What Rights Can’t An Employee Waive in California?

By: JML Law | June 14, 2022.
What Rights Can’t An Employee Waive in California?

Each state has its own labor code. This means that employment laws vary from one state to another.

These differences can impact both employers and employees in numerous ways. For example, in many states, there are certain rights employees are granted under a labor code that may be waived in unique circumstances.

Knowing which rights can and cannot be waived is critical. Employers do not want to find themselves in legal trouble because they allowed an employee to waive a right when the law forbids doing so.

The following is not an exhaustive list. These are merely some of the more significant rights employees generally cannot waive in California:

The right to a minimum wage

California law does not permit an employer to pay a worker less than the minimum wage. The right to a minimum wage is a very clear-cut example of a right that an employee may not waive in California.

The right to overtime pay

Employees may also not waive the right to receive overtime pay. However, this issue is slightly more complex than minimum wage.

This is partially due to the fact that some employees are exempt from receiving overtime pay. Additionally, even if an employee is not exempt, the amount of overtime pay they may receive will depend on the number of hours they work. Consult with a California employment law attorney if you believe you have been deprived of overtime pay you have earned.

The right to reimbursement for necessary expenses

California’s labor code requires employers to reimburse workers for “necessary expenditures or losses incurred by the employee” associated with their job duties. An employer attempting to save money might try to convince an employee to waive their right to reimbursement. This is another right that cannot be waived under California’s employment laws.

That said, sometimes employers may attempt to argue that an employee does not deserve to be reimbursed for certain expenses because they do not qualify as “necessary expenditures.” An employee does not need to immediately accept their employer’s argument when this occurs. They can consult with a legal professional to learn if they are not being reimbursed when they should be.

It is not merely important for employers to understand which rights California’s labor code prohibits employees from waiving. Employees themselves must also be aware of the rights they cannot waive.

This is key to guarding against being taken advantage of by an unscrupulous employer. For various reasons, an employer may suggest that an employee can waive certain rights in exchange for other perks or benefits. An employee may agree to waive such rights if they are not thoroughly versed in California’s employment laws.

Do you have reason to believe that an employer convinced you to waive a right that you should not have been able to waive? If so, review your case with a Los Angeles employment law attorney at JML Law. One of our experts will evaluate your situation and help you better understand your legal options in these circumstances. Learn more about how we can help by contacting us online or calling us today at 818-610-8800.

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