Important California Work Laws You Should Know About

Every employee in California should know about the laws that exist to protect them. Some of the laws found in this state are unlikely to be found elsewhere. However, knowing what the laws are and how they can protect you is important.


Minimum Wage Laws

One of the most important laws that works to protect employees in California relates to minimum wage. Workers who are non-exempt can expect to be paid at least the minimum salary. At the time of writing, the minimum wage was:

  • $14 per hour for those who work for an employer with no more than 25 employees
  • $15 per hour for those who work for an employer with 26+ employees

The minimum wage law found in California pays more than it does in any other state. Therefore, the wage may come as a surprise to those who have previously worked elsewhere.


Workplace Safety Laws

California’s labor law states that employees have the right to work in a safe place.

Employers are legally obliged to inspect the workplace for hazards.

They also have to provide personal protective equipment and pay for it.

If an employee is injured while at work they can claim worker’s compensation.


Wrongful Termination Laws

From time to time, an employee may feel as if they have been wrongfully terminated. However, it is illegal for employers to terminate employees for reporting a workplace injury, taking a vacation they’re entitled to, or using their First Amendment rights.


Anti-discrimination Laws

Every worker in California has legal protection from discrimination at work. There is a range of federal and state laws that can apply to cases of discrimination. These laws can be used if someone is discriminated against because of their:

  • Age
  • Race
  • Religion
  • Ethnicity
  • Sex
  • Gender
  • National origin
  • Pregnancy
  • Disability
  • Gender identity
  • Sexual orientation

Those who have faced discrimination in the workplace can file a Fair Employment claim.


Meal And Rest Break Laws

Some employers may not seem to like employees taking meal and rest breaks. However, by law, they have to. If a non-exempt worker works more than 3.5 hours a day, they’re entitled to breaks.

A 10-minute rest can legally be taken for every 4 hours worked. A 30-minute meal break can be taken if more than 5 hours are worked.

If an employee works more than 10 hours they can have two 30-minute meal breaks.


Family Rights Law

Employees in California have the right to take unpaid time off work. This is usually only permitted if the employee has to care for a sick member of their family.

The Family and Medical Leave Act and the California Family Rights Act insist that this is OK.


There is a number of other laws that exist in California. However, the above laws are usually at the forefront of everyone’s mind. The laws exist to protect workers and they help to prevent employers from taking advantage of their team.

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