The 2018 midterm elections are just around the corner, and millions of California voters have a little more than two weeks to make up their minds about whom they will vote for.
But hundreds of thousands of voters in California will not go to the polling stations to cast their votes for either Republicans or Democrats for one reason: work.
“Every election, be it presidential or midterm, an estimated hundreds of thousands of California voters give up their right to vote out of fear of facing retaliation from their employer, losing their job or missing out on pay,” says our Los Angeles employment law attorney at Rager & Yoon – Employment Lawyers. “But the vast majority of these Californians do not realize that taking adverse employment action against an employee for taking a few hours off from work to vote on Election Day is prohibited by law.”
What voting rights do you have as an employee in California?
Unfortunately, most California voters do not know their voting rights in the workplace. This explains why employed Californians generate low turnout on Election Day despite their strong political opinions.
According to Section 14000 of the California Elections Code, workers in Los Angeles, Riverside, and all across California are guaranteed to have up to two hours off from work to be able to vote on Election Day. And the 2018 midterm elections are no exception.
The logic behind the law is to encourage California workers to vote on Election Day without having to fear retaliation from their employer for being absent from work or leaving work early to vote. The idea is to ensure that your employer and work cannot prevent you from voting.
Who qualifies for paid time off to vote on Election Day?
“I’m sure there are certain limitations as to who qualifies to take paid time off to vote,” you are probably thinking. Our experienced employment law attorney in Los Angeles explains that all those who work and vote in California have the same voting rights regardless of how long they have been working for their employer.
However, certain legal requirements must be met before employees can exercise their voting rights and take advantage of the law. The first requirement is that employees are entitled to take paid time off to vote only if they do not have any time to vote outside of working hours. In Los Angeles and elsewhere in California, polling stations open at 7 am and close at 8 pm on the 2018 midterm election day.
If your work schedule makes it impossible for you to vote from 7 am to 8 pm on election day, you may qualify to take advantage of the law and take paid time off to vote. “But before you do so, be sure to notify your employer,” advises our Los Angeles employment law attorney.
Under California law, employees who are planning to take time off to vote must notify their employers at least to work days before the election. When your employer receives your letter of notice, he or she can have the freedom to choose when you will have to time off to vote. More often than not, employers allow their employees to vote at the beginning or end of their shift.
Did your employer violate your voting rights or prevent you from voting in the 2018 midterm elections? Consult with our lawyers at Rager & Yoon – Employment Lawyers to speak about your case. Get a free consultation by calling at 310-527-6994.