Employment

Berokim & Duel, P.C. has successfully obtained multiple six and seven figure payouts on behalf of individual employee and class action matters. They have extensive experience representing aggrieved employees in matters involving discrimination, harassment, retaliation, and wrongful termination.

Berokim & Duel, P.C. protects the rights of countless employees seeking to secure compensation and justice after being victimized by their employers and is dedicated to protecting the rights of all employees in the workplace. Below, you can find a portfolio of a few of the employment matters that attorneys Jasmine Duel and Kousha Berokim have handled, as well as the general areas in Employment Law that the Firm specializes in.

Portfolio Of A Few Of Our Prior Clients In Employment Matters:

    Attorneys Jasmine Duel and Kousha Berokim represented a long-time employee of a boutique retail store. For approximately two years prior to her termination, Plaintiff made several complaints to management about various health and safety OSHA violations for approximately two years prior to her to termination. Further, Plaintiff also suffered from a reoccurring disability which was exacerbated by the poor health conditions at work. Plaintiff sent a letter to OSHA detailing the company’s violations, took time off from work to accommodate her disability and was ultimately retaliated against and wrongfully terminated for engaging in said protected conduct. Berokim & Duel secured a sizeable six figure settlement against Defendant.
    Attorneys Jasmine Duel & Kousha Berokim represented an employee of a large pharmaceutical company suffering from a disability. When Plaintiff requested time off from work to accommodate her disability, the Company retaliated against her, by creating a hostile working environment, and refusing to accommodate her disability. Despite providing numerous doctors notes to her employer evidencing her necessity for time off, the Company retaliated against Plaintiff and wrongfully terminated her. Berokim & Duel secured a sizeable six figure settlement against Defendant.
    Attorneys Jasmine Duel & Kousha Berkoim represented an employee working for a small company. Defendant failed to pay Plaintiff her lawful overtime wages, and also failed to provide Plaintiff her lawful meal and rest periods. Even more, Plaintiff’s manager engaged in sexual harassment against Plaintiff by touching her inappropriately and by making sexually harassing comments. Plaintiff made several complaints, both verbal and in writing, about Defendant’s illegal wage and hour policies and about the sexual harassment at work. Plaintiff was retaliated against and wrongfully terminated for said complaints. Berokim & Duel secured a sizeable six figure settlement against Defendant.
    Attorneys Jasmine Duel & Kousha Berokim represent an employee working for an international company. Plaintiff was responsible for generating sales in various international markets, requiring Plaintiff to travel and attend various trade shows to sell merchandise. Defendant’s unlawfully misclassified Plaintiff as an exempt administrative employee, when was actually a non-exempt employee. Plaintiff made several oral complaints about this willful misclassification and the company’s failure to pay him overtime, and even went so far as to call the Company’s ethic’s hotline. In response to Plaintiff’s complaint, the company retaliated him and wrongfully terminated him from his employment. Berokim & Duel secured a sizeable six figure pre litigation settlement against Defendant.
Wage and Hour Laws

Although the federal and state wage and hour laws are extensive and often times hard to navigate, the general rules are simple: employers generally must pay non-exempt employees overtime (time and a half) for all hours worked over eight hours in the workday and over 40 hours in the work week.   Employers also must provide employees lawful meal and rest breaks or otherwise compensate employees for forfeiting their lawful breaks.

Some employers routinely violate wage and hour laws by misclassifying employers as “exempt” from wage and hour laws. Job titles do not determine a California employee’s exempt or non-exempt status.  Properly exempt employees regularly exercise discretion and independent judgment in their job.  Exempt employees typically must earn a minimum monthly salary of no less than two times the state minimum wage for full-time employment.

Exemptions for California employees from overtime laws:

  • Executive Exemption
  • Administrative Exemption
  • Professional Employee Exemption
  • Computer Professional Exemption
  • Salesperson Exemption
Wrongful Termination

A wrongful termination occurs when an employee is fired as a result of being a part of a protected category such as race, sex, national origin, pregnancy, disability, medical condition, religion, and sexual orientation.  It can also occur when an employee is fired for reporting illegal and/or unethical conduct committed by his or her employer.

Employees are also protected against constructive wrongful termination. Constructive wrongful termination occurs when an employer’s conduct effectively forces an employee to resign.  The employee must show that the employer’s conduct was so adverse that any reasonable employee in his or her position would have felt compelled to resign.  The employee’s resignation is treated as a firing for legal purposes because the employment relationship was in effect terminated involuntarily by the employer’s conduct.

Harassment

Harassment occurs when someone’s conduct “create[s] a work environment that [is] …intimidating, hostile, or offensive to reasonable people.” Harassment can include the use of slurs, epithets, offensive jokes, mockery, offensive pictures and hindering or interfering with work. 

Sexual harassment is typically defined as conduct that is insulting or demeaning due to a person’s gender, sexual orientation or family status.

You do not have to tolerate harassment at work.  If you are being harassed at work by a coworker, you should immediately ask the harasser to stop and notify your supervisor. We understand that harassment can be an extremely distressing experience.  If you are victim of harassment, contact us for a free consultation to speak with an experienced and sympathetic attorneys that will help you protect yourself.

Workplace Discrimination

Workplace discrimination is the prejudicial treatment of an employee based on his or her actual or perceived membership in a certain group or category such as age, disability, medical condition, national origin, pregnancy, sexual orientation, race, religion, and sex. Workplace discrimination comes in many forms. California and federal laws prohibit discrimination against any applicant or employee in hiring, promotions, assignments, termination, or any term, condition or privilege of employment. Sometimes, the discrimination is blatant and an employee is subjected to constant sexist remarks or racial epithets by his or her employer. Other times, the discrimination is more subtle and may take the form of negative performance reviews, disciplinary actions, or being overlooked for a promotion.

Different Types of Discrimination:

  • Age Discrimination
  • Disability Discrimination
  • Gender and Sex Discrimination
  • Sexual Orientation Discrimination
  • Religious Discrimination  .
  • National Origin Discrimination
  • Pregnancy Discrimination
Retaliation 

Employers are prohibited from retaliating against employees for making complaints of workplace discrimination and/or harassment. Employers are also prohibited from retaliating against employees for complaining about unlawful and/or unethical conduct by the employer, such as fraud violations, health and safety violations, and wage and hour violations.

Although retaliation comes in many forms, retaliatory discharge is the most prevalent form of retaliation. Retaliation may also take the form of disciplinary actions, negative performance reviews, being over looked for a promotion, or a reduction in wages.

California Family Rights Act (CFRA) and Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA)
  • CFRA is the California equivalent of the Federal FMLA which grants employees the right to take leave on account of their own serious health condition or the serious health condition of their family member.
  • CFRA/FMLA entitles eligible employees to take up to 12 weeks of job-protected unpaid leave during any 12 month period for the following reasons:
    • (1) the birth of a child or adoption or foster care placement of a child within one year of the birth or placement;
    • (2) to care for an immediate family member (ex the employee’s spouse, child, or parent) who has a serious health condition;
    • (3) to care for an employees own serious health condition that makes the employee unable to perform the essential functions of his her job; or
    • (4) any qualifying exigency arising out of the fact that the employee’s spouse, son, daughter, or parent is a covered military member on “covered active duty”
  • Eligibility:
    • (1) employee must be employed by a particular employer for 12 months;
    • (2) employee must have worked at least 1250 hours in the past 12 months for that particular employer; and
    • (3) employer must have a least 50 employees
  • FMLA/CFRA requires the employee’s group health benefits to be maintained during his or her leave.
Whistleblower & Qui Tam

Whistle blower laws protect employees from retaliation from their employers for reporting unlawful and/or unethical conduct engaged in by their employer. Employees are also afforded protection for making internal complaints to their own employer about unlawful and/or unethical conduct engaged in by the company.  Even if the employer did not actually break the law, an employee is still entitled to whistle blower protection if he or she reasonably believed that the employer committed an unlawful and/or unethical act.   

Breach of Employment Contract

California is an “at will” state, meaning that employers have broad discretion in terminating employees at any time, even without notice. However, some employees have valid written or oral contracts with their employers that limit the employers right to terminate the employee. Generally, these agreements are for a specified term, and the employee can only be terminated for good cause before the specified term, otherwise the employer breached the contract.

Defamation by Employer

Defamation occurs when a false statement is made to a third party that damages the reputation or economic interest of an individual. Defamation in employment usually arises when an employee is subjected to the publication of false criticism of poor performance, incompetence, or dishonesty

Employees have rights in the protection of their personal reputation. Even if an employee is terminated, employers do not have the right to tarnish the reputation or good name of the employee.


To learn more about Berokim & Duel, P.C., please call (310) 846-8553 or Contact Us