5 things every employer should make sure employees know about their workplace rights

September 30, 2015 | 10:18 am


NOTE: The article below, written by Chain | Cohn | Stiles workers’ compensation attorneys James Yoro and Beatriz Trejo, appeared in the August/September 2015 issue of the Kern Business Journal. The Kern Business Journal is a bi-monthly publication of The Bakersfield Californian, showcasing business and industry developments across Kern County.

It is important for employers to talk to their employees about their rights at the workplace before an incident occurs. The personal injury and workers’ compensation* law firm Chain | Cohn | Stiles reminds employers to discuss regulatory issues, industry trends and state requirements with their employees.

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For employers, knowing information about regulatory issues, industry trends and state requirements is crucial to the success of a business. Business owners can even find themselves in regulatory trouble if they don’t follow new rules.

For example, it’s especially important and required, for California employers to post workplace information to inform their employees of their rights.

These postings must be in an area frequented by employees where it may be easily accessed and read during an average workday. Common locations for postings include a company break room, near an employee entrance, kitchen or copy room. Employers are required to post information about wages, hours, working conditions, unemployment insurance, and disability insurance and paid family leave.

Although additional posting requirements apply to certain employers, the basic posting requirements are clear for all employers. Here are just a few of them:

1) Essential notices

The California Department of Industrial Relations requires that most employers post the state’s minimum wage, provide information about paid sick leave, its entitlement and usage. An employer must also provide information indicating its regular paydays, including the time and place of payment.

2) Safety first

Although safety notices vary greatly depending on the employer, all employers must have pertinent information regarding safety rules in English and Spanish and have emergency responders’ phone numbers. Employers in certain industries, such as employers who use hazardous material or equipment or who employ more than a specified number of employees, may have additional posting requirements.

3) Benefits postings

All employers must post workers’ compensation information and benefits notices. There is no set format for providing this notice, so long as all necessary information is contained in it. Although an employer may elect to send their notices to the administrative director of the California Division of Workers’ Compensation for review and approval, most employer’s workers’ compensation insurance of claims administrator will often provide this service and will supply the employer with a professionally printed copy of the poster and worker’s compensation claims forms. Other forms or pamphlets might also need to be provided to new hires or in certain situations.

4) When to post

Employers need not replace the postings every year. Postings need to be revised and replaced when the content changes. Most postings do not change once the language has been established. The California Department of Industrial Relations will announce posting updates on its webpage – dir.ca.gov – when they occur.

5) Get some help

There are several agencies that help employers navigate through the posting requirements at no cost. The California Department of Industrial Relations provides a list of industries and occupational groups from which an employer can get information about specific posting requirements. The Industrial Welfare Commission also has an alphabetical index of businesses and occupations that provide employers information as to which wage order governs them. Cal/OSHA can also give employers a list of health and safety notices. Once an employer is registered with the California Employment Development Department, it will receive a notice to post from that agency. A comprehensive list of postings requirements can also be found at the California Tax Services Center website. Employers may also elect to use a private vendor to assemble packages of required posters.

– James Yoro is senior partner at Chain Cohn Stiles, where he manages the law firm’s workers’ compensation practice, and has nearly 40 years of experience in Kern County in his field. Beatriz Trejo is an associate attorney in the workers’ compensation department at Chain Cohn Stiles.

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For more information and tips on workers’ compensation or if you’ve been hurt while on the job, contact the Bakersfield workers’ compensation attorneys at 661-323-4000. Also, visit Chain | Cohn | Stiles’ specialized workers’ compensation website — for frequently asked questions and answers, and other information — by clicking here.

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*NOTICE: Making a false or fraudulent Workers’ Compensation claim is a felony subject to up to 5 years in a prison or a fine of up to $150,000 or double the values of the fraud, whichever is greater, or by both imprisonment and fine.