Attorney General Bonta Issues Second Annual Labor Day Report, Urges Workers Across California to Know Their Rights

Thursday, September 1, 2022
Contact: (916) 210-6000,

OAKLAND – California Attorney General Rob Bonta today issued the second annual Labor Day Report highlighting the ongoing work of the California Department of Justice to stand up for and defend the rights of workers in California and across the country. The report also reiterates 10 key workplace rights that every worker in California should know and exercise. Despite the challenges confronting workers nationwide, the Attorney General remains committed to using all the tools of his office to help realize the promise of dignity for all workers.

“The fight for justice in the workplace is personal to me. I grew up in a labor household,” said Attorney General Bonta. “My parents helped Filipino and Latino farmworkers advocate for better wages and working conditions, alongside Dolores Huerta, Larry Itliong, Philip Vera Cruz, and Cesar Chavez. On this Labor Day weekend and always, I am proud to stand side-by-side with the next generation of labor leaders and working people — and to re-affirm a simple, yet powerful idea: working people, in solidarity, can change the world. With union popularity at a 50-year high, we’re seeing a labor movement that is vibrant, active, and breaking new ground every day — from coffee shops to warehouses. Together, we can fight and win to ensure California remains a beacon of hope for people willing to work hard in order to make a better life.”

California is home to the largest and most diverse economy of any state in the country — a testament to the resilience and skills of its workforce. When workers advocate for fair wages and dignified workplaces, they uphold one of the most fundamental tenants of our nation: the idea that if you work hard, you should be able to get ahead, retire with dignity, and leave something behind for the next generation. While some argue that fair wages and profitable economies are mutually exclusive, California serves as proof that a state can respect its workers and maintain one of the most robust economies in the world at the same time. California has a long, proud history of enacting some of the most expansive worker protection laws in the country. Well over a century ago, California passed daily overtime laws, outlawed child labor, instituted workers’ compensation, and established the Industrial Welfare Commission, which promulgated workplace regulations that continue to protect workers today. These freedoms, though revolutionary at the time, became the cornerstones of the strongest middle class in the world. In more recent years, California has enacted landmark laws to guarantee paid sick days, provide paid family leave, and protect our most vulnerable workers — including garment workers, farmworkers, and workers who are undocumented — from abuse and exploitation. Whether it is to enforce or defend these laws, the California Department of Justice will continue to do its part to crack down on labor violations and advance the rights of all workers.

As part of the report, the California Department of Justice is also highlighting 10 things workers should know about their rights:

  • You have the right to organize and join a union;
  • You may be an employee even if you are called a contractor;
  • You have several, important wage-and-hour-rights, including the right to a minimum wage;
  • Your wages, tips, and accrued vacation are yours;
  • You may be entitled to time off — both paid and unpaid;
  • California law prohibits sexual harassment and discrimination in the workplace;
  • You may be eligible for unemployment insurance if you are fired or quit your job for good cause;
  • You may be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits;
  • You can reasonably refuse to do unsafe work; and
  • Your employer cannot retaliate against you for exercising your rights. 

If you believe any of the above rights may have been violated, the report has additional information on how to get help. If you believe you or someone you know is in immediate danger, call 911.

A copy of the 2022 Labor Day Report is available here.

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