I'm not really sure what you're asking here. Are you asking how to bring about change with the employer?
One possibility is to bring these issues to your employer's attention in writing. Another possibility is to bring these issues to the attention of a government agency. In the case of the failure to pay overtime, the right agency would be the Department of Industrial Relations: www.dir.ca.gov In the case of the failure to pay customs fees, the right agency would be US Customs & Border Protection: www.cbp.gov In the case of the unsafe working conditions, the right agency would be Cal-OSHA: www.dir.ca.gov/dosh
Understand that, if you complain to your employer or you complain to a government agency and your employer finds out about it, you could very well be fired. It would be illegal to fire you if your complaints are reasonably based, but if employers didn't do illegal things all the time, I'd be out of work. My guess is that you'd rather have a job than a lawsuit. So consider carefully whether this is a pool you want to wade into, or whether you'd rather just quietly find another job and get yourself out of there. I'm not telling you which is a better option; that's a personal decision, not a legal one. Just understand what the consequences of each choice are.
Good luck with your legal issues.
Craig T. Byrnes
Disclaimer: Please be aware that I am not offering legal advice, nor forming an attorney-client relationship with you. I am not representing you, nor doing anything to protect your legal rights. If you believe that you have suffered a legal wrong, take action before any statute or limitations expires, or your right to do so may be lost forever. Good luck in your legal matter.
California Labor Code Section 1102.5 makes it illegal for an employer to retaliate against an employee for refusing to participate in any activity that would result in a violation of state or federal statute, or a violation or noncompliance. It protects employees against retaliation for internal whistle blowing as well as for reporting to the government or an outside agency. That said, my colleague is on point that you will want to consider whether you want to take on the fight. The legal process can be long and arduous and requires a great deal of fortitude. However, if you really believe your employer is acting contrary to the law, you may find it rewarding to take them on. Be sure you have your facts straight, and even before any reporting, it is advisable to discuss your specific situation with an employment law attorney.
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