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Questions Answered by Eva Zelson
Q: My current employer is asking me to sign an updated restrictive covenant covering idea’s and patents.

My current employer is asking me to sign an updated restrictive covenant covering idea’s and patents.

I am concerned because, outside of my current employment. And outside of my current employers scope of business. I wish to pursue several patents.

The wording of this document... Read more »

Eva Zelson
Eva Zelson
answered on Jun 13, 2022

It is always a good idea to have an employment lawyer review any contracts with your employer before you sign them. After reviewing the fine print, the employment lawyer can advise you whether to sign the updated document, or ask for modifications. Best of luck!

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2 Answers | Asked in Employment Law and Employment Discrimination for California on
Q: A co-worker, through text messages, stated my belief as a Jehovah's Witness was "ridiculous" what should I do?

HR was notified and investigation is being conducted, however, the person involved is in a "senior" position. Kind of like supervisory and someone who calls other's religious beliefs "ridiculous" should not be in such a position. What should I do? This company is also a... Read more »

Eva Zelson
Eva Zelson
answered on May 12, 2022

The most important question here is was this an isolated incident, or this one part of a larger pattern? While this is not the exemplary behavior we’d expect of a person in a supervisory role, if it’s an isolated comment, it’s not necessarily illegal. To be considered religious discrimination... Read more »

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4 Answers | Asked in Employment Law and Personal Injury for California on
Q: If my employer allows a student to enroll on campus, despite my reported assault incident, can I sue my employer?

I work at a private, for profit vocational school, and I was assaulted by a previously enrolled student on campus. I reported the incident to my supervisor and superiors, and I am afraid that they will end up reenrolling the student sometime in the future. I requested that the student, who hit me... Read more »

Eva Zelson
Eva Zelson
answered on Apr 22, 2022

You did the right thing in reporting the incident to management. However, the school does not have to honor your request not to re-enroll the offending student. If they do re-enroll the student more information is needed. Is your employer taking steps to keep you out of harm’s way despite... Read more »

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3 Answers | Asked in Employment Discrimination and Employment Law for California on
Q: Can an employer require you to speak English at all times even during private conversations among coworkers?

My job recently implemented an English-only rule. I work at a fast food place and while English is the language most spoken by our employees, we do have quite a few employees who speak only speak Spanish. Is it legal to require them to speak English at all times while on the clock? Management says... Read more »

Eva Zelson
Eva Zelson
answered on Apr 22, 2022

An English-only policy is illegal unless it is enacted for the safety of employees and customers. If such a policy applies to conversations outside of customer interactions as you describe, you may have a case for discrimination on the basis of national-origin. Schedule an appointment with an... Read more »

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2 Answers | Asked in Employment Law for California on
Q: I made a decision to retire based on information given me by the Retirement Center that I was eligible for retirement.

Apparently they say two months post retirement that I lack .40 in time in order to have meet healthcare benefits eligibility. I would not have made the decision to retire knowing this was the case. I would’ve continued working. However, I was informed that I met eligibility requirements. I have... Read more »

Eva Zelson
Eva Zelson
answered on Mar 24, 2022

More information is needed here. Is the “retirement center” part of the human resources department at your former employer, or somehow affiliated with the company? If you’ve got it in writing from your employer that you were eligible for healthcare benefits upon retirement, it seems like the... Read more »

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2 Answers | Asked in Employment Law for Arkansas on
Q: Employment lay off after paid relocation a month earlier

I am curious if there is any recourse for uprooting my life then being laid off due to restructuring. I was rushed to move and employed for a month before being laid off. I was offered two months severance and didn’t sign as it doesn’t cover my expenses or having to relocate again. Per... Read more »

Eva Zelson
Eva Zelson
answered on Mar 24, 2022

You did the right thing in taking time to review the severance agreement before signing. Ask an employment attorney to review the relocation contract (and the severance package) to see what recourse might be available to you. Perhaps there is some negotiation room in the severance package... Read more »

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2 Answers | Asked in Contracts and Employment Law for North Carolina on
Q: Would a lawyer be willing to review my exit documents from a company post termination to make sure they're legit?

I was terminated from my job in NC which is a 'work at will' state. I don't have enough proof in writing to dispute the termination but I do want to have the exit documents reviewed to make sure I'm not screwing myself. It looks like I have to sign their exit documents to get my... Read more »

Eva Zelson
Eva Zelson
answered on Mar 24, 2022

It is always advised to have an employment lawyer review any documents from your employer before signing them, especially severance packages. An employment attorney can review the lengthy document and “translate” it into layman’s terms for you, and advise you on next steps. Best of luck!

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3 Answers | Asked in Business Law, Employment Discrimination and Employment Law for Nevada on
Q: My company wants to change my contract, do they have to give me written notice that they are changing it?

I have been working at my company for over 6 months and now they are trying to cut my pay in half, and even more than that and expecting me to take on more responsibility. And say I have till Monday to sign it or I cant come back to work. Is this legal? Can they do this with no prior notice???

Eva Zelson
Eva Zelson
answered on Feb 10, 2022

If you are a contracted employee, as opposed to an at-will employee, your employee must honor that contract for the length of its term. Do not sign a new contract before an employment lawyer has reviewed it on your behalf! However, if you are an at-will employee, your employer may change the terms... Read more »

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2 Answers | Asked in Employment Discrimination, Employment Law and Public Benefits for Oregon on
Q: If I leave my job due to harassment, intimidation, bullying, because nothing was done, can I still get unemployment?

I've been working at my current position for over a year now. I am constantly bullied, harassed, and intimidated by coworker and a higherup. I have reported this several times, but nothing has been done. When I have had meetings to explain why I feel I am being treated poorly, it is blamed on... Read more »

Eva Zelson
Eva Zelson
answered on Feb 10, 2022

If you have not done so already, report your experiences to the HR department, and document their response, if any. You have the right to work in an environment that is free from harassment and bullying. Before you leave this job, meet with an employment lawyer to discuss your case and to see if... Read more »

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2 Answers | Asked in Employment Law for North Carolina on
Q: My previous employer has not paid my wages that was owed to me on January 28, 2022. What can I do?

He says, I have to sign a document and return company property in order to get my paycheck. He also still owes me another (my final) paycheck.

Eva Zelson
Eva Zelson
answered on Feb 10, 2022

It is always advised to have an employment lawyer review a contract in a situation like this before signing it. Contact an employment lawyer to review the document, and to discuss pursuing back wages if your employer is improperly withholding them.

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2 Answers | Asked in Employment Law, Workers' Compensation and Employment Discrimination for Georgia on
Q: Can my employer legally pay vaccinated workers to quarantine and not pay unvaccinated?

They are requiring unvaccinated employees to use vacation / PTO & paying vaccinated employees without having to use their PTO / Vacation time. Keep in mind that the quarantine rules are the same regardless of vaccination status, 5 days for exposure and 10 days for a positive Covid test.

Eva Zelson
Eva Zelson
answered on Jan 13, 2022

Employers are legally only required to pay employees for time worked. Allowing vaccinated employees to quarantine without using vacation time is perhaps an incentive the employer is using to encourage Covid vaccination among its employees. While this policy may seem unfair considering getting... Read more »

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2 Answers | Asked in Contracts and Employment Law for California on
Q: Does this constitute breach of contract therefore needing to pay the penalty for resigning against her will?

My RN wife was escorted out of the facility shes working at by the Director of Nursing because she refused to do something she was not trained at. With this, she felt harrased. But when she brought this up with HR, no action was done therefore, harassment of the Director of Nursing went on. She... Read more »

Eva Zelson
Eva Zelson
answered on Jan 13, 2022

Workers have the right to work in a professional, harassment-free environment and they have options for recourse when that is not the case. Legally, the intolerable working conditions in a hostile work environment claim result from an employee’s sex, race, religion, national origin, veteran’s... Read more »

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2 Answers | Asked in Employment Discrimination and Employment Law for Indiana on
Q: I believe my participation in the Family Medical Leave Act has affected my job in the areas of wages &shifts. Options?
Eva Zelson
Eva Zelson
answered on Jan 13, 2022

The Family and Medical Leave Act, or FMLA, is a federal law that gives employees the right to up to twelve weeks leave from their job to care for a loved one or take care of their own serious health condition. When you return from FMLA leave, you are entitled to get your job back, either reinstated... Read more »

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2 Answers | Asked in Criminal Law, Employment Law, Civil Rights and Employment Discrimination for Washington on
Q: What to do

As an employee, Witnessed a manager debate and follow through with assaulting another employee with an ice cube, after stating that same action just broke his glasses, submitted an existential complaint to management, who also neglected their duties, and took adverse action, after the complaint and... Read more »

Eva Zelson
Eva Zelson
answered on Dec 17, 2021

You should file a report with human resources documenting what you witnessed. However, when you do this, be prepared for possible retaliation against yourself. If management retaliated against the victim in this case, they may do the same to you. If this happens, keep documentation of all... Read more »

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2 Answers | Asked in Employment Law for Oklahoma on
Q: Non-Compete Agreement

I have a non-compete agreement with my current employer in Norman, OK. The agreement states that "To the maximum extent permitted by law, this Agreement will be interpreted under, and governed by, the laws of the State of Wisconsin." Can they enforce this agreement on me in Oklahoma or... Read more »

Eva Zelson
Eva Zelson
answered on Dec 17, 2021

While there are several different states mentioned here, they don’t matter as much as what exactly you agreed to when you signed the non-compete agreement. Please review with an employment lawyer before taking any action so you can be informed of any potential consequences. If you do start... Read more »

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3 Answers | Asked in Employment Discrimination for California on
Q: The wrong separation date my employer had on my denial of benefits can that help me in my appeal. Should I bring that up

I was wrongfully fired after 5 yrs there. Never received any warning for attendance for guidelines in employee handbook. I had to call in the second week after returning from a 34Day quarantine Indiana H.D. Put me on cuz mom got COVID and taking chemo. I used protocol for call in. No warnings ever... Read more »

Eva Zelson
Eva Zelson
answered on Dec 17, 2021

While your experience sounds unfair given the circumstances, California is an at-will state, meaning an employer can terminate you for any reason or no reason at all. While the need to quarantine during a global pandemic is a valid reason to miss work, your employer is not obligated to hold your... Read more »

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3 Answers | Asked in Employment Discrimination, Employment Law and Sexual Harassment for California on
Q: Would any of this be considered retaliation or just a typical judgment call by my employer?

A few years ago, I reported a coworker for harassment and stalking. After a month, the coworker was eventually fired for a separate complaint from another department. My claim, it turns out, was never investigated or recorded. I didn't find this out until after I was no longer assigned to a... Read more »

Eva Zelson
Eva Zelson
answered on Nov 19, 2021

It is illegal for an employer to retaliate because of a sexual harassment report against a coworker or a supervisor. Contact an employment attorney to discuss your evidence. It will be difficult to prove you were deemed ineligible for promotions, etc. at work, but if you have documentation, you may... Read more »

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2 Answers | Asked in Employment Law, Personal Injury, Sexual Harassment and Workers' Compensation for Pennsylvania on
Q: Hired seasonally, then hired permanently to be fired for reporting sexual harassment, and sustained a work injury.

My seasonal role turned permanent, then I was fired weeks after reporting a sexual & verbal harassment incident; I was demoted and reported to another department and had no idea until another employee mentioned it. My vehicle was vandalized on the companies property, my timecard was deactivated... Read more »

Eva Zelson
Eva Zelson
answered on Nov 19, 2021

In “at-will” states such as Virginia, your employer can fire you for any reason, except for an illegal reason. However, you should consult with an employment attorney as soon as possible to see if enough evidence to support your claim of retaliation after reporting sexual harassment. This would... Read more »

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3 Answers | Asked in Employment Law for Florida on
Q: Can my boss fire me for working from home without a sitter for my children?

I work from home and I dont have my kids in daycare because I am home with them. My boss found out and got upset

Eva Zelson
Eva Zelson
answered on Oct 14, 2021

In “at-will” states such as Florida, your employer can fire you for any reason, or no reason at all, so if this does happen, it is not illegal. What might be illegal, however, is if your boss is aware that other employees with children are also working from home without daycare and is not upset... Read more »

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2 Answers | Asked in Employment Law for California on
Q: I received an email from my workplace regarding my religious exemption from the COVID 19 vaccine. I need advice

I literally received an email from my employer asking me to provide more info about my religious exemption and was told that I must respond within 3 calendar days and included a series of questions that I have to answer regarding my religious affiliation

Eva Zelson
Eva Zelson
answered on Oct 14, 2021

Your employer is within their rights to follow up on your request for a religious exemption to verify that it is a truly held religious belief. You should comply with their request for more information if you wish for them to grant you an exemption to their requirement for the Covid-19 vaccine.... Read more »

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