How California Labor Law Favors Workers
Irvine trial lawyers provide representation to companies who are facing court action. Companies are at risk of being named as defendants in litigation for many reasons in the state of California. Employment law actions can be especially common, in large part because labor laws in California are often skewed to heavily favor workers and to impose myriad obligations upon employers.
Brown & Charbonneau, LLP can provide help to companies in complying with California’s labor laws so business organizations can reduce the chances of being sued or investigated for violating various labor and employment laws.
We can also provide assistance representing companies in court or negotiating favorable settlements in the event that employers find they have been sued. You should give us a call as soon as possible to talk with Irvine trial lawyers and to find out how our firm can help you to protect your company from claims against you.
How Labor Law in California Favors Workers
California has passed many worker protection laws that are stricter than laws on the federal level. Some of the regulations that have helped to contribute to the state of California developing a reputation for being favorable to workers – sometimes at the expense of employers – include the following:
- High minimum wage laws: The federal minimum wage is $7.25. Minimum wage in California is far higher than the federal minimum wage. As of January 1, 2017, minimum wage in California was $10.50. Minimum wage is scheduled to steadily increase in the state through 2022 when the state will have a $15 minimum wage. Many employers are concerned that the costs of a high minimum wage will adversely impact operations and cost jobs.
- Paid sick leave: There are no federal laws requiring employers to offer paid sick leave to workers. However, in California, employers are required to provide at least 24 hours of paid sick leave to workers.
- Stricter overtime rules: The federal overtime rules require that employees be paid time-and-a-half if employees work more than 40 hours during the course of a work week. California has much stricter rules. Under California law, workers are not only entitled to receive overtime if they work more than 40 hours in a week but they are also entitled to receive overtime if they work more than eight hours per day. California also imposes a requirement that employees be paid double time if they work for more than 12 hours in the course of a day or if they work more than eight hours on a seventh consecutive work day.
- Broader anti-discrimination protections: In California, workers are protected from discrimination on the basis of their political beliefs, their marital status, their HIV status, their gender identities, and their sexual orientation. Federal laws do not protect employees from discrimination based on all of these different characteristics. Federal anti-discrimination laws protect against discrimination on the basis of gender, race, religion, national origin, advanced age, and disability status.
- Protection for undocumented workers: California allows for undocumented workers to recover back pay if they are able to sue successfully for wrongful termination.
- More serious consequences for labor law violations: California employers can face harsher penalties for many labor law violations than employers in other parts of the country. For example, if an employee’s break is too short, in most jurisdictions, that shortened break can be counted as time spent working if employers end up having to pay back pay for the truncated break time. However, in California, if employers don’t receive timely breaks of an appropriate duration, employers may be required to pay up to two extra hours of premium pay per day to penalize the employer for not providing the breaks.
If employees sue for unpaid wages in California, employees are also not mandated to pay attorney’s fees unless there is proof that the employee brought the lawsuit in bad faith. This policy marks a change to the rules that took place in 2013; prior to the rule change, the prevailing party could receive attorneys’ fees in wage and hour claims so an employee who lost a claim could be on the hook for covering the legal fees an employer incurred.
Getting Help from Irvine Trial Lawyers
Irvine trial lawyers at Brown & Charbonneau, LLP can provide assistance to employers in understanding their obligations and in protecting their rights under California labor law. Give us a call at (866)237-8129 or contact us online today to find out more about how our firm can help you.