How Much Legal Protection Do California Employees Have?

In California, workers have some of the most protective employment laws in the country. Many California state laws expand on existing federal protective laws, to provide even more protection for workers.

What Laws Protect California Employees?

  • Employee misclassification laws: Many employers are guilty of classifying workers as independent contractors when they should be considered employees. California has multiple agencies that test to see how a worker should be categorized, including the Employment Development Department and the California Department of Labor Standards Enforcement. Employees have more legal protection and rights than contractors. For example, contractors do not legally have to be paid overtime for working more than 40 hours a week.
  • Layoff protections: California state laws protect employees in the event of a layoff. California’s Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification (WARN) act, protects employees working at a facility with at least 75 workers from being fired without warning if there are at least 50 employees being let go within a 30-day period. Employers must provide workers with at least 60 days notice, and include more details about the layoff such as if it is temporary and permanent.
  • Wage and hour laws: California employees are entitled to the state minimum wage of $10/hr. Some cities have minimum wages that are higher than $10 per hour, like San Francisco at $12.25. Common ways these laws are violated are: employees placed on “salary” which averages out to less than minimum wage per hour, paying employees federal or state minimum wage that is lower than a city’s minimum wage, failing to pay employees for all hours worked by making them work “off the clock,” or working through breaks and lunches. Under California law, all workers are allowed an unpaid 30-minute lunch for every 5 hours worked, and a paid ten-minute break for every four hours of work.

Los Angeles employment lawyers at Kesluk, Silverstein, Jacob & Morrison, P.C. have in-depth knowledge of all California’s employment laws, and can help fight for your worker rights against the most powerful corporations.

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