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Questions Answered by Neil Pedersen
2 Answers | Asked in Employment Law for California on
Q: How much should a caregiver working 24/7 and 7 days a week in Sonoma county be paid?

1. If I'm not being paid the minimum wage, can I file for overtime pay?

2. I want to engage a lawyer, but I cannot afford it.

3. I have overstayed my visa.

Neil Pedersen
Neil Pedersen answered on May 27, 2020

If you are not being paid properly you can recover the money you should have been paid, along with interest and perhaps penalties as well, in a legal action. Not being able to afford an attorney is probably not going to be problem. Most employment attorneys who practice this area of law offer a... Read more »

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1 Answer | Asked in Employment Law for California on
Q: Can I stay furloughed if I'm not feeling safe?

I recently received a notification from my employer that I may be able to return to work soon because California has reopened malls officially. With that said, I do not feel safe because I do not have health insurance in case I catch COVID and also have two people I live with that are immune... Read more »

Neil Pedersen
Neil Pedersen answered on May 26, 2020

If you refuse to return to work, in most circumstances that would constitute either job abandonment or a legitimate reason for termination - both of which would disqualify you from further unemployment insurance benefits. As the economy is starting to open up again, there are some employers who... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Employment Law for California on
Q: Hey I work in a warehouse in California and I was wondering if it is illegal for my employer to reduce our 30 min lunch

They're basically telling us we have to be at our work station exactly 3 minutes or less after our lunch but it seems impossible because it's a big warehouse especially if we want to go out to the parking lot so we can go out to eat since everything that they sell is expensive it takes 3... Read more »

Neil Pedersen
Neil Pedersen answered on May 25, 2020

You are legally required to get at least 30 minutes of meal period that is uninterrupted and duty free. However you are not legally entitled to go out for lunch. You can be required to bring a lunch with you or eat on or near the premises so that you can clock back in within 30 minutes of... Read more »

2 Answers | Asked in Employment Law for California on
Q: In california, can my employer legally not give me my wages if I don't sign a paper every week

They have me sign. A paper every week stating that I received my check and 4 other things and that I took all my breaks. If I don't sign it can they with hold my check or even fire or suspend me

Neil Pedersen
Neil Pedersen answered on May 25, 2020

No your employer cannot force you to do anything to get your paycheck. And they are doubling down on the unlawful conduct if they are forcing you to sign a document that affirms untrue things before you get your check. It would be wise for you to locate and consult with an experienced employment... Read more »

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1 Answer | Asked in Employment Law for California on
Q: In California, are employers allowed to warn employees of accrued Sick Time use under the assumption of improper use?
Neil Pedersen
Neil Pedersen answered on May 22, 2020

Your question is a bit too cryptic to be able to give you a solid answer. Generally, there is nothing unlawful about an employer warning employees that they should not falsely seek benefits. However, when an employer takes action that can be interpreted as creating a disincentive to properly use... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Employment Law for California on
Q: Is an employer required to give you notice if they call you back earlier than the date on your Furlough letter?

I was called back early from my furlough but they have only given me one day notice and I have to make arrangements for my kids and parents. Am I required to return to work immediately or do they have to give me a grace period?

Neil Pedersen
Neil Pedersen answered on May 21, 2020

There is no law that requires the employer to give any amount of advanced notice for you to return to work. If you do not come in when needed, you can be disciplined and even terminated.

Sorry. Good luck to you.

3 Answers | Asked in Employment Law and Collections for California on
Q: I'm an independent contractor massage therapist. The spa owner is 2 months behind with payment. How do I get paid?

The spa owner said she would pay what is owing when her divorce settles, and money is released from an escrow account. I've been waiting for about 2 years. The spa owner claims not to have the money when I've asked repeatedly to be paid. I need options to compel the owner to pay what is owed.

Neil Pedersen
Neil Pedersen answered on May 20, 2020

If you are truly an independent contractor, then the only way to force payment is to file a lawsuit, get a judgment, and collect that judgment. That will not be quick, easy or cheap. Short of that, negotiation is your only other option.

If you have been misclassified as an independent...
Read more »

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3 Answers | Asked in Employment Law and Health Care Law for California on
Q: My boss sent out a company wide email saying I put everyone at risk for covid 19, is this legal?

A company wide email was sent with my name and claiming I was reckless with everyone's health. I received texts from co-workers asking about my own and family's health situation.

I had no symptoms but merely informed them that I had come in to contact with someone who had tested... Read more »

Neil Pedersen
Neil Pedersen answered on May 19, 2020

Your employer violated your medical privacy rights by sending this company-wide email. However, given the present situation, what you wish to do about it needs some careful thought and a consultation with an attorney familiar with your privacy rights in the workplace. It would be wise for you to... Read more »

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1 Answer | Asked in Employment Law, Contracts and Business Law for California on
Q: Can I be penalized if I quit a job I never officially started and they still can’t operate but they were paying standby

Can I be penalized if I quit a job I never officially started due to Coronavirus and they still can’t operate but they were paying me a small amount of hours for 6 weeks. I have a new job offer possibly and want to resign this position never worked but want to know if I will encounter problems... Read more »

Neil Pedersen
Neil Pedersen answered on May 18, 2020

Unless you have a specific agreement with the employer to work for a defined period of time, you have the right to quit at any time and for any reason. Simply give notice of your intent to leave.

Good luck to you.

2 Answers | Asked in Employment Law for California on
Q: Should I be paid for driving time?

I work as a Foreman for a small company. They provide work trucks with all the tools and equipment needed and I am allowed to take it home but can’t use it as a personal vehicle. However they do not pay for time spent driving to the first site of the day or home from the last site. Now they want... Read more »

Neil Pedersen
Neil Pedersen answered on May 18, 2020

Overtime must be calculated by hours worked in a workday and workweek. It is not lawful to average out hours over a two week period of time. That is an unlawful business practice if it reduces the number of hours of overtime you receive.

While an employer does not have to pay for an...
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2 Answers | Asked in Employment Law for California on
Q: If I win a unpaid wage case. Does the employer pay my agreed upon percentage to my Attorney? Leaving me with the award?
Neil Pedersen
Neil Pedersen answered on May 17, 2020

If you brought your claim in the Labor Commissioner's office and not a court of law, there is no right to attorney fees. The award will be shared with your attorney in the percentages agreed upon in your attorney-client fee agreement if you were proceeding on a contingency fee basis.... Read more »

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1 Answer | Asked in Employment Law for California on
Q: Can my employer pay me for a half days work Can a bonus amount be used in the calculation for minimum salary of $54,08

I am a retail manager classified exempt and my pay is $180/day salary. If I work less then 5 hours in a day I get half pay, over 5 hours full pay. I am also paid $750 per month in a discretionary bonus.

Can my employer pay me for a half days work?

Can a bonus amount be used in the... Read more »

Neil Pedersen
Neil Pedersen answered on May 16, 2020

A properly classified exempt employee is paid a salary in exchange for their work. Whether that employee works one hour or fifteen hours, the employee is entitled to the same salary. It is not lawful to cut your pay when you work less than some defined number of hours.

That said, it is...
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1 Answer | Asked in Employment Law for California on
Q: As a former Director for a non profit, am I required to represent my former employer in a wage claim case

I was formerly the Executive Director. A staff member who quit while I was Director has filed a wage claim. I no longer work at the organization. Am I required to represent the organization in the wage claim?

Neil Pedersen
Neil Pedersen answered on May 15, 2020

If you are no longer associated with the entity, you have no responsibility to act on its behalf. If you have been named individually in the claim, however, you will need to defend yourself against the claims being made.

It would be wise for you to seek out specific advice on this issue....
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1 Answer | Asked in Employment Law for California on
Q: Can a company require you to change shifts?

I work in a skilled nursing facility that has recently reported three positive Covid results amongst employees. On 5/5 I developed symptoms and was advised to discuss with the Director of Nursing. She advised me to get tested at a new community test site, even though we had tests available at work.... Read more »

Neil Pedersen
Neil Pedersen answered on May 14, 2020

The quick answer is yes, they can do that unless you can prove the motivation for the move was unlawful.

In California you are considered to be employed at will unless you have an agreement to the contrary about that status with your employer. As an at will employee your employer can...
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1 Answer | Asked in Employment Law for California on
Q: Quitting when on furlough?

Hi, I work as a helper for a family with a stay-at-home mom and “non-essential” work from home dad. I have been furloughed and receiving unemployment for the past 2 months. I am thinking of quitting this position before I am allowed to go back to work and do something else. How does it work? Do... Read more »

Neil Pedersen
Neil Pedersen answered on May 13, 2020

You simply inform your employer of your intent to quit. You have no legal duty to give advanced notice. You can simply quit, effective immediately, if you wish to do so. Of course, giving some notice would likely make it possible to get a better reference. You will have no duty to repay the EDD... Read more »

2 Answers | Asked in Employment Law and Workers' Compensation for California on
Q: My job is decideing to open back up even tho it is a recreational center for swimming. According to the directions.

We are going to be giving job duties Far outside of what are initial hired position is. If we refuse to go back we will be let go, and unemployment will be informed that we refused work, and we will then loose are unemployment eligibility for refusing work Forced upon us even tho the work is not... Read more »

Neil Pedersen
Neil Pedersen answered on May 13, 2020

In California, you are considered to be employed at will unless you have an agreement to the contrary about that status with your employer. The employer of an at will employee has the absolute right to change the terms and conditions of employment, including job title and duties, at any time and... Read more »

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1 Answer | Asked in Employment Law for California on
Q: Receiving unemployment but still employed. How to resolve?

At the start of Covid my girlfriend's boss was talking about cutting hours/days to save money due to loss of revenue. So we signed her up for CA EDD. She hasn't been cut hours so we never followed through with certifying the weeks in order to actually receive the benifits. She's... Read more »

Neil Pedersen
Neil Pedersen answered on May 13, 2020

You need to return the checks. Do not cash them. You do not have a legal right to that money, and if you take the money you can be the subject of a reimbursement action where they can seek the money, interest and penalties plus attorney fees.

Good luck to you.

2 Answers | Asked in Employment Law and Civil Rights for California on
Q: I followed instructions EDD provided to the exact. Why is it only getting worse?

They keep making up the rules as they go. Right now I feel stolen from. I have appealed their incorrect determination of False statement since 2018. I still have no idea what they are referring to. I have tried to reach out to them on multiple occasions. Their site is set up for those to fail. Now... Read more »

Neil Pedersen
Neil Pedersen answered on May 13, 2020

I am sorry to hear about your predicament, but, of course, no one here can know why this is happening to you or why it is getting worse, which was your question. The system is flawed and overburdened right now, so there will be situations like yours where people fall into the cracks and are left... Read more »

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1 Answer | Asked in Public Benefits and Social Security for California on
Q: Receiving Government relief and Unemployment while applying for Disability?

I am in the process of filing for SSDI in CA which coincidentally happens during the ongoing COVID19

Following announcements I have filed for temporary relief and unemployment insurance- just as the Governor said.

The condition of applying for SSDI is absolutely no income from any... Read more »

Neil Pedersen
Neil Pedersen answered on May 12, 2020

To get SSDI you need to certify that you are physically or mentally incapable of performing work. To get unemployment insurance benefits you need to certify that you are ready willing and able to work full time and that you are seeking full time employment. The two are mutually exclusive. If you... Read more »

2 Answers | Asked in Employment Discrimination and Employment Law for California on
Q: Can employer legally ask if you received a stimulus check or ask about your personal finances/situation?

Employer sent out a survey asking if stimulus check was received and asking individuals level of financial hardship due to reduced pay.

Is this legal?

Non-exempt hourly employees have had their hours reduced and are still waiting (over 3 weeks) for the employer to provided... Read more »

Neil Pedersen
Neil Pedersen answered on May 12, 2020

There is nothing unlawful about an employer asking that information. If you are not receiving hours you can file for unemployment insurance benefits regardless of whether the employer provides you with documents.

Good luck to you.

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