California is home to millions of people working across all industries, and unfortunately, many of these people encounter legal problems with their employers that manifest in many different ways. As an employee, you have many rights protected at the state and federal levels. When an employer violates these rights, you can take legal action to seek accountability for any damage they have caused.
Many employees in Irvine, CA are unaware of the full scope of employment rights they have, and many experience various forms of mistreatment due to this lack of awareness. Others endure persistent mistreatment in various ways. Recognizing when your employer has broken applicable employment laws in Irvine is essential for protecting yourself and taking appropriate action when necessary.
You Have the Right to Be Paid Correctly
California enforces different laws pertaining to wages and pay for employees than those enforced at the federal level. For example, California’s minimum wage is much higher than the federal minimum wage, and employers in the state must comply with the state’s minimum requirements. Employers are also required to pay overtime rates and even double-time rates to some employees if they exceed certain amounts of work in a given period.
Overtime may come into play for an employee who earns an hourly rate once they have worked eight consecutive hours in one day and/or more than 40 hours in a workweek. For example, if an employee usually earns $20 per hour as their normal hourly wage, their time-and-a-half overtime rate would be $30 per hour, and their double time rate would be $40. Only employees who earn income by the hour are eligible for overtime, and double-time rates only apply in certain situations.
When employers fail to pay their employees correctly, take illegal deductions from their checks, or fail to provide accurate paystubs, affected employees have the right to seek compensation for the income they should have received under applicable wage laws. Additionally, some employees may be entitled to seek compensation for the value of lost benefits and/or statutory damages in addition to their recovered lost income.
You Have the Right to a Workplace Free of Discrimination
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) enforces strict harassment and discrimination laws throughout the U.S., and every employee in Irvine has the right to work free of these issues. Employers may not base hiring, firing, or any other job-related decisions on the basis of an employee’s protected personal qualities. Race, religion, age, sex, sexual orientation, medical status, and various other personal qualities cannot form the basis of any employer’s job-related decisions.
If you believe you have experienced any form of workplace discrimination or illegal harassment, an experienced Irvine employment attorney can assist you in filing a complaint to the EEOC. The EEOC must review your complaint as an essential first step before you can take legal action against your employer. The sooner you file your EEOC complaint, the better your chances of success. The EEOC typically responds to claims within 180 days of filing.
When the EEOC approves a claim, they send the claimant a Notice of Right to Sue, enabling them to proceed with their civil suit against the defendant named in their claim. In some cases, the EEOC will take legal action against an employer on behalf of an employee, and the employer could face fines and other penalties along with their responsibility for the claimant’s damages.
You Have the Right to Act as a Whistleblower in Good Faith
Whistleblowers are individuals who come forward to report misconduct from their coworkers, supervisors, and organizations at large. Over the past several decades, whistleblowers have been integral to countless legal cases and have helped implement safer workplace policies, more environmentally conscious regulations, and various other benefits to society. However, whistleblowers’ actions can cause their employer financial losses and reputational damage, and some employers may take retaliatory action against any employees who make whistleblower reports in good faith.
Whistleblowers have the right to file their reports in good faith and face no adverse treatment. When this does not happen and whistleblowers are subjected to hostile work environments or are wrongfully terminated, they typically have grounds for civil actions against their employers. An experienced employment attorney can help a whistleblower in many ways, from defending them against illegal retaliation to assisting them in securing compensation for any losses they suffered.
You Have the Right to Fair Treatment in Hiring and Firing
California enforces an “at will” employment law, meaning that a working relationship exists “at the will” of both the employer and the employee. Both parties may terminate their working relationship at any time, with or without citing a specific reason or providing advance warning. While this seems to enable an employer to fire an employee for any reason, employers may not fire employees for illegal reasons.
If you believe an employer based any hiring or firing decision on the basis of your personal qualities, such as your race, religion, age, sex, medical status, or any other trait, you have likely been the victim of an illegal wrongful termination. It’s possible with the help of an experienced Irvine employment attorney to secure reinstatement if desired and/or compensation for income you lost following your wrongful termination.
You Have the Right to Seek Accountability for Employment Law Violations Against You
When you believe your employer has violated any state or federal employment law and it has led to an adverse impact on your life, you may have grounds for legal recourse. However, it’s understandable for any employee to feel daunted at the prospect of pursuing a civil claim against their employer. Your situation may seem frustrating and hopeless, but an experienced employment attorney can provide invaluable support and guidance when you need it most.
California Employment Counsel, APC has years of professional experience representing Orange County, CA clients in many types of employment disputes. We know how difficult it is for the average person to navigate an EEOC claim and related civil proceedings while also managing the aftermath of discrimination, harassment, or wrongful termination. If you need legal counsel you can trust in Irvine, CA for any type of employment dispute, contact California Employment Counsel, APC for more information about the legal services we offer.