Four Common Employment Law Issues California Employees Face
There are many potential legal issues a California employee may face. Four of the more common ones involve overtime pay, minimum wage, discrimination, and sick leave. If you find yourself in a situation where your rights may have been violated, you’re not alone, and the MJB Law Group can help.
Our employment law attorneys represent victims of illegal employment practices to help them get the justice they deserve. Call us today at (949) 266-0880 for a FREE case evaluation and consultation to discuss what’s going on at work.
Hourly and some salaried (exempt) employees are entitled to overtime pay depending on their circumstances. Eight hours is a day’s work. An hourly, nonexempt employee must be compensated for overtime for employment beyond eight hours in a workday or more than six days in any workweek at a rate not less than:
- One and one-half times the regular rate of pay for hours worked beyond eight hours up to and including 12 hours in a workday, and for the first eight hours worked the seventh straight day during a workweek, and
- Double the regular pay rate for time worked beyond 12 hours in a workday and for hours worked more than eight on the seventh straight day in a workweek
California law has many exemptions (the law doesn’t apply to a particular class of employees) and exceptions (overtime is paid to a particular group for a reason that’s different than the general rule), so whether you qualify for overtime pay or not may not be clear.
A salaried employee must receive overtime unless they’re considered exempt by federal and state laws or unless they’re exempted from overtime pay by the California Labor Code or an Industrial Welfare Commission Wage Order that regulates wages, hours, and working conditions.
This year, the state’s minimum wage is $15.50 per hour for all employers. Some cities and counties require higher minimum wages. Some employees are exempt from minimum wage law, including,
- Outside salespersons
- The employer’s parent, spouse, or child
- Apprentices indentured under the State Division of Apprenticeship Standards
Some exceptions to California’s minimum wage law include:
- Learners can be paid 85% of the minimum wage (rounded to the nearest nickel) for the first 160 hours of work in occupations in an occupation which they have no prior similar or related experience
- Disabled employees and for nonprofits (sheltered workshops or rehabilitation facilities) that employ them
Undocumented immigrants are entitled to minimum wage pay unless they fall into an exemption or exception.
Federal, California, and local laws and ordinances prohibit many employment practices. State law protects individuals from illegal discrimination by employers with five or more employees based on their:
- Race, color
- Ancestry, national origin
- Religion, creed
- Age (40 and older)
- Disability, mental and physical
- Sex, gender (including pregnancy, breastfeeding, childbirth, or related medical conditions)
- Sexual orientation
- Gender identity, gender expression
- Medical condition
- Genetic information
- Marital status
- Military or veteran status
Employers should also not discriminate or retaliate against employees who have filed workers’ compensation claims, filed for unemployment benefits, participated in an investigation or the litigation of discrimination claims, or reported illegal employer activities internally or to a government body.
Some prohibited employer acts include harassment, firing or laying off the employee, paying them an unequal wage or providing unequal benefits, and not hiring or promoting someone because of their protected basis.
Under state law, employers must provide at least 24 hours or three days off of Paid Sick Leave (PSL) annually to most workers. This includes full- and part-time employees as well as temporary workers who:
- Work for the same employer for at least 30 days within a year in the state
- Complete a 90-day employment period before using paid sick leave
PSL can be used to:
- Recover from an illness or injury
- Seek preventative care, a medical diagnosis, or treatment
- Care for a family member who is ill or needs medical diagnosis, treatment, or preventive care
Employers can provide more PSL hours or days off if they wish. The federal Family Medical Leave Act also requires up to 12 weeks unpaid leave for workers or their family members if the employer has fifty or more employees and the employee has worked there long enough.
Contact a Tustin Employment Law Attorney
If you believe your employer violated your rights, talk to an experienced employment law lawyer at MJB Law Group. We will help you understand your rights, assess the strength of your case, and fight for your future. Call us today at (949) 266-0880 or fill out our confidential contact form for a FREE case evaluation and consultation to discuss your options.
Michael J. Berry is the founder and principal attorney of MJB Law Group. His complete focus within the legal field revolves around litigation, as he solely champions the causes of employees whose labor rights have been transgressed, as well as regular individuals who have suffered an injury due to another person’s carelessness. Mr. Berry is Board Member for the Orange County Trial Lawyers Association and also a member of the California Employment Lawyers Association, Consumer Attorneys Association of Los Angeles, and Consumer Attorneys of California. Learn more about Michael here.