Answers To Common Employment Law Questions In California
California has among the strongest employee protection laws of any U.S. state. Unfortunately, many workers still have their rights violated – often because those rights have not been explained to them. Please read through this list of frequently asked employment law questions; then feel free to contact our office with any additional questions you may have.
I know I’m being mistreated, but I don’t know the rules. Is this illegal?
If something feels wrong about the way you are being treated, your employer’s actions may well be illegal. The good news is that you have resources for learning about your rights. Please contact our office for an answer specific to you and your situation.
If your rights are being violated, you have the option of reporting the mistreatment to the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH), filing a lawsuit or both.
Am I supposed to be getting overtime pay?
With some important exceptions, California sorts workers into two broad categories of exempt and nonexempt workers. Generally speaking, exempt workers are salaried and not entitled to overtime. Nonexempt, or hourly, workers should be paid overtime for working longer than 40 hours a week, eight hours a day or six days a row in a given workweek.
Exceptions are made for employees in certain occupations, unionized workers who operate under a collective bargaining agreement, independent contractors and more.
Wage theft in the form of denied overtime pay is a common practice. Therefore, if you suspect you should be receiving overtime pay, be aware that your employer could be breaking the law or misclassifying the type of employee you are.
Am I actually a “supervisor” even though I don’t make employment decisions?
Classifying employees correctly is very important for a number of reasons, including eligibility for overtime pay (mentioned above), tax obligations and worker protections. Making employment decisions isn’t always what defines a supervisor, but anyone classified as a supervisor should have at least some significant managerial duties. If you are worried that your employer illegally misclassified you to save money on benefits, please consult with our firm today.
Will I get in trouble with other government authorities for reporting my boss?
In most cases, the government protects and even rewards whistleblowers who expose illegal activity by their employers. But many people who ask this question are wondering specifically about reporting employment law issues as undocumented immigrants.
Nearly one in 10 workers in California is undocumented, which is twice the national average. Employment retaliation based on immigration status has become an increasing problem in recent decades, which keeps many undocumented workers from speaking up. Thankfully, California has passed and enacted numerous laws to protect undocumented workers who report workplace abuses.
If you are concerned about your safety as an undocumented immigrant, please discuss your options with one of our attorneys in a private consultation.
What should I be documenting?
If you are experiencing workplace harassment or discrimination, it is in your best interests to document as much of the behavior as possible. This could include writing down the date, time and content of every suspicious interaction with your employer or manager. If comments were made, write down those comments to the best of your recollection. Also note which other employees may have witnessed the problematic comments or behaviors. Any communication received in writing (emails, handwritten notes and issued documents) should be saved, as they could be important later on.
The most successful employment law cases are usually those that can demonstrate a pattern of discrimination or harassment over time. Documenting is very important in achieving that goal.
Contact Us To Get Answers To Your Questions
The attorneys at Tuttle & McCloskey, PC, are ready to answer any questions you may have about problems you have experienced or witnessed. Call us at 559-500-3393 or send us an email to arrange your initial consultation.