With offices in Silicon Valley and the Bay Area, regions globally recognized as hubs of tech innovation, Avloni Law, has extensive experience representing the interests of tech employees. If you work in the tech sector and believe you may be facing unlawful conduct in the workplace, contact Avloni Law for a consultation today.
The tech industry is one of a kind in its power, value, volatility, and potential for rapid growth. From small startups to well-established tech giants, the nature of tech brings both unique benefits and challenges for employees who work in the industry. It is important to understand the issues that tech employees face at work and to stay up to date on the laws that regulate employee workplace protections. Here are some of the issues impacting employment in the tech sector that we see most often:
Lay-Offs in Tech
So far, 2023 has brought a wave of mass layoffs at tech companies, impacting tens of thousands of employees just three weeks into the new year. Layoffs are predicted to continue in the coming months. If you may be or have been, impacted by a layoff, it is important to know your rights.
You have a right to advanced notice: Federal law requires employers carrying out large scale layoffs to give 60 days’ notice to affected employees. Typically, if you do not receive any advanced notice, you should be paid for 60 days following your layoff. You may also be given a severance package offering an extension of pay and benefits. Before signing, carefully read the severance offer and make sure that you are okay with the terms. Be aware that your severance package may include a waiver of all claims, which would limit your ability to bring a lawsuit against the company. If you believe you may have claims against your employer, check with an employment attorney before signing any severance package because you may be able to negotiate for a better offer or bring claims in court.
If you are terminated and you believe that your termination was discriminatory, retaliatory, or unlawful for any other reason, reach out to an employment lawyer.
Misclassification in Tech
A large number of tech employees are wrongly classified as independent contractors and are missing out on wages and benefits as a result. Tech companies use gig workers to increase their production while keeping costs relatively lower. Because independent contractors are technically self-employed, tech companies do not need to pay these workers overtime wages, provide meal or rest breaks, workers compensation, disability, or any other benefits.
Under California law, independent contractors must be free from the control and direction of the hiring entity when performing their work, their work must be outside the scope of the hiring entity’s typical business, and they must regularly work as an independent contractor in the trade that they are performing. If any of these conditions are not met, the worker is not legally considered to be an independent contractor.
Workers who are misclassified by tech companies as independent contractors likely miss out on tens of thousands of dollars annually due to missed overtime pay. If you believe you may be misclassified as a contract worker at a tech company, reach out to an employment attorney.
Remote Work and Surveillance in Tech
During COVID, more employees than ever before began working remotely. Meanwhile, the managerial interest in keeping tabs on employees’ work and productivity remained. Some companies went to extreme lengths to monitor their remote employees, including but not limited, to installing software on corporate laptops to track employee screen activity and computer usage.
This virtual intrusion, which remains largely unregulated, has raised serious privacy concerns. In the spring of 2022, the California Assembly introduced a new bill that would place limitations on remote surveillance by employers. The bill, called the Workplace Technology Accountability Act, would require companies to provide notice to their employees that they are being monitored. The bill also requires employers not to rely solely on surveillance data when making employment-related decisions. The bill is yet to pass into a law but is a meaningful step forward in calling attention to serious privacy concerns that arise from the surveillance of remote workers.
What to Do?
If you have been unlawfully terminated, laid off, or are facing questionable workplace practices, it may be helpful to speak with an employment attorney. At Avloni Law we have experience representing tech employees dealing with a range of issues, including racial discrimination, sexual harassment, disability-related claims, and severance negotiations. We believe that everyone deserves the right to a fair and safe workplace.