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California Employment Law Blog

Wage and hour disputes must be taken seriously

People who have a job rely on their income to make ends meet. When they aren't given the money they are due, it can make life difficult to live in the same manner in which you are accustomed to living. This is where wage and hour laws come into effect.

Workers can count on these laws to help keep them protected. If you are a worker who has worked and haven't gotten paid for that work, you need to take steps to get the money that is due to you. Wage and hour disputes must be taken seriously. We can help you explore the options that you have to get what is due to you.

Have your honest wages been dishonestly withheld by employers?

You are likely among the many people who want to do their jobs right and to the best of their abilities. Because you certainly know that working hard could lead you to more successes, opportunities and income, you likely want to ensure that you do not give your employer reason to believe you have slacked off. However, you may feel concerned when you receive one paycheck -- or more -- that is lower than you anticipated.

Unfortunately, wage theft is a real concern in many areas of employment. Even worse, many workers do not realize that they have had their rightfully earned wages taken or withheld from them. Some employers may try to hide behind misclassifications or policies that do not adhere to employment law and due to a lack of knowledge on the subject, you and many others may not realize you have been unfairly compensated.

Keep your wits about you when you are fired

Being fired from work, especially if it is unexpected, can be a shock. You might be tempted to fly off the handle and act out in a negative manner. This isn't usually a good idea, so you have to make sure that you are keeping your wits about you if you are let go.

One of the first things to do if you are fired is to find out why. Make sure that you listen carefully to the reasoning. If you think there is something amiss and you were fired for an illegal reason, such as for reporting discriminatory behavior, you might be able to take legal action.

Evaluate the circumstances surrounding your termination

There really isn't ever a good time to be let go from a job, but when you think the termination is due to illegal grounds, you might need to take a long look at what is truly going on. California is an at-will employment state. While this means that employers can let you go at any time, there are some limitations for the reasons they can terminate you.

Employers can't fire you because of any protected status. These include your race, gender, sexual orientation, religion, ethnicity and similar factors. They can't let you go because you file a complaint about harassment, a hostile work environment, or discrimination. They can't terminate your employment because you filed a report about illegal activities in the workplace.

Sexual harassment comes in various forms

Sexual harassment is an atrocity for anyone to have to deal with. When you are sexually harassed by someone, you need to stand up for your rights and take steps to make the harassment stop.

What many people don't realize is that there are different types of sexual harassment that you might encounter. It is imperative that you realize that all of these types exist so that you can nip things in the bud if it happens.

Immediate action is necessary if you are sexually harassed

In today's world, employees can't be too careful when it comes to combating sexual harassment. It seems like there is always news of some type of sexual abuse or harassment scandal. Many people are standing up to let these alleged harassers know that behavior like that is unacceptable. More importantly, the question should be what employers are doing to prevent this time of atrocious behavior.

Employees have the right to work in spaces that are free of harassment in all forms. Sexual harassment, be it inappropriately crude comments or physical touches, isn't ever suitable. If you are a victim of sexual harassment, you need to take action right away. Doing so can help you end the harassment. This strategy is only effective when your employer is willing to take action, too.

Has your California employer asked you to sign a severance deal?

The day your boss called you into the office to discuss your current employment started out to be a workday like any other. It definitely didn't finish that way, however. As you drove home, you could hardly believe you could now count yourself among hundreds of other California workers who showed up for work only to learn their employers were eliminating their positions or that their services were simply no longer needed. Such unexpected news can come as a blow and can be challenging to rise above.

Whether you'd been working for the same company for decades or were there less than a year, you always understood that no job is perfect and no one's position is 100 percent secure, but you really didn't think you had to worry about an untimely termination. If things became even more complicated when your boss slid a document in front of you during your meeting and asked you to sign a severance agreement, you are definitely not the first employee to encounter such a request.

On-call for work? Know these pay points

Many professions come with the need to be on-call for work sometimes. This means that you might not have to go in for a shift, but you need to be ready if you are called. Different employers have different requirements for on-call shifts. These requirements can have an impact on whether you should be paid for the time you are on-call or not.

One restriction that is common when an employee is on-call is having to remain within a certain distance of work. Typically, if this is a short distance, such as five minutes, from the workplace, you will almost certainly be required to be paid. Longer distances might not come with the same pay requirement. This means that if you can go an hour away while you are on-call, you might not be eligible for pay.

Family and Medical Leave Act points to remember

One of the protections that workers have on a federal level has to do with medical situations that impact you or those in your immediate family. The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) provides very specific leave requirements for workers that meet specific criteria. Here are a few points you need to know about the FMLA:

Employers who employ at least 50 workers for at least 20 of the work weeks during the current or previous year must extend FMLA coverage to current employees who meet criteria requirements. In order to qualify, you must have worked for the employer for at least 12 months for at least a total of 1,250 hours. Your job has to take place in a location where there are at least 50 employees within a 75-mile radius.

Know your rights pertaining to wage and hour law

Getting the pay you deserve shouldn't be something that takes a battle. Instead, you should be able to count on your employer to pay you what you are due. Unfortunately, there are some employers out there who don't do this. When you're faced with issues with your pay, you need to take action to get your rightful wages. This can be as easy as approaching the employer or as complex as having to file a formal complaint and lawsuit.

There are several things that you need to think about when you are trying to figure out what to do about the issues you're having with pay. One of these is what your desired outcome for the issue is. If you are still interested in working for the employer and think that the issue was just an oversight, you might choose to simply speak to the employer to try to get the situation corrected.

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