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California Labor Law

California Employment Law Overview

Each day, California employers look to CalChamber and HRCalifornia for advice about pressing California employment laws and HR issues — such as workplace harassment, leaves of absence and employee compensation — as navigating these and other complex legal requirements in California can be difficult for large and small employers alike. Through the HRCalifornia website, we help our members create effective human resources policies and resolve human resources issues in a manner that conforms to California employment law.

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This California employment law overview provides insight into the HR topics that our members most frequently contact us about. These introductory articles are drawn from the HRCalifornia Library; they’re not intended to provide complete compliance information. If you need additional support, consider becoming a CalChamber member today and receive full access to HRCalifornia, which includes the HR Library, various forms and tools, and regular California employment law updates. CalChamber Preferred and Executive members also receive unlimited access to our Labor Law Helpline.

California Employment Law and HR Topics

HRCalifornia is home to California employment law resources that can not only help employers provide appropriate advice to their California employees, but also help human resources develop and implement appropriate workplace policies.

California Labor Law: Where to Begin

Working in human resources in the state of California requires knowledge of a wide variety of HR topics. In addition to understanding employment law in California, human resources professionals must create company policies, communicate those policies to employees, manage hiring and termination, and handle employee benefits.

Helping You Understand California Employment Law on HRCalifornia

Trying to understand California labor law can be overwhelming, but as a member of CalChamber, you can find the information you need in one convenient location. Our HRCalifornia HR Library is conveniently organized by the topics most important to human resources professionals, including benefits, compensation, discrimination, health and safety, time off and more. Whenever you need to know the minimum requirements for compliance for any HR topic, or you simply want a better understanding of California employment law, you can find it in the HR Library.

Keeping track of all HR topics can be overwhelming. At HRCalifornia, you'll find many required forms and checklists you need to handle most HR issues. The CalChamber Store offers products and training to help every human resources department stay current on California employment laws.

Top California Labor Law Issues

The topics below cover some of the most popular areas for which our members search. If you want more information on each topic, just click on the topic name.

Overtime Pay
Learn how to ensure that your nonexempt employees are receiving proper California overtime pay.

Independent Contractors
This page talks about how to determine whether an individual is an independent contractor and if you’re complying with laws governing independent contractors.

Exempt and Nonexempt Wizard
Use this guide to determine which of your California employees are considered exempt or nonexempt under California law.

Meal and Rest Breaks Quiz
Meal and rest break compliance continues to be the source of much litigation for California employers, so it’s extremely important for them to understand meal and rest breaks requirements.

Calculating Work Hours/Travel Time
Calculating travel time can be challenging. Learn more about this important element of paying and scheduling your California employees.

Leave Interaction Wizard: Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA), California Family Rights Act (CFRA) and Pregnancy Disability Leave (PDL). How to ensure your business is complying with both federal and California law regarding medical or family leave.

Sexual Harassment Quiz
It's essential that you understand what constitutes sexual harassment and take steps to prevent and stop harassment in the workplace. California employers with five or more employees must provide harassment prevention training to all employees.

California Workers' Compensation
California employment law requires all employers to carry workers' compensation insurance. Learn more about your rights and responsibilities, as well as those of your employees.

Employee Handbook
Why you need a comprehensive employee handbook to inform your employees of their rights and responsibilities using required HR policies.

Drug and Alcohol Testing
Although employers have rights regarding drug testing, tests must be properly performed. Learn more about California employee drug testing under California law.

Employee Termination Checklist
To avoid lawsuits, employees must be properly terminated. Learn more about your responsibilities regarding proper employee termination in California.

COBRA Health Insurance
Learn more about the COBRA program and which information you need to provide to California employees regarding their rights to continued health insurance.

Helping Employees Understand California Law

As a California employer, you play many roles in your company. One of them is to ensure all your employees understand California employment laws, as well as your company HR policies. CalChamber and HRCalifornia have the tools you need to convey the necessary information to your employees.

An employee handbook is key in communicating information regarding employment laws and human resources policies. Not only do CalChamber members have access to useful employee handbook advice and information, but our Employee Handbook Creator product can help you create an employee handbook that conforms to California employment laws and labor law regulations.

Employee handbooks aren't the only way to communicate with your employees. California and federal law mandate all employers to display required posters and notices in a prominent place where they can be viewed by all employees. You can find these required and recommended posters and notices at HRCalifornia and in our CalChamber Store.

Employers are exposed to lawsuits every time they take action related to employees, or when they fail to take necessary action. You can avoid these risks through proper employee training. CalChamber offers products that can help you provide workplace health and safety training, as well as mandatory supervisory and nonsupervisory employee training regarding harassment in the workplace. California state laws require that training must take place within six months of hire or promotion and every two years thereafter. CalChamber can help you stay in compliance with California and federal requirements.

Knowing California employment law is an important part of your job. Educate yourself on all of the California laws, communicate with your employees, and find the tools that help you work smarter, not harder — all at

Additional Resources

HR Library Features

The content in this section is drawn from the HRCalifornia HR Library. Many other topics are covered in the library including:

  • Unemployment Insurance: The Unemployment Insurance (UI) system is a federal/state program. In California, the program’s cost is financed by employers through state and federal UI taxes.
  • Retaliation: Both federal and state laws protect employees and applicants from employer retaliation for engaging in activity protected by anti-discrimination law.
  • Record Retention: Employers often are confused about which records to keep, how long to keep them and where to store them. Use these resources and tools to clarify your requirements.
  • ADA and Accessibility: In this section, you'll find information about California accessibility laws and standards, your responsibilities as a business owner or operator, and practical advice on how to help make your California business more accessible to people with disabilities.

To read these topic reviews and other valuable information and advice, become a CalChamber member today.

Recent Legal Updates

Members can access reports on the latest California labor laws, how they could affect your company, and what you should do in response, as well as employment law updates and changes to important California and federal legislation.


With your CalChamber membership, you'll have access to the best and most current HR tools, posters, training materials, labor law information and more through and discounts at the CalChamber Store. Join today!

CalChamber and HRCalifornia are dedicated to ensuring that our members are compliant with all state and federal employment laws in California. Become a member today to enjoy these important benefits.