Compliance

We are proud to provide our clients with employment law compliance check-ups. On a yearly basis, we perform an audit for our existing clients who are employers, to make sure that they are complying with all relevant labor laws, and in the event that new laws have been adopted, discuss with them the ramifications for their businesses. We review the client’s compliance with wage and hour regulations, sick leave, and FMLA. The length of this process depends on the total number of employees, both full-time and part-time. We can help you understand your employees’ rights, regarding adequate meal and rest breaks, minimum wage requirements, overtime and child labor laws, so you know your business is operating lawfully from the get-go. While starting your own business can be extremely rewarding and fulfilling, the potential exposure to lawsuits can leave you in a high-risk position. Besides our compliance services, we are available to help you protect yourself and your business in the event that you believe that you might be imminently sued by a current and/or former employee. And in the event that you do receive a demand letter or a lawsuit, we’re available to provide you and your business with legal representation.

Services that we provide to employers:

  1. Litigation Defense
  2. Compliance
  3. Employee Handbook Drafting
  4. Employee Handbook Review.

Defense

Starting your own business can be extremely rewarding and fulfilling, but potential exposure to lawsuits can leave you in a high-risk position. Our team of experts can help you understand how to protect yourself and your business and prevent a lawsuit from ever happening. In the event of legal action, we will work to fight for your rights as an employer.

Let us help you understand how a proactive employment handbook can protect you from liability. We can help you understand your employees’ rights, regarding adequate meal and rest breaks, minimum wage requirements, overtime and child labor laws, so you know your business is operating lawfully from the get-go. Help protect your business from legal action, but if and when your small business is hit with a lawsuit, our team of experts will be fighting for you.

Employee – Plaintiff

We represent individual plaintiffs in a wide range of employment matters against their employers, including but not limited to, wage and hour violations, meal break violations, rest period violations, unpaid overtime, waiting time penalties, independent contractor misclassification, exempt misclassification, harassment, discrimination, sick leave violations and FMLA violations. We also represent clients in class-action lawsuits, including Private Attorney General Act (PAGA).

We represent clients who have not been paid their hourly wages in full, whether it is because they simply were not paid for all hours worked, or if they were not paid a minimum wage, or were not paid their overtime correctly.

Under California labor law, a non-exempt employee is entitled to at a minimum, a 30 minute unpaid meal break that is off-duty. For a wide range of reasons, many employees do not receive compliant meal breaks from their employers. For example, if the employee is forced to work through their lunch hour, then they are not off-duty. If the employee is not provided their meal break within the first 5 hours of their shift, this is also a violation. If an employee does not receive a meal break, then the employee is entitled to meal premium, equivalent to one hour of pay. The only exceptions are when an employee works for less than 6 hours in a day can waive their meal break, and in certain situations an employee can agree to an “on-duty” meal-break where he or she continues to work during the meal break but is paid for the time. However, this on-duty meal break agreement must be in writing, and it must inform the employee of the right to revoke the agreement at any time. If an employee works for more than 10 hours in a day, he or she is entitled to a second meal break, that must start before the end of the tenth hour of the shift. Again, an employee can agree to waive the second meal break, but only if the employee does not work more than 12 hours and did not waive his or her first meal break.

Under California labor law, an employee is entitled to a ten-minute paid rest break, every four hours. All California employees who work more than 3.5 hours in a day are entitled to a 10-minute off-duty rest break. Rest breaks are counted as hours worked and must be paid. If an employee works more than 6 hours, they are entitled to a second rest break, and if the employee works over 10 hours, they are entitled to a third rest break. Similar to meal breaks, employers must pay ‘regular rate’ for missed rest break premiums. That means that employee can receive up to two hours of premium pay per day, if they did not receive either meal break or rest break.

In addition to the missed meal breaks, if an employer does not provide a thirty-minute unpaid meal break, but does not pay an employee for all hours worked (for example, if an employee has an 8.5-hour shift but is only paid for 8 hours), then the employee is entitled to be paid for the 30 minutes of unpaid labor. If this time exceeds eight hours in a day and/or 40 hours in a week, then the employee would also be entitled to 30 minutes of pay at the rate of 1.5 times their regular rate. Many employers attempt to pay their employees “straight time” for overtime, claiming they can’t afford to pay their employees’ overtime.

California law requires employers to pay wages immediately to employees when they are terminated or resign with 72 hours prior notice. An employer must pay an employee all of their unpaid wages at the time of quitting or if provided 72 hours prior notice, the employer must make the final wages available on the employee’s last workday. An employee’s final payment must include not only unpaid wages, but also unused vacation or paid time off. If an employer fails to pay earned wages due on termination, the company will be assessed a waiting time penalty for each late day, up to a maximum of 30 days. For example, if an employee makes on average, $200.00 per day, they would be entitled to  $6,000.00 at most in waiting time penalties, if they do not receive their final pay until 30 days after they are terminated.

Despite the ruling in Dynamex, employers continue to improperly classify their employees as independent contractors. This tactic helps employers save on payroll taxes, but leaves them wide-open to employee lawsuits, as employers mistakenly believe that by misclassifying their employees as independent contractors that they do not have to provide them with meal and rest breaks, or overtime. It’s a costly mistake.

Sometimes, employees may be improperly misclassified by their employers as “exempt employees,” which would prevent that employee from receiving certain benefits, such as mandated meal and rest breaks as well as overtime. However, an employer intentionally misclassifying an employee as exempt can have dire consequences.One of the most common misconceptions happens with hourly employees. Employers often incorrectly claim that an hourly employee was exempt. However, under Negri v. Konig & Associates (2013) 216 Cal.App.4th 392, “…the use of the work ‘salary’ implies than an exempt employee’s pay must be something other than an hourly wage.” This type of mistake can open up a business for various wage and hour violations that add up to very hefty fines.

California law, specifically Labor Code § 2751, requires employers that employ individuals as salespersons and are compensated with commissions to have a written commission agreement that is signed by both the employer and employee. Many employees are working as salespersons without a written commission agreement. This is against the law, and leads to employees being underpaid for their commissions. Oftentimes employers terminate employment after a sale is made, but prior to payment being received, incentivizing employers to terminate their employees to avoid having to pay their employees the commissions that they have earned. Employees are entitled to be paid for the sales they made prior to termination, even if their employer does not complete sale until after termination. Employers must pay the terminated employee the commissions that they are owed.

Under CA guidelines, employees are entitled to a minimum number of sick leave hours, that can be earned over time. But sometimes employers try and dissuade or threaten their employees into not using their sick leave, which is against the law.

Under Federal and CA guidelines, employees are entitled to exercise their Family and Medical Leave Act rights. But employers still try and dissuade and punish their employees for using their FMLA time, creating a pretext for terminating employees who use it.

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Are you ready to protect your business with top-quality legal services at affordable rates? Get in touch today, and learn how we can help your small business succeed!