On Labor Day, Attorney General Bonta Highlights Key Worker Protections
Issues Labor Day Report reflecting on ongoing challenges and recent accomplishments in the fight for justice in the workplace
OAKLAND – California Attorney General Rob Bonta today highlighted 10 key worker protections and issued a message to workers across the state in an inaugural Labor Day Report. Labor Day is a time to reflect upon the generations of working people who have built this great state, and to honor their legacy. Despite the challenges of the past year, California has always been — and remains — a beacon of hope for people willing to work hard in order to make a better life.
“The fight for justice in the workplace has always been personal to me,” said Attorney General Bonta. “I grew up in a labor household. My family helped Filipino and Latino farmworkers advocate for better wages and working conditions, alongside Dolores Huerta, Philip Vera Cruz, and Cesar Chavez. Today, I am proud to stand side-by-side with the next generation of labor leaders and working people — and to reaffirm a simple, yet powerful idea: working people, in solidarity, can change the world. I pledge to continue that fight and I urge you to join me. On this Labor Day, take a moment to learn about some of the key, hard-won protections that help uplift all the workers of our state.”
The inaugural Labor Day Report, among other things, highlights 10 key rights for workers in California; details various actions taken by the California Department of Justice to protect workers over the past year; and puts a spotlight on the pandemic’s disproportionate harms on women in the workforce — noting that the labor participation rate for women has fallen to its lowest level since 1988. This historic reduction has disproportionately harmed Black and Latina women who have experienced approximately double the rate of job loss as women overall. In the report, the Attorney General also highlights key federal legislation currently before Congress that — in line with existing laws in California — could help alleviate the impact of the pandemic on women in the workplace nationwide.
From the report, here are 10 things workers in California 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 directs you to the relevant agencies, including the California Department of Industrial Relations and the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing. If you believe you or someone you know is in immediate danger, call 911.
A copy of the 2021 Labor Day Report is available here.