Orange County Employment Law Overview

Employment law is the area of law that concerns the rights and obligations of employer-employee relationships. These laws govern when an employer can hire or fire an employee, how much the employer must pay the employee, and other protected actions and rights of the employee. If you believe you’re being discriminated against, harassed, or are experiencing sexual harassment in the workplace, it’s important to contact an Orange County employment attorney. Schedule a free consultation with the law office of Sessions & Kimball by using our online contact form or calling us at (949) 380-0900.


Federal Laws That Govern Employment in the United States

There are several employment laws in the United States that govern workplace discrimination. These laws also make it illegal for an employer to retaliate against an employee for filing a complaint based on violations of these laws.

Fair Labor Standards Act

The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) deals with several issues, including overtime and minimum wage. The act sets the federal minimum wage and governs what employers must pay to employees when they work more than 40 hours per week and are entitled to overtime pay. It’s important to note that the FLSA is not a one-size-fits-all law. The act enforces different rules for employers based on the size and type of the business.

Family and Medical Leave Act

The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) requires certain employers to provide employees with up to twelve weeks of unpaid leave while protecting their job. The act also requires employers to keep employees’ benefits active during this time. Family leave is often used after a birth or adoption. Additionally, employees can use it to care for their own health, or the health of a spouse, child, or parent who has a serious health condition.

Occupational Safety and Health Act

The Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA) guarantees that employees are provided with safe working conditions. It is intended to protect employees against foreseeable hazards at work, such as chemicals, noise, extreme temperatures, sanitation problems, and other conditions that are likely to cause some type of injury to the employee.

Civil Rights Act of 1964

The Civil Rights Act of 1964 makes it unlawful for employers to discriminate against employees based on race, color, sex, religion, or national origin. This applies to the hiring process as well as while a person is employed. Generally, The Civil Rights Act applies to employers with 15 or more employees. The purpose of this act is to level the playing field and make sure that everyone has equal opportunities.

Age Discrimination In Employment Act

The Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) prohibits employers from discriminating against a person on the basis of age. However, this act only provides protection to people who are 40 years of age or older. Discrimination based on age is prohibited in terms of hiring, wrongful termination, compensation, promotions, salary, unpaid overtime, vacation time, benefits, pregnancy discrimination, and more.

Americans With Disabilities Act

The Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) prohibits employers from discriminating against employees on the basis of having a disability. Additionally, employers are required to make reasonable accommodation for an employee who has a disability, if it wouldn’t cause the employer undue hardship.

The Equal Pay Act

The Equal Pay Act (EPA) requires employers to compensate employees equally for doing the same work, regardless of their sex. Job titles are irrelevant in determining whether there is an equal pay violation.  If two employees are doing the same work, even if they have different titles, they are entitled to be compensated equally. The EPA also governs benefits such as health insurance, life insurance, vacation time, promotions, retirement plans, and more.

California Employment Laws That Govern Employment in Our State

In addition to federal laws that govern employment, there are also specific California employment laws that supplement these federal laws.

The California Fair Employment and Housing Act

The California Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) makes it illegal for employers who have five or more employees to discriminate against employees on the basis of race, religion, color, national origin, physical or mental disability, medical condition, genetic condition, marital status, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, pregnancy, age, and military or veteran status. Additionally, the FEHA makes it illegal for an employer to retaliate against an employee who opposes, reports, or assists another person in opposing illegal discrimination.

Whistleblower Protections

California employers are prohibited from adopting rules or policies that prevent an employee from being a whistleblower. A whistleblower is a person who exposes information or activities within an organization that they believe are illegal, illicit, unsafe or waste, fraud, or abuse of taxpayer funds. An employer cannot retaliate against an employee for being a whistleblower.

The California Labor Code

California has unique, employee-friendly wage and hour laws.  California wage laws will apply if they would give better protection for the employee than the federal laws would. The California Labor Code provides many important protections for employees, such as minimum wage, overtime pay, meal and rest break requirements, an employer’s duty to pay wages on time, legal and illegal deductions from wages, reimbursement of necessary business expenses, and other issues related to pay and hours worked for both salary and hourly employees.

Ban The Box

In California, it is illegal for an employer with five or more employees to ask applicants about their criminal conviction history. It also prevents employers from asking an applicant about their criminal history until the applicant receives a conditional offer.

Sessions & Kimball Can Help

If you think you have been discriminated against, harassed, wrongfully terminated, retaliated against, or you have concerns related to anything else that is happening in your employment, you’re probably right and need to take legal action by contacting an employee rights attorney as soon as possible. Most people’s understanding of what fair treatment in the workplace looks like is pretty accurate, so don’t second guess yourself. If you need an Orange County employment lawyer, don’t hesitate to contact the law firm of Sessions and Kimball.

We are Orange County’s most experienced employee rights law firm with over 100 years of combined experience representing only employees. When you hire us, you know you’re in good hands. We have significant experience representing employees in wrongful employment practices. It’s crucial to hire a firm that specializes in this area so you can make sure you’re getting the best representation possible. Whether your dispute involves discrimination, sexual harassment, retaliation, unpaid wages, wrongful termination, or any other workplace illegality, we have the experience and resources to provide effective and aggressive representation.

Use our online contact form or call our Orange County employment rights law firm at (949) 380-0900 for a free consultation today. And don’t forget – you don’t pay us until they pay you.