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What are workers’ rights in California?

You probably know that you have rights as a worker in California, but do you know exactly what those rights are?

It’s in your best interests to understand the rules and regulations that apply to you, so you can make the best decisions regarding your employment and know when an employer is not treating you fairly.

California’s Department of Industrial Relations put together a simple booklet that describes all of the rights you have in the workplace. These are your state rights. Other rights may be provided through the federal government and the Equal Employment Opportunity Act and others.

Your rights: Wages and breaks

By law, employers are required to pay you what you’re owed, provide meal breaks and provide times of rest during your shift. If they do not comply with the law on these requirements, then they can be accused of wage theft.

In 2022, employers with fewer than 25 employees must pay at least $14 an hour. For employers with 26 or more employees, the minimum wage is $15 hourly. Even if you’re paid by contract or “by the piece,” your wages have to work out to at least minimum wage.

Your safety and health

Another thing to be aware of is that your employer is required to provide you with a safe environment in which to work as well as the training and equipment needed for the job. For instance, if you are working with hot ovens, the employer should train you to be around the heat and give you the right safety equipment. If they fail to create a safe environment and one as free from hazards as possible, they could be fined by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration.

You deserve to be treated with respect in the workplace

In California’s employee booklet, more of your rights are discussed in detail. It’s valuable for all people to go through this book and to learn more about their rights, so they know when they may have a claim against their employer and can stand up for themselves if they are being treated unfairly in the workplace.


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