As an employee, you should be offered the information you need on employment law in the form of a handbook, training, and in publicly placed fliers in the office. If you do not have easy access to any of the above information, ask your employer to provide you with copies of the relevant information. Understanding your company’s policies is the best way you can make sure your rights as an employee are protected.
Here are some of your rights as an employee in California:
- To be hired and work in an environment free from discrimination. Discrimination based on race, religion, color, gender, sexual orientation, and other protected characteristics is prohibited at both a federal and state level. You should never have to endure unwanted sexual advancements, unreasonable demotions or failure to advance, or quid-pro-quo arrangements to advance at work.
- To receive fair compensation and breaks for the hours you work. You are entitled to a minimum wage of $9 for any hours worked (even those technically off-the-clock), meal and rest breaks based on the time you work, and overtime for hours worked in excess of an 8 hour day or 40 hours a week.
- To receive workers’ compensation benefits. Most employees are eligible for workers’ compensation benefits after being injured on the job, regardless of how the injury occurred. Workers’ compensation insurance is required for businesses in the state of California.
- To a healthy and safe work environment. Always speak out against work conditions that violate health and safety regulations. If you feel you cannot safely do the work without creating a seriously hazardous work environment for you or others, your employer cannot retaliate if you refuse to complete the task.
- To a fair reference. While employers can give any truthful statement and negative reference when formed as an opinion, they cannot unfairly depict your performance to prevent you from working elsewhere.
- To view your personnel file. If you ask for your file, an employer must provide it within a reasonable period of time. You can also ask for copies of any documents you have signed.
- To file a complaint without retaliation. If you are acting in a protected activity (taking part in an investigation or refusing to participate in an activity that violates state or federal law) you have the right to act without fear of reprisal from your employer.
Depending on your status as an employee, your job, and other factors, your rights may vary slightly. Take your employee handbook seriously, and ask for more information if you feel like you need it. Do not be afraid to confront your employer if you feel like any of your rights are being violated. Your employer may be able to help you understand the company’s policies or change their actions to address your concerns. If your employer denies unfair employment practices, you may want to consult an attorney.
The attorneys at Curran & Curran Law have a specialized understanding of employment law in California. Make sure you document all exchanges with your employer, and reach out to us for more information. With an initial phone call, we can help you understand if your rights as an employee are being violated.
Often, filing a complaint with your company or the state is not enough to stop the illegal behavior. An experienced attorney can expedite the reporting process and conduct an independent investigation to hold your employer accountable for unethical and illegal behaviors. For more than 20 years, we’ve been helping individuals in and around San Diego stand up for themselves as employees. Let us help you get the safe, healthy, and productive work environment you deserve.