California has some of the most progressive worker protection laws. There are laws that govern the rate of pay of an employee, the number of hours that can be worked on a daily or weekly basis before overtime benefits must be paid, and when meal and rest breaks must be taken, among many other types of rules and regulations. The California Department of Industrial Relations (www.dir.ca.gov) is an excellent resource for both employees and employers.
A common mistake that many employers make is “misclassification.” In a general sense, an employee is incorrectly designated as an independent contractor as opposed to an employee. The difference in the classification can mean less wages and benefits to the employee and cost savings to the employer. However, the savings/benefits can be short lived as the law provides for substantial penalties to the aggrieved employee if there is a determination that the employee was improperly classified.
The law also provides that it is unlawful for an employer to terminate or penalize an employee for reporting unlawful conduct (whistleblower litigation), pursuing workers compensation benefits if injured on the job, requesting owed wages, taking proper medical leave, improperly refusing to accommodate a disabled employee, or engaging in discriminatory conduct based on race, gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation or age, among other factors.
Our firm represents both individuals and employers in a wide spectrum of industries. Feel free to call our office to see how we may be of assistance to you or your company.