Under Labor Code §6400, an employer must maintain a “safe and healthful” workplace. If an employee refuses to work because the work place is not safe and healthful, violates other Cal OSHA safety or health standards, or violates any Cal OSHA safety order, then the employer may not layoff or discharge that employee. (Labor Code §6311.) If the discharged employee can prove that any of the above violations created a “real and apparent” hazard, the employee will be entitled to claim all wages for the time the employee is without work because of the layoff or discharge.
Finally, if an employee complains about unsafe or unhealthy work conditions, then the employer may not terminate the complaining employee or discriminate against that employee because the employee made such a bona fide complaint. (Labor Code §6310.) If the employee can prove discrimination under Labor Code §6310, then the employee may claim reinstatement and reimbursement of lost wages and benefits.
S. Ward Heinrichs, Esq.
Employment Law Office of Ward Heinrichs
4565 Ruffner Street, Suite 207
San Diego, CA 92111
(858) 408-7543 (fax)