A California employment contract is drafted at the start of the employee-employer relationship to specify each party’s rights and responsibilities. The contract’s purpose is to clarify the job’s expectations, including the employee’s duties, whether they are part or full-time, and if they’re to receive a salary or hourly wage.
While most workers have the right to end their employment without notice for any reason (“at-will”), the contract can be made to have a specific start and end date, thus obligating the employee to complete the indicated work term. Regardless of the type of employment, it is important that each party entering into the agreement review the contact terms and conditions to ensure they have a complete understanding of their implications.
Independent Contractor Agreement – Specifies the details of a work assignment given to an independent contractor by a client.
Subcontractor Agreement – Drafted to ensure a subcontractor and general contractor uphold their duties during the course of a work assignment.
- Labor Statutes: California Labor Code
- Definition of Employee: § 3351
- Minimum Wage: $15.00 (§ 1182.12(b)(1)(E))
- Overtime: One and a half (1.5) times the employee’s usual wage. Two (2) times the usual wage if work exceeds twelve (12) hours in one day or eight (8) hours on the seventh (7th) day (§ 510).
- Record Keeping: All employers must maintain employee records for no less than three (3) years (§ 1174).
Permitted? Yes, California law states that an at-will working relationship can be terminated. However, there are the following exceptions to this rule:
- Retaliation against complaints or claims (§ 98.6(a), § 1153(d), § 6310(a)(1) – (2), and § 6399.7);
- Jury duty, court appearances, attempting to obtain victim relief (§ 230(a)-(c));
- Status as a victim of abuse or crime (§ 230(e) and § 230.5(a)(1) – (2));
- Emergency volunteer duty (§ 230.3(a) and § 1502);
- Taking time off to make a requested appearance at the school of their child (§ 230.7(a));
- Disclosing wage amounts, working conditions (§ 232(c) and § 232.5(c));
- Paid sick leave (§ 233(c));
- Disclosing personal social media information (§ 980(e));
- Refusal to work overtime (§ 1198.3(b));
- Wage garnishment (§ 2929(b));
- Participating in an occupational health and safety committee or reporting a work-related accident (§ 6310(a)(3) – (4));
- Refusal of unsafe work (§ 6311); or
- Political affiliation (§ 1102).