In California especially, employment and labor law seeks to protect employees and preserve their rights. Because of the state’s added protections, California is commonly considered the most litigious state in the country. So what labor claims are the most litigated by employees?
-Discrimination: Thanks to the Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA), California has codified a large variety of protected classes. This includes but is not limited to: race, sex, sexual orientation, country of origin, etc. Don’t forget, you can’t discriminate based on a disability or perceived disability either.
-Sexual Harassment: In California, the Labor Code was amended so that now sexual harassment need not be motivated by sexual desire. Therefore, a man can sexually harass a man and a woman can sexually harass another woman. Also, if the harassment is pervasive enough, an employee merely needs to just witness the actions for it to be construed as sexual harassment.
-Wage and Hour: Many, many class-action lawsuits are based on wage and hour violations. It may not be just the simple meal break violation or minutes of overtime here or there. California has many nuanced laws regarding wages that make these prime claims. For example, did you know if you work a 12-hour shift (unless the company has a registered alternative workweek schedule), you are entitled to double pay for those overtime hours instead of just time and a half? Or if you work a ten-hour shift, that you are actually supposed to get 2 meal breaks? Many employers don’t know that as well, which leads to wage and hour lawsuits.