A Guide From Attorneys: How to File a Workplace Claim in San Francisco

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A Guide From Attorneys: How to File a Workplace Claim in San Francisco

Almost half of the claims the EEOC receives are due to retaliation, and 20% involve sexual harassment in the workplace. Of all employment lawsuits, just over half are resolved before trial, and employees win over 60% of the cases that go to litigation. At 12%, California has the highest percentage of EEOC claims in the U.S. 

Californians should not stand for discrimination and harassment in the workplace. They shouldn’t let a company get away with wages that aren’t at or above minimum wage, lack of overtime pay, or other illegal practices. Don’t let your employer get away with it. Learn how to file a workplace claim in San Francisco.

A Breakdown of the Different Types of Workplace Claims

In California and across the U.S., workplace claims fall into one of these categories.

  • Discrimination (Age, disability, gender identity, genetic/medical information, nationality, race/color, religion, pregnancy, sexual/sexual orientation)
  • Harassment (Same reasons as above and can be harassment from contractors, co-workers, customers, management/supervisors, etc.)
  • Retaliation (Whether you filed a complaint or provided information in an investigation)
  • Wage and Hour Violations (Missing or late paychecks, overtime pay, failure to pay immediately upon termination, etc.)
  • Workplace Injuries (Injuries caused by things such as failure to maintain equipment or to comply with OSHA regulations)
  • Wrongful Termination (Being fired or terminated for illegal reasons, such as being terminated for announcing a pregnancy)

In addition to those, San Francisco has a handful of laws that specifically apply to workers in the city.

Employment Laws That Are Specific to San Francisco’s Workers

San Francisco’s minimum wage is higher than the state’s average. Most employees, including temporary and part-time workers, must be paid $18.07 an hour or higher. The exception to this rule involves “Government Supported Employees” who must be paid at least $15.98 an hour.

Employers in San Francisco must provide paid sick leave to all employees, even temporary or part-time workers. Employees receive one hour of paid sick leave for every 30 hours worked. If a company has 10 or more employees, they can cap sick leave at 72 hours, but employers with nine or fewer employees can cap it at 40 hours.

The Paid Parental Leave Ordinance in San Francisco requires employers with 20 or more employees in all locations to provide supplemental compensation to employees who are bonding with a child, whether it’s a foster child, adopted child, or biological child. This money is in addition to California Paid Family Leave compensation. There is a cap of $2,700 in 2024.

There’s also the San Francisco Family Friendly Workplace Ordinance that requires employers to provide certain employees with flexible work arrangements to help with family responsibilities. It covers workers who work at least eight hours a week regularly for at least six months and are employed or telework for a company within San Francisco. The care duties may be for a child, a family member with a serious health issue, or an elderly relative, such as a parent or grandparent.

If an employee in San Francisco is going to work eight hours or more, there are rules applying to how an employer can use information regarding an applicant’s or employee’s arrest and conviction records. Employers cannot ask about arrests or convictions until an employment offer is given. Plus, employers cannot refuse to hire, lay off, or fail to promote a worker based on conviction or arrest records without allowing the applicant or employee to provide input.

The Formula Retail Employee Rights Ordinances protect employees working in retailers with at least 40 stores around the globe and 20 or more employees in San Francisco. Before additional workers are hired, part-time staff must be offered extra hours. The offer must be in writing.

The Private Sector Military Leave Pay Protection Act ensures that San Francisco employees are provided with supplemental paid leave of up to 30 days for military duty.

How to File a Claim in San Francisco

Before you file a claim, make sure the incident falls without the statutes of limitations. Typically, it is three years for issues like discrimination, harassment, or retaliation. You have 300 days to file a federal lawsuit with the EEOC. It’s essential to look into the statutes to see how long you have. The sooner you file a claim, the better it is.

Read Your Company’s Employee Handbook

Read your company’s handbook to see how you’re supposed to get help. If a co-worker harasses you, you might file a complaint with HR or your supervisor. Make sure you’re following the procedure as much as you can.

Collect as Much Evidence as Possible

The more proof you have, the better. Keep emails, notes, witness accounts if you can get them, and all other documentation that proves your case. The more evidence you have backing your claim, the better it is when it comes time to file your complaint.

Consult an Attorney

An employment law specialist is the best approach to any workplace claim. Not only do these attorneys have the insight on how to file a successful claim, but they also know the intricacies of the laws in San Francisco.

Do not let fear of the cost of legal fees keep you from seeking legal advice. Employment attorneys work on a contingent fee basis, which means they get paid from the settlement or award you receive in a settlement or court award. There’s no risk involved, so reach out for a free consultation.

File the Complaint

San Francisco workers can file a complaint with the Labor Commissioner’s Office for discrimination and retaliation complaints, wage complaints, and meal and rest period violations. Complaints related to workplace health or safety are made with Cal/OSHA. If you’re working with an attorney, you’ll have an expert to guide you through this process.

You can also file a complaint with the EEOC, but you must file a “Charge of Discrimination” before a job discrimination lawsuit. The EEOC office in San Francisco is available via phone or through the EEOC public portal.

Prepare for Litigation

Litigation is a legal process where you resolve disputes by filing a complaint and waiting for the employer’s answer to that complaint. Once you file a complaint, it won’t necessarily go to trial, but litigation starts the process and will lead to a resolution of some kind. 

Filing the claim is the first stage. You state what was wrong and what you want to happen.

The second stage is known as discovery. Both sides do their research and gather evidence and witness testimonies. As the information builds, they share information in hopes of reaching a satisfactory agreement for both sides. 

If an agreement isn’t met, the third phase begins. At this point, the complaint goes in front of a judge and possibly a jury for this impartial party or panel to decide who’s right and who’s wrong.

Workplace claims take a toll on your emotions, so the more support you have, the better it is. Arrange a free consultation with Shegerian Conniff to discuss your case, understand your options, and see if you have a valid case.

While we cannot take every case that comes our way, we can offer you guidance on what to do next or a referral if we know of a colleague who is ideally suited for your needs. Reach us online or by phone to schedule a consultation.

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