It is no secret that California has some of the strictest and most voluminous labor laws in the nation. The depth and breadth of these laws can be confusing for both employees seeking to know their rights, and employers seeking to comply with the law. The attorneys at Anderson Hayes can help employees and employers know, understand, and enforce their rights, and can also assist business owners with avoiding labor code violations that result in costly penalties and lawsuits.
As Americans spend increasingly more of their day at work than any other place, it is paramount that the workplace is somewhere where both employees and employers can work together collaboratively, in a non-hostile manner, and in compliance with the law.
As an employee, when do I need an employment lawyer?
Employees often times do not know when their rights are being violated but believe the conditions and hours they are required to work are just “part of the job.” Employees are too often forced to endure hostile working conditions and longer working hours than permitted without breaks, meal periods, or even overtime pay. Many employees also believe that because their employer has made them sign a document agreeing to these conditions that they are not entitled to breaks and overtime. The California Labor Code includes specific laws governing when employers are required to provide breaks, meal periods, overtime, sick leave, and when employees are required to purchase items for work or are entitled to reimbursements from employers. California provides that missed meal periods and rest periods entitle a worker to an hour of pay for each missed break and/or meal period, up to two hours of additional pay per day. Workers that are not compensated for overtime may recover those wages, plus penalties and interest.
Employees are often misclassified as independent contractors (1099s) by employers so that the employer can avoid paying payroll taxes and overtime, and providing other benefits provided to W-2 employees under the California Labor Code. Employers are not the party that gets to decide whether or not you are an employee or an independent contractor. This is a legal determination, and all too often employees are misclassified by their employers as independent contractors, thus depriving them of reimbursements for items such as cellular telephone service, gas, uniforms, sales supplies, and forcing the employee to pay self-employment taxes. Courts have discussed a number of factors that are used to determine whether an employee has been misclassified. In short, if your employer controls how you perform your job, when you perform your job, requires a uniform, and/or your business is not distinct from your employer, you are likely an employee and are entitled to the protections of the California Labor Code.
California also provides protections from discrimination in the workplace. Employees are protected from adverse action against them on the basis of:
If you have been terminated or retaliated against based on one or more of the above factors, you may have a case against your employer for wrongful termination or illegal retaliation.
If you have been denied workplace benefits (breaks, meal periods, reimbursements, overtime, etc.) or have been subject to discrimination in the workplace, call the attorneys at Anderson Hayes, P.C. for a free consultation regarding your case.
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