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Questions Answered by Neil Pedersen
1 Answer | Asked in Employment Law for California on
Q: I was removed from my position as kitchen manager without explanation and asked me to transfer i was also demoted.
Neil Pedersen
Neil Pedersen answered on Aug 13, 2020

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

3 Answers | Asked in Animal / Dog Law and Employment Law for California on
Q: Can you get fired from your job/ sued for letting someone’s animal out accidentally?

My husband is a pest control man and he opened the back gate of a home to spray. The home owner was in the front yard and the garage open while talking on the phone. He leaves after he’s done his job and hours later gets called back because they think he left the gate open and the dogs got out... Read more »

Neil Pedersen
Neil Pedersen answered on Aug 12, 2020

Unfortunately, there is nothing unlawful about firing someone for something that happened that was completely out of their control. It is unfair but lawful to terminate your husband because he accidentally let the animal out. In California an employee is considered to be employed at will, meaning... Read more »

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2 Answers | Asked in Employment Law for California on
Q: Hi, I need help figuring out how to apply/eligibility for unemployment in CA based on a complicated situation.

I lived in CA 2012-2018 on a student visa. Did OPT(worked) in GA 2018-2019. Went to Sweden Oct 2019-Feb2020 to process my Greencard. Back in CA now. Not sure where or how to file for unemployment and if I am eligible.

Neil Pedersen
Neil Pedersen answered on Aug 11, 2020

It is highly unlikely you will qualify for UI benefits as you do not have any time worked during the look back period the EDD looks at to determine if you have eligibility. Nonetheless, apply anyway and see what happens. You can do so at your local EDD or online.

Good luck to you.

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1 Answer | Asked in Employment Law for California on
Q: Hello, was on furlough due to Covid and because of that had to relocate. My job has called me back, I informed them of

my situation on how I had to relocate 6hrs away due to being furloughed. But my boss is saying that’s Voluntarily Quitting. I was hoping to be able to use my own unemployment while I looked for a job in my new town but with “Voluntarily quitting” on my record unemployment will get taken away.... Read more »

Neil Pedersen
Neil Pedersen answered on Aug 11, 2020

Not all voluntary resignations will be considered a voluntary quit. It is possible that your situation will be seen as something other than that. Apply for UI benefits and when you are allowed to make your case, be sure to prove that you had no other choice but to move under the circumstances.... Read more »

2 Answers | Asked in Employment Law for California on
Q: Question.. i stopped working somewere and i want my mail that should arrive this week. Can i legally go there and wait.

This was a salon that i partly owned and recently left it and with someone else. I cannot get a p.o box without getting the letter being mailed to me that was already sent BEFORE i decided to cut ties there and is just now saying it will b delivered this week from the post office emails. I spoke to... Read more »

Neil Pedersen
Neil Pedersen answered on Aug 11, 2020

If the employer does not want you on its premises, you cannot be there. You should not have set it up to get personal mail at your place of employment to begin with. You need to forward your mail, contact anyone who needs to send you mail and tell them to send it elsewhere, and/or set up an... Read more »

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2 Answers | Asked in Employment Discrimination and Employment Law for California on
Q: Termination and severance negotiation

Hello,

I've just been terminated by my company last week and the only reason that I've received from my manager was that my role was mis-leveled. I've asked more questions but he didn't want to offer any detail! I've been with the company for 8 months, That being... Read more »

Neil Pedersen
Neil Pedersen answered on Aug 9, 2020

The law does not require an employer to give any severance to an employee who is terminated. However, if it does pay severance to employees it must administer that severance in a non-discriminatory manner. For instance, if you can prove only men get severance offers but women never do (of if the... Read more »

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2 Answers | Asked in Employment Law and Gov & Administrative Law for California on
Q: COVID-19 Different requirements for returning to office, depending on whether one has children...

I work for the Feds. At my particular agency, local (Calif) leadership is contemplating rules for staff return to the office at the end of this month (August). We've all (<50) been telecommuting since mid-March. It's loosely being proposed that those with children... be permitted to... Read more »

Neil Pedersen
Neil Pedersen answered on Aug 8, 2020

Would it be discriminatory? Yes. Any time someone is treated differently than others, it is discrimination. Is it unlawful? No. Having children at home is not a protected class under any protective statutes.

What the employer is contemplating is lawful.

Good luck to you.

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3 Answers | Asked in Employment Law for California on
Q: I’m an employee for Wingstop and have been “terminated” but wasn’t made aware of why or signed anything

I’m an employee for Wingstop , I was terminated with no explanation. I reached out for weeks and was never formally told or terminated formally I was just taken off schedule . I never was paid for my PTO as I’ve been there for a year, when asked about it I was told I wouldn’t be receiving it... Read more »

Neil Pedersen
Neil Pedersen answered on Aug 8, 2020

It sounds to me like you need to have a specific, confidential consultation.

Employers have no obligation to give formal notice of termination. They can simply take you off the schedule. However, if you have accrued vacation pay in the bank, it must be paid out at that time. Accrued...
Read more »

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2 Answers | Asked in Employment Law for California on
Q: Non essential worker being asked to return to work everyday ,so she quit her job because of her family’s health concerns

I’m a designer in the hospitality industry and my employer asked me to return to work everyday during the pandemic even though non-essential offices are not allowed to reopen back. I asked my employer to lay me off because I feel anxiety coming to work everyday since I live with my grandma who... Read more »

Neil Pedersen
Neil Pedersen answered on Aug 8, 2020

Not returning to work when you are asked to do so will likely disqualify you from benefits. Nonetheless, apply and see what happens. It will cost you nothing to do so.

Good luck to you.

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3 Answers | Asked in Employment Law, Workers' Compensation and Employment Discrimination for California on
Q: Getting paid less then new hires that I have to train. Is it legal?

I got laid off Dec 2019, got rehired 2 weeks ago, I asked for $14 an hour. My manager said they couldnt pay me that. I had a friend apply and she got hired and will be paid $14 an hour. I will be training her and yet getting paid less then her. Is it okay for employers to do that? I am 45... Read more »

Neil Pedersen
Neil Pedersen answered on Aug 8, 2020

It is generally not unlawful to pay newer employees more money than those with more seniority. Seniority has no power or priority unless you are in a union environment.

However it is unlawful to be treated poorly because of your race, or age over 40, or other membership in a protected...
Read more »

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1 Answer | Asked in Employment Law and Arbitration / Mediation Law for California on
Q: How to waive my non compete included in the CNDA?

I am an engineer living in California and working remotely for a company in Texas. I got laid off and I wonder if my non-compete clause included in the signed CNDA can be enforced. The non-compete is for 1 year and the CNDA mentions the State of Texas as the governing law.

I have asked for... Read more »

Neil Pedersen
Neil Pedersen answered on Aug 8, 2020

It would be unwise for an attorney to opine about a contract without being able to see the entire contract and understanding the circumstances regarding its making. However a few general things can be said preliminary to that.

First, generally non-compete provisions are unenforceable in...
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3 Answers | Asked in Employment Law and Business Law for California on
Q: vendor not releasing payments from past few months and what should I do?

We have been waiting from past few months for payments from vendor, they are asking ask for settlement but we are decided to file a petition in court? What steps need to be taken and how long will my petition will take?

Neil Pedersen
Neil Pedersen answered on Aug 7, 2020

It depends on how much is involved in this dispute.

If the amount in controversy is $10,000 or less you can proceed through small claims court and probably get a judgment in a matter of months, once the courts open back up.

If the amount is greater than $10.000 then you will have...
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2 Answers | Asked in Employment Law for California on
Q: Can an employer (a daycare) require an employee to make up hours because they receive a payment from a PPP loan.

Our daycare was closed during the pandemic because we were considered non essential. Our employer received a PPP loan during this time frame so they can pay us. Since we were closed during that timeframe we only worked partime cleaning etc. Now that the business is up and running our employer is... Read more »

Neil Pedersen
Neil Pedersen answered on Aug 7, 2020

The fact the employer received funds from a PPP loan in no way changes the normal rules of the California Labor Code. There is no lawful mechanism under the law that allows an employer to pay you months before and then make you work for free to make up for those payments months later. So if the... Read more »

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2 Answers | Asked in Employment Discrimination, Employment Law and White Collar Crime for California on
Q: Is this harassment to be quarantined by employer that is assuming another company has covid without symptoms or results.

I was working with contractors and a company man came out screaming for everyone to wear masks, as I was working and wearing a mask he saw mine was below my nose. As was his mask. As I pointed out his was below his nose, he sped off angry. Went to higher up and I’m now subject to quarantine... Read more »

Neil Pedersen
Neil Pedersen answered on Aug 5, 2020

There is nothing wrong with a contracting partner of your employer complaining about you not wearing a mask properly, even if the complainer was doing the same. There is also nothing unlawful about your employer sending you home because of this complaint. The company your company is working for... Read more »

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2 Answers | Asked in Employment Law for California on
Q: I was fired after being in a PIP. Severance agreement must be signed to receive month’s pay and insurance.

Agreement states that by signing I acknowledge and agree that I resigned from company. Will signing this affect my ability to receive unemployment in California?

Neil Pedersen
Neil Pedersen answered on Aug 3, 2020

It could. Voluntarily resigning from a job will usually disqualify you from receiving unemployment insurance benefits. It is possible that you could sign that document and then convince the EDD that you were forced to resign or be fired and still get benefits, but you are making it more risky... Read more »

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4 Answers | Asked in Criminal Law and Sexual Harassment for California on
Q: can i have a statement of me being in s sexual relationship with my mom for years motorized as a true legal document

I was small when it started but I dont want anyone to get jail its been going on and off for over 30 years

Neil Pedersen
Neil Pedersen answered on Jul 31, 2020

You can notarize any document you sign. However, the notarization only affirms that the signature is genuinely yours. It does not create any other legal rights nor does it signify anything more than that. You speak of a "true legal document." A notarization does not make a signed... Read more »

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1 Answer | Asked in Employment Law for California on
Q: Under the California Emergency Services Act, as non-essential public employees, are given med. risk C-19 assignments.

We have to work for Food Share, distributing food now. We are provided PPE, there is however, no social distancing. Do we have any rights in regards to our safety in this situation?

Thank you,

Tammy

Neil Pedersen
Neil Pedersen answered on Jul 31, 2020

If you believe your employer is not following the guidance issued by OSHA with regard to protections required to avoid transmission of Covid-19, you can report the employer to OSHA. You can do so anonymously if you fear retaliation. See here for more information on that process:... Read more »

2 Answers | Asked in Employment Law for California on
Q: Was I wrongfully terminated?

I scheduled PTO for one week of vacation. My employer asked that I complete a COVID test upon my return to be allowed to return to work or quarantine. The day before leaving for my trip, my employer changed his mind, and told me that regardless of a test or symptoms (or negative results) I would be... Read more »

Neil Pedersen
Neil Pedersen answered on Jul 30, 2020

I am sorry you lost your job. Far more would need to be known about this situation. In California you are considered to be employed at will unless you have an agreement to the contrary about that status with the employer. As an at will employee you can be terminated at any time and for any... Read more »

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1 Answer | Asked in Employment Law for California on
Q: I found out my employer treated one benefit as imputed income instead of cash benefit, overpayment in taxes for 5 years

Total is $11k, they refunded $7k to me but taxed me $4k again, but i already paid my taxes in last 5 years when i filed my tax returns. They didnt withhold $4k in current pay check, they just kept it. How am i going to approach again? they dont seem to understand

Neil Pedersen
Neil Pedersen answered on Jul 29, 2020

if you think is it just a misunderstanding perhaps your tax person can speak to them. If they are unwilling to correct the problem through negotiation, your only option is litigation, perhaps in small claims court. However, you are not going to be able to reach back five years.

Good luck...
Read more »

2 Answers | Asked in Employment Law for California on
Q: Can an employer legally black list you from obtaining employment without valid reasons ?

I have assumed that I was being black listed from apply to Amazon warehouse facilities . I was scheduled to begin working back in May and because of pandemic I missed my start day. I was reassured it wasn't a problem by their Reps. I week later l received a termination letter stating that I... Read more »

Neil Pedersen
Neil Pedersen answered on Jul 29, 2020

Yes. An employer can determine to never again consider you for employment unless the reason for that action is your participation in some form of legally protected conduct. For example, legally protected conduct is conduct that the law specifically says you have a right to do, such as filing a... Read more »

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