Construction Woker

What a Temporary Worker in California Should Know

Today’s guest post comes from Frank Feldman, the PR Media Manager at Stephen Danz & Associates. Thank you for your submission. Any questions can be directed to the firm by following their link above.

Businesses in California and all through the United States, hire hundreds and thousands of temporary workers every year. After all, temporary workers easily translate into significant cost savings, both in the short and the long run. Businesses are also willing to hire temporary workers from their trusted sources (staffing agencies) because such workers are pre-screened and pre-qualified for various job roles. When an organization is growing quickly, is under-resourced or has an urgent, short-term vacancy to fill, it is likely to consider bringing in some temporary workers.

It’s understandable that businesses are looking at improving the bottom-line but on numerous occasions, employers violate the rights of temporary workers. If you are a temporary worker in California, here is what you should know:

What Happens When a Temporary Worker Gets Injured On the Job?

You may qualify for workers’ compensation even if you are a temporary or part-time worker employed in California. Your ‘temporary’ employer will have to pay for necessary medical care for injuries as well as illnesses related to work. In most cases, it’s immaterial who was responsible for the injury.  

In the state of California, both the primary and secondary employers are required by law to take all steps necessary to protect temporary workers from workplace hazards. Both of the employers also need to comply with California’s Department of Occupational Safety and Health (OSHA) regulations.  Therefore, like all other employers (private and public) in California, they should have an Injury and Illness Prevention Plan (IIPP) in place.

Generally, the primary employer – a staffing agency that hires temporary workers and assigns them to various host employers – assumes the responsibility of covering temporary workers under their workers’ compensation insurance besides performing functions such as recruitment, payroll management, termination, etc.

The primary and secondary employers in California create a contract that clearly defines who will fulfill the necessary workplace safety and health requirements.

Most of the legal issues concerning temporary workers revolve around this contract.

When Can a ‘Temporary’ Worker Become a ‘Regular’ Worker?

There is no specific time limit on how soon a ‘temporary’ worker may be classified as a ‘regular’ worker.

However, your employer could face liability if:

  • You have been employed as a temporary worker for an extended period
  • You perform the same set of duties as regular, full-time employees
  • You have been denied benefits that other, regular employees receive

In the late 1980’s and early 1990’s, Microsoft started hiring a large number of temporary workers. The technology giant was, of course, looking to save money. The company even introduced a badge-system to distinguish temporary employees (orange badges) from permanent employees (blue badges).

At first, it seemed the hiring strategy is working well for Microsoft. The company retained these temporary workers for many years. The legal eagles sensed trouble when these temporary workers tried to participate in Microsoft’s employee discount stock purchase program. Microsoft denied its ‘temporary’ workers the benefit it extended to its ‘regular’ employees.

In 1992, these workers filed a class-action lawsuit against the tech giant. They argued that due to the extended period of employment, they were no longer ‘temporary’ workers. The legal battle went on for eight long years. In the end, the workers won. The company agreed to pay $97 million to settle the class-action lawsuit.

Are Temporary Workers Protected Against Discrimination in the Workplace?

Yes. Both client firms and staffing agencies can be sued for discriminating against the temporary workers in the workplace as per the Equal Employment Opportunities Commission (EEOC).

Thus, the staffing agencies and the host employers to whom they assign temporary employees cannot discriminate against the employees on the basis of race, religion, color, sex, age, national origin or disability.

It practically means that a host employer cannot defend discriminatory actions in the workplace with the argument that they are not the primary employer.  Similarly, if a host employer asks a primary employer for ‘only Latina women in their early 20s” to fill temporary sales positions during a festive season and the staffing agency does the needful, both the staffing agency and the host employer are liable under federal and state anti-discrimination laws.

How Can A Temporary Worker Report A Problem? 

You can report the problem to both your staffing agency and the immediate supervisor at the client firm.

  • Supervisors at the client firm may say that you cannot have access to the HR department as you are a temporary employee; just tell them you are reporting the problem in writing for their information
  • f you have reasons to believe you are a victim of illegal discrimination, write your complaint to the appropriate official at the client firm with the title of “Complaint of [Age/Racial/Religious discrimination]”.
  •  If the client firm fails to address the problem, you can speak with an employment law attorney or file a complaint with a relevant government agency
  • If your immediate supervisor is sexually harassing you, report the matter to the EEOC
  • If the client firm refuses to pay earned over time, you can report the matter to the Department of Labor

Final Words

All employees, including temporary workers, have rights. If you are a temporary worker and have sufficient reasons to believe your rights are being violated either by the staffing agency or the host employer, you should speak with an experienced employment law attorney in California.

Disclaimer: This is not legal information. No attorney-client privileges are substantiated from this article.  

Author Bio

I am writing to introduce myself as Frank Feldman I am the PR Media Manager at Stephen Danz & Associates, one of the largest law firms committed solely to representing employees in their disputes with employers in California.

Does Being Wrongfully Terminated Affect Unemployment Eligibility?

Today’s guest post comes courtesy of Steven I. Azizii, who reached out with this helpful information about wrongful termination and unemployment eligibility. California residents that wish to reach out with questions about wrongful termination can find Steven here. Thank you for your contribution, Steven!

Does Being Wrongfully Terminated Affect Unemployment Eligibility?

­A helpful guide by attorney Steven I. Azizi, partner at Miracle Mile Law Group, LLP.

Under CA law, meeting certain criteria could make you eligible for unemployment benefits. However, you must actively be looking for a job in order to get unemployment. Unemployment benefits help those who have been recently fired get through some of the toughest times. But what about if you were wrongfully terminated from your job and seeking unemployment benefits. A common question the lawyers here at Miracle Mile Law Group receive is how wrongful termination lawsuits affect eligibility for unemployment insurance. It’s a fair question to ask, and one this article will help answer.

What is Wrongful Termination?

California, like many other states, is considered an “at-will” employment state. This means you can be fired for almost any reason that is not illegal. If you were fired for an illegal reason, then you may have a case for wrongful termination. But what is considered an “illegal” reason?

Wrongful termination is an umbrella term for being fired for either a) a protected characteristic or b) a protected activity.

A protected characteristic includes your: age, race, religion, disability, marital status, gender, sex, pregnancy, sexual orientation, among others. In order to be successful in proving this prong of a wrongful termination lawsuit, you have to show that a substantial motivating factor for your termination was based on one of these characteristics. You can do this by either direct evidence (words, texts, emails, etc.) or through indirect evidence (for example, an older employee is replaced by a younger and cheaper counterpart).

On the other hand, a protected activity includes reporting your employer over a violation of law they committed, taking a protected leave of absence, or reporting discrimination or harassment (whether it happened to you or someone else). These laws are also known as “whistleblower” statutes and regulations. They are designed to encourage workers to speak up about toxic, unsafe, and dangerous working conditions.

How Do I Qualify for Unemployment?

Employees who are out of a job do not automatically qualify for unemployment. You have to meet certain factors to receive the benefits:

  1. Your past wages must have met a certain minimum requirement during the last quarter in which you worked.
  2. Your termination cannot have been your fault. If you quit, it must have been for good reason.
  3. You must actively be on the job hunt.

If you think you meet these criteria, then you should file your claim as soon as your hours are reduced, or you lose your job. The longer you wait the less chances you have to receive benefits. You’ll need the following information to file a claim with the Employment Development Department (EDD):

  • Employer’s information: company name, address, and your boss’ name
  • Last date worked
  • Gross earnings
  • Standard Form 8 (this can be found online)
  • Citizenship status

If you are ready to file a claim, visit the EDD’s Unemployment Insurance application page to get started.

How Does Being Wrongfully Terminated Affect My Chances of Receiving Unemployment?

The usual circumstances in which people apply for unemployment benefits is when the employee gets a) laid off, b) quits, or c) is terminated/dismissed. However, it is common for wrongfully terminated employees to get denied for unemployment benefits.

If you were wrongfully terminated, then a court will likely find that you were terminated at no fault of your own. But what if you quit your job because of a hostile work environment, retaliation, or discrimination? That does not mean you automatically will be denied for unemployment.

In California, there’s a concept called “constructive discharge.” Constructive discharge essentially means that even though your dismissal was voluntary, the work conditions were so toxic that a reasonable person in your situation would have no other choice but to quit. Some examples of what could lead to a constructive discharge claim includes:

  • Your employer fails to reimburse you for travel expenses
  • An employee faces constant sexual harassment
  • A worker receives a text message from the employer saying, “there’s no room for you here, just quit.”
  • Messages between the employer and the employee showing that the employee’s boss is going to make his or her life a “living hell”

Another important thing to remember is that if you try to bring forward a constructive discharge claim, you must give the employer a chance to fix the problems.

A Final Note on Wrongful Termination and Unemployment – Know Your Rights

Being wrongfully terminated can lead to anxiety and depression due to the psychological harm that it inflicts. Things are not made easier when you get denied for unemployment benefits. First thing you should if you feel you were wrongfully terminated is to call an employment lawyer in your state and city before time runs out. Most of these lawyers offer free consultations and could help you get your life back together.

Getting Fired From My First Job Helped Me Become a Better Worker

Today’s guest post comes to us from Nathan who blogs over at Millionaire Dojo. Great post Nathan! Thank you.

When I was 17, I got my first job at Chic-fil-A. I was excited to start earning some money and hoped to make some new friends. I was homeschooled, so creating friendships at work was important to me. I had heard that Chic-fil-A was a great company to work for, so I thought it would be a good experience.

After a few months of working, I had made some friends, but wasn’t super close to anyone in particular. We goofed off a lot in the kitchen, and that made the days go by a little quicker. We realized that Chic-fil-A wasn’t the same company that outsiders thought it was. They may treat their customers great, but their employees not so much.

A lot of times I felt like I was on an episode of Hell’s Kitchen (minus a lot of the cussing). You’re expected to do everything perfectly and as fast as humanly possible when you work for Chic-fil-A. The moto for employees is to provide “second mile service.” This just means that they expect you to work your hands to the bone and not expect any thanks in return. One of the managers was particularly mean. Everyone (including other managers) usually walked away with their tails tucked between their legs after any altercation with this manager.

A mean boss can make work insufferable.

I felt like I was a good employee. Always showed up on time and did what was expected of me. It seemed like I was favored over most of the crew. I’m an introvert, so I usually tried to fly under the radar and just work when I was on the clock. Sometimes flying under the radar isn’t the way to go.

The night it all went down

I was working a normal shift, with a particularly disturbed employee. I was somewhat friends with this guy, but he definitely had some social issues. Everyone thought he was awesome when they first met him, but the more you got to know about him, the less appealing he became. He was a compulsive liar, and it was hard to know if anything he said was the truth.

It was getting close to closing time, and my coworker came by the sandwich making area with a box. He decided he wanted to take some of the food home with him. Although I knew that was against the policy, no one seemed to care. I had even seen managers take food home with them before. He filled up his box with leftover food and placed it somewhere he thought would be safe (behind the dumpster outside).

Low and behold, someone found the box of food behind the dumpster. I don’t know if someone saw him with the box of food or if the employees just liked to hangout behind the dumpster. The particular employee that found the box wanted desperately to be promoted, so ratting our coworker out would help her look good to management. The way that restaurant was ran developed a hierarchy of suck ups who tried to look like goody two shoes.

Ignorance is bliss

I didn’t think much about the situation with my coworker taking the food. Closing down the kitchen is very hands-on, and I didn’t have any time to sit around and think about what just happened. I noticed a couple of the other coworkers talking, but I didn’t know that the guy got caught with the box of food until after my shift.

After I clocked out, I noticed my disturbed coworker wanted to stick around and talk. He told me how he had gotten caught and that he thought the manager was going to tell the operator which would likely result in him getting fired. I had an early shift the next day, and my coworker told me he was going to come in and apologize and beg for his job. The manager that was on duty when he got caught was also working the next morning. She just told him to go home and not worry about it.

I thought the whole situation was over with, and we continued on as usual with work for the next couple of weeks.

Surprise, you’re fired!

A couple of weeks after the night my coworker got caught, I arrived to my normal shift early. All the guys on my shift hated their jobs, so we needed our time to meetup and complain about work in the parking lot before clocking in. The thief coworker was working that day, and as we were walking in, the owner of the restaurant pulled up on us. “My office! Now!” He yelled out of his truck window.

Stunned, we continued to walk into the restaurant. “Bro, what do you think this is about?” My coworker asked me. I responded, “I don’t know, but it appears we’re about to get fired.” Once we were in the restaurant, the owner came busting through the door, told me to sit down and took my coworker back to the office. I waited for about 30 minutes before he came and got me. Those 30 minutes felt like a lifetime to my 18-year-old self.

The owner asked me what had happened a couple of weeks ago on the night shift. I responded, “Is this about the box of food that was found?” He confirmed, and then I told my account of the story. I told him that I had put the leftover food in a box and that I sat it somewhere and it ended up disappearing. In a raised voice, he said “You expect me to believe that story!?”

After threatening me with pressing charges for theft, I finally told him that I knew my coworker was going to take the food. I don’t know why I didn’t just say that to begin with. I guess I was trying to cover for my coworker. After confessing, he fired me on the spot. Thankfully, he didn’t press charges on me. I’m not quite sure what he could have had me arrested  for anyways though.

Take away

I guess since I didn’t tell the truth to begin with, it cost me my job. I have no idea what my coworker told the owner, so he could have totally thrown me under the bus.

Getting fired like this was a pretty big blow to my confidence. Although it was just a silly high school job, it impacted the way I go about work to this day, 7 years later.

The main takeaway I have from this experience is to always speak the truth. I very well could have kept my job if I had just gotten my story straight the first time in the interrogation.

Another lesson learned is to always put out fires when you see sparks. I should’ve been proactive and had my name cleared from the situation long before the day I got fired. I took the route of staying quiet, and that seemed to backfire on me. I should have gone straight to a manager and told them that my coworker was taking food. While I don’t like ratting people out, I lost my job and my only source of income because I held my tongue.

Thankfully, this is the only time I’ve been fired and I’m currently employed in the IT field.

To read more about Nathan’s journey, check out the blog over at Millionaire Dojo.

Overcoming Job Related Identity Loss

Today’s guest post talks about the loss of identity. It often comes with losing a job, but sometimes, it can come WITH the job. This post comes to you courtesy of Mr. Flexcents who writes about personal finance as well as health and wellness over at  Let’s dive in with a personal story of his. – Milton


One of the first things that we ask the people we meet is “What do you do for a living?” This question can lead to an awkward silence, especially if you recently lost your job — or worse, your identity. I’m not talking about identity theft either.

Career Beginnings

Ever since high school, I always wanted to become a physical therapist (PT). It was a burning desire to help people recover from their injuries so they can return to caring for themselves or their family. In 2014, I finally achieved this dream after 7 years of rigorous study. To add to the thrills of graduation and passing my licensure exam, I was accepted into a competitive residency program at a non-profit outpatient PT clinic. While residencies for PTs are completely optional, I had the career goal of furthering my education to become an orthopedic clinical specialist and this residency was designed to provide my with the training to achieve my goals. However, my passion to drive my career forward began to fade along with a large piece of my personal identity.

Initial Experiences

The last thing I expected fresh out of school was to be told I was not good enough. These words came from one of my residency mentors. I recognized this residency was made to groom me to become a better PT. However, what I didn’t realize was that my was that my mentor’s teaching style was poorly aligned with my learning style. I figured I would continue to work hard regardless and eventually, it would pay off. Despite my efforts, all I received were negative feedback and insults. This lead me to feel incompetent, intimidated and powerless by my mentor’s mere presence. I now realize, I needed more guidance and positive feedback.

When things are not working, speak up rather than wait for things to get worse.

Instead of focusing on the details of how he made me feel this way, let’s focus on some dynamics on why my first professional experience made me feel so lost and how you can learn from my mistakes. To do this, I will refer to a model called The Wheel of Life.

The Wheel of Life

The wheel of life was a concept originally created by Paul J. Meyer. He is considered the pioneer of the self-improvement industry. Many have made modifications to the areas of life measured in this model. I will be using Zig Ziglar’s modification which considers intellect, social, family, spiritual, physical, financial, and career. Each area of your life affects another.

This is what mine looked like at the start of my residency.

You can see that I was heavily focused on my career. As the residency progressed, my focus shifted even more towards my career and studies. Of course, this took from other areas of my life such as spending time with my friends and family and spending little to no time in the gym. My life began to be thrown out of balance and was I was poorly equipped to deal with the stressors of unexpected events at work.

The unhappiness from my job began bleeding into other areas of my life. I began to isolate myself to avoid my mentor at work to avoid harsh criticism, I became agitated at home and I could no longer resolve familial issues with a cool head. I stopped working out all-together and just stopped taking care of myself. To make matters worse, I had to start worrying about finances since the public service loan forgiveness became more uncertain for my situation – I was already in over $100K in student loan debt!

Not only was I questioning my career, intellect, and financial stability, I was questioning who I was and who I wanted to become. I felt like I was stuck in a void with no answers and was just trying to survive. It wasn’t long before I felt useless to everyone around me. This was the most dangerous feeling I ever had.

The Fix

My trajectory drastically changed after being involved in a hit and run while walking to work. The van tossed me into the air and miraculously, I only ended up with a few bruises and a broken leg. This accident made me realize how valuable my life is and how my life is much more than my career.

I took control of my situation and sought professional help to figure out what was wrong with me. I also reached out to family and friends to discuss my feelings and difficulties at work. They already knew something was up and was willing to lend a helping hand. I don’t know what took so long for me to reach out to others, but the support provided me with clarity. It wasn’t me that was the problem, it was my environment at work.

This lead me to leave the residency and determine that no amount of career success or loan forgiveness is worth my happiness. I transitioned out of this outpatient residency and went into a skilled nursing facility (SNF) to build up my confidence back up. Changing jobs also came with a 10% pay raise allowing my to put more money towards my student loans!


Fast forward a couple years later, I transitioned from an SNF to treating patients in their homes. I have learned to love my career again and enjoy the good people I work with. I have developed a better work-life balance, paid off over $100K of student debt and now I am pursuing financial independence so I can allocate my time and energy to other passions and spending more time with loved ones.

As you can see below, I am living a more balanced life now as I live a life that is defined by much more than my career.

The Lessons I Have Learned

You Are Good Enough

Don’t let anyone else tell you otherwise. My mentor told me I was fail without his supervision. I am now thriving in my current position and am making a difference in my patients’ lives. I learned that when people are unjustifiably mean or unsupportive of you, it is more their problem than yours. Spend less energy focusing on the negative people and more energy focusing on the people who matter.

Diversify Your Purpose As You Would Your Money

You don’t have to be a financial advisor to recognize how important it is to diversify your investment portfolio. The same can be said in where you spend your time and energy. Even if you are lucky enough to find meaning in your career, find purpose and develop goals outside of your career. This will help during times of uncertainty, like job loss and retirement.

Ask For Help

No one knows what is going on in your head. People knew things were not going well with me, but I denied any issues. Even though I was screaming for help inside, but too proud to ask for it. Prolonged sadness can lead to serious problems. If you have lost interest or pleasure in doing things, feeling down or hopeless, seek help immediately. There is no shame in reaching out to friends and family.

Own Your Future

My favorite quote I have hanging on my wall goes something like: “Life does not get better by chance, it gets better by choice” – Jim Rohn. Bad things happen to people all the time. While it may not be your fault for these misfortunes, it sure as heck is your responsibility to find ways to better your life.

We All Have A Unifying Purpose

The most important thing I learned is to shift my focus from career to relationships and experiences. I learned that I am so much more than a physical therapist. I’m a husband, brother, son, uncle, reliable friend, exercise enthusiast, financial fanatic, blogger, amateur photographer, perpetual learner and so much more.

In the end, we are much more than our careers and titles. We are the laughs we put on other people’s faces, the experiences we share with acquaintances and loved ones, and the difference in all the lives we touch throughout our lifetime.

If you want to read more about me and how I am working towards financial independence, visit

Changing My Financial Life After My Employer Refused to Pay Me

Today’s guest post comes from Liz who blogs over at Splurging on Freedom. Liz has an incredible story about how she was in line to inherit an enviable amount of money and then lost this position in a moment. Read more of her story on her blog.  Here’s Liz’s story about her employer not paying her – Milton

A few years ago, I found myself in a state worse than unemployment – Being employed, but having your employer refuse to pay you.

In all honesty, I did receive one single paycheck of $120 for 6 months of work. That was the only money I ever saw from my employer.

It was a broke and utterly stressful existence, something I would never wish on anyone else. But that difficult period changed my financial life for the better. It was, in fact, something I now like to see as a blessing in disguise.

There were many things that I learned during this difficult time. And there were many things that I did to improve my dire financial situation. All of which changed my life for the better.

If you’re struggling with something similar, I hope that you find value and actionable tips to take away. Or perhaps you’d find just a little bit more strength to face the day.

Without further adieu, let’s dive in.

I Learned the Value of Money.

Learning the value of a dollar is, by far, the greatest lesson that I’ve taken away.

Coming from a place of little financial trouble and worries, I used to spend every cent I ever made. I couldn’t fathom the need for an emergency fund. Saving money wasn’t a priority, and was therefore extremely difficult for me.

However, when I got myself into financial trouble and landed a corporate job that didn’t pay, just a single dollar became infinitely more important to me. Just $1 became the difference between a full meal and an empty stomach. It became the difference between having water to drink and going thirsty.

Right now, I’m working a different corporate job that pays me about $2,800 a month. It’s not a lot of money, but it’s enough to pay for all my necessities and even a few luxuries.

Despite my ability to purchase more things than I ever could before, I’m hesitant to do so. That $100 pair of shoes I’m eyeing? I think about how I could feed myself for a few weeks with that money. That brand new $1,000 iPhone? I could feed myself for a few months!

Learning the value of money has resulted in me being able to properly discern the difference between ‘wants’ and ‘needs’. Now, I spend mostly on ‘needs’, and only the ‘wants’ that bring value into my life. And I couldn’t be happier.

I Learned How to Survive on a Low Income.

Being paid $20 for each month of full-time work really kicked my survival instincts into overdrive. It was either do or die. Quite literally.

So, I did whatever I could to survive.

I went scouring for every possible income-making opportunity. I tutored students after work and on the weekends. I sold a lot of my stuff. I flipped items online for profit. I even did surveys and attended talks for a little bit of cash.

I also started cutting my expenses to the bone. Anything that wasn’t necessary for survival was cut from the budget. No more movies. No more eating out. No more buying books. No more alcohol. Goodbye, social life.

Like I said, it was an incredibly stressful experience. But one that I learned so much from.

Despite earning a lot more money now than just $20 a month, my expenses are still low. Thankfully, I haven’t succumbed to lifestyle inflation since, and this allows me to put away a significant sum of money for the future.

I Learned that I Hate Corporate Jobs.

Since young, everyone I knew idealized the notion of ‘studying hard, getting good grades, and finally landing a respectable corporate job that pays well’. “This is the definition of having a good life”, I was told.

It was all I was taught. And for a very long time, it was all that I knew.

So, I grew up thinking that I’d make my way up the corporate ladder. I’d keep applying to higher-paying jobs, I’d work hard and keep scoring promotions. Maybe by the time I hit 50, I’d be earning $20,000 a month. Wouldn’t that be a dream?

It took a number of lousy jobs to shatter the rosy picture I had in my head. The job that played a defining role in this is, as you’ve guessed, the one in which my employer refused to pay me.

I’ve since come to accept that, contrary to popular belief, not all employers take good care of you. Not all employers keep the promises they’ve made. Perhaps I’ve been unlucky in my choice of jobs, but all the jobs I’ve worked thus far have somehow managed to renege on their promises.

In my previous job, I was contractually promised to receive a salary every month. I didn’t receive a salary. In my current job, I was verbally promised a 6% increment in salary after my probation ended. I didn’t receive any increment. I was also promised a substantial bonus. I didn’t receive it.

It wasn’t because I didn’t perform well; in fact, my immediate boss took a great liking to me. It was just because, in my experience, employers don’t really care about you, or the promises they once made.

Frankly, they just care more about their bottom line than they ever would you.

That’s not all that I hate about corporate jobs.

I dislike everything you could possibly list – Having to sit in my cubicle for 9 hours a day, 5 days a week. Having to deal with shallow people and office politics. Having to trudge through a commute-laden day, devoid of any happiness or passion.

And with that, I found a way out.

I Discovered Financial Independence.

I couldn’t accept that this was to be my life until I retired at 65. So, in response to my desperate pleas for an exit route, I came across the concept of financial independence.

Financial independence opened my eyes to a brand new world.

A world without selling your soul for money. A world where you didn’t have to be subject to your employer’s whims and fancies.

A world with meaning, with passion. A world where every single day was a pleasure to live.

Obviously, I took this path. And I’ve never looked back.

I Started Saving Aggressively.

Knowing what it’s like to be under the thumb of a volatile employer, I promised my future self that I would quit my job by 2020 to start chasing my dreams. But in doing so, I had to start saving very, very aggressively.

Because with savings, I’ve learned, comes empowerment.

Right now, despite not liking my job, I’m still scared of quitting and having no income. I’m scared of saying “no” because I’m worried I’d get fired the next day.

What kind of life is this, living in a constant state of fear, dread, and unhappiness?

As far as possible, I want to minimize those negative feelings in my life. And the first step to doing so is saving as much as possible.

Because with savings, you can put a roof over your head. You can put food on the table. You can turn on the tap and have water to drink. With savings, you can ensure your survival.

And before you live a good life, you must first learn to survive.

Come 2020, I would still be far from my financial independence figure of $1 million. But by then, I should have about $150,000 (or more) in my investment account. A significant amount that generates dividend income to tide me through periods of having no income.

It feels liberating, really, to be able to quit your job within the next couple of years. And it all starts with saving a lot of money.

Even in the off-chance that I happen to stay in the corporate world, it never hurts to have a lot of savings in the bank.

To read more about Liz’s journey, check out her blog over at Splurging on Freedom.

Lisbon: The Best City for Digital Nomads

One of the unintended upsides of unemployment is that it frees you to explore other avenues in your life. And may mean finding a job or starting a business that will allow you to travel the world untethered. And if you get that chance, one of the first places on your list should be Lisbon, Portugal.

When I first moved abroad, I was in search of a permanent new home. The main criteria were that it needed to be cheap, yet, was highly accessible should I choose to travel more. Suffice it to say, Lisbon more than fits the bill.

Lisbon has everything you could possibly need to feel fulfilled–a vibrant nightlife, cheap digs, and a chill vibe. It is also within minutes of some of the cleanest and most beautiful beaches in the world. So in the summertime, you can take off work and go take a dip in the ocean. What could be better than that?

If you are worried about the language barrier, don’t be. While it is true that Portuguese and Spanish are not mutually intelligible, so don’t expect your high school classes to come in handy there, nearly everyone in Lisbon speaks English. While this is due in part to the high number of tourists and expats, the local population itself has learned the language to a level of near fluency. As a result, you’ll be able to speak to anyone, anywhere about anything with little to no hindrance.

The Portuguese are also extremely friendly and open to visitors but don’t worry about making friends. They will be in ample supply. Why? Well, the city is already filled to the brim with others of your ilk. That’s right. There will already be a community of like-minded and like-lifestyle people ready to welcome you in.

Portugal has a long and interesting history, so there is no shortage of local history and culture to absorb. From Sintra Palace to the Monastery of Belem, there is plenty to do, see and explore. So if you happen to find yourself in the unemployment line, don’t fret. There may be adventure and community waiting for you on the other side of the pond.



Can I Sue for Wrongful Termination?

Today’s guest post comes from attorney Nicholas Feinstein, writing on the topic of wrongful termination.  If you’ve been fired and were wondering about any potential legal recourse, read on.   Thanks. – Milton


Getting canned from a job rarely leaves a person feeling warm and fuzzy. If you have been let go from a job, feelings of anger and resentment are inevitable, especially when the termination seems unjustified. Although many members of the recently-fired would like to exact retribution on their former employers, only a few actually have a legal claim for wrongful termination.


To maintain a successful claim of wrongful termination in the U.S., you must demonstrate that you were let go for an unlawful reason under a specific state or federal law, which may include anti-discrimination or whistleblower statutes. If you prevail, you could be reinstated in your old position (but do you really want to go back?) or receive money damages (that’s more like it).


At-will employment


If you have just been fired, it is important to remember that in every state other than Montana, employment is “at-will,” meaning that, generally speaking, an employee can be fired for any reason or for no reason at all. (If you’re one of the 0.3% of Americans that lives in Montana, you are in luck: you can only be fired for good cause.) The big exception to the at-will rule is that an employee cannot be let go for illegal reasons.


Employment contracts


When an employment contract is in place, the at-will rule no longer applies. In that case, whether the termination was proper or not depends on the terms of the agreement. Employment contracts vary widely- some allow for termination for any reason (much like at-will employment), while others stipulate that the employer can only sever the relationship for particular reasons that are specified in the contract.


If you have been let go prior to the end of your employment contract and the termination doesn’t jive with the terms you agreed to, you may have a case for breach of contract. Although not technically a wrongful termination lawsuit, claiming breach of an employment contract offers many of the same remedies.


When is termination unlawful: Discrimination


Discrimination, in its many forms, is one of the most common reasons people have for bringing wrongful termination lawsuits. Anti-discrimination statutes exist on both federal and state levels, with federal and state protections often overlapping with each other.


Nationally, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 protects employees from discrimination on the basis of race, color, sex, religion, and national origin. This also covers discrimination based on pregnancy and childbirth. Note, however, that Title VII does not apply to most employers with 15 or fewer employees.


Additionally, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act protects workers over 40 years old, and the Americans with Disabilities Act prohibits discrimination against disabled employees. Employment discrimination is also illegal when based on military service, history of bankruptcy, or citizenship status.


Each individual state also has its own set of anti-discrimination laws that apply in the employment context, many of which complement or overlap with the federal protections listed above. Certain states extend discrimination protection to additional groups. For example, sexual orientation, gender identity, marital status, and political affiliation are all covered by anti-discrimination statutes in at least a few states.


Not surprisingly, California appears to be the most employee-friendly state with regard to discrimination, with laws on the books protecting all of the above characteristics, as well as prohibiting discrimination on the basis of medical condition and military discharge status.


When is termination unlawful: Retaliation


Another broad category of wrongful termination lawsuits is retaliatory firings. Various federal and state laws allow employees to engage in certain activities without fear of losing their jobs. For example, an employee may not be penalized for exercising their right to take up to 12 weeks of maternity leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act. It is also illegal for an employer to retaliate against workers who join or vote for a union.


There are also laws in place to protect employees from retaliation when they report problems at work. Therefore, an employee may not be fired or otherwise punished for reporting sexual harassment in the workplace. An employer also cannot terminate an employee for reporting or participating in an investigation into discrimination, nor can they fire someone for making a workers’ compensation claim or reporting an OSHA violation.


A subset of anti-retaliation laws is bolstered by so-called “whistleblower” statutes, which provide added protection for employees who blow the whistle on their employers for fraud, workplace safety violations, environmental misconduct, and other illegal activities. Some whistleblower statutes include additional incentives for reporting wrongdoing, including in some cases a share in the government’s damages in the event of a successful prosecution.


The above are just several examples of activities that are protected by anti-retaliation laws nationwide. Each state has its own retaliation laws in addition to the federal statutes.


A note about constructive discharge


All of the above examples of wrongful termination include one obvious requirement: you must have been terminated from the job. In other words, you can’t sue for wrongful termination if you quit or resigned.


The exception to this rule occurs when your employer makes your work conditions so intolerable that you are effectively forced to quit. This is called “constructive discharge” and may take the form of a drastic and unwanted change in work schedule or location, a significant demotion or reduction in salary or benefits, or anything else that makes the work environment unbearable.


The particular elements of constructive discharge are defined differently in each state, but the effect is more or less the same: if your resignation is found to be a constructive discharge, it is as if you have been fired. Any claims you may have for wrongful termination are still on the table, even though you technically left your employer voluntarily.


A final word on wrongful termination


Although hurt feelings are not enough to maintain a successful lawsuit, there are certainly situations where getting fired is not just upsetting, but also illegal. However, many individuals choose not to pursue wrongful termination claims, often due to the belief that they will be blacklisted in their chosen field, or because they would rather just move on to the next job. Either way, it is important to be aware of your options after getting let go.



Teach English Online

Teaching English Online for Supplemental Income

Today’s guest post comes from Nate, a world traveler and entrepreneur friend of mine currently living overseas in Asia- Milton

The Online Classroom

The digital age is transforming education.  Particularly when it comes to foreign languages, people are trading in pencils and paper for laptops and computers.  They are foregoing rigid timetables in favor of flexible schedules.  And perhaps best of all, people are saying goodbye to traffic and rowdy classrooms, and instead enjoying the comfort of their own home while they teach.

Not too long ago a friend of mine was in the midst of a career transition.  He had had enough of the daily grind, and was giving it up to focus on art and writing projects.  A worthwhile move, to be sure, but he needed some supplementary income to aid his new pursuits.  I introduced him to online English teaching and explained how it would fit nicely into his lifestyle.  Now he teaches for a couple hours every morning and spends the rest of each day working on things he is passionate about.

I myself stumbled upon this same online teaching gig when I was between full-time jobs.  As anyone who has ever been fired or quit an unsavory job can understand, I was in no hurry to jump back into another grand commitment.  Online teaching allowed me to do some part-time work and earn a little money while I got out and (gasp!) enjoyed myself.  The thrill of having work done before noon (or in my case, being free throughout the day until teaching at night) was overwhelming.  I could learn new skills, take small trips, focus on getting in shape… the list goes on.

Note from site owner:  If you are interested in teaching English overseas, you may want to consider getting certified with a TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) certificate.  This can help you with being prepared and in some countries, it can boost your earnings potential.   I personally got a TEFL certificate through a company in Chicago called International TEFL Academy.  I recommend them and also think they have a great website for an overview of teaching in many countries throughout the world.  If you’re interested in getting certified you can reach out to my own advisor Cassie, here at International TEFL Academy.


On top of all that, the job itself was really quite fascinating.  Surely all of us are familiar with the traditional classroom setting, whether as teachers or students (or both), and are therefore aware of its shortcomings.  An online class removes some of the parenting or babysitting aspects of teaching, but maintains the interactive nature of language education that lets students read, write, speak, and listen.  It can be both fun and rewarding, and is an interesting way to gain insight into another culture.  When it’s all done, the commute is as simple as going from the computer to the couch, with maybe a stop at the refrigerator in between.

Work anywhere you can get online.

Eventually, I landed another job (when I was good and ready, of course), but online teaching is still part of my weekly routine.  My school offers a flexible mix of regular hours and optional extra hours.  It is a great way to tailor my teaching schedule to the demands of my overall week.  If I know next Friday will be a slow day, I can simply sign up for extra classes and make a few extra bucks.  Conversely, if things are a bit busy, I just stick with my regular classes.  The minimum required hours each week is 4, but there are well over 20 available, which means teaching can become anything from a side project to a full-blown job.  It sure beats having some boss tell me when and how much to work each day.

Online Teaching through DaDa

Specifically, the school I work for is called DaDa.  The company is based in China and offers teaching hours Monday through Friday 6:00-9:00pm Beijing time, as well as classes all day Saturday and Sunday.  They have their own special software and materials right on the screen, allowing even first-time teachers to easily navigate students through each task.  Additionally, they provide various sample videos and resources to help ease new teachers into their role.  The pay range is fairly wide but can be over $20 an hour, and the company offers an array of bonuses and rewards.  Consider checking them out here for more information or to apply for a job.

Maybe you were recently let go from your job.  Use it as an opportunity to try one of the many freelance activities the internet currently provides.  Teaching English online joins a list of pursuits such as blogging, programming, and video-making that are helping to free people from the constraints of the corporate world.  At the very least, it may provide some entertainment and extra income while you seek out that next big contract.

Disclaimer:  This post contains affiliate links and site owner may receive a commission for International TEFL Academy signups.  Contributor, Nate, may receive a commission for DaDa school sign-ups.