employment law

5 Fundamental Rules to Know About Travel Pay

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Travel pay disputes, including business trips and mandatory off-site training to commuting time, waiting time, and on-call time, are the center of many employment lawsuits.

Here are 5 basic rules to understanding travel pay:

1. Commuting time from an employee’s regular place of work each day is not work time, so employers do not have to pay employees for this time.
2. If an employee spend time traveling to a location for a special assignment, or spends significant travel time for an emergency outside normal work hours, that time spent traveling during regular work hours is considered part of principal job duties. Travel in these circumstances or outside of normal work hours is compensable work time.
3. If an employee reports to a central location to pick up equipment before proceeding to his or her assigned worksite, the time spent traveling to the central location is not work time. The time spent traveling to the assigned worksite is work time.
4. Overnight travel or travel away from home is always work time under California law. Under federal law, it is work time only when it cuts across the employee’s normal workday and/or requires the employee to work on weekends or days when he or she would not otherwise be required to work.
5. Regular meal periods and time spent sleeping or in other leisure activities while traveling is not work time, and the employer does not have to pay the employee for this time.

The Law Offices of Payab & Associates is a Los Angeles based law firm with more than 17 years of experience in employment cases. Our office has successfully litigated many complex disputes including wrongful termination, sexual harassment, racial discrimination, wage and labor disputes, and retaliation cases.

Questions about your rights at the workplace? Contact the Law Offices of Payab & Associates @ (800) 401-4466 or visit http://employmentlawyersla.com/

How Does the Reasonable Accommodation Process Work?

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In the second part of a two-part series, we will explain how the Reasonable Accommodation process works.

In general, the reasonable accommodation requirement starts when the employer learns of the employee’s need for a change and that the need is related to a medical condition. The employee does not have to expressly say the words “I need a reasonable accommodation for my disability.” The employee simply needs to make a request for a change that will allow him or her to perform the essential job functions, and it needs to be noted that the request is due to a medical condition.

After an employer gets a request for a reasonable accommodation, the next step is to use an interactive process to determine whether the request will be granted. This process requires an interaction between the employer and employee to determine what reasonable accommodations the employer may be able to provide. This process does not have to be formal or even in writing. However, it may be best for the employer to document the interactions. The interactive process should clarify the individual’s needs and assess what accommodations might meet those needs.

The employer and employee may discuss possibilities of reasonable accommodations. Then the employer assesses which alternative might work best. Of course the employee should have input. However, the employee’s first choice of accommodation does not have to be the final selection if the employer can offer an alternative that still allows the employee to perform the essential functions of the job.

Note, the only reason an employer can deny a reasonable accommodation request is if it would present an undue hardship on the employer. An undue hardship could be financial, or it could mean that it is too disruptive to implement. However, the undue hardship standard is a very high threshold to cross. It takes into account the finances and performance of the company. That said, an employer is not obligated to remove essential job functions either. If the employee is unable to perform essential job functions and no reasonable accommodation exists, that employee may no longer be qualified to perform the job.

The Law Offices of Payab & Associates is a Los Angeles based law firm with more than 17 years of experience in employment cases. Our office has successfully litigated many complex disputes including wrongful termination, sexual harassment, racial discrimination, wage and labor disputes, and retaliation cases.

Are you or anyone you know been discriminated at work? Contact the Law Offices of Payab & Associates @ (800) 401-4466 or visit http://employmentlawyersla.com/ if you have any questions regarding your rights at the workplace.

6 Common Interview Questions That Are Actually Illegal

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Did you know that during job interviews, any questions that reveal your age, race, national origin, gender, religion, marital status, or sexual orientations are off-limits?

Any question that asks a candidate to reveal information about such topics without the question having a job related basis will violate state and federal discrimination laws. However, if the employer asks questions so that they directly relate to specific occupational qualifications, then the questions may be legitimate.

The following is a list of questions that are illegal for job interviewers to ask:
1. Have you ever been arrested? An employer can’t actually legally ask you about your arrest record, but they can ask if you’ve ever been convicted of a crime.
2. What country are you from? This question is illegal because it involves your national origin. Employers can’t legally inquire about your nationality, but they can ask if you’re authorized to work in a certain country.
3. Is English your first language? However, in order to find out language proficiency, employers can ask you what other languages you read, speak, or write fluently.
4. Are you married? This is illegal because it reveals your marital status and can also reveal your sexual orientation.
5. What religious holidays do you practice? This question reveals your religion and that’s illegal.
6. Do you have children? It is unlawful to deny someone employment if they have children or if they are planning on having children in the future. However, the employer may ask, “What hours can you work?” or “Do you have responsibilities other than work that will interfere with specific job requirements such as traveling?”

PRACTICAL ADVISE: If you are asked any inappropriate questions, politely decline to answer.

Read More: http://goo.gl/2hmvDZ

The Law Offices of Payab & Associates is a Los Angeles based law firm with more than 17 years of experience in employment cases. Our office has successfully litigated many complex disputes including wrongful termination, sexual harassment, racial discrimination, wage and labor disputes, and retaliation cases.

Are you or anyone you know been discriminated at work? Contact the Law Offices of Payab & Associates @ (800) 401-4466 or visit http://employmentlawyersla.com/ if you have any questions regarding your rights at the workplace.

The 5 Sins of Wage and Hour Management

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The 5 most commons sins managers and supervisors commit in paying, or not paying, employees what they are owed:

1. Failure to pay the minimum wage. “We’ll pay you $5 an hour until you learn the ropes; then you move up to $7 an hour.” This is illegal.
2. Failure to pay for all hours worked. “Be sure to stay close to your phone after work in case that customer calls in from the East Coast.” Employers must pay employees for all hours worked, even if the employee has volunteered to do the work without pay. Some examples include expecting employees to take customer calls off hours or insisting that they answer the phone during an unpaid lunch break.
3. Misclassifying as exempt. “Your title is Assistant manager; you’re exempt.” Companies may classify workers as exempt to avoid paying overtime and/or to avoid paying for extra hours worked. However, an employee’s title does not mean anything and the fact that the person is paid on a salary basis does not mean anything — it’s the job duties that determine whether a worker is exempt.
4. Misclassifying as independent contractors. “You’ll be working alongside our regular employees but you’ll be an independent contractor.” Many employers may classify workers as independent contractors in order to avoid payments that would have been made to employees on their behalf (e.g., Social Security). But many so-called “independent contractors” are actually employees. The more control the employer has over how the person does the job, the more likely that worker is not an independent contractor.
5. Failure to properly calculate and pay overtime. Employers can’t avoid their obligation to pay overtime. Under federal law, the employer is obligated to pay the employee at a rate of 1.5 times the regular rate for all hours worked over 40 in a workweek. Employees are also entitled to overtime pay for all hours worked over 8 hours a day. Finally, employers must pay employees at a rate of 2 times the regular hourly pay, if the employees works over 12 hours in one day.

Read More: http://goo.gl/EedPDh

The Law Offices of Payab & Associates is a Los Angeles based law firm with more than 17 years of experience in employment cases. Our office has successfully litigated many complex disputes including wrongful termination, sexual harassment, racial discrimination, wage and labor disputes, and retaliation cases.

Questions about your rights at the workplace? Contact the Law Offices of Payab & Associates @ (800) 401-4466 or visit http://employmentlawyersla.com/

$21.8 Million Dollar Verdict for Wrongful Termination of Customer Service Rep

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Plaintiff, 32 year-old customer service representative, took a doctor-approved leave of absence because she was suffering from panic attacks. When she was on the leave of absence, Defendant fired her. Plaintiff sued Defendant for disability discrimination, failure to accommodate, failure to engage in interactive process, retaliation, and wrongful termination.

The jury awarded Plaintiff a $21.8 million dollar verdict, including $500,000 in economic damages, $5 million in non-economic damages, and $16 million in punitive damages.

Read More: http://goo.gl/EcDK1a

The Law Offices of Payab & Associates is a Los Angeles based law firm with more than 17 years of experience in disability discrimination cases. Our office has successfully litigated many complex disputes including wrongful termination, sexual harassment, racial discrimination, wage and labor disputes, and retaliation cases.

Are you or anyone you know been discriminated at work? Contact the Law Offices of Payab & Associates @ (800) 401-4466 or visit http://employmentlawyersla.com/ if you have any questions regarding your rights at the workplace.

What Constitutes Unacceptable Harassment at Work?

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Here is a list of 16 examples of harassing behavior:

• Unwelcome or inappropriate touch, such as patting, pinching, or brushing against someone
• Mimicking or making fun of someone’s accent, disability, diction, gestures, or manner of speech or religious, racial, or ethnic attire or dress
• Sexual flirtations, bantering, etc.
• Sexually suggestive conversations, comments, questions, stories
• Racial, ethnic, or religious jokes or jokes that belittle or stereotype any other protected group
• Obscene, sexual, or suggestive materials, cartoons, objects, photos, etc.
• Hate symbols, such as a noose, a swastika, or a KKK symbol
• Nicknames that relate to any protected group, such as “Grandpa”
• Linking employment decisions or benefits to a subordinate’s submission or refusal to submit to sexual advances
• Questions or comments about an employee’s actual or perceived sexual orientation
• Asking for sex and other sexual advances or propositions
• Sexual or suggestive jokes
• Sexual or physical assault
• Hate slurs that relate to any protected group, such as the “N” word and the “C” word
• Stereotyping comments, such as “you don’t sound …”
• Other inappropriate or unprofessional conduct that relates to or is directed at a protected group

Who Can Be Held Liable for Harassment at Work?
Not only is the employer liable but also managers and supervisors may be personally liable.

Read More: http://goo.gl/bO5sFj

The Law Offices of Payab & Associates is a Los Angeles based law firm with more than 17 years of experience in sexual harassment cases. Our office has successfully litigated many complex disputes including wrongful termination, sexual harassment, racial discrimination, wage and labor disputes, and retaliation cases.

Are you or anyone you know been sexually harassed at work? Contact the Law Offices of Payab & Associates @ (800) 401-4466 or visit http://employmentlawyersla.com/ if you have any questions regarding your rights at the workplace.

8 Secrets to Keeping Employees Happy


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Bonuses, perks, and paid days off aren’t enough to keep employees happy. Showing an employee how much the company values and appreciates them on a personal level is a much more successful way to keeping employees happy. Research has shown that employees with high job satisfaction are generally more productive and loyal to their companies.

The following are ways to keeping employees happy:
1. Be transparent. The number one to employee happiness is transparency. This requires an ongoing dialogue between management and staff.
2. Recognize and reward employees. Achievement and recognition are high motivators for employees.
3. Encourage communications in common areas. Employees should be free to communicate and share ideas.
4. Offer benefits beyond the basics. For example, other ancillary benefits, such as dental, optical wellness are well received by employees. And gym memberships and transit benefits are great ways to keep employees happy and healthy.
5. Make employees part of the big picture. Frequent and clear communication on company happenings make a difference in keeping employees happy.
6. Cut back on emails and meetings. Replacing meetings and emails with technology that helps them save time rewards productivity.
7. Ask employees for their input. Company surveys can help employers create a more positive work environment.
8. Keep in touch. A one-on-one conversation with an employee goes a long way.

Read More: http://goo.gl/oSXnhM

The Law Offices of Payab & Associates is a Los Angeles based law firm with more than 17 years of experience in employment cases. Our office has successfully litigated many complex disputes including wrongful termination, sexual harassment, racial discrimination, wage and labor disputes, and retaliation cases.

Questions about your rights at the workplace? Contact the Law Offices of Payab & Associates @ (800) 401-4466 or visit http://employmentlawyersla.com/

California’s DFEH Report Highlights Discrimination Trends

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The California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH), California’s civil rights agency, recently submitted an annual report showing trends toward filings related to disability, race and gender-based discrimination.

In 2012, there were 19,839 employment cases filed with the DFEH. The majority of the DFEH cases were for: Disability Discrimination (13,452), Race/Color Discrimination (6,990), and Sexual Harassment (6,169).

Trending in 2014 is an expected increase in discrimination cases based on gender, gender identity and gender expression. Also trending is an expected increase in cases brought under the California Family Rights Act and Pregnancy Disability Leave laws.

Read More: http://goo.gl/uvAb3h

The Law Offices of Payab & Associates is a Los Angeles based law firm with more than 17 years of experience in employment cases. Our office has successfully litigated many complex disputes including wrongful termination, sexual harassment, racial discrimination, wage and labor disputes, and retaliation cases.

Are you or anyone you know been discriminated at work? Contact the Law Offices of Payab & Associates @ (800) 401-4466 or visit http://employmentlawyersla.com/ if you have any questions regarding your rights at the workplace.

Accommodation of Employees’ Religious Beliefs

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Accommodating religious beliefs is a delicate task for employers. However, communicating and working with employees to determine possible accommodations are your best strategies.

The employer is responsible for offering reasonable accommodation. After doing so, the employer will have met his or her obligation even if the employee does not agree with or consent to the accommodation.

Evidence of thorough and thoughtful participation in the interactive process will always serve the employer well. It is also critical to document the various accommodations the employer offers and the employee’s responses to these accommodations. As such, all accommodations should be documented and reported to supervisors and HR.

Read More: http://goo.gl/AGiP1v

The Law Offices of Payab & Associates is a Los Angeles based law firm with more than 17 years of experience in employment cases. Our office has successfully litigated many complex disputes including wrongful termination, sexual harassment, religious discrimination, wage and labor disputes, and retaliation cases.

Are you or anyone you know been discriminated based on religion at work? Contact the Law Offices of Payab & Associates @ (800) 401-4466 or visit http://employmentlawyersla.com/ if you have any questions regarding your rights at the workplace.

What is Medical Leave and When Are You Entitled to One?

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The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) entitles an employee to 12 work weeks of unpaid leave during any 12-month period to attend to the serious health condition of the employee, parent, spouse or child, or for pregnancy or care of a newborn child, or for adoption or foster care of a child.

In order to be eligible for FMLA leave, an employee must have been at the business at least 12 months, and worked at least 1,250 hours over the past 12 months, and work at a location where the company employs 50 or more employees within 75 miles. Also, an employee seeking medical leave must give the employer notice of the need for leave and indicate when the employee anticipates returning to work.

The employee must provide information to the employer to suggest that his or her health condition could be serious. When the leave is foreseeable, the employee must give at least 30 days’ notice. When the leave isn’t foreseeable, the employer must provide notice to his or her employer as soon as practicable under the circumstances.

PRACTICAL ADVICE: If you think you have a serious health condition that could entitle you to a medical leave, give your employee at least a 30 days’ notice or as soon as practicable under the circumstances.

Read More: http://goo.gl/2lovlN

If you or anyone you know is entitled to a medical leave, contact the Law Offices of Payab & Associates @ (800) 401-4466 or visit http://employmentlawyersla.com/ if you have any questions regarding your rights at the workplace.