- Unwanted sexual advances.
- Offering employment benefits in exchange for sexual favors.
- Making or threatening reprisals after a negative response to sexual advances.
- Visual conduct that includes leering, making sexual gestures or displaying of sexually suggestive objects or pictures, cartoons or posters.
- Verbal conduct that includes making or using derogatory comments, epithets, slurs or jokes.
- Verbal sexual advances or propositions.
- Verbal abuse of a sexual nature, graphic verbal commentaries about an individual’s body, sexually degrading words used to describe an individual, or suggestive or obscene letters, notes or invitations.
- Physical conduct that includes touching, assaulting or impeding or blocking movements.
In the absence of a written employment agreement for a specified period of time, employment in California is presumed to be at will (meaning, employment can be terminated by either party with or without a reason, and with or without prior notice). However, this does not mean that an employer can simply terminate an employee for any reason it desires.
Wage & Hour Laws
Exempt Status: Generally, “exempt” employees are qualifying executive, administrative, professional, or certain computer professional employees who meet certain key requirements. Properly classified exempt employees are exempt from a wide range of wage and hour laws. For instance, they are not eligible for overtime pay, minimum wage, and meal and rest periods.
As you can imagine, whether an employee or group of employees is truly “exempt” is a hot-button issue, because the consequences for the employer and employee are significant. Each major exemption has certain, specific requirements set forth in the law. They are too numerous and complex to mention here, but common to each exemption is that the employee, in order to be truly exempt, must spend over half of his or her time exercising discretion and independent judgment in their jobs. Even if an employee has a job title like “manager,” what matters for purposes of exemption analysis is what the employee actually does. If his or her job duties do not include enough discretion, then it is unlikely that an exemption will apply. Exempt classification is one of the most common issues about which we advise our clients.
Overtime: Non-exempt employees must be paid overtime. In California, this means that non-exempt employees must be paid at the rate of time-and-a-half their regular hourly rate of pay for hours worked over 8 and up to and including 12 in a workday, for hours worked over 40 in a workweek, and for the first 8 hours on the 7th consecutive day of work in a workweek. Non-exempt employees must also be paid two times their regular rate of pay (“double-time”) for hours worked over 12 in one workday and for hours worked over 8 on the 7th consecutive workday in a workweek.
Meal and Rest Periods: For every four hours worked, non-exempt employees are entitled to a 10-minute rest period. Employees are paid for these breaks despite the fact that they are not to be performing any job duties during the break. Non-exempt employees are also entitled to a 30-minute, uninterrupted meal period during a workday in excess of five hours.
Employees who work over 10 hours in a workday are entitled to two 30-minute, uninterrupted meal periods. Employees do not need to be paid during their meal period(s), but in most cases, they must be relieved of all duty and allowed to leave the premises. Further, employees who work less than six hours in a day may waive the meal period. Employees who are not “provided” a rest break and/or an uninterrupted meal period must be paid one additional hour of pay at the employee’s regular rate of compensation for each work day that the meal or rest period is not provided.
Expense Reimbursements: Pursuant to California Labor Code Section 2802, employers must reimburse employees for necessary expenses or losses incurred in direct consequence of their duties. This includes all reasonable expenses incurred as a result of an employee’s employment, such as mileage, supplies, and cell phone usage.