Employment Law Attorney in Temecula, California
California has long been one of the more developing states when it comes to the rights of employees. Before the 1938 Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), which established the 40-hour workweek along with a minimum wage and overtime rules across the U.S., the Golden State had already implemented a minimum wage.
California, to this day, continues to be a role model for developing reform across the nation. Nonetheless, California laws generally mimic federal laws but adapt them to the standards of living in a state with robust productivity and wealth creation.
Even with employee rights legislated by the federal and state government, California employees still are sometimes shortchanged or even discriminated against in violation of employment law standards. The results for employers are not only administrative challenges, investigations, and mediations but also occasional lawsuits.
On the other side of the spectrum, employers are not always the culprits. Some employees are prone to push the rules to get what they want beyond what the law may actually guarantee them. Thus, both employers and employees can find themselves in need of legal advice and guidance when it comes to the implementation of employment laws and regulations.
If you’re an employee or employer caught up in an employment law dispute in or around Temecula, California, contact the Law Offices of Charles P. Boylston. We are dedicated to helping resolve workplace disputes involving issues of wages, discrimination, leave rights, harassment, retaliation, wrongful termination, and more.
The Law Offices of Charles P. Boylston also proudly serve clients throughout Southern California, including San Diego, Riverside, Orange, and Los Angeles counties.
Wage and Hour Laws
The FLSA as briefly mentioned above, gave power to the U.S. Congress to establish a nationwide minimum wage, but at the same time allowed states to set their own standards, so long as they surpassed the federal wage rate. The federal minimum wage has been stuck at $7.25 an hour for more than a decade.
In California, the minimum wage now stands at $14 an hour for employers with 25 or fewer employees and at $15 an hour for businesses with more than 25 employees. On January 1, 2023, the minimum wage for all employees will rise to $15.50 an hour. Some 40 counties and municipalities have set even higher rates.
California also goes beyond federal overtime rules, which require time-and-a-half pay after working 40 hours in a workweek. In the Golden State, overtime kicks in after working eight hours a day. It goes up to double time, instead of time-and-a-half, after 12 hours of work in one day, and for all hours worked after eight on the seventh day of consecutive work in one workweek.
The FLSA also established child labor law rules regarding the hours minors could work depending on age. California again observed these standards and toughened them.
Safety and Health Issues at Work
Much like the FLSA established a U.S. Department of Labor, the Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) Act led to the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). OSHA allows states to establish their own safety and health administrations so long as their standards mirror or exceed the federal agency’s rules.
In the Golden State, Cal/OSHA is the local arm of Fed OSHA and, in typical California fashion, generally sets higher standards than its federal counterpart. Among the differences is that Cal/OSHA has an Injury and Illness Prevention Standard, which mandates that each business create a written Injury and Illness Prevention Program (IIPP), and Fed OSHA does not.
California also has standards that surpass or depart from Fed OSHA in ergonomics, repetitive motion, bloodborne pathogens, and aerosol transmission.
Anti-Discrimination Laws and Regulations
The 1964 U.S. Civil Rights Act established anti-discrimination and anti-harassment standards for businesses operating in the United States. It began by listing “protected classes” of workers whom employers could not discriminate against based on their class. The original list consisted of race, color, religion, sex, and national origin.
Subsequent laws and court decisions greatly expanded the list of protected classes to embrace gender identity and sexual orientation, pregnancy, age (40 and older), veteran status, genetic identity, and disability.
The U.S. established the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) to enforce anti-discrimination laws. In California, the Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) carries out the same investigation and enforcement activities.
Discrimination can occur at any point in the employment process beginning with advertising for the position to interviewing for the job to treatment on the job itself. If a job applicant or employee is treated unfavorably as opposed to others, that can constitute discrimination. For instance, if a pregnant woman is passed over for training for a higher position, that could constitute discrimination. The examples can go on and on.
Harassment can take many forms, including oral, physical, and visual. It must be persistent, severe, unwelcome, and unwanted to rise to the level of illegal harassment, however. Off-hand comments, teasing, or single incidents do not generally rise to illegal levels.
Wrongful Termination and Retaliation
It is illegal under federal and state law for an employer to retaliate against an employee who participates in a “protected activity.” Protected activities include reporting discrimination or harassment to the EEOC, DFEH or participating in an investigation of safety, discrimination, or harassment issue at work. Other examples include reporting harassment in any form, including sexual, to a supervisor or discussing wage and workplace issues with fellow employees.
Retaliation can include denial of the opportunities or benefits given to others. Examples include passing over the employee for promotion, relocating the employee to a workspace isolated from others, changing the person’s work hours to ruin their family life, denying leave, and more.
Wrongful termination is often the result – or sometimes the first result – of retaliation. Often, the termination is not completely overt; that is, the employee is not immediately fired. Instead, the employee suddenly starts getting poor performance reviews with warnings that improvement is needed. Then, the hammer suddenly falls.
Employment Law Attorney Serving Temecula, California
Whether you’re an employee or employer, a workplace dispute over issues of employment law can lead to a tense work environment. Our goal is to get both sides talking to work toward a resolution that both can be satisfied with. Whenever an employment law dispute arises in your workplace, contact the Law Offices of Charles P. Boylston. For more than 15 years, we have helped employees and employers resolve issues that could easily spiral into something bigger. Contact us today; we proudly serve clients in southern California.