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Patrick, Esq.
Patrick, Esq., Lawyer
Category: California Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 12640
Experience:  Significant experience in all areas of employment law.
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Ive been employed as the Operations Manager for 7 years for

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I've been employed as the Operations Manager for 7 years for a medical practice in the field of Radiology. I am 58 years old and have been in the industry for approximately 25 years. My contract at hiring was a 4 day work week (salaried) plus monthly bonus which was honored for the past 6 years. This past year the administrator quit and her job duties were assigned to me in addition to my own job responsibilities (now managing 17 employees) with no pay increase or other incentive nor a discussion by the owner or CEO on change of work hours, days, salary or ? In the 7 years of employment I have never called in sick, never had a review and have accumulated over 400 hours of vacation pay which I'm being told I can't take nor will they pay me for them. I don't take a lunch (the owner doesn't believe in breaks) and am available 24/7 via cell phone if he needs anything. I recently took a 2 week vacation and when I returned the owner stated he needed a manager on site without any 'outside distractions or family' and hasn't spoken to me in 3 weeks. Another statement made to me was that I am never on the job and have a cushy position. I have heard from my staff he is taking a survey on me asking how I perform, etc. In the state of California we have an 'at will' employment agreement however i feel I am being harassed and could quit, get unemployment due to stress on the job. I'm honestly feeling the stress with rapid heart rate, pain in my shoulders and back and can't sleep. I would welcome some advice.
Submitted: 5 years ago.
Category: California Employment Law
Expert:  Patrick, Esq. replied 5 years ago.
Hello and thank you for entrusting me to answer your question. Could you narrow down just a little bit what specifically you'd like me to address? Thanks so much.
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
Guess I'm ranting sorry! I know I will be fired and can file unemployment and possibly sue for harassment.
Expert:  Patrick, Esq. replied 5 years ago.
Thanks for the additional information.

Unfortunately, neither California law nor the Fair Labor Standards Act limit the number of hours that your employer can force you to work. Bona fide "exempt" employees are also not entitled to mandatory lunch breaks, despite working shifts of eight hours or more. If you feel like your employer is purposefully increasing your hours so that you will quit, that may qualify as a termination, which would make you eligible to collect unemployment benefits. However, the increase in hours would need to be extreme, and typically, if you voluntarily leave your position you WILL NOT be eligible to collect unemployment benefits.

If you are terminated from your position, you will likely be eligible for unemployment benefits if you meet the following criteria:

- Have received enough wages during the base period to establish a claim.

- Be totally or partially unemployed.

- Be unemployed through no fault of your own.

- Be physically able to work.

- Be available for work (meaning ready and willing to immediately accept work)

- Be actively looking for work.

- Meet eligibility requirements each week benefits are claimed.

- Be approved for training before training benefits can be paid.

Assuming that you do not have a contract that guarantees you employment for a specified period of time, you are an "at-will" employee. This means that your employer can fire you for any reason that is not otherwise in violation of your state's law or public policy. Your employer can let you go because you demand a raise, or he can let you go for no reason at all. Your employer would be within his or her rights to terminate you because he believed that you were not performing at a satisfactory level, even if this were not true.

There is no law requiring civility between employer and employer--however, there are laws prohibiting harassment on the basis of being part of a protected class. Unless your employer is harassing you on the basis of your sex, gender, race, ancestry, national origin, color, sexual orientation, religion, medical disability (including HIV/AIDS diagnosis), marital status, age (40 and over) his or her treatment of you, however disrespectful, is probably not illegal.

I hope that this helps, and good luck.

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Finally, the information that I have provided is not legal advice. I am not acting as your attorney and my answer does not establish an attorney-client relationship between us. I encourage you to consult with a local attorney in regard to legal matters.

Patrick, Esq. and other California Employment Law Specialists are ready to help you