First enacted in 1938, The Fair Labor Standards Act is a federal law that provides certain protections to all workers. It outlines a federal minimum wage, overtime rules, and prohibits employment discrimination on the basis of sex. Many states have chosen to expand upon these minimal protections and California is one of them.
The California laws have increased the minimum wage over time and expanded the overtime laws. California has even expanded the categories of protected classes to include religious creed, color, national origin, and sexual orientation. Despite these expansive employment laws, many employers still take advantage of employees who may not be aware of their rights.
All people have the right to work with dignity and a California FLSA lawyer can help workers to seek remedies for unfair work practices, unpaid wages, and discrimination. Contact an experienced California attorney who can help you pursue necessary compensation.
California Labor Laws
Over the next few years, the minimum wage in California will be increasing. For the present, all employers with at least 26 employees must pay at a rate of no less than $10.50 per hour. This rate drops to $10 per hour for employers with 25 or fewer employees. There are a few exceptions to this law, but it is fair to assume that most people are entitled to this minimum wage.
California also handles overtime in a different way than most states. For all hours worked over eight in a day, or forty in a week, federal law mandates that those hours be paid at 1.5x the normal hourly wage. However, California expands on this protection. For all hours worked over 12 in one day, or over eight if a person works all seven days in a work week, the hourly rate must be paid at double.
Workers also have the right to speak up to their employers if they feel that they are not being properly paid. California law strictly prohibits employers from firing, demoting, or otherwise punishing workers for complaining about a wage violation. The same law prohibits retaliation for any person alleging discrimination based upon being a member of a protected class as listed above.
Potential Options to Pursue Compensation
There are three routes that workers can take to pursue compensation for employment violations in California. The most direct route is to file a lawsuit in California’s courts. This places the impetus entirely on the worker to gather evidence, produce witnesses, and litigate the case. The second option is to file a complaint with the Federal EEOC (Equal Employment Opportunity Commission).
Here, the federal government will investigate a worker’s claim, and may resolve it without needing to go to trial. However, being the federal government, this can be a lengthy process.
Lastly, California has established the Division of Labor Standards Enforcement. Complaints filed with this agency will create an investigation and the agency has the power to subpoena witnesses and records, award damages, and even punish employers who are violating the law.
Choosing which path to follow when a person has an employment complaint is often the most important decision of all. Only by examining the case, the misconduct involved, and the extent of the abuse, can a proper decision be made. A California FLSA lawyer can help workers to come to the proper decision for their specific circumstances.
How a California FLSA Attorney Can Help
When people are treated unfairly at work, it can take a lot of courage to speak out. Workers may fear retaliation or even dismissal if they file a complaint alleging wage violations.
Thankfully, California law prohibits any sort of retaliatory actions from employers in response to worker complaints. There are a number of ways that a worker can file this complaint and choosing the proper one is an important first step.
California FLSA lawyers represent individuals who have not been paid a legal wage, have been denied overtime payments, or who have been discriminated against while at work. Call today to see how a lawyer can get you the money that you have earned and help protect your rights as a worker.