Tuesday, Apr 17, 2018
1. Employees Cannot be Fired Without a Reason or Cause
Although an employer may choose to end a working relationship at will, they have to provide a reason or cause.
Untrue, employers in CA (an at will state) can fire an employee and are not required to provide a reason. However, there are protected classes which cannot be used as a reason to fire an employee. You cannot be fired because of your race, religion, gender, age, national origin or disability.
2. Employees Cannot be Discriminated Against in the Workplace
This one is, hands down, the most common misunderstood aspect of employment law. Discriminating against you for being you is never illegal. Favoritism, nepotism, being a complete jerk are not illegal. Protection from discrimination based on a protected class, that is to say, discrimination that is based on age, race, sex, religion, national origin, disability, color and/or genetic information, and other classes is illegal. You have standing to file a lawsuit. Employers cannot discriminate against an employee because he or she has "blown the whistle" which is reporting illegal activity of the employer. They also cannot discriminate against an employee for engaging in other protected activities, such as filing workers' compensation claims, or complaining about certain illegal activities. If an employer fires an employee because of one of these factors, that is against the law, and the employee can sue.
3. Employees Can Sue Based on Hostile Work Environments
Another common misconception is “hostile work environment”. This, on its face, is not illegal. Harassment is not illegal. Bullying is not illegal. That said, however, hostile work environments or harassment based on race, age, sex, religion, national origin, disability, color, taking Family and Medical Leave, whistleblowing, or some other legally-protected status or conduct is illegal. Employers are free to play host to any type of terrible work environment they care to – so long as any discrimination is not based on a protected class.
4. Employers Cannot Reduce Pay
Unless the employee has a contract to the contrary, there is nothing to stop an employer from reducing your pay. This reduction cannot be based on an illegal reason, such as the employee's race. It must be because of a business decision (which can include greed). However, if an employee has done work, expecting to receive a certain rate of pay, the employer must pay for those hours at that rate. Reductions in pay can only be prospective; they cannot be retroactive.
5. Employers Must Warn You Before You’re Fired
No law requires employees receive warning before being fired. In fact, your boss can tell you that you're doing a great job every day for 300 days straight and then fire you on day 301 without any warning at all. There is an exception to this when an employer has 100 or more employers. See the WARN (Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification) Act.
6. Employers Are Required to Provide Paid Time Off
No state or federal law requires paid vacation time. The state of California requires paid sick leave, but certain requirements must be met. Holidays are not a given either. The practice is completely at the discretion of the individual employer in the state of California. Of course, many employers offer paid vacation, holidays and sick days anyway to be competitive and attract good employees—but there's a difference between what's smart and customary, and what's legal.