Employees in California are provided many protections under various state and federal laws. Despite this, employment law violations happen every day. Employees may or may not be aware of these violations, but taking legal action within the three-year statute of limitations can help them assert their rights and recover compensation for damages.
Among the many different ways employers can violate an employee’s rights, a few tend to occur more frequently than others. Below, we’ll discuss each of these common employment law violations and what you can do when you believe your rights were violated.
1. Employee Misclassification
As we previously mentioned, employees are provided many important rights under state and federal laws. These include the right to earn a minimum wage, overtime, paid sick leave, and even protections against discrimination.
Independent contractors are not afforded these rights because they are considered to be in business for themselves. In other words, they provide services to an employer under a contract in which they are considered an outside business entity, not an employee. This gives employers an incentive to misclassify people who should be considered employees as independent contractors.
Recent changes in California law have addressed employee misclassification by defining who can be considered an independent contractor. If you are classified as this type of worker and believe you were misclassified, talk to an employment lawyer to learn more about your legal situation.
2. Overtime Violations
Overtime in California is paid at 1.5 times an employee’s normal pay rate when they work more than eight hours a day or 40 hours in a given work week. Employers may try to avoid overtime laws by inappropriately adjusting an employee’s timecard or failing to record the time an employee actually worked.
Overtime violations may also be the result of misclassification. Employees classified as exempt from overtime must make a salary of at least $62,400 (as of 2022) for employers with more than 25 employees and at least $58,240 if their employer has 25 or fewer employees. There are additional requirements to properly classify an employee as exempt from overtime, such as a proper managerial, professional, or executive title with appropriate job responsibilities.
3. Paid Sick Leave Violations
All employees in California are entitled to at least three days or 24 hours of paid sick leave per year. The only requirement for qualifying for sick leave is that an employee must have worked for their employer for at least 30 hours. Employers who fail to compensate employees who take paid sick days can be held liable for damages.
4. Employment Discrimination
There are many laws that protect against discrimination in the workplace. A few key pieces of legislation include Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the federal Equal Pay Act, and the California Fair Employment and Housing Act. These laws protect people who can be associated with certain protected characteristics (race, religion, national origin, sex, disability status, etc.) from discrimination at work against such protected characteristics.
If you are unfairly treated at work by your employer, a supervisor, coworker, manager, or any other party associated with your company, and the mistreatment is based on a bias against a protected class, you may be a victim of workplace discrimination. Discuss your situation with an employment lawyer to explore legal options that may be available to you.
Retaliation occurs when an employer takes an adverse employment action against an employee for an illegal reason. Although employers are within their rights to reprimand and terminate employees at will, they are restricted from doing so when the reason would violate an employee’s rights.
For example, employees can’t be reprimanded for discussing their wages because doing so is protected under the National Labor Relations Act. Similarly, employees can’t be fired for reporting sexual harassment because this would violate various laws prohibiting sex discrimination.
Reach Out to a Lawyer for Help
An employment lawyer such as one of ours at K2 Employment Law can provide the legal representation you need to assert your rights.
After experiencing a violation on your employer’s behalf, immediately get in touch with us for a free consultation. We’ll listen to your side of the story and offer ways in which our firm can provide the legal assistance you need. With our help, recovering compensation for damages and holding your employer accountable are possible.