California workers have laws that protect them from the wrongdoings of an employer. Whether an employee faces discrimination or isn’t being paid for their performed work, they can file a claim against their employer to receive compensation. However, employment law can be complex and often requires the guidance of an experienced attorney. For such reasons, our Los Angeles employment law attorneys have put together a guide to help you understand the basics of California labor laws.
The California hourly wage laws are among the most protective of employees in the country. However, many employers still manage to take advantage of employees who don’t understand the basic California wage laws. For such reasons, we have put together an infographic below that illustrates your wage-hour rights:
Minimum Wage: California minimum wage is $12 an hour
Time and a Half: California overtime pay is 1.5x when an employee works over 8 hours a day, over 40 hours a week, or a 7th consecutive workday.
Double Time: California overtime 2x can be granted when an employee works over 12 hours a day or over 8 hours on the 7th consecutive workday.
Off-the-Clock Work: California workers cannot be ford to work off-the-clock. All-time spent working must be paid.
California Paycheck Laws: Workers must be paid at least every two weeks, and they must receive their check within 10-11 days of payday. Final paychecks are due on the same day as termination.
Vacation Laws: Employers can offer paid-time-off (PTO), but it is not mandatory. If offered, unused vacation days must be cashed out when employees are terminated or quit.
Expense Reimbursement Law: Employers must reimburse all incurred expenses that were necessary for performing their job duties.
Federal and state laws protect employees from discrimination in the workplace. Harassment can be described as insults and physical gestures that communicate hostility toward a person based on a protected characteristic.
Employers may be found to violate state or federal laws if they engage in discrimination based on:
- National origin
California labor laws also protect workers from sexual harassment. Sexual harassment is when the harassing conduct is motivated by the worker’s sex or gender identification. This means that sexual harassment can both be verbal and physical conduct of a sexual nature.
The two main categories of workplace sexual harassment include:
- Quid pro quo harassment: This is when an employer demands sexual favors as a condition of employment or another workplace advancement. It only takes one incident of quid pro quo harassment to be illegal.
- Hostile work environment harassment: This is when an employer creates or knowingly allows the existence of a hostile or offensive work environment. Some cases of hostile work environment harassment must be proven to be persistent or pervasive.
It is illegal for an employer to take action against an employee for making a good faith report of unlawful activity (such as harassment, discrimination, fraud, etc.). It is also illegal for an employer to take action against an employee for refusing to engage in illegal conduct. Common forms of retaliation include unfair disciplinary action, negative performance reviews, wrongful termination, denied promotions or raise, and more.
Wrongful termination is when an employer terminates an employee for specific discriminatory or retaliatory reasons. Because California is an “at-will” state, wrongful terminations can be complicated. Although an employer has the right to fire a worker with no reason under “at-will” laws, they can’t fire a worker for reporting or complaining about wage and hour violations or sexual harassment. They also can’t fire a worker for discriminatory reasons or for engaging in a protected activity, such as reporting illegal activity.
If you need legal guidance, contact our Los Angeles employment law attorneys today at (213) 292-5444 to schedule a case review!