The knowledgeable employment law attorneys at Gehres Law Group, P.C. provide advice to employees regarding their rights and advise employers on compliance with California labor laws. California labor laws are often favorable to the rights of workers, some arguing that the protections in place for employees tend to disadvantage companies, which face high employment-related costs and a substantial risk of litigation.
How Do California Labor Laws Favor Workers?
California labor laws are considered more favorable to workers because California affords workers additional benefits and rights not available in most other states throughout the country. Examples include:
- Mandatory paid sick leave: Employers must provide employees with no less than 24 hours of paid sick leave.
- Minimum wage above federal minimums: California’s minimum wage is $10.50 as of January 1, 2017, and will rise to $15 by 2022. The federal minimum wage is $7.25.
- California requires overtime for hours worked over 40 per week, or for hours worked over eight per day. Most overtime rules require overtime pay only after more than 40 hours per week have been worked but does not provide for daily overtime. While most minimum wage laws only require workers be paid time-and-a-half, California requires employees be paid double time for days longer than 12 hours or for days when employees exceed eight hours of labor on a seventh consecutive day of work.
- California provides protection on the basis of gender identity, sexual orientation, HIV status, marital status, and political beliefs, among others. California’s anti-discrimination laws are significantly more expansive than federal laws.
- Undocumented workers may recover back pay in California if they make a successful wrongful termination claim. In many other jurisdictions, this is not permitted.
- California imposes a stricter undue hardship test for religious accommodations than most other jurisdictions. California has interpreted it as unreasonable to move an employee out of public interactions in order to accommodate religious grooming or dress practices.
- California imposes harsher consequences for certain labor law violations. While employers in most parts of the country must count a break that is too-short as time spent working, California employers can be required to pay up to two extra hours of premium pay daily as a penalty if the employer does not provide specific, timely breaks.
California also does not require employees to pay attorney’s fees when suing employers for nonpayment of wages, benefits or pension contributions, absent proof the employee brought the suit in bad faith. In 2013, SB 462 was passed to absolve employees of the obligation to pay reasonable attorney’s fees and costs. Before SB 462, existing law permitted the court to award such fees to the prevailing party – which would be the employer if the worker’s wage and hour lawsuit was unsuccessful.
Getting Help from Employment Law Attorneys
The employment law attorneys at Gehres Law Group, P.C. aid employers in navigating the labyrinth of labor laws and worker protection rights in California. Our legal team can also provide representation to workers seeking assistance holding employers accountable for violating worker protection rules. To discover more about how our legal team can assist you, whether you are an employer or employee, give us a call at 858-964-2314 or contact us online today.