2024 Understanding the Rights of Los Angeles County Employees

2024 Understanding the Rights of Los Angeles County Employees
Jul 26, 2023

As an employee in Los Angeles County, you must know your rights and protections under the law. Navigating employment laws can be complex, but understanding your rights empowers you to make informed decisions and take necessary action when faced with workplace issues.

Common rights violations faced by LA County Employees:

  • Wage and Hour Violations: Employers may fail to pay the mandated minimum wage, deny overtime pay, or fail to provide breaks as required by California law.
  • Denial of Family and Medical Leave: Employees may be denied their rights under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA).
  • Discrimination: Employees may face discrimination based on age, race, gender, religion, disability, or sexual orientation.
  • Harassment: Employees may be subjected to unwelcome conduct based on race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, disability, or genetic information.
  • Wrongful Termination: Employees may be fired unjustly, often violating an implied or written contract.
  • Retaliation: Employers might retaliate against employees who file complaints or participate in workplace investigations.
  • Health and Safety Violations: Employers may fail to provide a safe and healthy workplace as mandated by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).

In this blog post, we will review some of these common employee rights violations faced by Los Angeles County employees, emphasizing wage and hour-related violations and offering tangible tips for addressing common employment concerns.

Overview of Employment Laws in Los Angeles County

Federal, state, and local employment laws applicable to Los Angeles County employees are designed to protect workers from unjust treatment in the workplace. These laws, enforced by entities such as the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and the California Department of Industrial Relations, cover a wide range of areas, from wage and hour laws to discrimination and harassment. They ensure that employees are compensated fairly for their work and safeguard them from unlawful discrimination and harassment based on protected characteristics.

In Los Angeles County, the Department of Consumer Business Affairs provides further protections and mandates LA County minimum wage.

Wage and hour laws mandate minimum wages and overtime pay, requiring employers to compensate their employees appropriately. Meanwhile, discrimination and harassment laws prohibit unequal treatment and protect workers from unwelcome workplace conduct. Furthermore, local ordinances in Los Angeles County provide additional protections, including mandatory sick leave and fair chance hiring practices. Understanding these laws can empower employees to recognize and act against possible rights violations.

LA County Minimum Wage Increase

As of July 1, 2023, the minimum wage for workers in unincorporated areas of Los Angeles County is $16.90 per hour. In addition to minimum wage laws, there are laws regarding overtime pay, meal and rest breaks, and other wage and hour rights specific to LA County. If you suspect your wage and hour rights are being violated, it’s crucial to know what actions you can take to rectify the situation.

Steps to Take If Your Wage and Hour Rights are Violated

If you are an employee in Los Angeles County and suspect your wage and hour rights are being violated, acting promptly is essential. But where do you turn? In these cases, you are strongly encouraged to speak with an experienced attorney to get a sense of what their rights and options are. Acting on wage and hour violations protects your rights and helps enforce employment laws, ensuring a fair and equitable workplace for all.

What you can do if your employee rights were violated:

  1. Documentation: Keep a careful record of your hours worked, pay received, and any instances of denied breaks or unpaid overtime. This evidence will be crucial if you decide to file a complaint.
  2. Communication: Speak to your employer about your concerns. They may not be aware of the violation or may rectify the situation once brought to their attention. Be sure to communicate in a way that leaves a paper trail, such as via email.
  3. Seek Legal Advice: If the issue persists after communicating with your employer, consulting with an employment attorney may be beneficial. Your lawyer can provide advice specific to your situation and guide you on the best course of action.
  4. File a Complaint: If your employer does not address the violation, you can file a wage claim with the California Labor Commissioner’s Office or a complaint with the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division. Alternatively, you may also consider filing a lawsuit against your employer.
  5. Protection Against Retaliation: It’s illegal for employers to retaliate against employees who assert their rights. If you face retaliation for reporting wage and hour violations, this should also be reported to the appropriate authority.

LA County Employee Rights Related to Leave Time Off

Various types of legally protected leaves exist for employees in Los Angeles County, such as the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), Pregnancy Disability Leave (PDL), and sick leave. Under the FMLA, eligible employees can take up to 12 weeks of unpaid, job-protected leave per year for specified family and medical reasons, including childbirth and care of a newborn child. The PDL, on the other hand, allows expectant mothers to take leave for disability caused by pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions.

In addition, the Los Angeles County Sick Leave Law permits employees to accrue and use up to 48 hours of paid sick leave each year.

Understanding the process of requesting these leaves and the protections against retaliation for using them is key to ensuring your rights are upheld. Employers are prohibited from penalizing employees who choose to exercise their right to take protected leave.

Suppose your employer denies your request for a protected leave, or retaliates against you for taking it. In that case, you may have grounds to file a complaint with the California Civil Rights Department or the U.S. Department of Labor.

Hennig Kramer Ruiz Singh, LLP Is Here to Help LA County Workers

Awareness of your rights as a Los Angeles County employee is essential for maintaining a fair and equitable work environment. By understanding the legal protections in place for county workers, you can confidently navigate employment legal issues. Remember, if you encounter any challenges or need legal guidance, Hennig Kramer Ruiz Singh, LLP is ready to support you.

At Hennig Kramer Ruiz Singh, LLP, we provide representation in all matters involving employment law and are dedicated to protecting the rights of Los Angeles County employees.

Contact us today for personalized legal assistance and representation.

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