Certain provisions of the California Labor Code are deemed to be more "serious" than others. These sections are specifically identified in the Private Attorney General Act and are detailed below. Some of the more common violations are highlighted.
Being retaliated against for lawful conduct outside of work. It is not clear what types of claims this would cover, but a likely scenario is where you are fired for having a second job.
Retaliation for filing a labor complaint.
201, 201.5, 201.7, 202, 203
Wages due immediately upon discharge. Special provisions payment of wages in motion picture, broadcasting, and oil drilling industries.
Issues a payroll check with insufficient funds. This is a major violation and will allow a penalty of 1 days wage, up to 30 days, for each day that the money is not paid.
Payment of wages secured by a bond.
204, 204a, 204b
Payment of wages on regularly scheduled pay days. If your employer habitually pays late, it is covered by these sections.
Commission wages for car dealers must be paid at least monthly.
Salary's for executive, admin, and professional employees.
Wages in the agricultural industry must be paid once a month if the employee is boarded and lodged by the employer. Otherwise, twice each month.
Any release or waiver of overtime or other wages is null and void unless all wages have already been paid at the time of the release.
Wages must be paid at place of discharge if terminated or place of work if employee quits.
Wages due to striking employees for work already performed must be paid.
Wages must be payable is a check drawn on a California bank and must be payable without cost to the employee. This is another major violation. If you have to pay a fee to cash your payroll check because the bank is out of state or the bank itself charges a fee (Wells Fargo does this), then this is a violation of this section.
221,222, 222.5, 224
No illegal deductions or withholdings from wages.
Prevailing wage and other wages scales must be paid, if applicable.
The employer must print ALL of the following information on your pay check stub:
(1) gross wages earned,
(2) total hours worked by the employee for all non-exempt employees
(3) the number of piece-rate units earned and any applicable piece rate if the employee is paid on a piece-rate basis
(4) all deductions, provided that all deductions made on written orders of the employee may be aggregated and shown as one item,
(5) net wages earned,
(6) the inclusive dates of the period for which the employee is paid,
(7) the name of the employee and his or her social security number,
except that by January 1, 2008, only the last four digits of his or
her social security number or an employee identification number other
than a social security number may be shown on the itemized
(8) the name and address of the legal entity that is the employer, and
(9) all applicable hourly rates in effect during the pay period and the corresponding number of hours worked at each hourly rate by the employee.
This is another frequently violated statute by employers in that they do not print all the above information which makes if difficult to verify that you are being paid properly.
Proper meal breaks must be provided.
Agreed upon benefits, including vacation, must be paid for.
Vacation plans can not require a forfeiture upon termination and vacation, once earned, can not be taken away.
Employee have right to take time off for jury duty, or if they are the victim of a crime to appear, and other protected activities.
Employers of at least 25 people must provided additional time off to victims of sexual assaults and domestic crimes.
Victims of certain serious crimes, and their family members, have a right to take days off for certain activities and information must be kept confidential.
Special provisions for volunteer firefighters and police officers.
Employees have right to take time off for certain school conferences.
Employers of at least 25 employees must provided parents certain time off to attend school functions.
If a medical exam is required to obtain a driver's license for work, that exam must be paid for by the employer.
An employer may not discharge, formally discipline, or otherwise discriminate against an employee who discloses the amount of his or her wages
An employer may not discharge, formally discipline, or otherwise discriminate against an employee who discloses information about the employer's working conditions.
Certain parts of sick leave can be used to care for a child, parent, spouse, or domestic partner.
Tips and gratuities left for workers must be paid to the workers.
Cash posted as bond must be deposited.
Money posted as bond from employee must be repaid with interest upon completion of agreement.
Private employer can not require polygraph.
Employer can not require employee to sign statement they is known to be prohibited by law.
Employer can not ask about arrests that did not result in convictions.
No employer may cause an audio or video recording to be made of an employee in a restroom, locker room, or room designated by an employer for changing clothes, unless authorized by court order.
Employer can not require employee to purchase from company store or other place of business. Can not require a fee to process application for employment.
California overtime law requires overtime after 8 hours a day or 40 hours in a week.
Alternative work week elections and procedures.
California meal break provisions.
Provisions for making up time off in the same workweek.
One days rest in seven. This has generally been interpreted to mean that the employee must be given 4 days off in a month, but that seven consecutive days can be worked.
601, 602, 603, 604
Special provisions for railroad employees.
Special provisions for mine and smelter workers.
Special provisions for the lumber industry.
850, 851, 851.5, 852
Special provisions for persons employed to sell at retail drugs and medicines or to compound physicians' prescriptions.
921, 922, 923
Employers can not require an employee to join or not join a union. Any conditions of employment must be voluntarily negotiated.
Employers can not knowingly make false statements to induce a person to relocate for work.
Employers must inform job applicants of the existence of any strikes, lockouts, etc.
No person shall publish or cause to be published any advertisement, solicitation or communication in any newspaper, poster or letter, offering employment as a salesman, broker or agent, whether as an employee or independent contractor, which advertisement, solicitation or communication (a) is willfully designed to mislead any person as to compensation or commissions which may be earned; or (b) falsely represents the compensation or commissions which may be earned.
If contractors license is required, then employees must be licensed.
Every private employer regularly employing 25 or more employees shall reasonably accommodate any employee who wishes to voluntarily enter and participate in an alcohol or drug rehabilitation program, provided that this reasonable accommodation does not impose an undue hardship on the employer. Privacy must be safeguarded.
Employees allowed to participate in politics. Employer can not coerce a vote or other activity.
Employees have right to report violations to government agencies.
Labor rights for agricultural employees.
Employer must keep records showing names and addresses of all minors. Must keep payroll records according to rules established by the labor commission. This is a frequently violated section, similar to 226.
1194, 1197, 1197.1
Minimum wage must be paid
No employer shall pay any individual in the employer's employ at wage rates less than the rates paid to employees of the opposite sex in the same establishment for equal work on jobs the performance of which requires equal skill, effort, and responsibility, and which are performed under similar working conditions, except where the payment is made pursuant to a seniority system, a merit system, a system which measures earnings by quantity or quality of production, or a differential based on any bona fide factor other than sex.
Employers can not require work past maximum hours specified in wage orders. (Very few have maximum hour provisions).
Personal liability for civil fines for violations of the wage orders.
Personal liability for civil fines for gender discrimination.
1290, 1292, 1293, 1293.1, 1294, 1294.1, 1294.5, 1296, 1297, 1298, 1301, 1308, 1308.1, 1308.7, 1309, 1309.5, 1391, 1391.1, 1391.2, 1392
Various and strict laws for the employment of minors. If you suspect that child labor is illegally be used, please review all of the applicable sections.
1683, 1695, 1695.5(a), 1695.55, 1695.6, 1695.7, 1695.8, 1695.9, 1696,
1696.5, 1696.6, 1697.1
No person shall act as a farm labor contractor until a license to do so has been issued to him by the Labor Commissioner, and unless such license is in full force and effect and is in his possession. Regulations on such licensee, other regulations relating to farm labor.
1700.25, 1700.26, 1700.31, 1700.32, 1700.40, 1700.47, 1701.4, 1701.5, 1701.8, 1701.10, 1701.12
Various regulations regarding artist, talent agents, and the fees they charge.
No discrimination on public works projects.
Prevailing wage must be paid on publics works projects.
Each contractor and subcontractor shall keep accurate payroll records, showing the name, address, social security number, work classification, straight time and overtime hours worked each day and week, and the actual per diem wages paid to each journeyman, apprentice, worker, or other employee employed by him or her in connection with the public work.
Rules for apprentices on public works projects.
Maximum hours and overtime on public works projects.
Restrictions on certain items being made at home.
Accurate payroll records for employees in the garment industry.
A contractor shall guarantee payment for applicable wages in the garment industry.
Special rules for sheepherders
An employer shall in all cases indemnify his employee for losses caused by the employer's want of ordinary care. Generally, this means that an employer can not deduct money from an employees check for mistakes made by the employee that are not willful.
Special provisions for personal injury and contributory negligence. This would not likely be used in a PAGA action.
An employer shall indemnify his or her employee for all necessary expenditures or losses incurred by the employee in direct consequence of the discharge of his or her duties, or of his or her obedience to the directions of the employer, even though unlawful, unless the employee, at the time of obeying the directions, believed them to be unlawful. This is a major provision. It states that any and all business expenses must be reimbursed. This includes mileage and any other business expenses.
No employer, whether private or public, shall discontinue coverage for medical, surgical, or hospital benefits for employees unless the employer has notified and advised all covered employees in writing of any discontinuation of coverage, inclusive of nonrenewal and cancellation, but not inclusive of employment termination or cases in which substitute coverage has been provided, at least 15 days in advance of such discontinuation.
A person or entity may not enter into a contract or agreement for labor or services with a construction, farm labor, garment, janitorial, or security guard contractor, where the person or entity knows or should know that the contract or agreement does not include funds sufficient to allow the contractor to comply with all applicable local, state, and federal laws or regulations governing the labor or services to be provided.
Employee can not be discharged for having a wage garnishment.
Employer can not discriminate in apprenticeship programs on public works.
No retaliation for making a health or safety complaint or refusing to perform work under a "real and apparent hazard."
No person shall discharge or in any manner discriminate against, any employee because such employee has filed any complaint or has instituted, or caused to be instituted, any proceeding under or related to the provisions of this chapter, or has testified, or is about to testify, in any such proceeding, or because of the exercise of any right afforded pursuant to the provisions of this chapter on such employee's behalf or on behalf of others, nor shall any pay, seniority, or other benefits be lost for exercise of any such right. A violation of the provisions of this section shall be a violation of the provisions of Section 6310.