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Karin Lynn Backstrom

Karin Backstrom’s Answers

16 total


  • Can a company change the reason for firing someone orn add something to it a month after discharge?

    I was fired for job performance and one month later the company changed the reason from job performance to misconduct job performance.what can I Do

    Karin’s Answer

    The company is trying to establish "gross misconduct" on your part to get out of paying unemployment benefits. You need to provide evidence that you did not commit misconduct; rather you were terminated for poor job performance. If you received any documents at the time of termination indicating that you were terminated for poor performance, you will want to present those to the EDD employee assessing your claim.

    Please note that this answer does not constitute legal advice, and should not be relied on, since each state has different laws, each situation is fact specific, and it is impossible to evaluate a legal problem without a comprehensive consultation and review of all the facts and documents at issue. This answer does not create an attorney-client relationship.

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  • Can my employer fire me because I refuse to attend religious service

    I work with handicap adults and my employer says that I have to take them to church. If I refuse can I be fired

    Karin’s Answer

    I agree with the other two responding attorneys. If one of your job duties is to take the individuals you care for to church, then you have to take them to church. It should not matter where they need to go. It is your job to care for them and take them to places as instructed. You are not "attending religious service;" you are simply taking care of the disabled individuals as instructed by your employer.

    Please note that this answer does not constitute legal advice, and should not be relied on, since each state has different laws, each situation is fact specific, and it is impossible to evaluate a legal problem without a comprehensive consultation and review of all the facts and documents at issue. This answer does not create an attorney-client relationship.

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  • Why did I not get any money from the class action I was a part of?

    I was part of a class action lawsuit settlement that payed out in 2008, but I never received any money. Do individuals always get some money as part of a class action lawsuit?

    Karin’s Answer

    It is unusual that there would be a class action based on the facts you indicated. It may well be that any relief afforded victims of illegal strip searches was not monetary. You will need to review the terms of the settlement agreement or the notices sent to class members to determine whether any payment of cash was available.

    Disclaimer: Please note that this answer does not constitute legal advice, and should not be relied on, since each state has different laws, each situation is fact specific, and it is impossible to evaluate a legal problem without a comprehensive consultation and review of all the facts and documents at issue. This answer does not create an attorney-client relationship.

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  • Sales Commissions

    What are the CA statutes regarding sales professionals that are laid off before the company they worked for would have had to pay out commissions pending the transfer and closing of the proceeds from a pending deal?

    Karin’s Answer

    This issue will need to be resolved by determining when the commissions were "earned." The company should have a compensation plan or some document defining when the commissions are earned. If the commissions were earned before the transfer and closing of the proceeds from a pending deal, then the sales employee would be entitled to be paid. However, if the commissions are not earned until after the transfer and closing, then the employee would not likely be entitled to be paid the commission.
    Last year, the California Court of Appeal ruled that an employee was not entitled to commissions post-termination. A Los Angeles-based web hosting company Hostpro, Inc. hired plaintiff Randy Nein as a sales representative. When he was hired, Nein signed a commission pay agreement. Among other things, the commission pay agreement stated that Nein was “eligible for commission pay as set forth in this [agreement], so long as [Nein] remains employed with the Company as a Sales Representative.”

    After Nein was hired, he began negotiating with AT&T for Hostpro to take over providing web hosting services for some of AT&T’s small and mid-sized business clients. Two years later, higher-ups at Hostpro finalized an agreement with AT&T to take over that work. However, a little over month before the deal was finally done, Hostpro terminated Nein.

    Nein sued, arguing that he was entitled to a commission on the AT&T transaction because he’d initiated the negotiations with AT&T, and remained involved in the activities leading up to the deal. The court disagreed, finding that Nein’s commission pay agreement with Hostpro clearly stated that he was only eligible to receive commission pay while he was employed by Hostpro, and that the agreement ruled out the possibility of post-termination commission payouts.

    Therefore, it is essential to examine the exact language of Commission Pay Agreement or other document defining how commission is paid and when it is actually "earned."

    Please understand that this answer does not constitute legal advice as we have no official attorney-client relationship.

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  • What are the issues with having customers follow me from my old employer to a new employer.

    I was recently let go from a services company, in the past month I have had multiple customers and my previous employees contact me and ask where I am going and If I will be able to bring them on. Both employee's and customers are unhappy with th...

    Karin’s Answer

    Any answer to this question necessarily depends upon the precise language of any Proprietary Information Agreement or Non-Disclosure Agreement you have signed. Barring a specific contract limiting your rights to take customers with you, you have the right to earn a living in California. Because you were "let go," it appears that your termination was not voluntary. If this is the case, the company will be hard pressed to claim that you are prohibited from taking customers with you at the customer's request. You may wish to seek specific legal advise to help with this challenging situation. An employment attorney can guide you through the process.

    Please understand that this communication does not create an attorney client relationship.

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  • Do discrimination lawyers work on a contingency basis?

    If I was on record for a mental disability and was fired, do I have cause and will counsel represent me on a contingeny?

    Karin’s Answer

    There are attorneys in San Diego who will represent employees in statutory discrimination claims on a contingent fee basis. Some employment attorneys require a consultation fee to determine whether they are willing to take your case. A variety of factors will necessarily do into their analysis. You should prepare a chronology of events and a list of potential witnesses for any possible attorneys to review. This will save you time in the attorney search process. Good luck.

    Please be advised that this response does not constitute legal advice nor does it create an attorney-client relationship.

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  • In California, do employees need to sign their time card at the end of the pay period and before process the time card?

    Before the company payroll clerk can process any employee time card, do employees need to sign it?

    Karin’s Answer

    Employees do not need to sign the time card. However, your employer has the right to implement a policy requiring employees to sign the time cards. The policy must be implemented fairly and evenly to all employees.

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  • Medical leave

    while on medical leave, following surgery, I was just notifed by my employer that my job has been eliminated, due to restructuring of the department. Is this legal?

    Karin’s Answer

    You need to find out more facts about this "restructuring." Is your position the only one eliminated? What criteria did the company use to determine which employees to eliminate? These facts are essential to understanding whether the termination was legal. Good luck.

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  • Do I have the right to have an inaccurate written warning removed from my employee personnel file?

    A couple of months ago, I received a "Discussion Memo" from my manager, stating that she was concerned about my negative attitude in the workplace and unwillingness to accept additional duties. This came as a complete shock to me, as I am probably...

    Karin’s Answer

    The best way to remove it is to have your boss' boss take it out of your file and shred it. If the memo is not accurate, the senior manager should back you in removing it from your file.
    Legally, you have no right to have it removed. You can however, write a response that could be included in the file.

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  • The owner is trying to solicit sexual acts for money from a co worker. what should the other owner do?

    A co worker is being solicited to perform sexual acts by one of the onwers she has filed a report with the labor board, and informed the other onwer. She does not feel safe at work. What should the other owner do?

    Karin’s Answer

    Hi,
    The other owner needs to get a hold of this situation fast! He or she should hire an investigator to come in. This other owner should also let the victim have some paid time off on administrative leave since she does not feel safe at work. There are many qualified investigators and employment attorneys who handle these matters. The other owner should hire someone right away!

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