California employees have many rights and protections under California law. Some are obvious; for example, an employer must pay you for time worked. However, there are many actions taken by an employer that may be illegal. This list explores five common instances where employer actions are prohibited.
- Your employer cannot fire you for pursuing workers’ compensation benefits for a work injury – Unfortunately, many employers are unaware of this law and think that they can fire you if you file a worker’s compensation claim. Under California Labor Code 132a, it is illegal for an employer to fire you, demote you, reduce your hours or your pay if you pursue a worker’s compensation claim. You are entitled to compensation for lost wages and other costs.
- Your employer cannot legally deduct money from your paycheck for a simple mistake – Accidents and mistakes happen in the workplace and California law recognizes this. As a result, your employer cannot deduct from your wages if you break something, lose something, or there is a cash shortage on your watch. While there are rare exceptions to this rule, they largely depend on the employee’s intent to cause the loss.
- It is illegal for your employer to ignore a report of sexual harassment or retaliate against you for reporting sexual harassment – Under California law, employers are required to investigate workplace sexual harassment complaints and take steps to protect you from the person who is harassing you. It is also illegal for your employer to punish you for reporting sexual harassment.
- Your employer cannot legally threaten to report your immigration status to authorities as a form of blackmail – Many undocumented workers are concerned about their employer reporting their immigration status if they speak up about misconduct in the workplace or file a workers’ compensation claim. However, in the State of California, it is illegal under California Penal Code (Section 519) for your employer to report your immigration status to authorities as a form of retaliation.
- Your employer cannot legally fail to pay you overtime or pay your wages to you late – By law, hourly employees are entitled to overtime pay depending on their job classification. Their overtime pay rate must be at least one and a half times their usual hourly rate. Additionally, your employer is required to pay your wages at least twice a month and on predesignated paydays, which may differ from company to company. If your employer pays you your wages late, this is illegal.
If you have encountered one of these situations or want to speak to a lawyer about your specific situation, contact the experienced attorneys at Ghitterman, Ghitterman, and Feld by calling 805-214-8888 or filling out our Contact Us form.
The law firm of Ghitterman, Ghitterman and Feld helps employees in the areas of workers’ compensation, Social Security Disability, disability retirement, personal injury, labor and employment issues. Founded in 1956, the firm now has offices in Santa Barbara County, Ventura County, Kern County, Tulare County, and Fresno County. The firm is proud to continue this tradition of securing all available rights for the injured and disabled in our community. For more information about what we do, how we might be about to help, or resources, see our website at www.ghitterman.com.