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Statute of Limitations For Labor Code Violations in California

California has some of the most employee-friendly laws in the country, organized in the California Labor Code. What this means for you as an employee is that you have extensive legal protections for various requirements in the workplace, from how you’re paid to the conditions you’re mandated to work in.

When your employer violates these laws, you may have legal recourse to seek compensation for your losses. However, it’s important to be aware of the specific legal requirements that apply to your claims, as they can vary depending on the specific violation. One of the most crucial parts of protecting your rights as an employee and ensuring that you have a fair opportunity to pursue your legal claims is understanding the statute of limitations that apply to your case.

Put Your Trust in Maison Law

If you have experienced a violation of your rights under the California Labor Code, it’s important to take action to protect your rights. At Maison Law, we are dedicated to standing up for the rights of employees and helping them seek the fair treatment they deserve. With our experienced team of California employment lawyers, we can help you navigate the complex legal landscape and achieve the best possible outcome for your case. Contact us today to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation and put your trust in our team.

Violations of the California Labor Code

California is an extremely diverse state with an even more diverse economy and workforce.  What this means is that there is a multitude of different workplaces, each with its own unique environment and conditions. The California Labor Code (CLC), then, is designed to apply across every workplace. Its purpose is to protect the rights of employees statewide and promote fair and safe working conditions. The CLC also includes provisions that regulate various aspects of the employer-employee relationship, such as minimum wage, overtime pay, meal and rest breaks, and anti-discrimination protections.

Thus, there are a number of different ways that employers can violate the CLC.  Some of the more common violations include:

  • Failure to pay minimum wage – Employers must pay employees at least the minimum wage set forth in the Labor Code.  As of January 1, 2023, the minimum wage in the state is $15.50 per hour. Failure to pay the minimum wage can result in penalties, back pay, and other damages.
  • Failure to provide meal and rest breaks – California law requires employers to provide employees with meal and rest breaks. Employers who fail to provide these breaks may be subject to penalties and other damages.
  • Failure to pay overtime – All California employers are required to pay overtime to non-exempt (hourly) employees who work more than 8 hours in a day or 40 hours in a week. Failure to pay overtime can result in penalties, back pay, and other damages.
  • Misclassification of employees – California employers may not classify workers as independent contractors if they do not meet the legal requirements for independent contractor status. Misclassification can result in employers avoiding various legal obligations, such as providing minimum wage, overtime pay, and benefits.
  • ​​Discrimination and Harassment – Discrimination and harassment in the workplace are serious violations of California’s labor laws. Under the California Labor Code, employers are prohibited from discriminating against employees or job applicants based on their race, religion, gender, age, sexual orientation, national origin, disability, or other protected characteristics. Discrimination can take many forms, including unequal pay, failure to promote, demotion, or termination based on a protected characteristic. Harassment can include unwanted advances, comments, or actions that create a hostile work environment or interfere with an employee’s ability to perform their job duties.
  • Retaliation against employees – Under the Labor Code, California employers may not retaliate against employees who assert their legal rights or engage in protected activities such as whistleblowing. Retaliation can include various actions, like being terminated, demoted, and or subjected to harassment.
  • Failure to provide workers’ compensation benefits – Every employer in California is required to provide workers’ compensation benefits to employees who are injured or become ill as a result of their work. Failure to provide these benefits can result in penalties and other damages.
  • Workplace safety – Every California employer has a general duty to provide a safe workplace. To that end, they are required to take measures to keep conditions and the environment safe and healthy for their employees. This can include things as simple as keeping a comfortable temperature or proper seating.

These are just a few examples of potential violations of the California Labor Code. If you believe that your employer has violated the Labor Code, you may want to consult with an employment law attorney to discuss your legal options.

What Should You Do If Your Labor Code Rights Are Violated in California?

If you believe that your employer has violated your rights under the Labor Code, there are several steps you need to take in order to protect yourself. First and foremost, contacting our team of experienced California employment lawyers can help you figure out whether you have a claim and what you need to do from there. Generally speaking, once you’re aware or have reason to believe that your employer is violating your rights, you should:

  • Document any violations – Keep a detailed record of any violations of your Labor Code rights, including the dates, times, and circumstances of each incident.
  • Report the violations – Report the violations to your employer’s human resources department or a supervisor. Give them an opportunity to address the issue and correct the violation.
  • File a complaint – If your employer fails to take action to correct the violation, you can file a complaint with the appropriate government agency. For example, you can file a complaint with the California Labor Commissioner for wage and hour violations, or the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing for discrimination and harassment violations.
  • Consider your options – Depending on the nature and severity of the violation, you may be entitled to various remedies, such as back pay, reinstatement, and damages for emotional distress or other harms suffered as a result of the violation.

Taking action and pursuing your legal options can help to protect your rights as an employee and ensure that your employer is held accountable for any violations of the California Labor Code. That said, there are certain requirements you’ll need to meet to make this happen, including filing your claim within the proper timeframe.

What is the Statute of Limitations For Labor Code Violations in California?

One of the difficulties in helping you understand your legal options after Labor Code violations in California revolves around your claim’s statute of limitations. The statute of limitations is simply the legal deadline by which you need to file a lawsuit. Because the Labor Code is so extensive, covering a wide range of potential claims, the statute of limitations for your individual claim depends on the violation.

Generally speaking, though, here are the statute of limitations for some of the more common Labor Code violations:

  • Unpaid Wages – The statute of limitations for any unpaid wage claim, such as your employer failing to pay you minimum wage, overtime, or something related, is three years from the date the wages were due.
  • Discrimination and harassment – If you want to file a lawsuit for discrimination or harassment under the FEHA, you must do so within three years of the last incident of discrimination or harassment.
  • Retaliation – Like discrimination and harassment claims, the statute of limitations for retaliation claims under the California Labor Code is three years from the date of the retaliation.

Again, these statutes of limitations depend on your particular claim. It’s also possible that you have multiple claims if there were multiple violations, each of which depends on the timing of the violation. With so many moving parts, it’s essential that you contact our team as soon as possible so we can examine the circumstances of any violations and help you determine how quickly you need to act.

Dedicated California Employment Lawyers Will Protect Your Rights

When your workplace rights have been violated, you can feel isolated and targeted. At Maison Law, we understand that this is among the most difficult situations that you can face at work. In these situations, our experienced California employment lawyers will stand with you. We are dedicated to protecting your rights and ensuring that you meet the necessary requirements to pursue your legal options. Don’t hesitate to get the help you need, contact us today for a free, no-obligation consultation.

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