There are many differences between California and federal law, including broader anti-discrimination protections, a higher minimum wage, and paid family and sick leave insurance. Our Calabasas employment law attorneys provide a comprehensive guide to California employment law, the protections and rights it grants to employees.
California Employment Laws and Protections
In California, employers must comply with state and federal employment laws. These laws include:
· The California Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA)
· The California Family Rights Act (CFRA)
· The California Pregnancy Disability Leave (PDL)
· The California Family Friendly Workplace Act
Let's discuss how these laws and acts protect employees in California.
One of the most significant ways in which California stands out from other states is in its pregnancy accommodation laws. Under the California Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA), employers must provide reasonable accommodations for workers with a covered condition, such as a disability or pregnancy-related medical condition. This includes providing modified work schedules and job restructuring, making changes to workplace policies or procedures, and providing time off to recover from surgery.
The FEHA explicitly provides religious accommodation as a reasonable accommodation for an employee with a covered condition. This includes allowing employees to wear religious attire or grooming practices and making other reasonable accommodations to enable them to practice their religion.
California has some of the most robust sexual harassment protections in the country. Not only is it illegal for employers to engage in sexual harassment, but coworkers and third parties like customers or vendors can also be liable if they sexually harass an employee. Victims of sexual harassment are protected from retaliation by their employers, and employers must provide training to prevent sexual harassment in the workplace.
An employer is obligated to provide reasonable accommodations to qualified individuals with disabilities under the FEHA, including making structural changes to a workplace or providing modified schedules. The law also requires employers to interact with employees who request accommodations for their disabilities.
California has some of the strongest equal pay laws in the country. Under state law, it is illegal for an employer to pay a worker less than another employee doing a substantially similar job. This includes basing wages on sex, race, or ethnicity and paying workers differently based on their salary history.
Discussion of Wages
Starting in 2023, California employers must provide job applicants and current employees with information about their wages to ensure that employees are paid equally regardless of gender. While many other states have equal pay laws, California is the first to require employers to provide this information upon request.
A California employer may not make, adopt or enforce any rule, regulation, or policy preventing an employee from being a whistleblower. This means that employees who uncover and report unlawful activity, such as workplace discrimination or sexual harassment, are protected from retaliation by their employers.
Overtime, Rest Breaks, and Meal Breaks
The minimum wage in California is $15.50 as of January 2023. Employers must pay time-and-a-half for all hours worked over 8 per day or 40 per week. Furthermore, California employers must provide employees with 10 minutes of rest every four hours and a 30-minute meal break for every five hours worked. Employees cannot waive their rights to these breaks.
Need Legal Assistance With a California Employment Law Issue?
At Gaines & Gaines, APLC, we understand the complex legal issues that can arise in the workplace. We are here to provide expert guidance and representation for employees. Whether you face discrimination, harassment, wrongful termination, or any other legal trouble in the workplace, our experienced attorneys will provide the support and advocacy you need to get through this difficult time. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you.
Contact us by calling (866) 400-4450 or through or short online form.