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Important Advice From Experienced Oakland Employment Law Attorneys

As an employee, it is important to know your rights. In California, that means understanding your rights under California employment laws as well as your protections under federal law. When it comes to your rights, you cannot afford to leave anything off the table. At Bohbot & Riles, PC, we have seen firsthand just how important the seemingly minor differences between state and federal laws can be in the legal and financial outcomes for California workers.
Read on for five things it is crucial for you to understand about California-specific law and your rights.

1. California Offers Employment Protections That Go Beyond Federal Laws

In addition to your protections under federal law, you are also protected by state laws such as the Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) and the California Family Rights Act (CFRA). In most cases, California laws provide additional protections that are more generous from the perspective of employees, making it worth your time to familiarize yourself with them. In many cases, the law will be on your side so it is in your best interest to seek the advice of our attorneys if you feel like your rights are being violated. If your gut tells you something is not right, the laws on our state’s books may agree.

2. Protected Classes Enjoy Additional Protection In California

The aforementioned FEHA prohibits harassment in the workplace against the members of protected classes. The protections are extended to employees, job applicants, interns (paid or unpaid), contractors and even volunteers. Protected classes include:
  • Age
  • Race, color, national origin or ancestry
  • Religion
  • Sex, including pregnancy
  • Sexual orientation
  • Marital status
  • Mental disability
  • Physical disability (including HIV/AIDS) or medical condition

3. Most California Workers Are Eligible For Job-Protected Leave

In addition to protection by FEHA, the majority of California workers can take time off to care for themselves or a loved one without fear of losing their job. Recent updates to CFRA require all employers of more than five employees to provide up to 12 weeks of job-protected leave to care for a family member with a serious health condition. “Family member” has been expanded to include the following:
  • Child
  • Spouse
  • Domestic partner
  • Parent
  • Grandparent
  • Grandchild
  • Sibling

In addition to caring for family members, California workers can also use CFRA to recover from a serious health condition of their own or to take time off after the birth, adoption or placement of a child.

  • The birth of a child or adoption or foster care placement of a child
  • To care for an immediate family member (spouse, child or parent) with a serious health condition
  • When the employee is unable to work because of a serious health condition (SHC)

4. Pregnant Women Are Protected From Workplace Discrimination

It has been more than 40 years since Congress passed 1978’s Pregnancy Discrimination Act. Recognizing the new challenges that face women who work while pregnant, California has passed additional protections and accommodations for pregnant workers such as the Pregnancy Disability Leave Law (PDLL). PDLL requires employers to provide up to four months of unpaid pregnancy disability leave without an interruption in health coverage. Employers are also required to provide reasonable accommodations such as a temporary transfer to a less physically strenuous or hazardous position if available.

5. Employers Can No Longer Keep Compensation A Secret

It has been commonplace for employers to discourage or even bar employees from discussing compensation with their colleagues. As of 2021, the veil of secrecy has been partially lifted by SB 973. It requires California employers who employ more than 100 employees to submit an annual pay data report to the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH). Reported information includes data such as hours worked as well as the race, ethnicity and gender of employees. While not a direct benefit to individual employees, the availability of such data should make it easier for employees and applicants to negotiate fair wages as well as potentially raise red flags for potential wage and hour violations.

Find Out If You Have A Case

Our experienced employment law attorneys can determine if you have a valid employment law claim and help make things right for you. Contact us in Oakland today by calling 510-250-7278 or completing a case submission questionnaire. If we believe we can help, we will contact you to schedule a free consultation.