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The Turley Law Firm P.C.

Frequently Asked Questions

Find answers to your questions about the Jones Act, DBA, California workers’ compensation, or employment law. If you have more questions, contact us.

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  • What constitutes discrimination in a maritime injury claim?

    Federal maritime laws provide many protections for workers who spend the majority of their time on the water. While the Longshore and Harbor Workers' Compensation Act (LHWCA) and Jones Act are primarily known for providing payment for maritime injuries, these laws also protect the employment of any worker who legally asserts a claim.


    Discriminatory Actions in Longshore Act Injury Claims

    Maritime employees cannot be fired, removed from duty, or otherwise discriminated against for exercising their rights under the law. Discrimination may take many forms, including disparate treatment (treating the worker differently from other employees in similar circumstances) or disparate impact (adhering to employment practices that have a discriminatory or adverse effect for some workers and not others).

    Under federal maritime statutes, is illegal to discriminate against a worker for:

    Claiming injury compensation:

    Workers cannot be demoted or fired because they claimed or are attempting to claim compensation for maintenance and cure under the Jones Act.

    Testifying in court:

    Employees are protected when testifying in a proceeding under the Jones Act.

    Reporting safety violations:

    Maritime employees are required to report violations of maritime safety laws to the appropriate federal agency. As a result, any worker who has notified the employer of an unsafe condition that has gone uncorrected is protected when notifying the Coast Guard (or federal government) of the violation.

    Refusal to work due to safety concerns:

    If a worker notifies an employer of unsafe workplace conditions and the conditions are not corrected, the worker may legally refuse to perform duties that may cause injury related to the hazard.

    Becoming injured or disabled:

    Employees who are injured or disabled in the course of employment cannot be discriminated against.



    An injured worker who can successfully prove that the employer discriminated against him—even if the discrimination was only partially motivated by a protected action—could be owed compensation under the Longshore Act. Section 48 gives terminated employees the right to seek reinstatement of former employment, including payment of back wages. In addition, employers who violate discrimination laws may be ordered to pay fines up to $5,000, as well as the worker’s reasonable attorney fees.


  • What is a “good-faith” dispute in a wage and hour case?

    One of the issues that arise when your employer doesn't pay you the wages you are owed is whether or not the non-payment of wages was in "good-faith."  Make no mistake about it - this "good-faith dispute doesn't keep you from being paid the wages you are owed under the law. You are still entitled to your wages. 

    However, if the employer can prove that not paying you certain wages was based upon a "good-faith" defense - then you may not be entitled to these wages? Specifically we are talking about waiting time penalties and liquidated damages. I explain what these are in this article and how it may affect the wages that you may be owed. 

    When Can an Employer Claim a Good Faith Dispute?

    The good news is that, even by making a good-faith defense, the employer agrees that the employee’s claim is valid. However, the defense allows an employer to state the reason why the wages were not paid on time—and if the reason is valid, the employer can get out of paying some or all of the waiting time penalties.

    Depending on which good faith dispute is made, an employer may be able to escape liability for:

    Waiting Time Penalties:

    When your employer pays you late when you terminate your employment - you are entitled to waiting time penalties. Here is a great article on California waiting time penalties

    By law, employers are required to pay all outstanding wages owed to a worker within 72 hours of the employee’s last shift. If you give notice that you are quitting or you are fired, then your employer must pay all of your wages on your last day. 

    If this is not done, the employee can collect waiting time, which is an additional day of pay at the employee’s regular rate for each day the worker is kept waiting for his or her final wages.

    A “good faith” dispute removes an employer’s liability to pay waiting time penalties to an employee.

    However, the worker is not eligible for waiting time penalties in California if the employer shows that there was a good reason the wages were not paid.

    Let's look a little closer. 

    When the law is uncertain, than the employer may have a good faith dispute. 

    Liquidated Damages:

    If your employer fails to pay you at least minimum wages for all hours that you work, then you are entitled to liquidated damages. 

    Under some circumstances, an employer can admit that the company owes you back pay while also reducing the number of liquidated damages you are owed. Liquidated damages are an additional amount equal to the amount of back pay owed, and are intended to punish the employer for wrongdoing. If the employer had reason to believe that he or she was doing the right thing—for example, listening to the advice of a lawyer who gave misinformation—then the company may not be liable for liquidated damages.

    But know this, the company has the burden of proving that not paying you wages for all time you worked was in "good-faith." While this is possible, in the real world, it's very difficult. 


    Bill Turley regularly is invited to testify before the California State Senate and California Assembly 

    What is an unpaid wages analysis? 

    The best way for California workers to find out how much unpaid wages you're owed is by getting a confidential, no-obligation, free unpaid wages analysis. For more information on how you can claim your free unpaid wages analysis check this out. 

    What you are going to find is that whenever you suspect that you aren't getting paid all the wages that you are owed under California wage laws, then you are probably owed a lot more wages and/or penalties than you realize.  I suggest that you don't leave your hard earned money in the company's wallet.  These are your wages and you need to take action to recover the hard earned wages that you are owed. 

    San Diego Attorney Journal called Bill Turley - California's Leading Wage and Hour Class Action Lawyer 

    How do I get an unpaid wages analysis? Ask California's Leading Wage and Hour Class Action Lawyer - Bill Turley


  • How far could I travel for a Defense Base Act medical exam?

    Injured employees should not be asked to go out of their way to see the insurance company doctor.

    Injured employees shouldn't be asked to go out of their way to see the insurance company doctor.

    Unfortunately, insurers routinely ask employees to do just that by scheduling a Defense Base Act medical examination a long distance from the employee’s home.

    By law, the employee must attend a special medical examination in a place designated by the employer. The law does provide that the place of examination be a “reasonable” distance for the employee to travel, but the definition of “reasonable” can vary widely.

    Factors That Can Affect Traveling to a Defense Medical Exam

    Employers and insurers know that making a long trek to a medical exam will be difficult for the employee, and often use this to their advantage. If the employee does not attend the exam, he will be barred from receiving benefits, saving the company money. If the employee is able to make the trip outside his geographic area to the doctor’s office, the insurance company can argue that the employee’s injuries must not have been that bad.

    There may be a way to avoid traveling long distances to your DBA examination. It is important to consider the following before accepting an examination date:

    Method of Travel:

    You cannot be asked to travel long distances if doing so would aggravate your injury. If your condition prevents you from traveling in a plane or driving for long periods, the judge in your case may instruct the insurer to choose a location closer to your home.


    The insurance company is responsible for paying the costs of your examination, as well as the costs of travel to and from the appointment. Sometimes this is paid in advance, but it can also be reimbursed if the employee fronts the cost. If an employee is under significant financial hardship and the insurance company will not pay travel expenses up front, the employee may be able to appeal to a judge for a closer appointment.

    Hiring an attorney: 

    If there is not a sufficiently good reason for you to travel to the doctor that the insurer has chosen, your attorney can fight to get the appointment rescheduled for you. Your lawyer can also attend the appointment with you to make sure your rights are respected.

    It is vital that claimants have as much information as possible in order to win compensation for their injuries. Click here to read through our free book on DBA claims, Win Your Defense Base Act Case.

    Be sure to claim your free copy of the 5 Star Book Win Your Defense Base Act Case 

    Win Your Defense Base Act Case by Bill Turley

    This is an eye-opening book that gives you an insider's view of the Defense Base Act and how to beat the DBA insurance company. This book will take you step by step on how to avoid the DBA insurance company tricks and traps that are designed to destroy your DBA claim. 

    If you do one thing - you owe it to yourself to read the 5 Star reviews of the book on amazon.com!!

    5 Stars on Amazon.com

    I suggest you read my book - Win Your Defense Base Act Case before you talk to the insurance adjustergive a statementsign any forms or even hire the wrong lawyer.

    Check out all of the 5 Star Reviews on amazon.com 

    5.0 out of 5 stars
    Turley's book is clearly written and an easy read. Highly recommended for anyone covered under DBA ...
    February 20, 2017

    I suggest buying a copy of the book immediately and reading it if you are covered under DBA and are either deployed or facing an upcoming deployment. It is better to be armed with information regarding DBA coverage and claims process prior to being injured.


    Christopher R.
    5.0 out of 5 stars
    Great book!!! Lots of information to help with your DBA case!
    May 9, 2017

    I got this book a week ago and have read through it. It has tons of great information that you would not normally know about regarding your DBA injury or how to deal with your insurance adjuster. It helps you navigate some law and breaks it down "barney style" so contractors can understand how to navigate through all your medical and legal processes. I would recommend this book for any contractor working for the USG overseas.

    5.0 out of 5 stars
    Must read!
    July 27, 2015

    Without Turley Law Firm, I wouldn't have known which direction to go with my my case and have no way of understanding how to work my way through the battlefield of insurance companies and procedures. My advice is to read this book and gain some knowledge so that you are better prepared for the fight ahead. Be patient and have a good line of communication with whomever you choose to help you with your case.


    5.0 out of 5 stars
    This book is awesome, he tells you about the whole process
    December 11, 2015

    I would like to say thank you to Mr. Turley for writing this book. During the 2 years it took to mediate a settlement I used this book exclusively to counsel myself, my family and friends. This book was my guiding light. Use it as your “cornerstone” to ensure your DBA case has a solid foundation. If I would of taken on the DBA Insurance company by myself then my case was likely to fall apart. Protect your rights, seek professional counsel. If you want the best representation, kindly request the Turley Law Firm to represent you.

  • Should I bring a lawyer to my Defense Base Act medical exam?

    It is a good idea to bring someone with you to your Defense Base Act medical examination.

    Although these appointments are referred to as “independent” medical exams, they are paid for by the DBA insurance company and you will be examined by a doctor of their choice—and the point of the exam is to find ways to deny your claim. While you must attend the appointment in order to have your benefits approved, taking an attorney with you can help your case a great deal.

    What a Lawyer Does During Your Medical Exam

    Your attorney can be helpful to your case even before you attend the exam. Your lawyer should look over any paperwork you have been asked to complete as part of the exam and advise you on what you should and should not bring to the appointment. He or she will also give you a rundown of what will happen during the exam and offer advice on each stage of the appointment.

    The most helpful things an attorney can do during a DBA medical exam include:

    Prevent You From Helping The Defense Case:

    A Defense Base Act attorney should be familiar with common tactics DBA doctors use to get evidence that hurts your case. Your attorney should sit right next to you during the exam and answer any questions that are put to you. If the doctor asks leading questions or makes assumptions, your lawyer can ask the doctor to rephrase or clarify any statements he makes.

    Take Detailed Notes:

    It can be hard for claimants to remember everything that happens in an IME because they are focused on the physical aspects of the examination. Your attorney can do some behind-the-scenes work that can later shed light on your case, including timing each portion of the examination, setting up a tape recorder or taking a video of the entire exam, taking notes on the defense doctor's body language and the types of tests administered, and making notes to investigate the doctor’s claims later.

    Intervene On Your Behalf:

    Your attorney should know what is and is not permitted in an IME in California. For example, you cannot be asked to undergo any test or procedure that causes you pain. You also do not have to submit to any testing (such as an x-ray) that was not previously agreed to before the exam.

    It is vital that claimants have as much information as possible in order to win compensation for their injuries. Click here to read through our free book on DBA claims, DBA Resource Guide.

  • Can I get pain and suffering in a Defense Base Act claim?

    Depending on Circumstances, Yes or No, sort of...

    The Defense Base Act (DBA) offers many protections for civilian contractors working overseas. One of these is that workers do not have to prove fault or negligence of their employers in order to get injury compensation. They just have to prove that their injuries were caused or worsened due to being overseas. 

    However, this guarantee of coverage comes at a price. By agreeing to pay the medical costs of a worker’s injury, employers cannot be sued for additional costs of an accident, such as lost wages and pain and suffering.

    However, it's not this cut and dry. On any level. Let me explain. 

    Defense Base Act Lawyer - Bill Turley on Money for Pain and Suffering
    Defense Base act Lawyer Straight talk. Always. - Bill Turley

    The Defense Base Act - Scheduled and Unscheduled Injuries

    Generally, there are two different types of injuries under the Defense Base Act: scheduled disabilities and unscheduled disabilities. In order to determine whether you are entitled to permanent disability compensation under the DBA, you first need to determine whether you have a scheduled injury or an unscheduled injury. Simply put, any injury to a body part not listed on the schedule is an unscheduled injury. (Scheduled vs. Unscheduled Injuries).

    Can I get monies for pain and suffering with a scheduled injury under the DBA? 

    If you have an injury that is listed as a scheduled injury, then you are only able to receive disability moneys pursuant to the "schedule."  Not to suggest that it is cut and dried and simple, because it's not. But the concept is fairly easy to understand.  You will need to calculate your disability under the schedule. With scheduled injuries, there is not money for "pain and suffering" under the Defense Base Act. 

    Can I get monies for pain and suffering with a non-scheduled injury under the DBA? 

    With non-scheduled injuries, however, it is a wage loss concept. The links I have provided here explain these concepts. 

    Since it's a wage loss concept, with a non-scheduled injury, you receive disability monies based upon not being able to return to your usual and customary employment. If the pain and suffering you have prevents you from returning to your usual and customary employment, then you can recover disability monies due to your wage loss. 

    Stated differently, you don't get more money under the Defense Base Act for pain and suffering. However, if you have a non-scheduled injury and the pain from your injury prevents you from doing your overseas civilian contractor job, then you can recover weekly disability monies. 

    And, you may be able to settle your DBA case for a lump-sum settlement

    Not what  you wanted to hear?

    I get that. My job is to tell you how it really is, not tell you what you may want to hear. 

    If you are relying on pain and suffering to win your DBA case, you are probably in for some rough sledding. 

    I suggest you read my book - Win Your Defense Base act Case

    WIn Your Defense Base Act Case

    This is an eye-opening book that gives you an insider's view of the Defense Base Act and how to beat the DBA insurance company. This book will take you step by step on how to avoid the DBA insurance company tricks and traps that are designed to destroy your DBA claim. 

    If you do one thing - you owe it to yourself to read the 5 Star reviews of the book on amazon.com!!

    Need Help Today?

    You can call us. 619-304-1000


    Disclaimer: Please understand these discussions and/or examples are not legal advice. All legal situations are different. This testimonial, endorsement and/or discussion does not constitute a guarantee, warranty, or prediction regarding the outcome of your legal matter, your particular case/ situation and/or this particular case/ situation.

  • How can I prove that my employer owes me unpaid wages?

    Knowledge & Evidence

    In order to get compensation for a wage and hour violation, you need two things: you must know how state and federal wage and hour laws apply to you, and you must be able to prove how much you have worked and how much you have been paid. 

    What you're going to find is this isn't as crazy as it might first appear. The hardest part is knowing what to look for. That is, how employer's regularly try and get away with not paying workers all of the wages they are owed. 


    How to Gather Evidence for a Wage and Hour Claim

    It is vital that you have concrete proof that your employer owes you wages that you have not received. Usually, this can be done in the following ways:

    Paycheck stubs 

    This is the first place to start. In order to know if you've been paid all of the wages you're owed you should first check what you have been paid for. 

    Keep detailed records of the hours you work: 

    You shouldn’t rely on just your pay stub to tell you when and where you worked. Always keep your own schedule in a separate calendar that can be used to double-check your hours against your employer’s records.

    If you haven't done this - that's okay. 

    What you're looking for here is to see if you're employer has paid you for all of the time that you worked.  A lot of company's will shave time. That is, not count a few minutes here and a few minutes here. 

    Another thing company's will do is deduct for meal periods when you're not really relieved of all duties. Which is illegal under California law. 

    Gather any additional evidence:

    Last-minute schedule changes and shift-swapping can cause confusion in payroll, but that doesn’t excuse an employer from paying your wages. If you traded shifts or worked at an alternate location, contact the other employee or manager who can confirm the time you worked.

    Check your classification:

    Some employees are ineligible for overtime based on the income they earn or the tasks they perform. If your employer has classified you as exempt when you are not, you could be owed back pay dating all the way back to your hire date.

    Check additional pay categories:

    Employers are required to pay workers for any unused vacation or paid time off after a worker leaves employment, so always make sure your leave balances have been accounted for.

    Take note of dates:

    Not only are employees entitled to full and accurate pay, they have a right to receive these payments within a reasonable amount of time. Check your calendar closely to see if you could be owed interest on your unpaid wages as well as an additional waiting time penalty.

    After you have collected this evidence, you should speak with an attorney to determine if you have a valid wage and hour claim. Under California law, you can collect unpaid overtime for up to three years prior to the date you file your claim, so it is vital that you act quickly. Please feel free to use our website to learn how to get proper compensation under California pay laws.

    Not getting paid meal period and rest period premiums 

    Under California law, you're entitled to getting paid an hour's pay when you're not provided a legal meal period or rest break. Click here for an in depth article on California's rest beak laws. 


    Get a free, no obligation unpaid wages analysis 

    If this sounds like it's a lot of work for you, then click here to find out more on how to get a free, no obligation unpaid wages analysis. 



    Why Bill is asked to testify concerning wage law legislation at the California State Senate and the California Assembly


    Bill Turley is regularly asked to testify before the California State Senate and the California Assembly concerning potential wage legislation. The California legislature is how wage laws are made.

    Usually when Bill testifies before the California State Senate on wage and hour issues, Bill is the only class action lawyer invited to testify at the hearing.

    Bill testifies regularly before the California State Assembly and California State Senate on the new PAGA bill (read: wage theft legislation).


    Why I offer workers a confidential, free, no obligation unpaid wages analysis

    Straight - forward, No B.S.
    If you follow me at all, you’ll know that I’m all about telling like it is. Believe it or not, I’m know for being straight up. It’s why I’m the go-to guy in Sacramento on wage and hour law. I’m the wage and hour class action lawyer that is regularly asked to testify before the California State Senate and the California State Assembly on wage legislation.  The reason I’m always asked to testify is that I’m going to give it to them straight. No B.S.
    I tell people what they need to hear - not what they want to hear. So here I go again. This isn’t going to be popular.  But here is the reason why I offer workers a confidential, free, no obligation unpaid wages analysis.
    The truth is that there are only a handful of wage class action lawyers in California that can properly analyze an unpaid wages case. I’m not saying this to brag, I’m just telling you like it is.   
    There are a lot of bad lawyers our there that call themselves experts in unpaid wage law
    The problem for you is that there are dozens of dozens of lawyers that will rank high on your Google search that just aren’t very good lawyers. In fact, most of them are not good lawyers. How do I know this? Because I see them screw up cases all the time.
    Not all lawyers are alike
    I’ve been blessed in a few respects.  I’ve been in a firm that is one of the top five unpaid wages class action firms in California.
    I’ve had the opportunity to be a student of the law. When the other lawyers I’ve worked with have been handling all these unpaid wages class action cases, I’ve been blessed to be allowed to simply study the law. To have the time to think about new strategies, new theories, new ways to enforce California’s wage and hour laws. take what I’ve learned in my studying and have applied it to our cases.
    This where I’m coming from here. You can gather all the evidence you want - and that is very helpful, don’t get me wrong. But unless you’ve been studying California wage law for years, you’re just not going to get it. You’re not going to “spot all the issues,” so to speak.
    And the problem you also face is that most lawyers that you are thinking about hiring - they aren’t going to get it also. I know this because I see other lawyers screw these cases up all the time. I know this isn’t popular to say - but it’s the truth. They may have fancy websites, they might talk a good game - - but at the end of the day - they just aren’t that good and many are down-right bad. Even terrible. 
    My best advice - claim your free unpaid wages analysis
    So my best advice to you is that if you suspect that you haven’t been paid all the wages that you are owed under California law, that you avail yourself of our confidential, free, no obligation unpaid wages analysis.
    I’m not saying you have to hire my or you will lose your case. I’m just saying that there are only a handful of lawyers that I would trust to win your unpaid wages case in California.
    So, after we have conducted your confidential, free, no obligation unpaid wages analysis - - and you don’t want me to help you, I’ll give you the names of a handful of other wage and hour class action lawyers that I trust will do a great job for you and your co-employees.

    Disclaimer: Please understand these discussions and/or examples are not legal advice. All legal situations are different. This testimonial, endorsement and/or discussion does not constitute a guarantee, warranty, or prediction regarding the outcome of your legal matter, your particular case/ situation and/or this particular case/ situation.

  • Can a California employer fire a worker who is out on a leave of absence?

    Not to give you a lawyer like answer, but, it depends.  

    The short answer is “Yes,” if your employer has less than fifty (50) employees. That is, your employer can fire you if you take a leave of absence. Assuming, that is the reason why you were fired.
    If this is you, I suggest you keep reading to see what you other legal options are to get money compensation from your employer.
    If your employer has more than 50 employees than you may be protected if you take a leave of absence and you are an eligible employee under the California Family Rights Act (CFRA) or the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA).  I explain these in more depth in this article.

    What if I was fired from work in California - what are my other legal options for getting money compensation from my employer?

    Put another way, all the time I have folks contact our office with one employment law problem and we do a legal analysis and figure out that they have significant (read: they may be entitled to a lot of money compensation) other employment law claims.
    The last thing you want to do is for you to leave your hard earned money on the table, so to speak, when you’ve been fired from your job is California.
    So, I suggest that if this is you - that is, you have been fired from your job in California, you check out this article on “What are my legal rights to compensation if I have been fired from my job in California.”

    California Family Rights Act (CFRA)

    California Family Rights Act (CFRA) covers you if your employer does business in California and employs 50 or more part time or full-time employees.

    CFRA Leave Requirements 

    The following are the California Family Rights Act (CFRA) requirements:
    • In order to be eligible for CFRA leave, you must be an employee with more than 12 months of service with your employer and you must have worked at least 1,250 hours for your employer in the 12-month period before the leave begins.
    If you are an eligible employee:
    • You may take an unpaid leave to bond with an adopted or foster child or to bond with a newborn.
    •  You may take unpaid leave to care for a parent, spouse, or child with a serious health condition.
    •  You may take unpaid leave for your own serious health condition.
    • If you are a full-time employee, you may take leave of up to 12 work weeks in a 12-month period.
    • If you are a part-time employee, you may take leave on a proportional basis.
    • The leave does not need to be taken in one continuous period of time.
    Other requirements:
    • Your employer may require a 30-day advance notice of the need for a CFRA qualifying leave. When this is not possible due to the unexpected nature of the leave, notice should be given as soon as practicable.
    • Your notice can be written or verbal and should include the timing and the anticipated duration of the leave. However, I suggest that you try and document your request in writing, so you can document that the request was made and when it was made.
    As a practical matter, you can call or tell your supervisor in person and send them a confirming email. You can send a copy to yourself to have “proof.”
    • Your employer must respond to your leave request within 10 calendar days.
    If a response is not received in 10 days, you might think about sending them a friendly email as a follow up.
    As with most things in life, as my Mom said, you catch more flies with honey than vinegar. As a practical matter, you really don’t want a CFRA lawsuit, you want to be able to take your legally mandated leave and come back to work. And if you do end up having to file a CFRA lawsuit, you want to be reasonable because this will all be evidence in your case.
    • Your employer may require written communication from the health-care provider of the child, parent, spouse, or employee with a serious health condition stating the reasons for the leave and the probable duration of the condition.

    Pregnancy Disability Leave (PDL)

    If you are eligible for leave under the CFRA, you may also be entitled for leave under Pregnancy Disability Leave (PDL). Employers of five or more persons have additional obligations under the PDL.

    Family Temporary Disability Insurance (FTDI) or “Paid Family Leave”

    Employees on CFRA leave of absence may also be eligible for six weeks of paid leave under FTDI, a program administered by the California Employment Development Department (EDD).
    PFL does not provide job protection, only monetary benefits; however, your job may be protected through other federal or state laws such as the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) or the California Family Rights Act (CFRA).


    Understanding the Protections of the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA)

    Employees may believe that their jobs are protected under the federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). While this law provides employees with twelve weeks of unpaid leave each year to cope with unforeseen illness or family problems, it does not apply to all workplaces. Employees can only enjoy the protections of the FMLA if they:

    • Work at a company that has 50 or more employees
    • Have worked for the company for at least one year
    • Have completed at least 1,250 hours of work for the employer in the required year of employment
    • Do not exceed twelve weeks of absences

    The FMLA states that employees cannot be fired for taking their guaranteed weeks of medical leave, and they cannot be retaliated against for doing so. When employees return from FMLA leave, their employers are required to employ them in their former positions or in a job that is substantially similar. If the employee is on leave due to a medical disability, an employer cannot terminate the employee due to the protections of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Not only is it illegal to discriminate against an employee with a disability, an employer must attempt to make reasonable accommodations that will allow the employee to do his or her job.

    Employers can terminate an employee for reasons unrelated to leave and can do so whether the employee is on leave or not. For example, if an employee goes over the allotted twelve weeks, even by one day, the employer could terminate him or her for excessive absences. The important thing to remember is that while employers may terminate an employee while on protected leave, the employer must provide a legitimate reason for termination that is unrelated to the leave. 


    Bill Turley is California's leading employment law lawyer - that is why he is frequently asked to testify before the California State Senate and California State Assembly on California employment law

    Can a California employer fire a worker who is out on a leave of absence? Bill Turley - California's leading employment lawyer tells all

    Are you owed a lot of money in unpaid wages? 

    Find out with a no obligation, free, confidential unpaid wages audit

    Basically, an unpaid wages audit will help you determine whether you have been paid all of the wages that you are entitled to under California law.  Whether it is an ex-employer that you have worked for in the last four years or a current employer, I suggest that you have an unpaid wages audit. 

    Based upon what I see every day by talking to workers in California that contact our office, many folks have no idea how their employer is not paying them the wages they are owed under California.

    Your first step is contacting our office. First we will talk with you in order to get an initial determination of whether you are owed unpaid wages. This is a no obligation, and free.

    If we go forward with the unpaid wages audit, you will never have to pay us. Ever.

    It is up to you how you want to proceed after we explain to you the results. If we agree to accept your case, all of our fees will be approved by the court and paid directly by the company.


    You can call us at 619-304-1000 or fill out the contact form on this webpage. 


    Disclaimer: Please understand these discussions and/or examples are not legal advice. All legal situations are different. This testimonial, endorsement and/or discussion does not constitute a guarantee, warranty, or prediction regarding the outcome of your legal matter, your particular case/ situation and/or this particular case/ situation. In other words, you outcome may vary. Just because we have had great results in so many employment law cases, doesn't guarantee any particular result with your case. Every case is different. 

  • Can I file a Jones Act injury claim if I was assaulted onboard?


    A Jones Act seaman is guaranteed maintenance and cure payments for any injury sustained on the job, including assault. It doesn’t matter if you were attacked by another crew member, a passenger, or a trespasser on the vessel—you have a right to pursue a Jones Act case for injuries caused by assault, including:

    • Fights between crew members
    • An attack involving a gun, knife, or other weapons
    • Receiving a blow or gunshot during a theft or burglary
    • Injuries caused by intoxicated crew members or passengers
    • Attacks by crew members who are mentally unstable or have criminal backgrounds
    • Sexual assaults

    Since the consequences of physical and sexual assault can be devastating, it is important that seamen know their rights when filing for compensation. These attacks can cause physical injuries that result in scarring and disfigurement, and emotional injuries that take a toll on the victim’s mental health. If the victim cannot return to work due to the stresses of injury, he or she may be able to collect permanent disability benefits from his or her employer.

    What to Do if Your Assault Was Caused by Jones Act Negligence

    It is also important to consider why the assault occurred, and if the employer or shipowner could be held liable for the attack. While an employer cannot be held responsible for every crew member’s actions, the employer should take precautions to prevent personal attacks from happening. This could mean performing adequate background checks on crew members, performing drug and alcohol testing, screening new hires for mental health issues, and investigating any history of prior violence or aggressive behavior. An employer can also be held liable for lax security that made it easier to carry out the attack, such as poor lighting in corridors or broken locks on entrances to sleeping quarters.

    If your employer knowingly hired a crew member with a history of violence, you may be able to collect compensation through a Jones Act negligence claim. Please feel free to use our website to learn more about negligence claims, as well as collecting permanent disability for the effects of your injury.


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    Give us a call. 619-304-1000


    Disclaimer: Please understand these discussions and/or examples are not legal advice. All legal situations are different. This testimonial, endorsement and/or discussion does not constitute a guarantee, warranty, or prediction regarding the outcome of your legal matter, your particular case/ situation and/or this particular case/ situation. 

  • Can I get California unemployment benefits if I was fired?

    How to get compensation if I'm fired from my job in California

    Don't skip over this section (if you need money) - this is very important!

    When you're fired from your job, you need to start thinking right away about what you can and should do in order to improve your economic situation. Meaning, what you're going to be able to do in order to get money. I don't need to tell you how hard things can quickly get if you're no longer getting the paycheck that you're used to.  That's why you need to start taking action immediately.  For example, every day you wait to file for benefits is another day that you are going to have to wait in order to get your benefits.  Every day that you wait to take action is another day that you may be going without getting the money that you need to live.  Your problem though is not only taking action - which is very important - but also taking the right action to protect you and your family. 

    In this article, I discuss your options if you're fired from a job. I strongly suggest that you don't just "skip over" some of these sections. You need to fully understand your options or you could be potentially, leaving a lot of your money on the table.  After all, do you want the company that fired you to add insult to injury by getting to keep your money because you did nothing? 

    A quick example 

    Let me give you a quick example, suppose you were fired for cause and you don't qualify for California Unemployment benefits or California State Disability benefits, you could still be owed a lot of MONEY (read: wages) based upon your employer committing California Labor Code violations.  We get calls like this all the time from folks that get fired from their job.  A family member or friend tells them to call us. 

    The person that was fired then gets one of our free, no obligation, Unpaid Wages Analysis and lo and behold they discover that they are owed thousands of dollars in unpaid wages. Would thousands of dollars help your financial situation? 

    What you are going to see is that California wrongful termination law and California wage and hour law is such that most workers have no idea whether or not the company that they used to work for violated California law. For most folks the only way to find out if they're owed thousands and thousands of dollars is to consult with an experienced California employment law lawyer/ labor law lawyer.

    Since most folks don't have the money to hire a lawyer to even find out if they have a case, we will do the analysis for you for free. And if we end up agreeing to take your case - you never have to pay us any money out of pocket. We handle all our cases under a contingency fee agreement, where you don't have to pay us unless we win. 

    As I explain more in this article - I'm not guaranteeing that you will get money like so many of our clients do.  What I am saying that if you want to get the money that you're entitled to you have to know your legal rights and take the right action to enforce those legal rights. 


    Here are some of the options I discuss in this article. 

    First,  do you qualify (read: can you get) California unemployment benefits?  And if so, what you need to do in order to make sure you get your benefits. 

    Second, do you qualify (read: can you get) California State Disability benefits. And if so, what you need to do in order to make sure you get your benefits. 

    Third, do you have a viable wrongful termination lawsuit? 

    Fourth, do you have an unpaid wages case?  Again, don't assume that you got paid the wages you were owed. Fact is, most folks have no idea that they may be owed thousands of dollars in unpaid wages. 

    Can I get California unemployment benefits if I was fired?

    Yes, if there was no misconduct.

    While many people believe that being fired excludes them from California unemployment benefits, that is not always the case. Under California law, any employees who have left employment through no fault of their own and are actively looking for work remain eligible to receive unemployment benefits. As long as the employee has not engaged in any misconduct,  you can collect benefits after losing a job due to: 


    Employees who lose their jobs due to company cuts, reductions, mergers, or layoffs are not responsible for the loss of their positions, so they are eligible for unemployment.


    Employees who are terminated for misconduct cannot collect benefits. To qualify as misconduct, an employer must be able to show that you substantially breached one of your regular job duties and that your misconduct was intentional and informed. However, if you were fired because you made an honest mistake, were unable to adequately perform your job, or you weren't a good fit for the position, you should be able to collect unemployment as long as you are looking for work.

    Too often I see company's trumping up charges just to terminate people in order to get out of paying unemployment benefits.  Time and again, I have seen folks challenge the "alleged misconduct" and go on t get awarded unemployment benefits. 

    Resignation or quitting.

    In most cases, people who quit their jobs are not eligible for unemployment unless they can show good cause for leaving employment. 

    For example, employees who were facing illegal or unethical treatment by their employers (such as harassment, threats, discrimination, or a dangerous work environment) can collect unemployment if they attempted to resolve the situation before leaving their jobs. In addition, employees who need to relocate for family reasons or have pressing health or personal matters may be eligible for unemployment benefits.


    Bill Turley is regarded as one of the foremost experts in employment law in California.

    This is why Bill is asked to testify before the California legislature on employment law. 


    How to get compensatation if I'm fired from my job in California


    How California Workers Can Get the Unemployment Benefits They Are Owed

    Unfortunately, some employers will misrepresent the terms of an employee’s separation to prevent the employee from collecting unemployment. If you were denied unemployment on the grounds of misconduct or for some other inapplicable reason, you are within your rights to appeal the decision and collect your benefits. 

    Good cause and quitting

    Good cause to quit:

    1. Caring for a family member. If you quit to provide a family member care or if you’re fired for this, then you are eligible for unemployment benefits.

    2. Relocation - If your spouse is relocated, then that is good cause. Or if the company is moving - then that is good cause for you to receive unemployment benefits.

    3. Health and safety - If the company is committing health and safety violations then that is good cause to quit. You may also be entitled to PAGA penalties so, if this happened or is happening to you - be sure to contact us to discuss this further.

    3. Domestic violence - If you have to leave the area do to domestic violence to you or a family member  then that is good cause for you to receive unemployment benefits.

    4. Constructive Discharge. If things are so bad at the company that a reasonable person would also quit, then that can be  good cause for you to receive unemployment benefits.

    5. Job falls through - If you quit to start another job and that job falls through - then that may be good cause for you to receive unemployment benefits.


    How to file a California Unemployment Claim 

    I strongly suggest that you just don't go to the State of California webpage (see below) and leave this one. If you don't that you are going to be missing out on a lot of great free information. 

    Here is the State of California EDD webpage. 


    The top 4 mistakes that folks make that keep them from getting the

    California unemployment benefits they are entitled to

    Mistake No. 1.  Folks don't file for benefits to begin with.

    This is largely for two reasons. First, a lot people think they wont' be off work for very long, so they think why go through the hassle?  This is usually wrong on two fronts.

    First,  they think they will only be off work for a few days say or even a week. When this stretches out, then you can be left in a big hole. My strong advice is don't wait. File now. 

    Second, they wrongly think they aren't eligible because of why they left. I have seen so many instances where folks didn't think they could get unemployment benefits and they ended up getting them. 


    Mistake No. 2. Folks think it's some type of welfare and they don't want the social stigma of getting unemployment 

    This is not only wrong, but way wrong.  I suggest that you look at you're paycheck stubs. If you work in California, you are going to see where money is deducted from your check every pay period for you. It goes into you're account so you can get unemployment benefits.  

    This is you're money that you are collecting.

    It's not the State's money or welfare or whatever.  I suggest that you go get your money. After all, it IS you're money we are talking about. 


    Mistake No. 3 - Folks blow the dates 

    If and when you file, the State of California is going to send you a notice of determination. If you get denied, you have to respond within the time period stated in the Notice. This is usually 20 days. 

    Don't get bent out of shape if you are denied.  Now that you have read this article you will have an idea of what to say if your are denied. But you need to respond in a timely manner. 


    Mistake No. 4 - Folks not realizing that the State of California routinely denies legitimate claims 

    This happens all the time.  The State would love to keep your money that you paid in. So, they will routinely deny legitimate claims. This happens all the time. You must Appeal in a timely manner (usually 20 days). 


    State Disability 

    You may be eligible for State Disability is you are unable to perform your job (defined as your usual and customary occupation) due to illness and/or injury. If that is the case, you should apply for State Disability with the California EDD.
    You will need your treating physician to provide a form stating that you are unable to work.
    Similarly to unemployment, you should not wait in order to file for State Disability.
    This is also not “welfare.”  The State takes money out of your check every week in order to fund any claim for State Disability.
    Also, similar to unemployment, you can expect your request to be denied. Legitimate cases are denied routinely.
    You will need to file a Appeal within 20 days of the Notice of Determination.

    California Workers' Compensation 

    If you have a work injury, then I suggest that you file a worker’s compensation injury.  There are rules about applying post termination (read: if you get fired) for certain claims. However, if your employer has “notice” of your injury before you were fired, you should be ok.
    Your immediate goal here in the short term is to receive temporary total disability - meaning, a weekly workers’ compensation check. Your long term goal is to protect your rights if your work injury turns out to be worse than you expect it to be. 
    Legitimate claims are denied routinely, so if your workers' comp claim is denied, don’t get discouraged.
    You may need to “lawyer-up” in order to get your California workers comp benefits.

    Wrongful Termination 

    Illegal termination
    Here are some of the illegal reasons for your employer to terminate you:
    1.  In retaliation for you enforcing your legal rights. Such as filing a wage claim.

    2.  Because you reported your employer to a government agency. Such as for illegal dumping of chemicals or for OSHA violations.

    3  In violation of a contract. Or there may be an “implied contract,” or a union contract.

    4.  Because of your race, religion, gender, color, national origin, sexual orientation, age, disability, pregnancy, medical condition, language, or marriage status.
    If you suspect that you were terminated for any of these reasons you should consult with a wrongful termination lawyer immediately. Do not wait one more day.

    Failure to get paid all the wages you're owed 

    There are many, many ways that companies don't pay workers all of the wages that they are owed.  For many companies, not paying wages is almost as certain as death and taxes.  The only thing is that most workers have no idea when they are getting cheated out of their wages. 

    California has some of the strong worker protection laws. What I see every day is companies coming into California and not following California’s strong worker protection laws. Companies feel like they don’t have to pay California workers wages that they don’t have to pay in other States.

    Company management justify not paying all the wages that you are entitled to under California law because they feel these wage laws are “nit-picky” and aren’t fair to the company. So companies - big and small -  routinely break California’s wage laws.


    Free, confidential, no obligation unpaid wages audit 

    If you’re like a lot of workers you may suspect that you aren’t getting paid all of the wages that you worked hard to earn. You might not be getting rest breaks or meal breaks. Or you might not be getting paid for all the time you work. Maybe not getting overtime. Or any number of other ways you may not getting paid all your wages.

    Click here for you to get your free, confidential, no obligation unpaid wages audit. Get the peace of mind to know that you're getting all the wages you are entitled to.  In other words, find out when the company owes you unpaid wages. 



    Disclaimer: Please understand these discussions and/or examples are not legal advice. All legal situations are different. This testimonial, endorsement and/or discussion does not constitute a guarantee, warranty, or prediction regarding the outcome of your legal matter, your particular case/ situation and/or this particular case/ situation. 

  • Am I allowed to collect Social Security disability and Jones Act benefits at the same time?


    Under the conditions of the Longshore and Harbor Workers' Compensation Act (LHWCA), injured seamen are not prohibited from collecting multiple types of injury payments. However, your total benefit payments can be reduced if you collect many different types of coverage.


    Injured Jones Act seamen should be wary of the following rules regarding collecting many types of injury and disability payments:

    Receiving State Workers’ Compensation Benefits:

    Eligible employees can collect both state workers' compensation payments and Jones Act payments, although any amount you receive from the state will be deducted from the amount your employer owes you. In these cases, injured sailors are allowed to collect the higher of the weekly compensation rates offered by the two systems. In addition, some states do not allow concurrent collection of workers’ compensation and LHWCA benefits, so the amount you receive can vary depending on where your case is heard.

    Social Security Reductions:

    Seamen who qualify for Social Security Administration (SSA) and Jones Act benefits can collect them at the same time for the same injury. However, the amount you receive from the SSA will likely be reduced as a result of collecting multiple payments, and you are required to notify the SSA if you receive multiple types of workers’ compensation.

    Income Tax:

    The IRS requires injured workers to report all of the funds received through various workers' compensation programs on their yearly tax returns. Although you are required to declare these payments, the IRS exempts your injury or survivors' benefits from taxation if they were paid through a federal or state workers' compensation program.


    A Jones Act Case May Be Your Best Option

    If you are receiving multiple types of injury benefits in an attempt to make ends meet, you should investigate whether your injury could have been caused by unsafe working conditions. The Jones Act allows seamen to sue ship owners for negligence, including employee mistakes and poor vessel maintenance. To find out if you could be owed more than your maintenance and cure payments, please use our website to learn more about negligence claims.


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