Q + A with Kyle Todd, P.C.: California Employment Rights 101

While knowing your civil rights in regard to workers protection in California is important, the topic can be extremely cumbersome for most. Employment law covers a wide range of rights and responsibilities between both parties: the employer and the employee. Whether you are currently employed, have been let go, or are seeking employment, employment law applies to each stage of the workplace. When these laws are violated and a legal dispute arises, civil rights attorneys like Kyle Todd, P.C.

In California, employment law is constantly evolving. Navigating the workplace as an employer or employee can be tricky without having a clear understanding of worker’s rights. If you think your rights have been violated as an employee in California due to workplace injustice, contact an employment lawyer who can help you receive the compensation you deserve.

Q: What are my rights as a worker in California?

A: As an employee in the state of California, there are a multitude of ways you can be protected. From health and safety in the workplace to freedom of association and equal opportunity, the term “worker’s rights” encompasses a broad spectrum of laws. Here are a few employment laws that you should know about:

Applicants within the workplace also have rights in the state of California. During the hiring process, those who apply for jobs have the right not to be discriminated against on the basis of characteristics such as race, national origin, religion, age, or gender. 

Q: Can I sue for mistreatment at work?

A: In California, harassment is prohibited under the Fair Employment and Housing Act. A Hostile Work Environment (HWE) is defined as inappropriate behavior in the workplace that is severe or pervasive enough to create an abusive work environment for one or more employees. While mistreatment in the form of harassment can present itself through forms of sexual or gender-based harassment, it can also be observed through racial, religious, or disability harassment.

Hostile Work Environment harassment can be committed by supervisors or non-supervisors including coworkers, vendors, clients, customers, or independent contractors within the company; however, if the incident was not brought on by a direct supervisor, it can generally be harder for someone to hold their employer responsible.

The difference between HWE cases and discriminations cases is that hostile work environment harassment occurs when parties at the workplace mistreat another person based on race, gender, religion, sexual orientation, national origin, or disability. Discrimination cases occur when an employer treats an employee differently based on these categories that are prohibited under law.

Q: Can I get fired based on appearance?

A: While California law allows businesses to regulate appearance, employers are prohibited from implementing policies that appear to discriminate based on age, gender, ability, race, race, or religion. Grooming and appearance policies in the workplace should not be designed with personal preference in mind and be driven by legitimate, objective business needs such as the health and safety of those within the workplace environment.

An example of further legal protection includes the CROWN Act which was passed in 2019. SB 188 protects employees of color from discrimination based on natural, Afro-centric hairstyles. 

Q: If I quit, how long does my employer have to pay me?

A: In the state of California, your employer has 72 hours to pay you your earnings if you have not given a notice within the same time frame. If you have given a notice 72 hours in advance, your employer must pay you immediately.

Q: Can I sue my employer for stress and anxiety?

A: Too much stress on the job can have negative impacts on your day-to-day life and result in emotional distress. If you believe that your employer is causing you emotional distress, you may have the right to sue. In the state of California, there are two types of emotional distress: negligently inflicted or intentionally inflicted emotional distress.

If your case of emotional distress is negligently inflicted, you must demonstrate evidence that your employer was negligent, that emotional distress occurred, and that their negligence was the source. A claim for NIED can be brought on by the person harmed or by bystanders who were in the “zone of danger”. On the other hand, intentionally inflicted emotional distress (also known as “the tort of outrage” as it is based on extreme or outrageous behavior intentionally and recklessly performed) can be proven if these four elements are true:

  1. The employer or their agent acted intentionally or recklessly.
  2. The employer or agent’s conduct was extreme or outrageous.
  3. The employer or agent’s actions caused the employee mental distress.
  4. The emotional distress was severe.

Know Your Rights | Hire Kyle Todd, P.C. Employment Lawyer in California

Californians who make up the state’s workforce are entitled to equal protections under the law. While the workplace should be an environment free of prejudice, discrimination, and mistreatment, it is important to know your rights. Employment law can be extremely difficult to dissect, but having a basis of knowledge can help lead you towards the justice you deserve. If you feel like your rights as an employee in the state of California have been violated, you may be eligible to sue. Kyle Todd, P.C. has represented thousands of workers and has helped to claim over $12 million in verdicts and settlements. He is dedicated to getting his clients the compensation they deserve in a timely manner. Don’t wait, seek the counsel you need when you schedule a consultation with Kyle Todd, P.C. today.