Know Your Rights
California is a world leader in protecting the rights of workers. In fact, California law encourages employees to enforce their rights through the courts. For example, in many instances California law specifically provides for an employee's attorneys' fees to be paid by the employer if they prevail in their case. This is in addition to the employee's damages award.
In addition to Federal law, California law provides employee protection regarding all of the following. Click below for further information:
Wage & Hour Violations
Overtime • Minimum Wage • Meal Breaks
Wage and hour law includes the areas of overtime, minimum wage, and meal break violations. All employees are entitled to overtime unless a specific overtime exemption applies to them. Likewise, all employees are entitled to be paid at least the minimum wage, and all non-exempt employees are entitled to meal and rest breaks.
Illegal discrimination in the work place takes many forms, including payment of lower wages, failure to promote to a higher position, failure to hire, and wrongful termination. Discrimination or harassment based on certain protected criterion is a serious offense. These protected classes include:
Race, color, national origin, ancestry, sex (gender), sexual orientation, marital status, pregnancy, physical and mental disability, age (40 and above), and religion.
Unlawful retaliation occurs when an employer takes an adverse action against an employee who engaged in protected conduct. The employer's unlawful action may include termination of employment, threat of termination of employment, demotion, suspension, or in some circumstances refusal of employment. Protected conduct includes the employee seeking unpaid overtime, complaining about unlawful discrimination, or taking action as a "whistle blower".
Sexual harassment occurs where a supervisor, co-worker, or customer engages in unwanted sexual advances or comments or similar conduct towards an employee. California law requires an employer to take all reasonable steps to prevent such harassment from occurring, and employers incur significant liability when sexual harassment takes place.
Pregnancy & Family Leave
Individuals who work for employers with at lest 50 employees, and who have been employed by that employer for at least a year, are likely eligible for family or medical leave. These employees are eligible for up to 12 workweeks of leave per year. Moreover, the employer must reinstate the employee returning from leave to the same or to a comparable position. Leave must be provided for: The birth or adoption of a child; Providing care for a child, spouse, or parent with a serious health condition; And for a serious health condition of the employee that prevents that employee from working.