If you’re the owner or human resources manager of a business, you may already know that there are several laws surrounding the rights of workers, ensuring that everyone is treated fairly and equally, that everyone has a fair opportunity for growth, and that are meant to promote a healthy and productive work environment. Without these laws, unethical conduct could go unchecked, resulting in a workplace that is disruptive to employees and which could affect the success of your company.

The good news is that there are laws that have been put in place to protect the rights of both business owners and employees. If you are in the workforce, as either an employee or the owner of a company, these five laws are ones that you should become familiar with.

If you are in need of an employment lawyer, get in touch with the team at the law office of Robert David Baker. We will review your case and do our best to ensure your rights are protected, whether it’s through settlement negotiation or litigation in court.


Equal Pay Act of 1963

Even though there still continues to be a pay gap between men and women, it is illegal for women to be paid less than men when doing the same job. Many companies claim that even with the same or similar job title, factors like education, experience, and the specific responsibilities within the position make the pay difference justifiable. However, employers are responsible for ensuring that there is no discrimination and that men and women are paid equally under the Equal Pay Act.

Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964

This law prohibits discrimination by employers based on race, color, religion, sex, and national origin. This includes any form of discrimination, including hiring, firing, and their rate of pay. There have also been subsequent laws passed that protect employees from discrimination based on age and disability — the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990.

Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA)

Under this law, eligible employees can be granted up to 12 weeks of medical leave during a 12-month period. This law is often used for women who wish to take maternity leave, but it can also apply to anyone taking a medical leave after an accident. However, the company must have 50 employees or more for an employee to be eligible. It’s also up to the employee to apply for medical leave and to determine if they are eligible. In addition, employers cannot interfere with, prevent, or deny an employee the right to apply for leave.

Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA)

This law regulates labor-related issues, including minimum wage, overtime pay, and classifications for part-time and full-time employees, as well as contractors. Any employee who works 40 hours or less must be classified as either “exempt” or “nonexempt.” Employers must pay nonexempt employees overtime pay, and exempt employees do not qualify for overtime pay. The IRS has several factors to determine a worker’s status, and it’s incredibly important for business owners to properly classify their employees.

Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA)

Employees have the right to work in an environment that is safe, clean, and hazard-free. Employers are required to hang an OSHA-compliant poster in a visitable area, all hazardous substances need to be identifiable, and in the event of a fire, all employees need to know what to do. OSHA standards cover a variety of workplace safety issues, including:

  • Tripping and falling hazards
  • Toxic substances
  • Machine hazards
  • Heat illness prevention
  • Infectious diseases
  • Confined spaces

In order to ensure that workers’ rights are protected, business owners must adhere to and ensure that they are in compliance with these laws. If a company is not complying with any of these California labor laws, they can be found liable and may be required to pay fines, fees, or employees could even pursue legal action.

Robert David Baker has years of experience as an employment lawyer and is passionate about protecting the rights of both business owners and employees. Located in San Jose, our attorneys offer expert service throughout the Bay area. Call today to schedule a consultation if you are facing any employment law issue.