Month: July 2017

Tip Basics for Employees – Part I

Tip jar with money

The basic rule of tips is that they belong to the employee, not the employer. Under California law, an employer cannot take any part of a tip that’s left for an employee.

This means that you can’t be forced to share your tips with the owners, managers, or supervisors of the business (who are all considered to be the agents of the employer).

Your employer also can’t count your tips towards its minimum wage obligations. In most other states, employers may pay employees less than the minimum wage, as long as the employees earn enough in tips to make up the difference (called a “tip credit”).

David Payab, Esq. from The Law Offices of Payab & Associates can be reached @ (800) 401-4466 or by visiting http://payablaw.com

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California Laws for Tipped Employees

Business lunch waiter taking order at restaurant

Do you earn tips?

Plenty of employees in California do, including those who wait tables, serve and mix drinks, open doors, carry luggage, clean hotel rooms, or provide other services, from moving furniture to delivering newspapers.

In fact, some employees earn more in tips from satisfied customers than in straight wages paid by their employers.

When you receive tips as part of your compensation, your legal rights under wage and hour laws become a bit more complicated.

The rules about what counts as a tip, how much your employer must pay you, and whether you have to contribute to a tip pool (among other things) all depend on the laws of your state. Although federal law also covers these issues, employers must follow whichever law—federal, state, or even local—is the most generous to employees.

California law is very protective of employees, so state laws typically trump federal laws on wages and hours.

David Payab, Esq. from The Law Offices of Payab & Associates can be reached @ (800) 401-4466 or by visiting http://payablaw.com

California Laws on Employer Use of Arrest and Conviction Records

California Laws on Employer Use of Arrest and Conviction Records

If you are among the estimated one in four Americans with a criminal record, you might face an uphill battle in your job search. Surveys show that a majority of employers—92%, according to one survey—perform criminal background checks when hiring for at least some positions.

If a prospective employer finds out that you have an arrest or conviction record, you might find it difficult to compete, especially in today’s tight job market.

Job seekers with criminal records have some legal rights. Federal and state laws place some limits on how employers can use these records in making job decisions. California has a number of legal protections in place for job seekers.

David Payab, Esq. from The Law Offices of Payab & Associates can be reached @ (800) 401-4466 or by visiting http://payablaw.com

Vacation Accrual in California

Vacation Accrual in California

In general, vacation accrues over time as an employee works. For example, if a vacation policy gives an employee ten days of vacation each year, he or she will accrue five days of vacation after working for six months.

Employers can designate a waiting period at the beginning of employment before vacation starts to accrue, though. The waiting period often correlates with the 90-day introductory period, but can be as long as the first year of employment.

Employers can also give vacation to certain groups of employees but not others, as long as they don’t discriminate based on a protected characteristic, such as race or gender. For example, employers may give vacation only to full-time employees or only to managers.

David Payab, Esq. from The Law Offices of Payab & Associates can be reached @ (800) 401-4466 or by visiting http://payablaw.com

California Rules on Vacation and Paid Time Off

California Rules on Vacation and Paid Time Off

In California, employers are not required to provide any paid vacation or paid time off (PTO) to their employees.

However, studies have shown that giving employees time off to relax benefits not only employees, but also employers.

Happier, healthier employees usually mean greater productivity and employee retention for employers. Because of this, many employers choose to offer vacation as a benefit of employment.

Employers who choose to offer vacation must follow certain guidelines. California law considers accrued vacation to be a form of wages that have already been earned by the employee.

Among other things, this means that accrued vacation cannot expire and must be paid out to an employee upon termination or separation from the employer.

David Payab, Esq. from The Law Offices of Payab & Associates can be reached @ (800) 401-4466 or by visiting http://payablaw.com

Employee Claims Arising From Drug Testing

Employee Claims Arising From Drug Testing

Drug testing may give rise to other legal problems.

Here’s some examples:

Disability discrimination – an applicant or employee who is taking medication for a disability is protected by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Some prescribed medications turn up on drug tests, and some drugs that would otherwise be illegal (such as opiates) are legitimately prescribed for certain conditions.

If an applicant is turned down because of a positive drug test, and the applicant’s medication was legally prescribed for a disability, the company could be liable (unless the drug is medical marijuana).

Other discrimination claims – an employer who singles out certain groups of employees – for example, by race, age, or gender – for drug testing could face a discrimination claim.

David Payab, Esq. from The Law Offices of Payab & Associates can be reached @ (800) 401-4466 or by visiting http://payablaw.com

Rules for Job Applicants and Drug Testing in California

Rules for Job Applicants and Drug Testing in California

California court cases have found that employers may require employees to pass a drug test as a condition of employment. As long as an employer tests all applicants for particular job positions and doesn’t single out certain applicants based on protected characteristics (such as race or disability), courts have upheld this type of testing.

California allows residents to use marijuana for medical purposes. State law requires users to get a doctor’s written authorization to use marijuana. A patient who has a valid prescription may not be prosecuted under state law for crimes relating to the use, possession, or cultivation of a certain amount of marijuana.

However, California’s Supreme Court has held that an employer may refuse to hire an applicant who tests positive for marijuana, even if the drug is legally prescribed for a disability.

David Payab, Esq. from The Law Offices of Payab & Associates can be reached @ (800) 401-4466 or by visiting http://payablaw.com

California Laws on Drug Testing

California Laws on Drug Testing

Has your California employer or prospective employer asked you to take a drug test?

Although the federal government requires testing by employers in a few safety-sensitive industries (such transportation, aviation, and contractors with NASA and the Department of Defense), federal law doesn’t otherwise require – or prohibit drug tests. For the most part, this area is regulated by state and local laws.

California is one of the few states with a state Constitution that includes a right to privacy. That right extends not only to government employees, but to employees in private industry as well.

California courts have held that this right is implicated by drug testing, but that doesn’t always mean drug testing is illegal. Testing is judged on a case-by-case basis, balancing the employer’s reasons for testing against the intrusion on the employee or applicant.

David Payab, Esq. from The Law Offices of Payab & Associates can be reached @ (800) 401-4466 or by visiting http://payablaw.com

Where Do Wage and Hour Laws in California Come From?

Where Do Wage and Hour Laws in California Come From

The federal wage and hour law is called the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). California also has its own wage and hour laws, and some local governments do, too.

An employer who is subject to more than one law must follow the law that is most generous to the employee. For example, the federal minimum wage is currently $7.25 per hour, but employers in California, which has a higher minimum wage, must pay the higher amount.

David Payab, Esq. from The Law Offices of Payab & Associates can be reached @ (800) 401-4466 or by visiting http://payablaw.com