Employees have many protected rights under state and federal laws. Employment laws guard against discrimination, harassment, and wrongful termination, and also help ensure you are paid fairly for the hours you work, including your overtime and any contractual bonuses.

Employee Disability

Under California law, if an employee requires time off or a medical leave of absence due to an ADA or FEHA protected disability or medical condition, an employer may be required to provide time off or additional medical leave time, as a reasonable accommodation for that disability. This law applies even if the employee has already used 12 weeks of leave under the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) or California’s Family Rights Act.

Also, under California law, employees with disabilities are entitled to reasonable accommodations, including medical leaves of absence and extensions of medical leaves of absence. 

Unless an employer can prove a requested accommodation would impose an undue hardship on its operations, California employers will be held liable for failing to provide any accommodation that would have permitted an employee to return to work and perform his or her essential job functions. 

If you believe you have not been given reasonable accommodations or have been wrongfully terminated based on your disability, you should contact our law firm to discuss your rights.

Wage and Hour

UNPAID MINIMUM WAGES: As of January 2017, the minimum wage in California is $10.50 per hour. This means, subject to limited exceptions, employees must be paid at least $10.50 per hour for every hour worked.  Minimum wage may be higher in some counties.  For example, in San Francisco, employees must be paid a minimum of $14.00 per hour as of July 1, 2017. This minimum wage requirement applies even if employees work off-the-clock or do not report all their hours worked.

OVERTIME: If you believe you are not being paid overtime or have been misclassified as non-exempt, you should contact our law firm to discuss your legal rights. In California, employers must pay all non-exempt employees overtime at a rate of one and a half times the employee’s regular rate of pay for: (1) each hour worked over eight in a single workday and (2) each hour worked over forty in a single workweek, and (3) the first eight hours worked on the seventh day of work in any workweek.  Employers also must pay employees double time for (1) each hour worked over twelve in a single day and (2) each hour worked over eight on the seventh consecutive day of work in any given workweek. Only exempt employees are not entitled to overtime pay. 

This is a narrow exception and employees must fall under one of the state recognized exemption below:

MEAL BREAKS: In California, employers must provide all employees an unpaid 30-minute meal break once the employee has worked five hours. If the employee’s workday will be completed in six hours or less, the employee may consent to waive (give up) the right to a meal break. An employee who works ten hours is entitled to a second 30-minute unpaid meal break. If the entire workday will not exceed 12 hours, the employee may waive the right to a second meal break. However, the second break may be waived only if the employee actually took the first break. In other words, an employee may not waive both breaks in one day. Unless the employee is relieved of all duty during his or her thirty minute meal period, the meal period is considered “on duty” and the employee must be paid for that time at his or her regular rate of pay.

REST BREAKS: California also requires employers to provide rest breaks. Employers must allow employees to take a paid ten-minute rest break for every four hours (or major fraction) of time worked. Breaks are not required for employees whose total daily work time is less than three-and-a-half hours.
Penalties for Failure to Provide Meal and Rest Breaks: If an employer fails to provide an employee with a meal or rest period, the employer must pay the employee one hour of premium pay at the employee’s regular rate of compensation for each workday that the meal or rest period is not provided. The hour of additional premium pay is in addition to the pay required for the time the employee worked through the meal or rest period. California courts have generally found that employees are entitled to a maximum of one premium pay for each missed meal period per day; and one premium pay for each missed rest break per day.

EXPENSE REIMBURSEMENT: In California, employers have a duty to reimburse employees for reasonable work-related expenses. Courts have held employers that know or have reason to know that an employee has incurred work-related expenses, must reimburse the employee even if the employee does not request reimbursement. Some of the more common work-related expenses we see include:

  • Automobile-Related Expenses
  • Tools and Equipment
  • Uniforms
  • Cell Phones/Mobile Devices

If you believe you have issues with your pay, you should speak to an attorney immediately. Contact Allen Flatt Ballidis & Leslie for a FREE consultation regarding your potential claim.

DISCLAIMER. The information on this site is not, nor is it intended to be, legal advice. You should formally consult an attorney for advice regarding your individual situation. We invite you to contact us and welcome your calls, letters and electronic mail. Please be advised, however, contacting us, submitting a case to us, and/or discussing your case with us does NOT create an attorney-client relationship. Please do not send any confidential information to us until such time as an attorney-client relationship has been established.