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The unprecedented conditions of the last year have affected everyone in multiple ways. These impacts have also affected California’s legislators, who have enacted several news laws – and are contemplating others – that have a direct impact on workers across the state. If you believe you’ve been harmed by harassment or discrimination at work, you need a knowledgeable Oakland employment attorney who is not only experienced in handling these kinds of cases but also is completely up-to-date on any and all of the changes in the law.

If a Bay Area member of the Assembly’s proposal becomes law, then California discrimination law would feel a very direct effect. AB 1119, proposed by Assemblywoman Buffy Wicks of Oakland, would expand the anti-discrimination protections available to workers and job applicants in this state by adding an additional protected class within the Fair Employment and Housing Act’s safeguards against employment discrimination.

That class is people with “family responsibilities.” The spectrum of people who may fall within this class is potentially a wide one. This class can include parents of young children, children with parents in need of care, and people who provide care to family members with disabilities.

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We have been living with COVID-19 for more than a year now. One very important development that, for many, represents a huge “light at the end of the tunnel” is the availability of a COVID-19 vaccine. Vaccinations, though, maybe problematic for many workers. Some may have religious objections and others many ethical objections. Still others may have medical reasons why they cannot receive the vaccine. An employer’s mandate of a worker’s vaccination may, in certain circumstances, represent a form of religious discrimination or disability discrimination in violation of the Fair Employment and Housing Act. If you think you’ve been the target of workplace discrimination for refusing to receive a COVID-19 vaccine, you should contact an experienced Oakland employment lawyer promptly to discuss your legal options.

Back on March 4, 2021, the Department of Fair Employment and Housing published an update to its DFEH Employment Information on COVID-19. The updated material was specifically targeted toward the issue of vaccinations.

In that updated document, the department confirmed that generally speaking, employers may require that their employees get one of the FDA-approved COVID-19 vaccines. What employers may not do, however, is demand that all employees get vaccinated, even those who presented the employer with an objection based upon his/her disability or sincerely-held religious belief.

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Very few injury cases are the legal equivalent of a “slam dunk.” There inevitably will be many obstacles of varying types that will be positioned along the way, and any of them can trip you up, which is why it is so important to have legal representation from an experienced Oakland injury attorney when it comes time to pursue your case. Some cases, though, can be particularly complicated and may reflect a particularly high need for a skilled legal advocate.

Accidents that involve multiple vehicles can often be that kind of complex case. When you are hurt because one other driver rear-ended you, getting everything you deserve will be challenging, but parts of the case, such as who is liable, may be relatively straightforward. In multi-vehicle crashes, just determining who was to blame may be problematic.

Take, for example, a fatal accident from the pre-dawn hours of March 17. After a driver lost control along northbound Highway 101 in northern Sonoma County, his sedan hit the concrete center median, flipped, and came to rest wheels-down in the middle of the northbound travel lanes but facing south, according to a Press Democrat report.

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People may offer all kinds of unsolicited legal opinions all the time. “Oh, that kind of accident isn’t something you can sue for.” “That kind of medical problem isn’t something you can win a discrimination case on.” And so on, and so on. Most of these opinions will inevitably come from non-lawyers. Don’t listen to them. If you think you’ve been harmed – such as suffering disability discrimination at work – make sure you are armed with reliable knowledge before you make any serious decisions. Reach out to a skilled Oakland employment attorney to get the information and the advice you need.

When it comes to disability discrimination in California, a recent discrimination case from Los Angeles reminds readers of a couple of different – and equally important – truths about disability discrimination law in California.

The first is that, just because you may not have a federal disability discrimination case, that doesn’t mean you have no potential disability discrimination case in California. The federal disability discrimination law (the Americans With Disabilities Act or ADA) establishes what the law calls a “floor” for discrimination prohibition. That means that state law cannot do less to protect people with disabilities, but it can do more.

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The law is frequently slow to change but, as society evolves, the law often follows along eventually. The Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA)’s protections against workplace discrimination are no exception. For example, sexual orientation became a protected class in 2000 and an amendment added gender identity/expression as a protected class in 2004. As the law is ever-changing, it is vitally important to make sure that, if you’ve suffered harm from discrimination on the job, you’re working with an experienced Oakland employment discrimination attorney who has an in-depth and up-to-date knowledge of all the relevant federal and California discrimination laws.

A Riverside County Republican senator has proposed a bill that, if it becomes law, would add yet another class that is protected against discrimination under the FEHA, according to East County Today. That class would be political affiliation. The “Diversity of Thought Act,” introduced by state Sen. Melissa Melendez, would insert “political affiliation” into the FEHA in three places. Those are Section 12920, Section 12940, and Section 12955 of the California Government Code.

The bill represents, according to the senator, an important protection against a rising societal problem, which is the so-called “cancel culture,” in which people may suffer a variety of harms, including employment discrimination, because of their political views, beliefs, and affiliations, according to the report.

When a vehicle accident takes the life of your loved one, it is devastating. You know that no amount of money can “fix” what has been done. Nevertheless, your loved one and your family have still suffered a great loss, including potentially massive economic damage. To be sure that your family has the opportunity to get everything that the law says you’re entitled to, you have to make sure you are going about it the right way procedurally, which is why it pays to rely on the skill and knowledge of an experienced Oakland wrongful death attorney.

A fatal incident that took place in San Francisco’s South of Market neighborhood on New Year’s Eve is a reminder of how devastating these accidents can be. Two vehicles, a Honda and a Ford, met at an intersection. The Ford had the green light, but the driver of the Honda didn’t stop. The impact sent the Honda into two female pedestrians who were crossing in the crosswalk. One woman died at the scene, while the second died later at a hospital, according to a KPIX report.

The driver of the Honda fled on foot, but the police captured him a short time later. The state charged the driver of the Honda with an array of charges, including: “two counts of voluntary manslaughter, two counts of hit and run, driving a stolen vehicle, driving under the influence of drugs, two counts of DUI causing injury, speeding, running a red light, burglary” and other weapons and drug crimes, according to KPIX.

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Our system of civil litigation in California is based, in part, upon the idea that, generally, it is preferable when cases are resolved on their actual merits, not by one side using some technicality to sidestep addressing the merits. One of the implications of that notion of justice is that if you’ve put enough in your complaint to put the other side “on notice” of a basis for liability, you are entitled to pursue that basis. When it comes to putting together the strongest and most effective complaints (and case presentations,) be sure you are relying upon the experience of a knowledgeable Oakland employment attorney.

This concept proved very important to a police department employee in her recent sexual harassment case. S.A. had been a bomb tech for seven years when a male coworker, H.L., decided to make a play for her affections. He told her he had been “madly in love” with her for more than six years and planned to leave his wife due his love for her. S.A., who was a lesbian and had a female partner (all of which H.L. knew,) told H.L. that she didn’t love him and to leave her alone.

What allegedly ensued was a pervasive pattern of stalking. According to the complaint, H.L. showed up at restaurants where S.A. was eating, “bombarded” her with phone calls, texts and emails, and even showed up to S.A.’s job sites though he was assigned to a different detail. Eventually, the man allegedly cornered her and forcibly kissed her.

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As the calendar turned from 2020 to 2021, most of California remained under a “stay-at-home” order. For some Bay Area residents, the lifting of lockdown orders may actually exacerbate, rather than reduce, the challenges they face. Many people who were working before the pandemic struck may find themselves forced to remain at home, needing to care for their young children whose daycare remains closed or whose school-aged children remain waiting for their schools to reopen to in-person learning. Be advised that if COVID-19 has forced you to take time away from your job to care for your family, the Fair Employment and Housing Act offers protection against discrimination and/or retaliation related to your taking leave for caretaking activities. If you’ve suffered that kind of harm in your job, you should take immediate action and contact an experienced Oakland employment attorney.

The Families First Act went into effect in April of last year. That law expanded the availability of family and medical leave. Once you return to your job after a period of leave, your employer is forbidden by California law from punishing or taking any kind of adverse employment action against you (like termination, demotion, reduction of hours, reduction of benefits, negative performance assessment, reassignment to a less desirable shift, etc.) because you took that leave.

Say, for example, that you take several weeks of leave to care for your three-year-old child because your child’s previous daycare closed due to COVID-19, and you could not find a new one immediately. Once you returned to work, your coworkers began treating you differently. Three weeks after your return, your supervisor gave you a negative performance review, which you had never before received in your seven years with the company.

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Many times, when you begin a new job, you are presented with a massive stack of papers to read and sign. The whole thing can seem daunting and it may be tempting simply not to read all the “fine print.” Beware, though. The employment contract you sign may involve forfeiting various rights you have, such as suing in court if you’re later the victim of discrimination or harassment. The good news is that, even if you did sign such an agreement, there may be ways to avoid its enforcement. If you’ve been harmed at work by discrimination or harassment, whatever the details of your employment agreement were, reach out to a knowledgeable Oakland employment attorney to discuss your rights and your options.

S.D. was an example of someone who was able to avoid the hurdle that his arbitration agreement presented. He held a managerial sales position at the maker of a popular energy drink when he was fired in 2018. After that termination, S.D. sued for age discrimination and sex harassment. S.D., who was in his mid 50s when he sued, alleged that he was targeted for termination because of his age and because he had supported women who were sexually harassed by high-ranking males at the company.

The employer asked the court to order both sides to arbitration. The basis for this request was the arbitration agreement S.D. had signed when he began working for the company.

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Whether you are an inexperienced teen or an adult with decades behind the wheel, having your vehicle break down in the middle of the road is always a stressful experience. Whether your vehicle threw a rod, broke a timing chain or suffered some other catastrophic mechanical failure, your situation is not just frustrating; it is potentially dangerous. If you’ve been hurt because someone else slammed into you and your disabled vehicle, that person may have been negligent and may owe you significant compensation. To find out more, take action promptly to contact a skilled Oakland car accident attorney about your case.

To highlight just how dangerous these situations can be, there’s this extremely sad news report from West Oakland. Sometime after midnight on Nov. 27, a 16-year-old San Pablo boy’s Toyota stalled on I-880, according to the Mercury News. The teen remained with his stranded vehicle, which was in the middle of the freeway.

Before police officers could arrive at the scene, a tractor-trailer slammed into the Toyota, killing the teen, according to the report. The police indicated that officers did not know if the boy, who was thrown from the impact, was sitting inside or standing nearby his car when the crash occurred.

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