Basic Wage & Hour Laws in California including At-Will Employment, Overtime, and Holiday pay
The California Labor Code is filled with statutes that govern the laws on how an employer must treat their employees. These rights are non-negotiable and actionable both by the individual aggrieved employee or by an officer of the State Attorney General's Office to enforce the law. Here is a taste
At-Will Emloyement goes both ways"At-Will" employment. You've heard it and read about it but do you know what it means? Not everyone knows this but this is a two way street law. That means both the employee or employer have the right at any time to end / quit / terminate the employment relationship at anytime for any reason without notice. Usually these are the 3 categories to at-will employment (which covers about 95% of all employees in California). 1) You may end the employment relationship (quit or get fired) for "any reason". The color of your hair, the type of music you listen to, or simply because your boss doesn't like you. 2) You may end the employment relationship (quit or get fired) for "no reason". The law does not require that a reason be given upon termination. However, it can be suspicious when this right is exercised. There is usually some sort of reason for ending the employment. Either way, it's not against the law by itself. 3) The last category to know is the illegal reason to terminate (quit or get fired). This is for a discriminatory reason because one of you belongs to a "protected class" (religious beliefs, sex, gender, military status, disability, pregnancy, race, ethnicity, national origin, age if over 40, and some others). If you were fired because you took pregnancy leave or because you are Hindu those are illegal discriminatory reasons and cause for wrongful termination and probably other rights. The other category that falls here is something considered "protected conduct". Essentially, if you become a whistle blower and blow the whistle on your employer or any of its partners, contractors, or affiliates for doing something illegal such as tax evasion, fraud upon the public, etc. then you are protected in the same way and have rights for wrongful termination among others such as retaliation usually. I hope this helps. Keep in mind you can be terminated for "any reason" or "no reason". You are only protected for "protected class" or "protected conduct.
Over-time lawsOvertime laws in California have recently become complicated with minimum wage having not only federal and state standards but local standards as well now. However, to keep it simple, just remember these rules. You are entitled to "overtime" or one and half times your usual rate of pay for any work you do that exceeds 8 hours in a single work day or 40 hours in a single work week. The key here is "or". You do not need to work over 40 hours a week to get OT. You can get OT even for working 9 hours in one day although the total amount of work that week is under 40 hours. You are also entitled to double-time your usual rate of pay for work done in excess of 12 hours in a single day or if you work 7 consecutive days and over 40 hours you can get paid double for work done in excess of 8 hours on the 7th day. It sounds complicated until you draw it out one criteria at a time. If you are not being paid your overtime properly, contact an employment attorney.
Myths about holiday pay for exempt (salaried) and non-exempt (hourly) employeesHolidays. Generally, we consider that hourly (non-exempt) employees do not get paid on holidays. This is true. They do not get paid for hours that they do not work. We expect them to get paid a premium in fact if assigned to work on a holiday such as time and a half. However, that is not required under the law. The law only requires that they get paid straight time. Furthermore, most people probably believe that when you are salaried (exempt) employee, you automatically have the right to get paid on holidays or that you have a right to those days off work and that businesses are required to close. In fact you may even believe that it is illegal to make you work on holidays. You may be shocked to find out that none of these assumptions are true unless as an employee, you are "ready, willing, and able" to work. Both under Federal law, known as the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) through the Department of Labor and also California State Law through the Department of Industrial Labor Relations, if your employer gives you holidays off and closes its doors or pays you for holidays, both are considered benefits not required under the law for hourly (non-exempt) employees.
Check the FLSA Department of Labor https://www.dol.gov/general/topic/workhours/hol...
and also check the California Department of Industrial Relations website under holidays.