The state of California has many laws to protect workers. These laws are designed to improve workers’ economic and employment situation, establishing very specific guidelines that when violated require employers to remunerate the employee and pay fines. It is very important for you to know your rights and take action if you feel that you are a victim of labor abuse.
The Right to Receive Overtime Pay and Break Time for Non-Exempt Employees
In California, minimum wage is $9.00 per hour, and it will increase to $10 in January of 2016. Non-exempt employees have the right to receive extra wage compensation of 1 ½ hours for every hour worked after 8 hours per day or more than 40 hours per week. You may ask who the exempt employees are. The definition establishes that an employee is exempt – does not have the right to overtime pay – if he or she carries out administrative, professional, or executive functions in the company. This means that if you do a physical or manual labor job, your employer must pay you overtime.
Right to Break Times and Lunch in California
During the workday, you have the right to 30 minutes of lunch break for every 5 hours worked. This means that if your work shift is 10 hours, you must take two meal breaks of 30 minutes each. You also have the right to 10 minutes of break time during 4 hours of continuous work. Your employer or supervisor is in violation of the law if they do not allow you to take these breaks or if they make you work while you eat. Additionally, if you work in the field as a farm worker or landscaper, you have the right to additional break times of a minimum of 5 minutes in the shade if the temperature is 85 degrees Fahrenheit or higher.
Additional Workers’ Rights Granted in California
The Division of Occupational Safety and Health collaborates with employees to ensure that labor conditions are safe and healthy. Any violation may be anonymously reported to this department. For workers who serve clients, the law gives them the absolute right to keep tips and prohibits managers and supervisors from taking part of them. However, it is permitted for tips to be shared among other employees who assisted in giving service to the client. Additional rights include vacations, absence without pay for up to 12 weeks for the sickness of a spouse or child, or for the care of a newborn or adopted child.
We have been serving the Hispanic community in Los Angeles for more than 30 years. Unfortunately, Hispanic immigrants do not report or sue employers who violate employment laws for fear of repercussion. We want you to know that in California, an employer cannot threaten you, report you, or retaliate against you if you are undocumented and claiming your employment rights. This state law known as Bill 263 grants ample protection to undocumented employees in California to keep them from being victims of labor abuse. Violations may be intentional or unintentional, such as the case of the exempt and non-exempt category. Other violations may be cases of cruelty which many employers are guilty of, such as demanding work without breaks for agricultural personnel working in high temperatures.
California state law is not good for anything if you do not endorse it and claim your rights. If you do not have time or are not in physical condition to come to our offices, we will meet you wherever you choose. We will be honest with you and thoroughly examine the details of your case. If your employer is in violation of one of your employment rights mentioned here, or others not included, we will let you know of the best way to proceed.
This Blog is made available by Grupo MedLegal for informational purposes only and does not provide legal or medical advice. The information provided on the Blog should not be used as a substitute for competent legal or medical advice from a licensed professional.