In the state of California, there are a number of labor laws in place that are meant to protect employees, prevent unfair treatment, and promote a safe and equitable working environment. These labor laws are all-encompassing and cover anything from wage violations to whistleblowing. Violation of these laws by your employer is illegal and is subject to legal repercussions. In this article, we will explore five things that your boss cannot legally do at work in California.

Discriminate Against You

Discrimination in the workplace can take many forms, but the bottom line is that discrimination is not allowed by your employer. Some of the characteristics and traits that California law protects employees from being discriminated against include but are not limited to:

  • Race
  • National origin
  • Age 
  • Color
  • Religion
  • Marital status
  • Sexual orientation
  • Gender identity 
  • Medical condition
  • Disability  

If an individual is discriminated against because of any of the aforementioned reasons, you should file a discrimination complaint with the Civil Rights Department (CRD) to determine whether any investigation should be conducted or legal action can be taken. 

Deny Reasonable Accommodations

The next thing that your employer is not permitted to do under California law is to deny reasonable accommodations for your disability. Under the California Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA), employers are required to provide reasonable accommodations for individuals with disabilities or medical conditions, and this may include permitting flexible work schedules or modifying the work environment. This must be an “interactive process” that involves the collaboration of both the employer and the employee.

Withhold Wages or Overtime Pay

Another thing that your boss cannot legally do at work is withhold wages, pay you under minimum wage, or not pay you for overtime hours worked. Under California law, you must be paid overtime wages if you work more than eight hours per day or 40 hours per week. Additionally, hourly employees must be paid the newly enacted minimum wage of $16 an hour.

Furthermore, employers must pay you what you rightfully deserve for the number of hours worked. Failure to do so would be considered a wage violation and would require the intervention of an Orange County wage violation attorney to help you recover the wages you are entitled to.

Work Off the Clock

Employers in California are also prohibited from requiring non-exempt employees to work off the clock. What this means is that your employer cannot require you to perform the duties of your job without compensation, both before or after you have worked your allotted hours for the day. Employers who violate this law can be held legally responsible and will likely be expected to be paid for the unpaid hours of work.

Retaliate for Whistleblowing

A final thing that your employer cannot do is retaliate against you for reporting illegal activities or workplace violations. Employees are protected from reporting these activities and violations under the Department of Labor’s whistleblower protection laws. Forms of retaliation for whistleblowing may include firing, reducing compensation, and demotion. Furthemore, do not be afraid to exercise your rights and stand up for injustice in the workplace.