California employment laws updated for 2016

| Jan 4, 2016 | Employee Rights |

New California workplace laws will have a major impact in 2016 and going forward. Besides raising the minimum wage from $9 an hour to $10 an hour, other new laws include employment discrimination and back wages.

Under the employment discrimination law, employers will not be able to retaliate against any employee who requests a reasonable accommodation for a religious observance or belief, or a disability. Another law, the anti-discrimination law, enlarges the type of individuals that cannot be discriminated against. Under this law, employers cannot discriminate against employees based on immigration status, language or citizenship.

Another lawforbids employers from discriminating against employees who take part in a protected whistle-blowing action or similar action. Some whistle-blowing examples include making a complaint concerning an unsafe working condition or wage theft.

Several new laws concerning compensation and wages include the piece-rate compensation law, the back wages law and the equal pay act. The piece-rate compensation law requires all employers who pay their employees by piece rate to pay their employees the minimum wage rate for recovery and rest periods, as well. As for the back wages law, employers who fail to pay their employees will be subject to a property lien in an effort to recover the amount of unpaid wages. Another law, the equal pay act, requires employers to equally pay female and male workers who perform the same work and allows these workers to discuss their pay without fear of punishment.

In circumstances where an employee has been terminated or harassed because of discrimination, an attorney with experience in employment law could assess the situation and find out if the employee’s rights were violated. In some cases, the employee may be able to collect back pay or retain his or her job.

Source: Apparel News, “New California Laws Change Workplace Rules in 2016”, Deborah Belgum, Dec. 30, 2015

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