California employees generally go to work to support themselves and their families. In exchange for their hard work, employees expect to be compensated. California and federal employment laws include minimum wage laws that define how little an employee can make per hour.

Despite these rules, some California employees still choose to pay their employees less than minimum wage. Other employers try to avoid overtime pay. Or, refuse to pay benefits that were promised to employees. However, employees across the United States are noticing these discrepancies in larger numbers and are doing something about it.

Therefore, wage-and-hour disputes have been rising. In 2013, there was a 10 percent increase in the number of these types of disputes across the nation compared to 2012. Experts predict that these numbers will also increase in 2014. These claims are particularly prevalent in California due to the employee friendly laws.

California workers should make sure they understand their employee rights when they feel like they are being mistreated at work. Workers’ rights do not stop at pay and benefits but also include other rights. These include the right to a safe working conditions, freedom from retaliation and discrimination.

If employees are being mistreated at work, the employees may have the right to bring a suit against their employer. However, these legal actions can be complicated and require extensive employment law knowledge. Furthermore, some of these claims may be limited to a certain amount of time. With the right help, employees can change their work environments for the better, and receive compensation for the unfair treatment they have been subjected to.

Source: The Wall Street Journal, “Law 2014: Within Employment Discrimination, It’s a Wage-and-Hour World,” Ashby Jones, Dec. 30, 2013