California Labor Law Challenges

Updated: Aug 23, 2018

Being an employer isn't easy these days. Countless regulations, insurance policies, Senate bills and Federal Acts divert business owners in focusing on their core operations and sustainability. Especially, California companies need to be aware that California Labor Law is different from law other states in many ways that can make life even more strenuous, maybe downright treacherous, for businesses with limited HR experience.


The Fair Labor Standards Act sets a minimum normal of security for American employees, individual states are allowed to extend the Act to offer a higher level of security for employees.

California has taken full advantage of the law, and there are many elements of this act that California has implemented more liberally than any other states. Take overtime law for instance. California labor law states that an employer must pay an employee overtime after 8 hours work in 1 day in 1.5 times the normal pace, and after 12 hours work in any 1 day at double the normal speed. Nevertheless, this doesn't apply to exempt employees, like those involved management employees.

The California Fair Employment and Housing Act differs greatly from other states, especially in employment discriminatory law where it is much broader reaching and more rigorous. A case in point occurred lately, in which an employee of a prestigious California hotel filed a discrimination lawsuit against his employer on the basis of sex, and for retaliation, in violation of the FEHA.


The act prohibits discrimination against an employee on the basis of sex, race, color, age, religion along with other grounds, and illegalizes retaliation by the employer against an employee carrying out a protected activity like filing a lawsuit for discrimination.

There are a variety of defined protected activities, and this action is probable beyond the ability of the average HR department of most companies to handle.


This is the type of case best passed on to a human resources consulting firm. The case, Jones v. The Lodge in Torrey Pines Partnership, had Initially been heard in front of a jury, and debated whether or not an individual might be personally accountable for proceedings related to retaliation against an employee. The jury decided for the plaintiff and awarded compensation against the Lodge and the supervisor accused of the retaliation.

Nevertheless, their verdict was annulled by the judge who stated that there was insufficient evidence to prove the case against the supervisor that an adverse reaction had been carried out numerous reasons of discrimination or retaliation for the sexual orientation of the plaintiff.

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