Top 10 Workplace ViolationsEmployers in California are required to comply with all federal, state, and local laws. Unfortunately, labor law violations are all-too-common in workplaces throughout the state and when these employers break the law, the health, safety, and well-being of employees is at risk. If you believe your employer has violated the law, then you may be able to pursue legal action against them. In order to do so, you will need to have a basic understanding of what rights you have – and how you can protect them. Below, we have outlined 10 of the most common workplace violations in California. If you believe that your employer has committed one of these violations (or another that isn’t on the list), reach out to a skilled Orange County employment lawyer to schedule a free consultation.
Violation 1: Misclassifying Employees as Independent ContractorsIn California, people who perform work for a company are either considered employees or independent contractors. The difference between employees and independent contractors is significant, because employees are entitled to benefits and greater workplace protections. Too often, employers try to reduce their costs by classifying employees as independent contractors. California uses the “ABC Test” to determine whether an individual is an employee or an independent contractor. In essence, this test looks at what type of work a person is performing and the degree of control that they have over their work to decide their status. If an employer misclassified an employee as an independent contractor, then they may be liable for:
- Failure to pay minimum wage;
- Failure to pay overtime wages;
- Failure to provide rest periods and meal breaks; and
- Unlawful deductions from wages, and other violations.
Violation 2: Not Paying Wages for All Hours WorkedSometimes, employers often require employees to do things related to their job while not technically on-the-clock. This includes situations where employees are asked to clock out and continue to work during a lunchtime rush at a restaurant, and the employer failing to pay the employee at a premium rate for the missed rest/lunch period. In addition, in the event an employee is terminated, an employer may be liable for “waiting time penalties,” for failing to pay all wages owed to the employee after termination. These penalties can result in a vast amount of wages the employee may be entitled to.
Violation 3: DiscriminationUnder California’s Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) as well as Title VII of the federal Civil Rights Act of 1964, employees are prohibited from discriminating against employees and job candidates on the basis of their membership in a protected class. In California, protected classes include:
- Ancestry and national origin;
- Religion, creed;
- Age (40 and over);
- Disability, including both mental and physical disabilities;
- Sex, gender (including pregnancy, childbirth, breastfeeding or related medical conditions);
- Sexual orientation;
- Gender identity, gender expression;
- Medical condition;
- Genetic information;
- Marital status; and
- Military or veteran status.