Five Brilliant Legal Tips That Prove You Should Be Following @ReelLaw on TikTok

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It can be easy to go through day-to-day routines without thinking much about our rights and protections. When life is going smoothly, people tend to overlook the laws and regulations that hold our jobs, schools, and communities together. People rarely visit an employment law office when things are fine at work.

Attorney Alex Winnick of Trujillo and Winnick LLP realized that people often don’t seek out legal knowledge until a problem has already developed, and he wanted to help. Without an understanding of employee rights under the law, legal issues and workplace problems can seem scary or overwhelming, causing increased anxiety and stress on top of the conflict at their roots.

Winnick set out to generate interest in the law and help people better understand parts of it that they might otherwise take for granted. While he was never much of a social media user before, he knew that was the best way to share his message. “I was pretty resistant to the world of social media before, but through my practice I have learned so many useful tools that people generally weren’t aware of, and I felt social media was the best way to spread the knowledge,” he shares.

After hearing about a fellow attorney who had left his firm to focus on TikTok, Winnick decided to create his own account, @ReelLaw, to help people understand their rights better. “The law can seem dull to some people, so I try to make the videos interesting, or at least kind of funny,” he says. “I’ve been studying how content is created and shared, I’m learning how to film and edit, and thanks to my kids, I’m starting to learn the language and landscape. As an added and unexpected benefit, I am having so much fun doing it.”

Each video features Winnick as the judge, plaintiff’s counsel, and defense counsel, with the help of a supporting cast of friends and family to play clients and other characters. With a simple, straight-forward dialogue, his skits break down the key points in the law being discussed. He always cites the case or law he is quoting from so that people can learn more for themselves, and trust the information is correct.

Using wigs, costumes, green screens, and filters,, Winnick has discovered a passion for making short skits rooted in a desire to give people legal knowledge without a three-year stint in law school.

“Researching for these videos has really amplified my interest in the law,” he says. “I am learning new tricks of the trade and I feel like if people knew what I know, they’d be interested in not just knowing their rights, but also utilizing them for their own benefit, too. Suing anonymously, time off from work, free parking, gift cards, jaywalking; there are so many topics I want to cover.”

Winnick focuses on positivity and fun in his videos, seeking to equip people and draw them into educating themselves, rather than creating fear and negativity. “I’m not there to tell people what they can’t do,” he explains. “I want to tell people what they can do. I want to expand people’s world of what they can do.”

When it comes to finding inspiration for his next video, Winnick primarily draws on the case law and regulations he utilizes on a daily basis in the legal field. “My practice mostly focuses on employment law, but it is natural and inevitable that we venture into different areas,” he says. “Just from working on so many diverse cases, there are so many interesting ideas that pop up. There’s over a hundred years worth of case law and statutes still in effect, so my source material seems endless.”

Employment law can be a confusing web to unravel on your own, but Winnick frames legal issues concisely in easy to grasp, fun to watch TikTok skits. Here are five insightful highlights from his account, @ReelLaw:

1. Your Right to Privacy Doesn’t End When You Go To Work

In an age where information is currency, it can feel like everyone is out to snag your private data. Fortunately, Winnick shared the legal protections in place to make sure that your employer can’t retaliate against you for your private email communications, even while you are at work!

Employees do a lot of non-work things at the office, whether they are eating lunch and conversing with coworkers or making a phone call to make dinner plans with a friend while relaxing on a break. Sometimes an email sent while an employee is at work can contain private or sensitive information, like medical data or even criticism of a manager or employer.

If an employer gains access to the private email data of an employee, the employer may try to take retaliatory action based on the information they glean from the employee’s private communications. This is a clear violation of an employee’s right to privacy.

According to a decision handed down by the Central District Court of California, employers can’t legally scrutinize communications in private emails, even when you send them from your office.

2. You Have a Right to Work a Second Job

In today’s job market, it can sometimes be difficult to meet individual goals for income and financial security with one job alone. Since our constitution ensures us of the rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, many make the leap to working two jobs as a means of creating income for the happiness they pursue.

The advent of work from home positions and flexible work schedules has turned working two jobs from an impossibility to an exciting new opportunity for ambitious employees.

Unfortunately, however, employers have been more reluctant to fully embrace the idea of an employee who has other work obligations. As a result of this, some employers require new hires to sign contracts stating that they will not get a second job.

Winnick’s video explains how California Labor Code has made these types of contracts unenforceable in many circumstances, giving some employees a cause of action against their employer if they are terminated or otherwise retaliated against for obtaining a second job. Your right to achieve your full work potential is protected, whether your employer likes it or not.

3. You Have a Right to Not Get Burned Out at Work

“Four hours of hard work and no rest-break makes Jack a dull boy”… or whatever they said in The Shining.

Seriously though, the long half of the work day can sometimes feel like it will never end. This feeling can often devolve into severe cases of burnout if preventative measures are not taken to ensure that the employee has time throughout the day to disconnect from their work and reconnect with themselves or others.

Enter the Rest Break! According to Winnick’s TikTok, California Labor Code has defined a rest break as ten minutes of dedicated leisure time, in an area away from the workspace. This break can be taken once for every four hours an employee works, and is factored into the employee’s timesheet as time worked. A ten minute rest break ensures that employees have an opportunity to enjoy a brief break from the day’s work, while not losing any wages for time spent not working.

Avoiding burnout on the job should be a priority for employees and their employers, since a happier workforce promotes productivity and growth. This lesser known section of California Labor Code affirms this conclusion, by requiring that employers compensate employees for a full hour of wages if the employee is required to work four straight hours without receiving a rest break.

4. You Have a Right to Express Yourself at Work

Our freedom of expression is one of the most important rights protected by the constitution, made even more invaluable by the daily challenges many face to be who they truly want to be. Oftentimes this conflict surfaces in the workplace, where employers may seek to interfere with the free expression of their employees.

Employees may feel pressure, either through subtle hints or overt actions of their employers, which may dissuade them from making style choices that reflect the way they wish to be seen, for fear of retaliation by their employer.

In response to this problem, Winnick explains that the Court of Appeals of California firmly sided with the employee’s rights, and with our constitution, in a 1967 decision which created the precedent in place today: Employers cannot retaliate against employees based on their appearance in any way, ensuring that employees don’t have to give up their personal identities when joining the workforce.

5. Don’t Judge an Employee by Their Job Title

You’ve heard the phrase “don’t judge a book by its cover,” but you might not have heard that the same principle applies to many legal issues. Winnick explains that the benefits and protections an employee is entitled to is one of many instances where looks can be deceiving.

When determining whether an employee is eligible for things like overtime pay, California courts spend little to no time evaluating what the employee’s job title would entitle them to. Instead, courts look directly at the duties which an employee is responsible for carrying out in the course of their employment.

By focusing on the duties of an employee, the court nullifies a common tactic of employers who want to avoid certain requirements, like overtime pay, which don’t apply to employees who operate in upper management positions. The practice of giving an employee job titles that don’t correlate to their duties is sidestepped by a focus only on the employee’s duties within the company.


The best way to protect your rights is to understand them better than your employer. With his extensive experience in employment law, and fun, informative content, @ReelLaw is definitely a TikTok account you should be following!

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