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Questions Answered by Neil Pedersen

1 Answer | Asked in Employment Law for California on

Q: Can an employer have mandatory meetings but lower all employee wages to minimum because they arent working at that time?

all employees reduced to minimum hourly wage for the duration of mandatory meeting, regardless if they are hourly or salary employees. justification used is that employees are not working during the meeting, so they get a reduced pay for the meeting time. is this legal?

Neil Pedersen answered on Jun 18, 2019

Yes, that is lawful. There is nothing unlawful about an employer offering a tiered pay system to employees, meaning employees get paid a different rate for different kinds of work. Unless there is a union with a collective bargaining agreement that sets pay rates, the employer is free to pay what... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Employment Law for California on

Q: My employer owed me money unpaid wages $13,867.87 but they offer to paid only $3,687.18. Is it legal they hold my money?

My employer owed me money unpaid wages $13,867.87 for my overtime, lunch, break time. My employer also owed unpaid wages to my coworkers. I emailed my employer how much they owed me, they lawyer offered me and agreed to pay only $3,687.18 and their calculations is merits less.Is it legal they hold... Read more »

Neil Pedersen answered on Jun 17, 2019

If you are owed money from your employer for unpaid wages, overtime, meal and rest periods and the like, you have the option to either negotiate a settlement, or to file an administrative wage claim with the California Division of Labor Standards Enforcement (also known as the Labor Commissioner's... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Criminal Law, Employment Law and Employment Discrimination for California on

Q: Can we ask an applicant about criminal cases found online?

We are making a new hire at our company, phone screened, interviewed and asked for references. While checking their social media and verifying some basic info online we found that she has some criminal cases online in San Diego, CA. We can't see the details, but would like to know if we can... Read more »

Neil Pedersen answered on Jun 17, 2019

You cannot ask about or even perform a background check to find criminal convictions until after you have made a conditional offer of employment to the employee. At this point, you have already created possible exposure to the company by doing the light background work you have done because you... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Employment Law for California on

Q: Labor law question: Can I pay an employee only for "productive time" delivering counseling services, instead of hourly?

To simplify payroll and accounting, I would like to raise the employee rate, but pay only for services delivered.

Neil Pedersen answered on Jun 13, 2019

If the employee is hourly non-exempt, you must pay the employee for all time the employee is required to spend at your service, whether it is productive time or otherwise. If the employee is salaried exempt you have to pay for the whole day when they work even a small part of the day. You may... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Employment Law for California on

Q: How do I answer have you ever been terminated on a teaching application? After being let-go.

At the end of the day in March, I was called to the office and notified that we have a “similar situation” referring to where I was falsely accused and the student recanted her statement in December. The next day I met with HR and the principal and was informed by HR that they had decided not... Read more »

Neil Pedersen answered on Jun 13, 2019

If you do not truthfully answer yes, you set yourself up for bad consequences. A no fault termination is still a termination, so answering no to the question would be a lie. Be prepared to provide a good explanation for the termination when asked about it.

Good luck to you.

1 Answer | Asked in Employment Law for California on

Q: Can my employer withhold travel time pay ?

If my employer has me travel to a different state for work, then I get sent home under punishment. Are they no longer liable for paying travel time for the time to and from the job site ? California based employer.

Neil Pedersen answered on Jun 13, 2019

An employer must pay an employee for all time incurred associated with their duties for the employer. The employer may not withhold pay as a disciplinary measure. It can suspend you and even fire you, but it must pay you for the time you spend. As such this employer has likely violated the law... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Employment Law for California on

Q: as a salaried employee based in SF, can my employer forcibly change my days off after having the same schedule for 12 ye

I’ve worked for Loreal USA for 12 years based in SF. I have always worked M-F except for a handlful of Saturday’s that I work to execute work events. Now my employer is trying to make it mandatory for me to work almost every Saturday through yeh year. New leadership is responsible for... Read more »

Neil Pedersen answered on Jun 13, 2019

No, sorry. Unless you have an express contract provision guaranteeing you set hours, your employer has the right the change the terms and conditions of your employment, including the days and hours you must work, at any time and for any reason or even no reason at all. There is no mechanism in... Read more »

2 Answers | Asked in Contracts, Employment Discrimination and Employment Law for California on

Q: I was told recently that my position is no longer available after signing my contract

edit text

I work as a teacher for 10 months of the year but I opted to have my paycheck spit out the entire year. On the service pay Carm Werr salary is poured and other HR details is recorded that I am to be paid 26 pay periods for the year however I just noticed that it is possible that... Read more »

Neil Pedersen answered on Jun 13, 2019

Likely no. As long as you are paid the full amount you were contracted to receive, you cannot sue for messing up your budget. Good luck to you.

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3 Answers | Asked in Employment Law, Tax Law and Workers' Compensation for California on

Q: My ex employer misclassified me and all employees as independent contractors . Repeatedly would not pay on schedule.

Recently terminated for demanding paycheck which consistently was late 3-4weeks. what steps do I take to report employer and clarifying to tax board the misclassification

Neil Pedersen answered on Jun 12, 2019

You should quickly find an employment law attorney to discuss these issues. You may well have a valuable claim, depending on what kind of employee rights were denied you as a result of the misclassification. You may also have a claim that would allow you to raise the misclassification and other... Read more »

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1 Answer | Asked in Employment Law for California on

Q: Hi, I got fired for introducing a six pack of beers into the restaurant that I worked, I drank two and the owner

Showed up. He fired me a week later. I’d been working for him for around 7-8 years, working an average of 10-12 hrs. A day, 5 days a week. He had never paid me breaks, overtime, sick days. Do I have a case? Thanks

Neil Pedersen answered on Jun 11, 2019

You may have a meritorious claim for unpaid meal and rest periods and for the failure to pay overtime. It is also possible you will have some claim for the sick pay issue. Of course, far more would need to be known about your situation to know for sure. As to the termination, you are likely not... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Employment Law for California on

Q: If I'm currently making 16$ on promotion, should my wage increase if the cities min. wage now surpasses my pay?

I was hired in 2016 at 13$/hour. I was promoted 3 times in 2016; by 2017, my wage was 16$. I was promoted to manager after, making 21$, I then asked to be demoted and my pay dropped back to 16$ without consultation. There have been three min. wage increases since I was hired. I'm wondering if my... Read more »

Neil Pedersen answered on Jun 9, 2019

Sorry but no.

The minimum wage law is just that, a law that dictates the lowest hourly wage that can be paid in the jurisdiction, subject to some narrow exceptions. The minimum wage law does not legally dictate how an employer must pay those making more than the minimum wage. As long as...
Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Employment Law for California on

Q: Hello, my pay has been lowered and now I have to be on call 24/7 every next week, while not paid on days when no calls.

1. New manager came in this year and company lowered our base pay from $25 to $15, saying they will rise commission but now I make actually 25-30% less than last year.

2. We are really slow lately and have not enough work (average just 20-30h week), so company pays me often nothing or just... Read more »

Neil Pedersen answered on Jun 8, 2019

Your post contains many issues.

First, you are likely an at will employee, meaning your employer can change the terms and conditions of your employment, including the hours you are asked to work and your pay, at any time and for any reason or even for no reason at all. Therefore there is...
Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Employment Law for California on

Q: Can an employer cancel 200 hrs. Of accrued sick time in California?

Neil Pedersen answered on Jun 7, 2019

Sick leave is not treated the same as vacation pay. Accrued sick leave is not something that the employee owns and it can be taken away at any time, unless there is some contractual or other right that says otherwise.

Good luck to you.

1 Answer | Asked in Employment Law for California on

Q: Can a family owned business wave your right to a work-break? Even if theres Documention. Thank you.

A family owned restaurant makes their employees sign a document upon hire stating that they’re waiving their right to any breaks, and that they are infact responsible for their said “breaks?” It’s written entirely backwards and people just sign away their breaks unknowingly and confused.... Read more »

Neil Pedersen answered on Jun 7, 2019

There are no special rules for small or family-fun businesses.

There is no provision in the law that allows an employer to ask their employees for a waiver that takes away their right to a rest period.

There is a provision in the law related to waving a meal period, but there are...
Read more »

2 Answers | Asked in Employment Law and Employment Discrimination for California on

Q: Can an employer decrease the amount you are paid if your contract specifically states the rates they are paying you?

I am paid per patient depending on the patient insurance coverage. I do not work for a temp agency but my employer places their employees in health centers that pay my employer and then employees get paid. I was told the health center is changing how they bill insurance which is causing the... Read more »

Neil Pedersen answered on Jun 7, 2019

Yes, there are many parts of your question, and thus many answers to be provided. As to whether the employer can change your pay depends on the specific language of your contract. Ultimately, you could have a written contract that is still an at will agreement meaning the terms and conditions of... Read more »

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1 Answer | Asked in Native American Law for California on

Q: I was notified I was fired from my position at Tribal TANF program for whistleblowing, while on bereavement leave.

I am a director of a Tribal TANF program. Two days ago, a council meeting happened to discuss how to terminate me. ( I will disclose the detail offline) I also am aware of that at least two of the Council members, and the Deputy Director met before the meeting to attempt to use this information to... Read more »

Neil Pedersen answered on Jun 1, 2019

I am sorry to hear about your situation. Unfortunately, the laws of California and the federal government likely will not apply to your situation. Rather, the laws of the tribal nation where the business is located would be those that will apply to you, and only someone with specific knowledge of... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Employment Law for California on

Q: Is there a law in San Mateo county that requires an employer to offer medical benefits to employees?

My husband works at restaurant in San Mateo county and I could not find online if there was a requirement for medical benefits to be offered at partial or no cost to the employee. Currently the restaurant does not offer any and my husband has worked there almost a year.

Neil Pedersen answered on May 30, 2019

There are no laws that require an employer to provide medical benefits to an employee. The closest thing to that would be the "Obamacare" legislation, that technically does not mandate medical coverage, but creates an incentive for employers of a certain size to do so.

Good luck to you.

1 Answer | Asked in Employment Law for California on

Q: Can we hire an employee (California), agreeing that the job lasts for 18 months (we have grant funding for that period)

And will they be eligible for unemployment benefits at the end of that time? We are a non-profit currently on the reimbursable method with EDD and pay all unemployment claims dollar for dollar, so we are trying to avoid that liability.

Neil Pedersen answered on May 30, 2019

In California, the relationship between employer and employee is considered to be at will unless there is an agreement to the contrary. That means either employer or employee can terminate the relationship at any time and for any reason, or even for no reason at all. That means you can hire an... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Employment Law for California on

Q: Can an employer require me to notify them anytime I'm not available during off hours? 24/7/365

I work as a civilian in a fire dept. and have been told that I must inform my mgr of when I will not be available during off hours. This includes nights, weekends, holidays and vacations. I'm told to be available 24/7/365. I do not get paid for on-call pay as I am exempt. I feel as though I... Read more »

Neil Pedersen answered on May 30, 2019

If you are a properly classified exempt employee, there is nothing unlawful about this requirement. An exempt employee accepts the salary in exchange for a 24/7 job with responsibilities that can and often do extend beyond the normal workday. Your legal option is to quit and find a job that does... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Employment Law for California on

Q: closing business, how much notice do I have to give employees?

Neil Pedersen answered on May 29, 2019

It depends on the size of the business. Generally, at will employees are not entitled to any forward notice of your intent to terminate them. However, certain business large enough to fall under the Cal-WARN statute requires a defined amount of advanced notice of the closing or mass layoff of... Read more »

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