Are You Entitled to Overtime if You are a Trucker in California?

Many truckers in California work more than eight hours in a day or more than forty hours in a week.  Based on the number of hours they work, many drivers believe they are entitled to overtime pay, but Gear-and-Gavel_goldare they right?  Maybe.  There are several factors that must be considered, such as 1) the route the trucker is driving; 2) the goods the trucker is transporting; and 3) the weight and length of the truck.

 

There are two sets of laws that can affect overtime compensation for truck drivers in California:  federal overtime law and California overtime law.
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Is a Public School Teacher Protected by the First Amendment When Communicating with School Administrators or Parents?

What happens if a public school teacher complains about the administration of a program?  Would the teacher’s complaints be protected by the First Amendment?  Not necessarily.Gear-and-Gavel_gold

 

The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals reviewed the district court’s summary judgment in an action brought by a public school teacher who alleged she was wrongfully terminated in violation of her First Amendment rights after voicing concerns about her school’s special education program.  (Coomes v. Edmonds Sch. Dist. No. 15, No. 15, 2015 U.S. App. LEXIS 5372 (9th Cir. Wash., Mar. 23, 2016)).  Plaintiff contended that her First Amendment rights were violated when the school district took adverse employment actions against her for expressing her views about the treatment of students in a program she managed.  The panel affirmed the portion of the decision regarding Plaintiff’s First Amendment claim.

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Employers Have to Reimburse Workers for Work-Related Cell Phone Expenses Even if Employees Have Unlimited Plans

Employees often do not think they are entitled to reimbursement of cell phone expenses if they have an unlimited plan.  Likewise, employers may also presume that they are under no obligation to reimburse their employees for using cell phones for work-related issues if the employees have an unlimited plan.  However,Gear-and-Gavel_gold they are incorrect.

Under California Labor Code section 2802, an employer must indemnify employees for all expenses incurred as a result of performing their duties.  Continue reading “Employers Have to Reimburse Workers for Work-Related Cell Phone Expenses Even if Employees Have Unlimited Plans”

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An Employer Cannot Retaliate Against an Employee For Filing a Police Report

Plaintiff Rosa Lee Cardenas, a dental hygienist, lost an expensive wedding ring in the workplace.  Suspecting that a coworker stole the ring, Ms. Cardenas wanted to file a police report.  However, her employer expressed his disapproval and requested that Ms. Cardenas not tell the police that she left the ring on the Gear-and-Gavel_goldbreakroom table at work.  Despite her employer’s objections, Ms. Cardenas filed a police report.  After the police came to the dental office on two occasions to investigate, Ms. Cardenas’ employer told her the situation was causing great tension and fired her.

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Your Employer is Prohibited from Retaliating Against You for Asking for an Accommodation

Under Rope v. Auto-Chlor System of Washington, Inc. (2013) 220 Cal.App.4th 635, an employee who requested an accommodation did not engage in a protected activity for purposes of a Fair Employment and Housing Act (“FEHA”) retaliation claim. Workers’ rights advocates throughout the State celebrated when Gear-and-Gavel_goldGovernor Jerry Brown overturned the incorrect result in Rope and signed Assembly Bill (“AB”) 987 into law this year.

Under AB 987, employees no longer need to fear retaliation from their employers if they request a reasonable accommodation. Continue reading “Your Employer is Prohibited from Retaliating Against You for Asking for an Accommodation”

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Employer Unlawfully Denies Truck Drivers Reimbursement by Misclassifying Them as Independent Contractors

Seacon Logix, Inc. (Seacon) transports cargo from the Port of Long Beach and the Port of Los Angeles to warehouses or other facilities. Seacon hired and unlawfully classified its truck drivers as independent contractors rather than employees. Seacon had its drivers complete and sign various documents, includingGear-and-Gavel_gold an agreement which provided that the drivers were independent contractors or subcontractors.

Seacon then leased its trucks to the drivers. Because the company classified the drivers as independent contractors, it deducted lease and insurance payments, and fuel and repair expenses from the truckers’ paychecks.

The truck drivers filed a class action lawsuit against Seacon. The plaintiffs alleged that they should have been classified as employees and that Seacon should not have deducted truck lease payments or insurance premiums from their paychecks. Continue reading “Employer Unlawfully Denies Truck Drivers Reimbursement by Misclassifying Them as Independent Contractors”

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Halliburton Pays $18.3 Million in Overtime Wages to More than 1,000 of its Employees

On Tuesday, September 22, 2015, oil and gas service provider Halliburton entered into a settlement agreement with the Department of Labor.  Halliburton agreed to pay $18,293,557 in overtime wages to 1,016 employees nationwide.Gear-and-Gavel_gold

Halliburton misclassified employees in 28 job positions as exempt.  These positions included field service representatives, pipe recovery specialists, drilling tech advisors, perforating specialists and reliability tech specialists.  When these employees worked more than forty hours a week, Halliburton failed to pay them overtime wages in violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).  Halliburton also failed keep accurate records of the hours these employees worked.  The company claims to have discovered it misclassified its employees during a self-audit. Continue reading “Halliburton Pays $18.3 Million in Overtime Wages to More than 1,000 of its Employees”

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Being Classified as an Independent Contractor Instead of an Employee Denies Workers Important Benefits and Protections Under the Law

There is an increasing trend in this country for employers to misclassify employees as independent contractors. Workers who are misclassified as independent contractors are often denied important benefits and protections under the law, such as minimum wage, overtime compensation, family and medical leave, and Gear-and-Gavel_goldunemployment insurance. Continue reading “Being Classified as an Independent Contractor Instead of an Employee Denies Workers Important Benefits and Protections Under the Law”

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The Law Regarding “On-Duty” Meal Periods in California

In California, on-duty meal periods, in which employees are not relieved of all duties, are only legal under certain narrow circumstances.

California employers are generally required to provide an unpaid, off-duty meal period of at least 30 uninterrupted minutes to its non-exempt employees for Gear-and-Gavel_goldevery five hours of work.  During these meal periods, employees must be relieved of all duties and employers must relinquish control over their activities.  Employers may not impede or discourage employees from taking their breaks.  See Brinker v. Superior Court (2012) 53 Cal.4th 1004; California Labor Code §226.7; 8 Cal. Code Regs. §11040.   If an employee is not afforded a 30-minute uninterrupted meal break for every five hours worked, the employer must compensate the employee for one additional hour of pay for each workday that the meal break is missed.  California Labor Code §226.7.

Sometimes, in an attempt to circumvent this law, employers ask employees to sign forms agreeing to take “on-duty” meal periods.  However, on-duty meal periods are permissible only under very limited circumstances.  On-duty meal periods are only legal if: Continue reading “The Law Regarding “On-Duty” Meal Periods in California”

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