No one should unlawfully threaten your livelihood—especially not your employer. Unfortunately, sometimes employers take illegal actions that damage their employees’ wallets, their health, or their professional prospects. A Tulare employment lawyer from Bibiyan Law Group, P.C., can ensure that your boss compensates you for every damage you suffer if your employer has harmed you by violating state or federal law. Our firm is led by a passionate attorney who trained with the best, and we are dedicated and aggressive advocates with the singular goal of protecting employees in California.
Your Employee Rights
State and federal employment laws protect your rights to adequate pay, a workplace free from discrimination, safety, and healthy boundaries between work and personal life during serious life events. If you believe your rights have been infringed upon by a Tulare employer, an attorney from our firm can put together the best strategy to hold your employer accountable.
Below, we review many of the rights employees have in California. The information is not exhaustive, and you could have additional rights.
Rights Against Workplace Discrimination
The California Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) and the federal Civil Rights Act of 1964 forbid employers from subjecting their employees to unfavorable treatment because of any of the following characteristics:
- Estado civil,
- Age (for those who are at least 40),
- Estado militar,
- Medical condition,
- Veteran status, or
- Sexual orientation.
Suppose you have been disciplined, harassed, or mistreated at work because of an above-listed characteristic. In that case, you can sue or file an administrative complaint against your employer with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) or the California Civil Rights Department. A lawsuit or complaint can win you damages for financial losses and emotional distress and punish an employer who acts egregiously. Legal action can also help you recover a job, promotion, or assignment you lost due to discrimination.
Rights to Adequate Pay
Non-exempt employees must receive at least minimum wage for their labor. This means a non-exempt employee is entitled to at least $15.50 per hour or greater, depending on where they work. This entitlement will increase to $16 per hour on January 1, 2024. However, if your employer promises to pay you more than minimum wage for your work, it must honor that promise and could be subject to a lawsuit or administrative complaint for failure to pay you what it promised.
Employers must also pay non-exempt employees 1.5 times or 2 times their pay rate when they work more than 8 hours a day, 40 hours a week, or 6 consecutive days a week. Should your employer not respect your right to minimum wage, overtime pay, or promised wages, you can recoup your losses and penalties through a Tulare employment lawsuit or a wage claim with the California Labor Commissioner’s Office.
Rights to Breaks
A workday is typically unhealthy if your employer does not allow you to take breaks for rest and meals. In California, employers generally must provide breaks to their employees under the following circumstances:
- Employees who work more than 5 hours in a day must receive 1 unpaid, 30-minute meal break;
- Employees who work more than 12 hours in a day must receive 2 unpaid, 30-minute meal breaks; and
- Employees must receive 1 paid, 10-minute rest break for every 4 hours they work.
Some exceptions exist, so you should speak to one of our knowledgeable employment attorneys about your rights under California’s break laws. If your employer has unlawfully denied you a break period, you are entitled to compensation and can seek relief through a claim with the Labor Commissioner.
Rights to a Safe Working Environment
State and federal laws require your employer to keep its workplace free from hazards. If your employer does not comply with state or federal safety standards, you can file a complaint with the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) or Cal/OSHA. Some employers that engage in safety violations try to silence their employees by threatening punishment or termination, but such a threat is illegal retaliation for which an employee can sue.
Rights to Take Leave for Family and Medical Matters
While your work may be a top priority, sometimes addressing your health or the well-being of your family is more important. You should not have to choose between these competing interests, so the California Family Rights Act and the federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) require employers to give employees up to 12 weeks of unpaid, job-protected leave for the following:
- Giving birth to a child;
- Caring for a child, spouse, or parent with a serious health condition;
- Caring for a child in the first year of their life;
- Addressing a qualifying exigency related to a spouse’s, parent’s, or child’s status as a military member on covered active duty;
- Handing the placement of a foster child or an adoptive child within the first year of placement; or
- Addressing a serious health condition that prevents the employee from carrying out the essential functions of their job.
Sometimes, you can receive up to 26 weeks of protected leave if you need to care for a family member who is a servicemember with a serious illness or injury. During your time away, your employer must maintain your health benefits and restore your job when you return from leave. To make up for the pay you lose, you may be able to make a disability insurance claim to cover your wages while you are away.
California’s Paid Sick Leave (PSL) law might be a solution if you have short-term health or family-related needs and you have been debating whether to suffer the financial hit of taking time off. Employees who have worked for their employer for at least 30 days in a year and have completed a 90-day employment period are entitled to up to 3 days of sick leave with pay.
Rights to Workers’ Compensation
The workplace can be fraught with opportunities to suffer an injury or develop an illness. If you become ill or injured because of your work, you likely have a right to workers’ compensation benefits, such as medical care and partial wage replacement. You must promptly notify your employer and make a claim to take advantage of the benefits available to you, so speaking to an attorney immediately after enduring a work injury is often crucial to your case.
Talk to Bibiyan Law Group Today
Employment laws are complex, and understanding them is the key to recovering all compensation you are owed when your employer disrespects you. At Bibiyan Law Group, we have an extensive network of employment attorneys focusing exclusively on employment matters. We are highly experienced and knowledgeable and we are not afraid to get aggressive with an unscrupulous employer. You can contact us online or call us to schedule an appointment. Hablamos Español.