Employment in California

California follows "at-will" hiring laws. This means that an employer may terminate employment for any reason that is not illegal. However, if you are working under an employment contract, you can only be legally terminated for the causes the contract allows. California law says that if you have not agreed to a certain length of employment, you may be terminated if it can be proven that you and the employer both agreed that the employer could not terminate you for just any reason.

General Information

Federal law covers all the states and says that you may not be discriminated against on the basis of your age, sex, race, a disability, your country of origin, or the way you worship. You do not have to answer an interviewer if he or she asks about your birthplace, your marital status, or your sexual orientation. No interviewer is allowed to ask whether you have been arrested or whether or not you have children or are intending to have them.

Your employer is allowed to speak about you as long as the information is correct and the employer is not trying to damage you by providing it.

A Safe Place to Work

Most places of employment are required by federal and state law to be comparatively free of known safety hazards. If you notice a hazard that is likely to cause serious injury of even death, many companies allow you to complain anonymously so that you will not be punished by your employer.

You are also protected from sexual harassment by an employer. Sexual harassment may take the form of an employer saying sexual things or making unwelcome advances. If a boss allows an openly sexual atmosphere at the workplace, that can also be grounds for filing for sexual harassment. A system where sexual favors are exchanged for job benefits falls under the same sexual harassment laws. You should consult with a licensed attorney in order to determine if your case will hold up in a court of law. The California Department of Social Services' Civil Right Bureau is part of the protective framework that protects citizens from both discrimination and sexual harassment.

If You are Injured

Employers must pay you if you are injured on the job, but the amount of payment is pre-determined. How much you are entitled to depends on whether your injury has led to a temporary total, permanent total, or temporary partial disability. If an employee has been injured at the workplace and dies, the surviving family will probably be entitled to some benefits.

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