What Rights Do Workers Have in California?
While employment law can be extremely complex, below we offer this brief overview of employee rights under California and federal law. For a more detailed overview of employee rights, contact us directly.
As an employee in California, you have certain responsibilities to perform your job effectively. However, you also have certain rights that are protected by the law. Simply because you are an employee does not mean that you sacrifice your liberty. Employers and employees are expected to make a good faith effort at fulfilling their responsibilities. Employers must also be dedicated to protecting the rights of their employees. The law is on the side of employees.
Many employers take advantage of employees because employers know that, often, an employee’s income is vital. They may believe that an employee will put up with any treatment to retain their job. In other cases, an employer may be ignorant of the law and may let a hostile work environment thrive. This cannot be tolerated. If you are an employee in a hostile work environment because other employees are violating your rights or you feel harassed, state and federal law are on your side. However, you may need a skilled employee rights law firm to assert your rights and protect you from retaliation. The law is complex. Our attorneys have a deep understanding of the law and an abiding commitment to employee rights.
Some of the rights you have as an employee in California are related to wages, overtime and breaks while on the job. But you also have rights that are related to your personal space, your dignity and your right to a safe work environment. This is the case no matter your gender, sexuality, physical abilities, race, religion or age. You cannot be discriminated against based upon your sexual orientation or identity. If you have been harassed or mistreated in any way at your workplace, you should speak with an attorney who focuses on employment law and civil litigation. In too many cases, employees are unaware of their rights or believe that they will be fired if they try to assert them. If you are fired for trying to assert your rights, your employer may face serious repercussions and be liable for civil penalties. You may be entitled to significant financial compensation if your rights have been violated.
An employer cannot fire someone simply because they identify an instance of harassment or other unlawful act in the workplace. Sometimes an employer wants to fire a “troublesome” worker. This may mean that the worker is tired of being the subject of ridicule or aggressive flirtation. This may be a worker who is disabled and was not given adequate and reasonable accommodations to perform their job. In many cases, an employer will fire an employee so they do not have to pay their insurance benefits or retirement. These may all be instances of wrongful termination.
Yes an employer has the right to hire or fire whomever they want at any time. But the decision to hire or fire someone cannot be based solely on that person’s legally protected characteristics. The ability to do the job should be the reason to hire or fire an employee. In many cases, your job may be protected by a “just cause” provision which means that a clear reason must be stated for the firing. But if you have been fired for what appears to be no reason, you may want to discuss your case with an attorney. An employment law attorney can analyze the details of your situation and answer your questions about your rights. If you were fired for reporting an illegal activity at your workplace, you may be protected by whistleblower laws which are specifically focused on encouraging workers to report illegal workplace activity including harassment and discrimination.
The California Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) covers many rights that are protected for California employees. This ACT is an attempt to elucidate the rights that employees have and the recourse they have for protection. Additionally, federal laws such as the Civil Rights Act, Equal Pay Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), for instance, offer substantial employment protections.
California and federal employment laws are designed to offer recourse to victims of harassment or discrimination. They are also there to help employers create boundaries and make sure that their business operations run without the distraction of an unsafe work environment. Many law firms, including Jachimowicz Law Group offer employee and employer representation. Seeing employment law cases from both perspectives is a great asset to all of our clients.
While the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing and the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) investigate reports of discrimination, you may want to discuss your case with an attorney before you contact these agencies. You may have already tried to resolve the issue with your employer. You may believe that if you do try to resolve your issues that you will experience retaliation. An employment lawyer can advise you and suggest the next best steps for your particular situation. Our law firm offers free and confidential consultations and we can suggest action you can take to assert your rights.
If you are a part-time employee, an independent contractor, or even if you are an undocumented worker, you have rights. The details of your situation and who your employer is will determine the scope of those rights but discrimination in the workplace is taken very seriously by the government. Substantial compensation may be available if you are a victim of discrimination or harassment.
During your consultation with a labor law attorney, you will be offered a free analysis of your challenges. We will also identify the legal merits of your case. If litigation is appropriate, the necessary steps can be outlined and a legal strategy can be devised. Taking action soon is imperative, however. In many cases, a statute of limitations may restrict the amount of time you have to file suit.