A number of California and federal laws govern the rights that workers have in the workplace. While workers may not be aware of all of their rights, it is important for them to determine what options they have in the event that they face a hardship or tough decision. California offers many protections to workers. Anyone concerned with how an action affects his or her employment should consider consulting a Los Angeles employment attorney before making a decision.
Rights Depending On The Type Of Worker You Are
Employers have to adhere to certain laws regarding the payment of overtime, leave and other aspects of employment depending on the type of employee. Where it gets complicated is when employers ask employees to perform the duties of one particular position even though the employer classifies the employee as a different position.
A common area of dispute is whether a worker is an employee of a company or an independent contractor. The rights of the two types of workers differ in some of the following ways:
- Many federal laws prohibiting discrimination only apply to employees.
- The law requires that employers pay employees a minimum wage and overtime pay, but employers do not have to pay independent contractors any particular amount.
- Employers do not have to provide benefits to independent contractors.
Employers may not, however, simply classify workers as independent contractors to avoid paying benefits and adhering to the law. Factors that suggest that the worker is an employee include: the company controls how the worker performs his or her duties; the company provides tools and reimbursement to the worker; and the existence of written contracts or employee-like benefits (insurance, vacation pay or retirement plans, for example).
Whistleblowing Rights For Government Employees
In California, laws protect both federal and statement employees who provide information regarding illegal or improper activity on the part of their employer. Government agencies and departments cannot threaten or intimidate anyone who reports the improper activity. Employees who are subject to discrimination as a result of whistleblowing may be able to bring a lawsuit against the wrongdoers.
Examples of the types of retaliatory actions that whisteblowers have the right to be free from for reporting improper activity include:
- Disciplinary actions
- Involuntary transfers
- Supervisors’ refusal to promote
- Reassignment of duties
Family Leave Rights For California Workers
There are state and federal laws that protect California workers who are dealing with one of the following situations:
- Newborn babies
- The adoption of a child
- Needing to take time to care for a seriously ill family member
- Needing to take time to care for their own serious medical problems
Under the California Paid Family Leave Act (PFLA), California workers who contribute to the State Disability Insurance fund can take up to six weeks of partial pay each year when they face one of the situations outlined above. The federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) protects a worker’s job if he or she elects to use up to twelve weeks of unpaid leave to deal with one of those situations.
Eligibility for workplace rights depends on many factors, including for how long the employee has worked for the company, the type of employer and the position that the worker holds. To learn more about what rights you may have at your workplace, contact a Los Angeles discrimination lawyer at the Law Offices of Kesluk, Silverstein & Jacob.