Page 2May 20 - 26, 2011 Asian Journal - (619) 474-0588 Visit our website at http://www.asianjournalusa.com
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Afiate, Law Ofces of Chua Tinsay& Vega www.ctvattys.com
by Atty. Andrew Agtagma, Esq.
Read Atty. Agtagma’s previous articles by visiting our website at
LEGAL BUZZ by Atty. An-drew Agtagma
| SAN DIEGO,5/20/2011 -- I have lost count of how many times a potential client
would come to my ofce to com
plain that they were recently red,
but had never been absent or lateto work, and never received a poor performance review. Whenthese clients ask if they have acase, they are often surprised tolearn what employers are allowedto get away with.The reason that employers aregiven great leeway is because of the “at-will” employment rule.In California, the “at-will” ruleapplies to almost every em- ployee, and thus plays a major role in deciding whether or not anemployee can bring a successfullawsuit. While many employeesare familiar with this rule, fewunderstand what it means.The “at-will” rule says that em- ployees can quit their job for anyreason or no reason. This allows
employees the exibility to adapt
to their circumstances. If youwake up one morning and decideyou want to travel the world,your boss can’t stop you. On aless whimsical note, even after anemployer has spent a lot of timeand money training an employee,the employee can parlay his newskills into a higher-paying jobwith a competitor.But there is a downside to the“at-will” rule. An employee canquit for any reason or no reason, but the employer can also
anemployee for any reason or noreason. This statement comes as asurprise to many potential clients, because a commonly held mis-conception is that employees can
only be red for “good cause.”
Part of the misconception stemsfrom human nature: we want to believe that our job is safe, andthat the only way it can be takenfrom us is if we do something todeserve losing it. The miscon-ception also stems from the factthat the “at-will” rule does notapply to all employees. It doesnot apply to employees who havea written employment contract
that species how long their job
will last, or to union employees.Take, for example, an employeewho is hired to work on a project
for ve years. If his contract is
terminated prematurely, he willhave a breach of contract lawsuitunless the employer has a legiti-mate reason—i.e., good cause—toterminate him.In the case of union employees,the collective bargaining agree-ment will usually state that an
employee can only be red after
going through a progressive dis-ciplinary process. In this process,the employee might be given a
verbal warning rst, followed by
a written warning. If the mis-conduct continues, the employee
is next suspended, given a nal
written warning, and then ulti-
mately red. Of course, some
misconduct is serious enough to justify immediate termination— stealing from the company, for example—but for things likeexcessive absences or being late
to work, termination is justied
only after employees has beengiven a chance, through progres-sive discipline, to improve their performance. Unless one of thesescenarios applies, you are prob-ably an “at-will” employee.Even though employers havea lot of leeway on how theytreat their “at-will” employees,this does not mean that theycan mistreat employees withoutconsequence. Employers whohave unhappy employees or have a high turnover rate often
nd themselves at a competitive
disadvantage against employerswho treat their employees fairly.Having to constantly train andretrain employees is expensive,lowers morale, and limits pro-ductivity. Regardless of what the“at-will” rule allows, therefore,employers have a vested interestin treating employees well. Butfrom the employees’ standpoint, itis the marketplace, rather than thecourts, that will keep employersin check.Atty. Andrew Agtagma is agraduate of U.C. Berkeley (BoaltHall) School of Law. He worksclosely with the Law Firm of Chua Tinsay and Vega (CTV)and its clients to provide counselin his areas of expertise, whichinclude employment law, personalinjury, and general civil litiga-tion. He can be reached by phoneat: (650) 589-5700, or e-mailat: email@example.com.
CTV is a full service law rmwith ofces in San Francisco, San
Diego and Manila. The informa-tion presented in this article isfor general information only andis not intended as formal legaladvice, or to serve as the basis for an attorney-client relationship.CTV can be reached at: (415)495-8088; (619) 955-6277.
What is “At-Will” Employment,and Why It Matters
Los Angeles, 16 May 2011 – The Philippine Department of Justice (“DOJ”) issued an Advi-sory Opinion explaining to the public the issues surrounding therecruitment, arrest, detention andconviction of Filipinos caughttransporting illegal drugs abroad.As with its previous AdvisoryOpinion regarding the basicrights of citizens in military/ police checkpoints, AdvisoryOpinion No. 2 is in line with thethrust of the DOJ to take a pro-active stance in criminal justiceconcerns, including the issue onFilipino illegal drug couriers or “drug mules”.The DOJ’s Advisory is ad-dressed both to Filipinos whowillingly accept offers to becomeillegal drug couriers and to thosewho were involuntarily caught inthe criminal activities of syn-dicates through various modus
DOJ issues advisory on illegal drug couriers
operandi. In either case, theAdvisory lays down basic rulesthat all Filipinos should bear inmind once they are apprehendedabroad on suspicion of transport-ing illegal drugs.Below are the ten (10) advi-sory points issued by the DOJ,couched in simple and straight-forward language for easy com- prehension by the general public:1. “Carry at your own risk”2. Knowledge is immaterialand intent is not a requirement in
3. Be vigilant of the modusoperandi of drug courier syndi-cates.4. In the unfortunate event of arrest or detention for drug traf-
cking, have presence of mind
and do not resist arrest.5. Assert your legal rights,inquire on the legal remedies andrequest for consular assistance.6. Presumption of innocencewill always apply.7. The laws of the country of arrest apply.8. If sentenced, the govern-ment can only be of limitedassistance.9. ”Blood money” cannot be paid to erase the liability of a person convicted of a crimeinvolving illegal drugs.10. Take full responsibility of your actions.The DOJ’s Advisory Opinion No. 2 was issued at a time whenmore and more Filipinos are being arrested and convicted invarious countries allegedly for being drug couriers. It seeksto warn Filipinos of the legalconsequences of being involved,voluntarily or involuntarily, inthe criminal activities of illegaldrug syndicates.BERKELEY, CALIFORNIA – California utility and telecom-munications companies have boosted their contracting with
rms owned by people of color,
women, and disabled veterans,the Greenlining Institute’s lat-est Supplier Diversity ReportCard shows, but contracting stilldoesn’t match the state’s grow-ing diversity.The just-released report is based on data reported to theCalifornia Public UtilitiesCommission pursuant to Gen-eral Order 156, which seeks tostrengthen the state’s economy by encouraging contracting withdiverse businesses. Highlightsinclude:
• Spending with minority-
Utility, Telecom Companies BoostMinority Contracting
Major Improvements Still Don’t Match State’s Diversity, Greenlining’s 2011Supplier Diversity Report Card Finds
owned business enterprises in-creased by 30 percent and totaledover $2.5 billion last year.
• Three companies – San
Diego Gas and Electric, AT&Tand Verizon -- now allocate morethan one quarter of their spend-
ing to MBEs. Pacic Gas and
Electric also showed a markedincrease.
• Spending with minority
women-owned enterprises grewdramatically.“The large increases in con-tracting with diverse businessesare encouraging,” said report co-author Samuel S. Kang, Green-lining’s general counsel, “butcontracting still doesn’t nearlymatch the diversity of a state thatis now nearly 60 percent peopleof color, so there’s much morework to do.”Telecom companies are par-ticularly in the spotlight due toAT&T’s pending bid to purchaseT-Mobile. “If AT&T’s merger with T-Mobile is approved, itwill give the company enormous
inuence over major rms that
it buys supplies and servicesfrom,” Kang said. “That wouldgive AT&T a huge opportunity toshow those suppliers across thecountry, particularly in high tech,
the benets of diversifying their
supplier base and reaching out toall communities.”