When your employer treats you well, it all feels worth it. But if you feel you’re being mistreated, it can negatively impact many aspects of your day to day, especially your mental health.
Your work is your livelihood. You dedicate hour after hour of your valuable time to helping out your company and improving your skills.
In fact, workplace abuse is linked to issues like depression, anxiety and other issues that have an effect on your life and the lives of those around you. It doesn’t help you work, either, as anxiety and depression are known to cause a lack of focus and motivation.
But if talking to your supervisor doesn’t work and you can’t afford to risk losing your job, where do you turn?
At this point, you’ll need support—not only from your friends and family, but from an experienced professional who can help you navigate the legal system. Many types of workplace mistreatments violate the law. If they do, you deserve a good employment lawyer to advocate for you.
Read on for more about your rights, and a few common signs you might need an employment lawyer.
What Are Your Civil Rights?
As someone who lives in the United States, you have a list of civil rights you’re entitled to. These apply even if you’re not technically a citizen.
Your civil rights include:
- The right to petition the government: You have the right to make requests to the government without being punished or retaliation.
- The right to due process: You can’t be imprisoned or have property taken from you without proper legal measures like a fair trial.
- Freedom of speech, religion, and assembly: You have the right to free speech, to practice the religion you desire, and to gather with intention.
- Freedom from discrimination for protected classes: It’s illegal for you to be discriminated against due to gender, religion, sexual orientation, race, national origin, or physical ability.
Bosses and the companies they work for are responsible for creating and maintaining a workplace that ensures each employee’s civil rights are being honored. If you’re experiencing something like discrimination, chances are your civil rights are being violated.
Reasons You Might Need An Employment Lawyer
An experienced employment lawyer can help you ensure not only tat your basic civil rights are being honored, but also making sure you’re receiving the treatment companies are legally obligated to give their employees.
If your lawyer finds your workplace is in violation of these laws, they can help bring justice to you and possibly your coworkers as well.If you’re encountering any of these issues or similar wrongdoings, it’s likely time to contact a lawyer.
An employer denying you pay for work you’ve done counts as wage theft. Wage theft can occur in a few different ways, some more subtle than others. All of the following examples count as wage theft according to California law.
- Paying an hourly rate that’s under minimum wage laws. California’s minimum wage is currently $14.00 an hour.
- Unpaid overtime. If you work over 40 hours any given week, you’re entitled to overtime pay. If you work over 8 hours any given day, you’re entitle to time and a half pay. If you work over 12 hours in a day, you should get double your hourly rate.
- Owners or managers taking tips.
- Not receiving pay in a timely manner.
- Your employer deducting wages from your paycheck.
- Failing to pay you back for money you spent in order to complete your work.
- Bounced checks
- Unpaid breaks or work without breaks
If you encounter any of these examples of wage theft, you’ll want to contact an employment lawyer to help you file a wage claim. Wage claims allow for the California Labor Commissioner’s office to investigate your unpaid wages and help you take the first step toward getting the money you’re rightfully owed.
As we touched on before, anyone who resides in the United States is to be protected from harassment and discrimination whether they’re a legal citizen or not.
If you’re treated differently than other employees because of things like your race or culture, gender, sex (including pregnancy), experience of disabilities, or sexual orientation it’s likely you’re experiencing a violation that fits under this category.
Sometimes, harassment and discrimination can be outright-bosses using or allowing others to use slurs, blatant bullying, or being fred for expressing your religion or orientation.
Other times, certain things can make you uncomfortable but be less clear in their intentions, like being refused workplace adjustments due to your religious practices or invasive questions about your lifestyle outside the workplace.
In addition to it being illegal to discriminate and harass, it’s also illegal for your employer to retaliate if you report it. If you suspect you’re being discriminated against or feel harassed, an employment lawyer can help you determine if your situation calls for a discrimination lawsuit.
Just as there are laws that employers must follow in order to make sure employees are paid fairly and not discriminated against there are also laws to make sure you don’t get fired for an unfair reason.
While California ia an “at-will” state, meaning employers can fire employees for any reason, there are still laws to help prevent discrimination and other violations:
- Unlawful discrimination, or being fired due to your race, sexuality, religion etc.
- Retaliation, or firing you for filing a complaint due to workplace conditions, harassment and other issues that affect your employment.
You can also avoid being fired for little to no reason by joining in a union contract. Union contracts are contracts between a labor union and the employer that has specific regulations regarding wages, breaks, and other factors that can help ensure a safe and fulfilling workplace for the company’s employees.
Do You Have More Questions?
While the law can seem clear cut, there are many scenarios that fall into a “grey area.” In these situations, it’s hard for anyone who hasn’t thoroughly studied California employment laws to determine not only if an issue is worth pursuing, but how to go about doing so.
Not knowing if something is illegal shouldn’t stop you from getting the justice you deserve. Chat with our top-notch lawyers about your personal situation and we’ll help you decide what to do next.