Minimum wage laws in California have a few exceptions. You, as an individual, cannot agree to accept pay below minimum wage. A professional employment attorney in San Diego suggests that employers cannot reduce wages based on tips received. If your employer failed to meet pay standards, you may file a wage claim for unpaid compensation with the Division of Labor Standards Enforcement (DLSE).
- Review by Deputy Labor Commissioner
Deputy Labor Commissioners handle wage claims. The person assigned to your claim will decide whether to schedule a conference between you and the employer or go straight to holding a hearing with the Labor Commissioner. The option to dismiss your claim for lack of evidence exists as well.
- Wage Claim Conference
Typically, DLSE schedules a conference where the Deputy Labor Commissioner, employer and employee meet to discuss the wage dispute. This conference could result in the employer agreeing to pay the outstanding amount. Otherwise, DLSE will either dismiss the claim or schedule a hearing to investigate the matter further.
- Wage Claim Hearing
Witnesses give testimony under oath at the hearing. Both sides may present evidence and give testimony. Based on this information, the Labor Commissioner issues an Order, Decision or Award (ODA).
- ODA Appeal
Either you or the employer may choose to contest the ODA. This requires taking the matter to civil court. If you are denied your rightful pay, then you can take help of a professional San Diego workers compensation attorney to present your evidence during a civil trial. Similarly, an employer seeking to avoid paying you, may argue against the decision of the DLSE. The trial acts as a new airing of the evidence, and the court decides the final outcome regardless of what the original decision was at your DLSE hearing.
Now let us take a quick look at some of the new employment laws going into effect in 2023.
Workers in California will be protected by new laws starting in 2023. Below are some important changes.
- Expansion of paid sick leaves
A new bill, AB 1041, expands employees’ rights under the California Family Rights Act (CFRA). Under AB 1041, you can use your paid sick leave to care for a “designated person” under California’s paid sick leave law and the CFRA. Your employer may require you to select one designated person to care for in each 12-month period.
- Bereavement Leaves
Under AB 1949, bereavement leave has been added to the CFRA. Employers with five or more workers who have been employed for at least 30 days must provide up to five days of bereavement leave after the death of a family member. Workers are permitted to take time off within three months of the death of their loved one, but days taken don’t have to be consecutive.
- Off-duty cannabis use protections
Under the California Fair Employment and Housing Act, AB 2188 will make it illegal for employers to discriminate against workers in any aspect based on off-duty cannabis use. Employers cannot terminate, refuse to hire, not promote or not provide raises to workers based on their off-duty cannabis use.