california employment law

California Employment Lawyers

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Our Employer Lawyer Network is made up of attorneys who are distinguished in the practice of employment law for their skills, experience, knowledge and results. They have earned recognition and honors from both peers and clients throughout the communities that they serve.

This network includes sharp California Employment Lawyers who understand state and federal labor and employment laws inside and out. They work tirelessly to help California workers get the treatment and legal protections they are entitled to. You can count on our recommendations to pair you with an attorney who is uniquely qualified to help you with your particular employment law needs.

Wrongful Termination

Many employees have an incorrect impression about wrongful termination. You may believe that you been fired unfairly, and while your treatment may have been less than admirable, this is not a solid basis for a claim. California is an “at-will” employment state – either you or your employer may terminate your employment without cause. Of course, certain exceptions apply. Most notably, your employer may not fire you for a discriminatory reason. If your termination violates a fundamental public policy or is motivated by your inclusion in a protected class, you may have a case for wrongful discharge.

If you have an employment contract, such as that of a union employee, this can impact your claim as well. In those cases, your employer will likely need to prove a just cause for termination. Failure to do so can result in a wrongful termination claim. Keep in mind, there are legal hurdles you must overcome to prove a wrongful dismissal. The most effective way to determine whether your termination was unlawful is to speak with a knowledgeable California Employment lawyer to discuss the specifics of your case.

Discrimination and Harassment

The law protects you from discrimination and harassment in your workplace, on the federal, state and local level. In California, the Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) is the state law governing this area. If you are discriminated against in your place of work on the basis of your race, gender, religion or other protected class, your employer must act to correct the problem.

Unlawful harassment refers to unwelcome behavior by supervisors, co-workers, managers, and other individuals you deal with while you’re performing your job duties. These behaviors generally fall under two different categories: a hostile work environment and “quid pro quo” harassment. In a hostile work environment, you are made to feel so uncomfortable and unhappy that you are unable to perform your job duties properly. The offensive behavior you are subjected to may be sexual in nature or not. “Quid pro quo” harassment refers to a tit for tat situation – someone in a position that is higher than yours requests sexual favors or behavior in exchange for work-related treatment.

If you are dealing with this type of behavior at work, a California Harassment and Discrimination Lawyer can help you identify potential unlawful actions and counsel you on the options available to you under federal and state law.


Closely related to discrimination and harassment law is workplace retaliation violations. For example, your employer is prohibited from taking action against you for reporting harassing or discriminatory behavior to the authorities, filing a claim for this unlawful treatment, or participating in an investigation into suspected unlawful conduct. This prohibited negative action may include a demotion, bad performance reviews, wage reduction, shift change, increased workload, being passed up for a promotion or training opportunity, and even termination.

California law also protects employees from retaliatory behavior by an employer for any of the following:

  • Reporting fraud
  • Filing a complaint or a lawsuit claiming unlawful activity by the employer
  • Refusing to engage in unlawful activities
  • Filing a California Labor Commissioner wage claim
  • Helping other employees file claims against the employer
  • Engaging in whistleblower activities

If you believe you are the target of retaliatory behavior by your employer, it’s important to document the treatment you have been subjected to and to follow the necessary processes at your job to report the situation. If your efforts are unsuccessful, turn to an experienced California Workplace Retaliation lawyer for help.

Paid Family Leave

California is a leader in the nation in providing paid leave time for parents with new children and employees with seriously ill family members. Eligible workers may receive up to six weeks off work to welcome a natural, adopted or foster child into their families. As a new parent, you should be paid between 60 and 70 percent of your normal income during this leave time.

For workers who need to care for a close family member – child, grandchild, spouse, parent, in-law, grandparent, or sibling – you can take up to 6 weeks of leave to do so. The same 60 to 70 percent wage replacement standard applies. The income rate is based on the wages you earned in the 5 to 18 months before you file your claim. Caps apply. If you have questions, speak with a California Employment lawyer to learn more about this coverage, your eligibility and your employer’s responsibilities.

Wage and Hour Laws

In the state of California, minimum wage rates are a bit lower for companies with up to 25 employees than those with 26 or more workers. The rates will gradually increase for both groups through 2022, until all minimum wage workers receive no less than $15 per hour by 2023. Unlike many other states, tipped employees are not exempt from these wage minimums.

Overtime pay is also regulated more stringently in California. You are entitled to overtime pay equal to time and half of your minimum rate if you work more than 8 hours in a single day and/or more than 40 hours in a single week. If your hours exceed 12 in a single day, your employer must pay you double time. Other wage and hour laws govern rest and lunch breaks, when your employer must pay you, what your employer must pay for, and more.

Unfortunately, some California employers will try to skirt or circumvent these laws. Workers who are unfamiliar with the details of California’s wage and hour laws may be cheated out of hundreds or thousands of dollars. Don’t fall prey to these unlawful actions. Speak with a skilled California Employment Law attorney to get all the facts.

California Employment Law

Employment law encompasses a wide range of areas. When you think of involving a lawyer, you typically assume it’s for unlawful behavior – discrimination, harassment, wage violations, retaliatory treatment, or wrongful termination. But an employment lawyer can help you before things go wrong, as well. Many California job applicants and employees can benefit from the skilled guidance of an attorney who is well-versed in state and federal law in this area. Some areas to consider include:

  • Non-compete agreements
  • Non-disclosure / Confidentiality agreements
  • Waiver and Severance agreements
  • Contract negotiations
  • Legal representation for Labor Unions and Union Members
  • Disability accommodations
  • Workplace investigations
  • Drug and alcohol testing
  • Family and Medical Leave Act compliance
  • Unemployment compensation

Advocating for the Employee

Our attorneys and specialists are committed to helping the workers in California and across the nation. No matter what your employment law needs, we offer the skilled legal guidance, counsel, and representation that is required to help you obtain the most positive outcome. We handle the full range of employment practice area matters – from employment agreement negotiations and employment regulation compliance issues to complaints of wage and overtime violations and unlawful harassment and discrimination. Contact us today to learn how we can make work better for you.