Federal and state laws often differ. For example, one could refer to many California laws governing the relationship between employers and employees. It is not enough to simply look at the major, nationwide rules when determining whether a worker’s rights have been violated. 

In general, California has better protections than the federal-level Fair Labor Standards Act provides. Please read on for two major examples. 

One of the most important and most commonly contested rights is that to overtime pay. As found in section 510 of the California Labor Code, the state has relatively strict rules regarding overtime: 

  • Time-and-a-half pay past 8 hours a day 
  • Double after 12 hours 
  • Double after 8 hours on the seventh day of the workweek 

There are some limitations, however. Employers may agree to official alternative workweek schedules, for example. Employees also would not be able to stack these multipliers — time worked after 12 hours on the seventh day of the workweek is still just double time, not quadruple. 

Sections 201-202 contain another relatively unique California Labor Code protection: the right to receive payment for unused vacation time.  Although the text of the law is somewhat technical, taking into account the form of this payment, the basic idea is relatively simple. When an employer fires an employee, all outstanding earned wages are due immediately. 

There are various situations that could potentially complicate a case. For example, employment rights may be slightly different for public employees than for those in the private sector. In fact, it is often necessary to refer past the California Code to relevant court decisions before determining the legality of a claim.