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It is illegal for employers to fire or retaliate against employees who speak with a lawyer.

Five easy ways to ensure your workplace rights

The election season has brought on a new national debate related to labor laws and wage rights. Popularized in the Fight for 15 movement, low-wage workers around the country are taking a stance to raise the minimum wage and improve working conditions at their places of employment.

A raise in the minimum wage will be left to the legislature. However, there are actions you can take as an individual in the workplace to ensure that your rights to safety and fair compensation are upheld.

These regulations are common sense and lawfully required to be provided to you as an employee. However, corporate pressure and the need to "get the job done" can cause employers to cut corners even when they don't realize it.

The state of California is friendly to workers so you should not be afraid to seek legal help if you believe your rights as an employee are not being met.

Here are five ways to ensure your workplace rights as a non-exempt worker.

1. Look for mandatory federal labor law posters

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) requires informational posters to be hung in common workspaces. Often found near a time clock or in a break room, these posters explain your right to a safe workplace, an employer's obligation to safety and how to seek help.

2. Break/rest periods

You are entitled to short breaks and rest periods during your work shift. The number and length of breaks depend on how many hours you work. In an eight-hour workday, you are allowed one unpaid 30-minute lunch break and two paid 15-minute breaks.

3. Overtime

To meet business needs, your employer may ask you to work overtime. Your employer needs to pay you time and a half for every hour worked beyond 40 hours. Additional time beyond a normal 40 hour work week can be a great way to make extra money. However, your employer needs to compensate you for your work properly.

4. Discrimination/Retaliation

Experiencing discrimination is scary. It can be even more threatening when it is your boss or co-worker who discriminates against you. No one should lose their job because of race, gender identity, or religious beliefs. You have the right to report threatening language and action to your employer.

If your employer takes action against or "retaliates" against you for reporting a problem, you should not be afraid to seek outside legal help.

5. Payday

California state law requires employees to be paid twice per month. Usually, pay days are the first and 15th of the month or every other Friday. Your employer should provide you with a pay schedule when you are hired and stick to those dates. Even if you quit or are fired, you are still entitled to payment for hours worked and benefits earned during your time of employment.

How do I get help?

You work hard. Don't let the illegal actions of an employer make you work harder. If your employer is not providing you with legal information, withholding paychecks, or discriminating against you in the workplace, an employment law firm can help you seek compensation.

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