Articles Posted in Employment Law

2-300x222Unauthorized deductions from your paycheck may be unlawful. If your employer has deducted the cost of medical or physical exams, overpayment of wages, uniforms costs, or work tool costs, they may be engaging in wage theft. Wage theft is a catch-all term for payroll abuses which cheat workers of the wages they have earned. In California, wage theft can arise from a variety of circumstances, including failing to pay workers the state mandated minimum wage; failing to pay for overtime work performed and/or paying overtime at an incorrect rate of pay; failing to pay for work simply because it was performed “off-the-clock”; failing to pay workers all wages and penalties for late, interrupted, or missed meal and/or rest breaks; misclassifying workers as independent contractors; making unlawful deductions from workers’ paychecks; or by creating or enforcing various other policies which violate State and/or Federal law.

Wage theft is a longstanding problem in California. Although there are no exact figures on the extend of wage theft, authorities say it is rampant in such industries as construction, restaurants, and home health care. Wage theft from unlawful deductions often go unreported because workers may not even realize that they are being paid less than what they have legally earned. Under California labor law, workers are entitled to numerous rights and wage theft protections, and they can recover large penalties if employers violate those rights.

California Labor Code Section 221 and 224, allows employers to make deductions from workers’ wages in limited circumstances, including tax withholdings, garnishments or court orders, contributions to health benefit plans (when authorized). Employers must comply with both federal and state laws when making these deductions, particularly the limits on the amount deducted. California labor law expressly prohibits certain deductions.

shutterstock_1139941481-300x160Many workers know that employment discrimination is not only unfair, but also illegal. Employees should also be assured that they have certain rights regarding discrimination; this includes the right to take legal action against the perpetrators. What isn’t as clear is what should they file? Should it be a Section 1981 lawsuit or a Title VII claim?

Both section 1981 and Title VII of the federal Civil Rights Act of, protect employees against discrimination at work. However, it depends on what type of discrimination. For instance, if you’ve suffered from racial discrimination, you could possibly use one or the other.

Section 1981 grants individuals the right to make and enforce contracts, regardless of race. Because the employee/employer relationship is regarded as a “contractual” relationship (even considering at-will employment), Section 1981 relates to numerous factors of the employment connection.

shutterstock_220158103-300x225Even in the most pleasant working environment, there are things that we don’t like about our workplace. When you’re on the job and your employer does things that don’t seem right, keep in mind that their actions might not only be unfair, but that they may also be against the law. For instance, wage theft occurs when your employer denies you the wages and benefits that they are supposed to give to you. This is a general category of wrongdoing by employers, but there are specific elements that you want to watch out for. You want to be able to recognize when your rights are being violated. Read on to learn about top five wage and hour violations that employers commit against employees.

  1. Work without pay: Everyone should be paid for the work that they do. However, employers don’t always fulfill this obligation. Not being paid at all is the most blatant form of wage theft. This can occur when there is no pay at all or more likely when you’re not being paid for certain wages. For example, if you’re a non-exempt employee, you’re eligible for overtime pay if your employer requests that you work more than 40 hours in a week. If you work these extra hours but aren’t given the extra pay or are asked to work “off the books,” then you would likely be entitled to receive compensation. Other examples are when employers don’t pay employees for travel time from site to site or not paying an employee’s final paycheck.
  1. Failure to make timely payments or not paying the right amount: You’re supposed to receive your pay on the agreed upon time and for the agreed upon amount. If your employer doesn’t deliver your paycheck on time or if the amount is less than your hourly rate for the hours you worked, it is a violation. This includes overtime on commissions and regular wages.

shutterstock_1104919763-300x200A work from home (WFH) schedule offers many benefits to employees. You’re spending less money and aren’t stressing out from a long commute and can go to work without ever leaving the comfort and convenience of your home. But at the same time, this more laid-back atmosphere may lead to situations that are ripe for illegal harassment. Even without being physically at the worksite, you’re still subject to some of the same challenges that you can encounter in the physical workplace.

A remote setting can’t negate a hostile work environment although it may change the number of claims arising in the workplace and the way that the harassment occurs. It’s very early to say how the increase in WFH workers will impact instances of hostile workplaces. However, when there isn’t a centralized worksite, people are less connected and fell less accountable for their conduct. It’s possible to be a victim of a hostile work environment even as a WFH employee, and it’s possible to sue your employer if you have a valid claim.

What is Considered a Hostile Work Environment?

shutterstock_1062370478-300x200After more than a year living in a pandemic, many workers have grown used to working from home (WFH) and want to continue doing so, even as the country begins to edge closer to more re-openings. However, with more people getting vaccinated and Covid-19 rates decreasing in many states, some employers are pushing for their employees to return to their worksites. What happens for workers who don’t want to return? Is there a legal right to work from home?

 No Legal Right to Work Remotely

When public health orders are lifted and employees are cleared to return to the workplace, employers might have operational concerns to justify a distinction between essential and noncritical workers; they have the right to determine the worksite of any of their positions. Although people have been working from home to help slow the spread of the coronavirus, the pandemic does not change any existing labor laws.

shutterstock_1148538434-300x200California workers are entitled to receive fair compensation for all the work that they’ve completed. They rely and depend on this notion. It also includes the idea that any bonuses will be paid as they are earned. But what happens if your employer doesn’t honor this and won’t pay you for your bonuses? Read on to learn about taking legal action for unpaid bonuses.

Bonuses are not only significant because an employee should get everything that they are entitled to receive, but they also are an important part of the employee’s complete compensation package. It serves an integral function of helping employees making decisions about whether to continue employment with their company or whether to take a job in the first place. Generally, an employee can pursue legal action against their employer if the employer hasn’t paid them for their bonus.

 Bonuses Based on Employment Contracts

shutterstock_1712819545-300x200In the early stages of the pandemic, it was up to the employees themselves to keep track of Covid-19 cases. Now, it is the  employers’ turn to let their employees know about the coronavirus, thanks to a California law. The Governor passed AB 685 on September 17, 2020.  It went into effect on January 1, 2021 and expires on January 1, 2023. This law requires employers to give specific notices about Covid-19 in the workplace.

 Notice Requirements for COVID-19 the workplace

California employers must provide their employees with written notice within 1 business day of getting notification of potential exposure of Covid-19. All employees (and employers of any subcontracted employees) who were at the common worksite as the worker who was diagnosed with Covid-19 during the infectious period must be notified.

https://www.californiaelderabuselawyer-blog.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/132/2021/03/03.05.21-300x200.jpgNo matter how you feel about social media it is here to stay. Many people turn to social media to communicate with others and to express their thoughts on every facet of their existence, including their professional lives.

For those who wonder whether you can get fired for your social media posts, this issue doesn’t just concern celebrities or those in the news; it has happened to many different people in various industries. The following are some examples of content that has resulted in the poster being fired:

  • Bankers used social media to pretend to be members of a terrorist group.

shutterstock_17128195454-300x200Most employment is considered “at will.” This means that employees can be fired at any time without any warning and with no cause. However, there are times when your employer dismisses you that are illegal and are considered wrongful termination. The Covid-19 pandemic has highlighted some of these unlawful ways to get rid of employees. Here are categories for such examples:

Discrimination

An example of discrimination that occurs during the Coronavirus pandemic often involves persons with disabilities. You could be legally protected under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) if you have a condition that makes it unsafe for you to go to work at your normal worksite because it makes you more vulnerable to getting Covid-19. If you requested an accommodation that would allow you to work remotely or in a way to minimize your risk rather than the worksite, but you were fired instead, that could be illegal. If your accommodation was reasonable (wouldn’t cause undue hardship or interfere with your ability to do your job), then you might have a claim for wrongful termination.

https://www.californiaelderabuselawyer-blog.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/132/2020/12/20.12.18.jpgAlthough it may be difficult to do, employees have the right to say something when they believe that their employer has violated the law. If the employee has been harassed or mistreated, they should be able to voice their concerns about the employer’s wrongdoing without it impacting them negatively, such as a reduction in hours or outright firing. Fortunately, there are federal and state laws in place to protect workers from retaliation.

Definition of Workplace Retaliation

Employment retaliation occurs after an employee files a formal complaint about the workplace involving discrimination and/or harassment. The employer or company leader then takes negative action against the employee.

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