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The following article will cover:

  • The regulations surrounding employee classification in California.
  • The actions that employees can take if they believe they are victims of employment law violations in California.
  • The importance of understanding that unpleasant treatment at work may not be protected under the law unless it is based on protected characteristics or the exercise of certain rights.
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What Are The Regulations Surrounding Employee Classification And Misclassification In California?

Employee classification, which determines whether an employee is considered a manager, non-manager, independent contractor, or otherwise, is guided by the California Wage Orders, or IWC Wage Orders. These can be found on the California Department of Industrial Relations' website and detail overtime entitlements, exemptions, and other aspects for various industry types, of which there are about 17.

Another source of guidance is the California case law, which provides numerous resources. However, fundamentally, it hinges on whether the worker operates free from the control and direction of the company performing their work, whether the worker's function falls outside the company's typical business, and whether the worker frequently performs the same function independently in a trade or business with others. This is often referred to as the "ABC" test.

For gig workers like Uber and Lyft drivers or Instacart deliverers, there's the Prop 22 issue to consider as well. Additionally, California tax laws can provide input on these classifications.

What Action Can Employees Take If They Believe They Are Victims Of Employment Law Violation In California?

If employees suspect wage and hour violations, such as underpayment, they can contact the California Division of Labor Standards Enforcement, which oversees wage and hour laws. However, even with a successful claim, a trial may still ensue, as employers have the right to appeal. For this reason, seeking counsel from an attorney experienced in wage and hour issues is often the best recourse.

For cases of discrimination or harassment, claims can be filed with the Division of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) in California or the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). Yet again, it's recommended to consult an attorney, as certain instances that may not seem like harassment or discrimination could be considered as such under California or federal law.

Please note, while unpleasant treatment at work is unwelcome, it doesn't necessarily mean you're protected under the law, unless the behavior is because of your characteristics, such as sexual orientation, religion, ethnic background, nationality, disability, or because you exercised certain rights. In such cases, such treatment is unacceptable in California and legal protection can be sought. For more information on Filing Employment Law Claims In California, an initial consultation is your next best step.

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