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Employment Law FAQ
As an employee in the state of California, it is important to understand the rights afforded to you by both state and federal law. Unfortunately, businesses often take advantage of their employees whether it is malicious or accidental. This unfair treatment can result in adverse effects to an individualâ€™s career. In order to ensure that your rights are protected, it is important to know what protections you have as an employee. In the state of California, employment is considered at will, which can often influence the outcome of what is determined unlawful for employers.
What is Employment at Will?
According to California law, employment is deemed as at will. What at will means is that an employee and an employer may terminate employment without notice or cause. There are benefits of employment at will, such as a flexible working environment, however, the downfalls arrive when it comes to wrongful termination cases. Due to employment at will, the burden of proof is placed on the employee. If you feel as though you were a victim of wrongful termination, it is crucial that you understand what both state and federal laws consider wrongful termination as.
Do you feel as though your employment was unlawfully terminated? In the state of California an employee is protected from wrongful termination through the California Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA). Although employment is at will in the state of California if the rights granted to you by FEHA are violated, meaning you were let go as a result of discrimination, harassment, or retaliation, then there are legal remedies available to you. The topic of wrongful termination is difficult in the state California, however, there are still legal remedies available to those unlawfully subjected to it. Reach out to our team today to understand the action you can take today.
Workplace discrimination is a serious issue that can commonly arise in a working environment. Fortunately, the state of California offers a wide scale of protections that act as a deterrent to discrimination in order to provide safety to employees, contractors, unpaid interns, or volunteers.
Under the Federal Employment and Housing Act (FEHA), discrimination is illegal when it violates a protected class. The protected classes are, but not limited to:
- Sexual Orientation
- Nation of Origin
- Marital Status
- Military or Veteran Status
Workplace harassment is completely unacceptable and often causes individuals to feel unsafe at work. According to the California Fair Employment and Housing Act, harassment is defined as any unwelcomed behavior, whether pervasive or severe, that specifically targets an individual or group of individuals that are part of a protected class.
Harassment can arise in many forms, whether it is malicious or accidental, it can seriously affect the career of the individual being subjected to it. The two main types of harassment in the workplace are hostile work environment and quid pro quo.
The details of each are outlined as, but not limited to:
- Quid Pro Quo: This is a type of sexual harassment in the workplace, it involves a supervisor offering employment benefits or threatening negative employment conditions in return for sexual favors. An example of a benefit that could be offered is monetary raise and an example of a threat could be a potential demotion.
- Hostile Work Environment: This type of harassment can either be sexual or non-sexual. A hostile work environment is a result of behavior directed at a coworker or subordinate that is abusive or pervasive in nature that causes a toxic work environment.
It is not uncommon in the workplace, for employers to take advantage of employees, whether it is unintentional or malicious. Both state and federal law afford protections to employees in order to prevent lost wages.
The three most common types of unpaid wages are unpaid overtime, violation of minimum wage, and meal and rest breaks.
- Unpaid Overtime: Federal law requires that employers pay employees for overtime hours worked at the rate of one and a half times an individualâ€™s normal hourly pay. However, there are exemptions to overtime pay as some employees do not qualify for it. If you do not qualify for overtime pay, but feel as though you have been misclassified, reach out to our team today to learn the remedies available to you.
- Minimum Wage Violation: On the federal level the minimum wage is set at $7.25, while the state level is $12.00 per hour, which is set to rise to $15.00 by the year 2022. If you are an employee in the state of California and are being paid less than the minimum wage, then you may be entitled to monetary damages.
- Meal and Rest Breaks: All non-exempt employees working over 5 hours are owed a 30-minute meal break or two 30-minute meal breaks if 5 hours are exceeded. Often times, employers will schedule workers for shifts under five hours and in this case a 10-minute break should be offered for every four hours worked. If you have been denied these breaks by your employer, that is a serious violation to your rights as a worker and there may be legal remedies available to you.
Am I an Employee or Independent Contractor?
There are many benefits to being classified as an employee that are not offered to independent contractors. As a full-time employee, you have access to important benefits like healthcare, retirement plans, social security, workerâ€™s compensation, business reimbursements, and overtime wages However, in lieu of workplace benefits, independent contractors do have increased flexibility with respect to work. The best practice to determine which category you fit under is by utilizing the ABC test.
Why Choose Ghozland
We Have Over 40 Years Experience in Employment & Personal Injury Law
Our Team is Comprised of Well-respected Lawyers Who Have Been Involved in Several Multi-Million Dollar Settlements
When an individual hires us, our team works hard to provide the best possible and settlement possible for their case. We work closely with our clients to ensure that they are given the ability to recuperate from their injuries, while we handle the legal side of things.
Our firm operates on a contingency fee basis, which means there is no fee until we receive a favorable outcome for your case. Our firm also proudly provides free case evaluations to all potential clients, which we encourage you to fill out as soon as possible.