lawyer

Important Questions Answered about Meal Periods – Part I

Lunch-Break

Q: Receptionist receives a 30 minute meal period but the employer asks the receptions to eat lunch at his desk in case the phone rings or clients arrive. Do you have to pay the receptionist even if no one calls or comes in during that time?

A: Yes, as an employer, you would have to pay the receptionist for the full 30 minutes even if no client needs assistance. If you require employees to do work, whether active or inactive, while they are eating lunch, they aren’t completely relieved of duty and they must be paid. Under the federal Fair Labor Standards ACT FLSA), an unpaid meal period must generally be  least 30 minutes without interruption and the employee must be FULLY relieved of all duties for the purpose of eating regular meals.

Q: An employee sits at his desk to eat his lunch during his 30 minute meal period. If his phone rings and she answers it, what is the employer’s obligations for paying the employee?

A: If the employee’s meal is interrupted as explained above, the employee should be paid for the full 30 minutes. It’s best practice to have the employee eat his lunch away from his work station so the employee can be fully relieved of all duties for the purpose of eating regular meals. Employees should also report interrupted lunch breaks so that they can be paid for the 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.

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

Advertisements

What to Do If An Employee Quits Out of Nowhere

resignation

Unexpected resignations are big challenges for business owners and managers. However, it’s important to know what your company’s HR procedures are for handling these situations.

The first thing to be mindful is to review the employment contract, if any, following a resignation to make sure the employer and the employee comply with obligations and requirements as stated in the employment contract. For example, at some companies, employees are required to work out a notice period, usually two weeks, as indicated in their employment contracts.

An employee who is discharged must be paid all of his or her wages, including accrued vacation, immediately at the time of termination. The reasonable time the employer is allowed to pay for the employee’s wages should not exceed 72 hours provided that payment be made by mail to any employee who so requests and designates a mailing address. Labor Code Section 201.

If the employer feels that the employee may claim that he or she was constructively discharged, (i.e, their job environment was so intolerable that they had no alternative but to quit their job), then it is best to offer the employee a severance package in exchange for the dismissal of any claims that the employee may have.

Moreover, the employer should also advise its employment insurance carrier immediately as some employment insurance policies require immediate notification when an employee resigns.   Otherwise the insurance carrier may decline a future employment claim arising from the employee’s resignation.

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://payablaw.com/ if you have any questions regarding your rights at the workplace.

Note to Employers: Terminate with Care

termiante-with-care

If a company has to fire an employee, it should do so with care. One of the most important practices for the company is that the employee should be paid his or her final pay by the time of termination. The employment agreement agreement should be reviewed to make sure that all amounts due to the employee are paid on the termination date.

The employee should also be reminded of the obligation to keep the employer’s proprietary information and trade secrets confidential and should be required to return all company proprietary and information before leaving. An exit interview may be used to remind the employee of continuing obligations not to use or disclosure confidential information, collect all company property, and explain exist compensation and benefits issue.

Further, when a high-level or complaining employee is terminated, we recommend entering into a written separation agreement. Generally, severance should not be paid to the employee without obtaining a signed release of all claims as part of the agreement.

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.

Contact the Law Offices of Payab & Associates @ (800) 401-4466 or visit http://payablaw.com/ if you have any questions regarding your rights at the workplace.

Implementing Good Employment Policies is Important

employee-handbook

Employers should implement good employment policies and practices. Although an employee handbook is not legally required, every employer should have a few important written policies, including an at-will employment policy, a policy prohibiting unlawful harassment, discrimination and retaliation, a policy to protect the employer’s computer and electronic systems against improper or illegal use, a proprietary information and inventions policy, policies governing leaves of absence as explained in our last blogs, and a policy reserving the company’s rights to revise its policies as it deems appropriate.

Employees should also be required to sign an acknowledgement form confirming that they have read and will abide by such company policies. Once the company adopts such policies, it should also adhere to and apply them consistently.

Employers should also implement practices that ensure that employees are treated in nondiscriminatory manner at every stage of employment. The company must hire candidates who best fit the criteria for the job, without respect to age, race, or any other protected classification.

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.

Contact the Law Offices of Payab & Associates @ (800) 401-4466 or visit http://payablaw.com/ if you have any questions regarding implementing good employment policies at your workplace.

How Do You Classify an Employee Versus an Independent Contractor?

employee vs. independent contractor 2

Although various employment statutes offer a variety of explanations as to what constitutes employee status versus an independent contractor, two primary criteria distinguish independent contractors from employees.

First, independent contractors agree on the desired work product and then control the means and manner of achieving the outcome. Second, independent contractors offer services to the public at large, not just to one business.

Keeping in mind that all of the factors of a worker relationship must be assessed and weighted and that no one factor is determinative, courts have used the following criteria to determine whether a worker is an employer or independent contractor:

– The nature and degree of control or supervision exercised by the employer
– The extent to which the services is part of the employer’s business
– The amount of the worker’s investment in facilities and equipment
– The worker’s opportunities for profit or loss
– The method of calculating the payment for work (ie- by time worked or by the job)
– The skill and judgment required for the independent enterprise to succeed
– Whether annual, vacation, or sick leave is given
– The intention of the parties regarding independent contractor or employee status.

Workers who are lower paid, lower skilled, lack bargaining power, have a high degree of economic dependence on their employer, and are subject to regular supervision and control are more likely to be considered employees. Workers who have “significant entrepreneurial opportunity for gain or loss,” and retain direction and control over their work, are more likely to be considered independent contractors.

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.

Contact the Law Offices of Payab & Associates @ (800) 401-4466 or visit http://payablaw.com/ if you have any questions regarding your rights at the workplace.

What is Required for an Employer to Reasonable Accommodate A Disabled Employee?

interactive-process-2

In our last blog, we discussed an employer’s obligations in regards to reasonably accommodating disabling employees. As we discussed, there is a lot of confusion and unclarity regarding what these responsibilities entail and what employers can do to reasonably accommodate disabled employees.

California courts have made it clear that they are looking for evidence of a “cooperative dialogue” and good faith on the part of both parties. Barnett, 228 F.3d. at 1014; Jensen v. Wells Fargo Bank, 85 Cal. App. 4th 245, 266 (200). Further, neither side is allowed to engage in obstructionist conduct. Also, the dialogue between employers and employees includes making reasonable efforts to communicate concerns and making information available to the other party.

For example, if the employee requests a particular accommodation, the employer must give it “due consideration.” If the employer rejects the proposed accommodation, it must “initiate discussion with the employee regarding the alternative accommodations.”

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 based on their disability? Contact the Law Offices of Payab & Associates @ (800) 401-4466 or visit http://payablaw.com/ if you have any questions regarding your rights at the workplace.

All You Need to Know About Accrual of Paid Sick Leave

Paid-sick-leave

After July 1, 2015, employees who work in California for 30 or more days within a year from commencement of employment will accrue paid sick leave at a rate of no less than one hour for every 30 hours worked.

Exempt employees will be deemed to work 40 hours per week for accrual purposes, unless their normal work schedule is less than 40 hours. In such a case, they will accrue paid sick leave based on their normal workweek.

Further, covered employees will be entitled to use accrued paid sick days beginning on the 19th day of employment, after which they may use paid sick days as they are accrued.

Please note that accrued paid sick days carry over to the following year of employer. However, employers may limit an employee’s use of paid sick leave to 24 hours or three days in each year of employment.

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 deprived of your accrued sick days after July 1, 2015? Contact the Law Offices of Payab & Associates @ (800) 401-4466 or visit http://payablaw.com/ if you have any questions regarding your rights at the workplace.

Employers Need to Give Notice and Post New Paid Sick Leave Laws

notice to employees

A new year brings new laws for California employers. As we discussed in our last blog, the Healthy Workplaces, Healthy Family Act requires employers to provide paid sick leave.

Labor Code section 2810.5 has been amended in 2015 to require employers to provide written information at the time of hire about new paid sick leave entitlements.

Specifically, this law requires that notices must now also include language advising employees of their right to accrues and use paid sick leave, their right to be free from retaliation, and their right to file a complaint.

An employer is also required to display in each workplace of the employer a poster notifying employees of these paid sick leave rights.

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.

Contact the Law Offices of Payab & Associates @ (800) 401-4466 or visit http://payablaw.com/ if you have any questions regarding your rights at the workplace.

Which Employees Are Subject to The Healthy Workplaces, Healthy Families Act?

Healthy Workplaces, Healthy Families Act of 2014 part 4

The Healthy Workplaces, Healthy Families Act requires at least THREE (3) days (or 24 hours) of paid time off per year to care for themselves or family members during a time of illness or to care for themselves and seek help if they are the victim of domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking.

An employee who, on or after July 1, 2015, works at least 30 days in California within one-year from the beginning of employment is entitled to the benefits of the newly passed Healthy Workplaces, Healthy Families Act. The law applies to full-time as well as part-time, seasonal and temporary qualifying employees.

However, please note that the following employees are exempted from paid sick time law:
– Employees who are covered by a valid collective bargaining agreement. Labor Code 245.5(a)(1)
– Employees in the construction industry covered by a valid collective bargaining agreement. Labor Code 245.5(a)(2)
– A provider of in-home supportive services. Labor Code 245.5(a)(3)
– A flight deck or cabin crew member. Labor Code 245.5(a)(4)

Are you an employee covered by the newly enacted Healthy Workplaces, Healthy Families Act and unsure whether you are receiving your paid time off to take care of yourself of family member during a time of illness? Contact the Law Offices of Payab & Associates @ (800) 401-4466 or visit http://payablaw.com/ if you have any questions regarding your rights at the workplace.

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.

Which Employers Are Subject to The Healthy Workplaces, Healthy Families Act?

Healthy Workplaces, Healthy Families Act of 2014 part 3

It is no surprise that California, with its distinguished reputation for passing employee-friendly legislation, is leading the charge toward mandatory paid sick leave for employees with the passage of The Healthy Workplaces, Healthy Families Act which will go into effect on July 1, 2015.

It is best practices for all businesses and employers to have a written employee handbook that sets forth all of its employment-related practices and procedures including any paid sick leave.

A company with one or more employees, each working 30 or more days in California within a one-year period must comply with the Healthy Workplaces, Healthy Families Act. There is no exception for small businesses or companies that only have part time employes. Further, companies located outside of California with employees performing services in California are also subject to the new law.

Are you a company that has questions or concerns related to whether the newly passed California statute affects independent contractors or employees? Contact the Law Offices of Payab & Associates @ (800) 401-4466 or visit http://payablaw.com/ if you have any questions to avoid or mitigate penalties and damages related to employee misclassification.

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.