Due to the devastating wildfires in California, many employers have been forced to close their businesses or limit work hours temporarily. There will likely be many questions about employee rights when it comes to wages and the obligations of employers. Different rules exist for exempt employees in California, who must be salaried and earn at least twice the state minimum wage for full time employment. The law assumes that all employees are nonexempt in this state, and employers must follow the Labor Code regarding their wages, overtime and breaks for meals and rest periods.
A decision made by the federal court in another state might affect truckers nationwide, including in California. This case addressed the employee rights of truck drivers, with a focus on those who work for minimum wages. In 2016, three drivers who filed a claim against a trucking company were joined by almost 3,000 others in a class action suit.
Employees in California are hard-working and they deserve to be compensated for their efforts. Beyond normal wage laws, California employees are generally owed overtime pay for hours worked over 40 per week. However, overtime laws are not as clear cut as this.
A group of nurses recently filed a class action lawsuit against Dignity Health, a health care system based in California. The nurses claim violations of their employee rights in the company's failure to pay them the overtime they earned. According to the complaint, the number of nurses in and around Sacramento that were deprived of overtime money totals at least 1,200.
Amazon and a third-party package delivery company is facing a federal lawsuit that was filed in Northern California on a recent Friday. A former driver of one of the Amazon trucks filed the suit, claiming employee rights violations, and she seeks class-action status. She alleges that drivers for both defendants frequently work more than 10 hours per day without rest or meal breaks.
When it comes to meal breaks, some employees in California might not agree with their employers' rules about payment. A recent complaint about employee rights involved Taco bell workers who claimed they could not leave the premises during their lunch breaks. They sought overtime compensation for those hours.
Many teenagers in California are excited to take on summer jobs to earn extra money and be less dependent on their parents. Typical jobs are food servers, lifeguards and day care workers, among others, and teens are typically paid per hour. Although students are protected by the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and state wage and hour laws, they might not be aware of all their employee rights.
The Americans with Disabilities Act and the Rehabilitation Act protect workers with disabilities in California and other states. However, to benefit from the protection of these laws, a worker must disclose his or her disability. In many cases, disabilities are invisible to others, and workers may fear discrimination or other violations of their employee rights after disclosure.
The office of California Labor Commissioner's Office reported recently that a Burmese restaurant group with facilities in various locations and one other restaurant received citations for around $5 million each after investigations into their labor practices. The inquiries were launched after kitchen staff logged complaints about employee rights violations. Hundreds of workers alleged wage theft by the restaurant owners.
The gig economy in California is growing by the day. With the high cost of living, many people take on second jobs with delivery companies like Amazon, or as drivers for companies like Lyft and Uber. Much has been said about these companies and the employee rights of the drivers. However, things might change after a recent ruling by the California Supreme Court, which will make it more difficult for companies to classify workers as independent contractors.