California Employment Laws: 4 Things New Workers Should Know

For individuals working in California, knowing that specific employment laws are in place to protect employees and provide them with mutual aid and protection is essential. Generally, workers in California have employment rights that employers should respect. Otherwise, they may be held liable for several penalties for violating those rights and protections.

Because of this, new workers in this state should make an effort to get familiar with some common employment laws. That way, they can safeguard their rights while building their employment career.   

Below are the four things new workers should know about California employment laws:

  • Workers Cannot Be Wrongfully Terminated By Employers  

Typically, the relationship between the employers and the employees is based on an at-will basis in California. It means that either of them can terminate employment for whatever reason, anytime. However, not all employees can be subjected to an at-will employment basis. It is especially true if they have contracts that state when their employment should end.   

If the employment agreement states that workers should be given a warning before terminating them, they should adhere to that rule by providing adequate notice beforehand. But, to have an in-depth understanding of how termination works in California, workers can ask questions like ‘Can You Be Fired Without Warning in California?’ in the search tab online to obtain more information. Many reputable California-based law firm websites can provide more details about specific employment laws.   

On the other hand, among other things, new workers should know that employers can be liable for wrongful termination if they terminate employment for the following reasons:  

  • Reporting a workplace injury or filing a workers’ compensation; 
  • Enforcing their leave rights; 
  • Doing whistleblowing activities.  


  • Workers Are Entitled To Humane Conditions Of Work   

Under California employment laws, workers are entitled to certain humane working conditions, whether old or new. These can include:  

  • Wages: The minimum wage differs depending on the size of the employer. If an employer has 26 or few employees, it would be USD$14 per hour. An employer with more than 26 employees offers a wage at a rate of USD$15 per hour.   
  • Overtime: Employers need to pay overtime to employees for all the hours worked after eight hours in a workday, 40 hours in a workweek, and six days in a workweek.   
  • Rest and Meal Breaks: Employers should also entitle workers with rest and meal breaks, provided they work more than 3.5 hours in a workday.   
  • Sick Leave: Employers need to provide workers with paid sick leave of 24 hours to three days a year if they get ill. On the other hand, they’re also required to provide employees with a limited amount of unpaid time off to take care of a sick family member.   
  • Rights To A Safe Workplace: Employers should provide workers with a safe workplace under the California employment law. They have to maintain work equipment, examine worksites to find dangerous conditions, and address unsafe working conditions in the workplace.   


  • Workers Have Protections Against Discrimination, Harassment, And Retaliation   

Apart from humane work conditions, employees are also protected against discrimination and retaliation. For instance, employers are prohibited from discriminating against employees based on race, gender, sex, age, religion, disability, pregnancy, ethnicity, and other similar conditions. If an employee is a victim of discrimination, they can file a claim against the employer with the help of an employment lawyer.   

Moreover, employees in California have the right to be safeguarded against sexual harassment at work. They can file a case against the at-fault party if the latter creates a hostile environment by showing inappropriate behavior or providing job-related benefits in exchange for a sexual favor. 

On the other hand, employers aren’t allowed to retaliate against employees for reporting violations of employment state and federal laws, requesting accommodation for their conditions, like disability, or filing a complaint about discrimination and harassment.   

  • Workers And Employers Have Other Essential Rights Under California Employment Laws   

Working in California entitles employees to various employment rights under the California employment laws. These can include:  

  • Employees should be paid their wages either in cash or by checks without incurring fees.   
  • Employees are entitled to final or severance pay upon termination or resignation with adequate notice.   
  • Employees who have disabilities have the right to request an accommodation from their employers.   
  • Employees who are pregnant or giving birth are also entitled to reasonable accommodation, including modified work schedules and duties.   
  • Employees have the right to access their personnel files after filing a written request.   


Bottom Line   

Working for an employer in California doesn’t have to be challenging. Specific employment laws provide aid and protection to all employees, regardless of status and circumstances. As long as workers keep the information mentioned above in mind, they can have excellent working experience to look forward to. The more they know what their employment rights are, the better.   

California Employment Laws: 4 Things New Workers Should Know