Do you know what your legal rights are at work? You may simply assume that your employer understands and follows federal and state labor laws. However, the reality is that many employers willfully or unknowingly violate employment on a regular basis.
Here are 8 ways that your employer may be breaking employment laws. If you spot anything that your employer might be doing that doesn’t seem to follow what we’ve outlined here, you might want to speak with an employment lawyer.
1. Telling You That You Aren’t Allowed to Talk About Pay At Work
The National Labor Relations Act and the California Fair Pay Act prohibit employers from preventing workers from challenging their pay, discussing pay among their co-workers, or retaliating against employees who talk about pay.
Some employers do this in order to prevent employees from uncovering potential inequities in pay. However, this behavior has been so ingrained into the workplace, that many people think that it is normal while it is actually illegal.
2. Refusing to Pay You Overtime
Whether you should receive overtime isn’t the decision of your employer. The overtime pay you should receive should be based on the number of hours that you have worked over 40 hours per week if you are a non-exempt employee.
Your employer is required to pay you overtime at the rate of one and a half times your regular pay. If your employer has withheld or denied you overtime pay as a non-exempt employee, you are entitled to file a claim for back wages.
3. Misclassifying You as an Independent Contractor
Many times employees don’t understand what their job classification really should be and simply rely on the employers to figure this out on their behalf. However, unscrupulous employers may decide to misclassify you as an independent contractor in order to get away with not providing you the benefits or wages that you are actually entitled to.
4. Denied You Paid Leave
Under the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) certain employees are permitted to take paid leave from work. If an employer refuses to allow you to take paid leave as an eligible employee, denies you reinstatement to your original job upon your return, or fires you after you take the leave, your employer has broken the FMLA.
5. Refused to Pay You for Breaks
If you work more than a certain number of hours per day, you are entitled to at least one or more break periods and/or a meal period. However, if your employer is deducting these meal breaks that you are legally entitled to under California employment law from your pay, then your employer is in violation of the law.
6. Taken Unlawful Deductions From Your Pay
You may notice strange deductions from your pay each time you receive a paycheck. If you don’t know why your pay is being docked or your employer has taken deductions that have nothing to do with your earnings, such as for a loan payment, you should be aware that this is illegal.
7. Kept You From Discussing Work Conditions
For most private sector employees, your employer can not prevent you from discussing working conditions. This also includes enacting social media policies that are designed to police your discussions about your employer while you are off the clock. If you have complaints about policies or contracts that your employer has put into place, you can file a complaint with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB).
8. Has a “Use it or Lose It” Vacation Policy
California employers are prohibited from enacting company policies that force employees to take vacation or lose the vacation time that they have accrued if the vacations are not taken within a certain period of time. Vacation time is also considered as a form of compensation and it must be paid out, even if you leave the company.
Get Legal Assistance From the Employment Lawyers at Walker Law
While this is not an exhaustive list of the ways in which employers violate employment laws, it should provide you with enough information to identify whether or not your employer is making a significant effort to comply with the labor laws. However, if you are uncertain about your employer’s business practices, it is in your best interest to seek out an employment attorney for further advice.
If you believe that your employer has violated employment laws, you may be eligible to receive compensation. However, you shouldn’t delay in speaking with an employment attorney in San Diego because certain employment law violations require that you file your claim within a specific time frame. Additionally, there may be other employees who wish to join you in a claim against your employer.
If you have questions about employment law in California or would like an attorney to review your claim, send us an email or call Walker Law at (619) 839-9978 to schedule your free consultation.