Regardless of what industry you may work in, you are protected by numerous laws designed to insure that your employer keeps you safe and treats you fairly in terms of both compensation and the absence of any form of employee discrimination and/or harassment on the state, national, and local level. Unfortunately, in spite of all this protection, most employees do not know about many of their rights and are often unclear about the basic protections that must be provided by an employer. To be certain, these laws can sometimes be complicated, which is one reason to contact experienced employment law attorneys, such as the Perrin Law Group, which are dedicated to defending the rights of all employees. However, all employees should familiarize themselves with certain fundamental statutory protections even if they do not presently think they need to speak with an attorney. Read on to learn about the 3 of the most significant employee protection laws created to create a safe and discrimination free workplace and how California has taken steps to improve those guidelines.
- The Fair Labor Standards Act. In 1938, as our nation was just beginning to recover from the great depression, President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed the Fair Labor Standards Act. This groundbreaking bill banned child labor, established a 44 hour workweek, created a minimum wage of $0.25 per hour, and entitled employees to overtime pay. California, since 1938, has and continues to add to the protections of the Fair Labor Standards Act by providing for a higher minimum wage, more overtime protections, penalties for missed meal and rest breaks and statutes prohibiting an employer from retaliating against an employer from complaining about any aspect of their wages or discussing compensation issues with fellow employees. (California Labor Code sections 98.6, 232(a) and 232(b).
- The Civil Rights Act of 1964. One of the crowning achievements of the civil rights movement, this bill is probably most famous for having ended legal segregation in the United States. However, the bill also bans employee discrimination by employers and unions. The Act has been extended to numerous other protected groups and prohibits discrimination based on sex, age, pregnancy, religion, national origin, disability status, military affiliation, sexual preference and gender identity. California, by way of the Fair Employment & Housing Act(FEHA) prohibits both discrimination and retaliation against an employee for protesting discrimination or refusing to participate in discrimination. For example, if an employee complains that she is being sexually harassed and is fired the next day, she may have a retaliation claim in addition to a claim for sexual harassment. (California Government Code section 12940[h]) Similarly, an employer is legally obligated to take reasonable steps necessary to prevent against discrimination, retaliation or harassment. (California Government Code section 12940(k).
- The Occupational Safety and Health Act. During the 1960s, worker safety became a big concern, as annual workplace fatalities rose to roughly 30 per 100,000 workers. In 1970, Richard Nixon signed OSHA into law, resulting in an immediate drop in this number. Today, the number of reported fatalities has dropped to approximately 3.3 per 100,000. OSHA sets forth a thorough list of industry-specific safety regulations, along with the a general duty clause which forbids employers from knowingly exposing their employees to danger. California similarly has many anti-retaliation or whistleblower statutes that prohibit an employer from retaliating against an employee for complaining about and/or refusing to work in unsafe working conditions. (California Labor Code sections 6310,6311 and 232.5)
Do You Feel that Your Rights As An Employee Have Been Violated? Here at the Perrin Law Group, we are an experienced and aggressive firm that is passionate about defending workers from an unlawful termination, any form of discrimination, retaliation, unpaid wages, and other important issues.Call now or Visit us online today learn more about your potential case! The initial consultation is always free.