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Rand L. Stephens & Richard N. Koss Motto
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What Are My Rights as an Employee in California?

Man consults unidentified people standing with their backs to the camera.

As an employee in California, you have rights. Dozens of federal, state, and in some places – like San Francisco – local laws, have been enacted to ensure you are treated fairly, paid for your work, and provided with a safe workplace. Understanding your rights is an important first step toward protecting and vindicating those rights, whether going through your company’s grievance procedures, initiating a complaint with a governmental agency, or taking your claim to court. See below for an overview of many key aspects of employee rights in California. If you feel your rights as an employee have been violated, call Bay Area employment lawyer Richard Koss in San Francisco or the East Bay to discuss your needs and concerns.

Right to a Discrimination-Free Workplace

One of the fundamental rights of an employee in California is the right to a workplace free from discrimination. This includes protection against discrimination based on race, color, national origin, ancestry, religion, age, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, disability, medical condition, genetic information, marital status, or military and veteran status. Employers are legally obligated to provide equal opportunities in all aspects of employment, including hiring, promotion, and termination.

Right to Fair Compensation

Employees in California are entitled to fair compensation for their work. This includes receiving at least the minimum wage, which varies depending on the size of the employer and the city or county of employment. Additionally, non-exempt employees are eligible for overtime pay at 1.5 times their regular rate for hours worked beyond 40 hours per week or eight hours per day. Employers must also provide rest and meal breaks, with specific requirements based on the duration of the workday.

Right to Safe Working Conditions

California’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (Cal/OSHA) ensures that employees have the right to safe and healthy working conditions. This includes the provision of necessary safety equipment, training on workplace hazards, and the maintenance of a hazard-free work environment. Employees have the right to report unsafe conditions without fear of retaliation.

Right to Family and Medical Leave

Eligible employees in California have the right to take unpaid, job-protected leave for specified family and medical reasons under the California Family Rights Act (CFRA) and the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). This includes leave for the birth of a child, adoption, foster care placement, to care for an immediate family member with a serious health condition, or for the employee’s own serious health condition.

Right to Privacy

Employees in California have a right to privacy in the workplace. This includes protection against unreasonable searches and monitoring, as well as the confidentiality of personal information such as medical records and social security numbers. Employers must also obtain consent before conducting background checks.

Sound Advice and Professional Representation From a Skilled and Knowledgeable Bay Area Employment Law Attorney

Understanding your rights as an employee in California is essential for ensuring fair treatment and a safe work environment. If you believe your rights have been violated, or if you have any questions about employment laws in California, Richard Koss, a seasoned attorney in the San Francisco Bay Area, can provide guidance and legal assistance. Protecting your rights is not just a legal obligation for employers; it’s a fundamental aspect of maintaining a respectful and equitable workplace. And in addition, one of your rights as an employee in California is to seek advice from an attorney.

If you are a San Francisco employee or employer in need of advice or representation concerning California labor and employment law issues, contact the Bay Area employment law attorney Richard Koss at 650-722-7046 on the San Francisco Peninsula, or 925-757-1700 in the East Bay.

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