-and-hour claim with the California Department of Industrial Relations. You have one year to file a complaint if your employer fails to supply you with your payroll records. You have three years to file a complaint if you don’t get paid for all your hours or you don’t receive proper rest and meal breaks. The time you have to file a complaint can pass quicker than you think. This is why you should contact an attorney as soon as you suspect your employer has violated your rights. Your attorney can meet your filing deadlines and handle your claim while you tend to your other obligations.  Contact an Attorney to Claim What You’ve Earned Contrary to popular belief, you aren’t always at the mercy of your employer. Your employer needs to pay what they owe you and provide the rest times you deserve. At Ottinger Employment Lawyers, we are dedicated to helping wronged employees assert their rights. We have more than 20 years of experience, and we have helped thousands of employees. If you’re having trouble with your employer, we hope you’ll reach out. Contact us online or call us at 866-328-0486. 

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