GrahamHollis APC

California Employment Law Blog

California law requires employers to reimburse employees for work-from-home costs

Did you know that California Labor Code Section 2802 requires employers to reimburse employees for any necessary expenses the employees incur while doing their jobs?

That includes expenses you might incur while working from home. In fact, employees throughout California may be owed significant compensation for basic work-from-home expenses.

Where the use of equipment is for both personal and business use, such as a cellphone, and the actual cost of an employee's cellphone use for work cannot be determined -- for example, if an employee has an unlimited minutes/texting plan -- the employer is required to reimburse the employee for a "reasonable percentage" of the personal cellphone bill.

Must your employer pay you for unauthorized overtime hours?

Many California employers are adamant about restricting overtime. As a result, they may not allow overtime hours unless the employer approves it. However, instances may arise in which you cannot avoid working overtime, even if your employer did not approve it beforehand.

When you receive your paycheck that should include the overtime hours, you may wonder whether your pay will reflect the increase in wages you should have earned. If your check does not look like your employer included your time-and-a-half for overtime, you may wonder whether your employer has to pay since he or she did not authorize the overtime first.

As a paramedic, have you ever really gotten a break?

You may have always had the desire to help other people. From a young age, you may have thought about the various jobs you could have as an adult that would allow you to help others. When the time came to choose your profession, you became a paramedic.

The demands of the job are no secret, and you have likely had your fair share of days and nights when you work tirelessly to reach those who need help. Unfortunately, taking care of others may mean that you do not have much time to take care of yourself. Though breaks and meal times for employees are supposed to be provided under California law, you know that getting a break as a paramedic is an unusual occurrence.

Is your employer making illegal deductions from your paycheck?

Like many employees, you may keep track of your hours so you know what to expect on your paycheck. It's nice when the amount of your pay exceeds your expectations, but you may want to get to the truth if you end up getting less than you feel you earned.

Part of this may be because it is often complicated to figure out the amount the federal government will deduct from your check each payday. However, if you closely examine your pay stub, you may see that your employer has deducted money for other reasons. This can be disappointing and frustrating, especially if you are counting on a certain amount to cover your bills and obligations. In some cases, your boss's deductions may also be illegal.

Has your employer wrongly classified you as exempt?

You may already have enough to remember about your job. Whether you have been employed for years or you are a new hire, there are plenty of rules and regulations, policies and best practices to learn. What you may not realize is that your employer has an additional set of rules and policies to follow when it comes to classifying and paying employees.

If your employer has classified you as exempt, that means your position is exempt from federal and California labor code requirements your employer must follow. These may include rules for overtime pay, meal breaks and minimum wages. However, just because your employer says you are exempt does not necessarily mean it is so.

California workers need to know when their working conditions are illegal

Naturally, most people are grateful and excited when they get hired for a new job. Or, if you were promoted to a new position at your current workplace, you probably approach your new duties with a greater sense of responsibility and willingness to succeed.

But sometimes the positive feelings associated with employment start to diminish when you realize how difficult the job is, or maybe even the working conditions are simply unbearable. In fact, sometimes working conditions are unlawful, and that is the main reason the job is difficult. Employees in California need to know when working conditions are illegal -- and what the options are.

What are the 2 most common wage and hour violations in California?

The situation would seem simple enough: you work for an employer, and you're supposed to get paid fully for the work you do. But the reality is that many people in California are unlawfully underpaid.

While California law offers some of the strongest employee protections in the world, many employers don't play by the rules, essentially committing wage theft. How do they do this? Here are two of the most common wage and hour violations in California:

Are you owed compensation for denied meal and rest breaks?

It's more common than most people realize: employers fail to provide employees with meal and rest breaks. In fact, if you're a nonexempt employee in California, state law requires your employer to provide you with uninterrupted meal and rest breaks.

Sometimes employees are denied these breaks over the course of months or even years, so the time and the owed wages can really add up. If your right to meal and rest breaks has been denied, you could be owed significant compensation.

Does someone else know you are being harassed at work?

If you are the victim of sexual harassment on the job, chances are you are not suffering alone. Even if you are the only person the harasser is targeting at your workplace, the mistreatment may be creating a tense atmosphere for others around you. More importantly, there may be witnesses among your co-workers.

Having someone who knows what you are going through is important for more than just finding emotional support. A witness to harassment can provide critical corroboration of your complaint and invoke overall change in the work environment. Unfortunately, many witnesses do not come forward, and those who do may not know the best ways to help you.

Caregivers are significantly underpaid in California

When most people think of caregivers, they imagine employees who dedicate their time to helping others. But when most employers think of caregivers, they see dollar signs.

It's a significant problem in California where many caregivers are overworked and underpaid. According to Public Radio International, at least 20 companies conducted illegal behavior by committing wage theft -- a practice where employers withhold or underpay staff.

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