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Orange County Employment Law Blog

Drivers Are Entitled To Meal And Rest Breaks

April 7, 2014

By Jose R. Garay

Employees with job duties that primarily consist of driving duties are often required by their employers to work through their meal and rest breaks, have them consistently interrupted, cut short, or missed altogether. The California Supreme Court recently held in Bluford v. Safeway Stores, Inc. that employers must provide truck drivers meal and rest breaks. In other words, if an employer fails to provide its drivers with meal and rest breaks, the employer must pay its employee one hour of the employee's regular rate of pay. For example, John Doe makes $20 per hour driving vehicles for his employer. Because John's employer requires him to work a heavy schedule he often has his meal or rest breaks interrupted, cut short, or works through them. John's employer must pay him $20 (one hour's work of pay at his regular rate) for each missed, interrupted, or truncated meal or rest period. This can add up to a lot of money damages because in California you may be able to recover up to four years of damages.

If you are a driver and your employer has a pattern, practice, or policy that causes you to have your meal and rest periods missed, interrupted, or cut short, then call Jose Garay, APLC for a free consultation at (949) 208-3400 or email him at jgaray@garaylaw.com. An experienced attorney can help evaluate your claims and potentially help you recover money for your employer's employment violations.

About The Author

_____________________________________________________________________________________

Jose R. Garay is an experienced employment attorney with over 15 years of experience. He is the principal owner of Jose Garay, APLC and his office has successfully recovered millions of dollars on behalf of thousands of clients. Mr. Garay graduated from Stanford University and obtained his law degree from Southern Methodist University. He is a former financial advisor and specializes in high profile class action, individual, and multi-party cases.

Young workers in California need to know about harassment laws

People of any age who suffer harassment in the workplace can experience a great deal of harm outside of the workplace. Sexual harassment victims often experience health troubles, starting with stress-related problems. Harassment can take a toll on workers. Unfortunately, many workers fear that raising a complaint about workplace harassment may cost them their job.

California and federal laws prohibit retaliation for workers who call workplace harassment to the attention of the employer, as well as providing job protection for workers who seek outside help over hostile-workplace issues. Researchers say that, although mature adults may suffer harm from harassment, teens may experience longer-lasting ill-effects from harassment in the workplace. Moreover, teens may be less likely to know of the job protections that the law provides victims of harassment.

Company settles retaliation suit with wrongfully terminated manager

When a company allows someone to create or maintain a hostile work environment for one or more employees, California and federal laws provide workers with job protection for calling the harassment to the attention of the business. Workers are entitled under the law to complain about unlawful harassment, within the organization, or outside the business when necessary. Laws are in place to prohibit a company from retaliating against a worker for raising issues of discrimination or harassment.

Many companies have formal policies for how a workplace harassment complaint should be processed within the organization.

But, what happens when the internal system breaks down?

A company in the South has agreed to settle a workplace harassment and retaliation lawsuit with a manager who was fired in retaliation for doing his job.

Beware the Pitfalls of Overtime in Commission, Piece Rate, & Piece Work: PART FIVE-Are You The Owed Overtime?

By Jose Garay, Esq., Long Beach, Orange County, Ontario, Oakland, Irvine, Palo Alto, San Diego, Los Angeles

March 24, 2014

If you work in Construction and are a piece rate or piece work rate employee you may be entitled to overtime and paid rest breaks. For example, if you are making a regular rate of pay at $20 per hour you may be entitled to $30,000 + in damages and penalties.

Employers in construction typically pay on a piece rate or piece work rate for the following activities. · Masonry, block, brick, slabs and beams · Carpentry and flooring · Electrical, HVAC Installation · Dry wall and sheeting installation · Piping and Plumbing · Roofing · Energy Installation · Stucco application, painting · Septic tank installation · Commercial or home electronic installation Many employers violate labor laws by not paying overtime to piece rate workers and some employers will call piece rate or piece work a "commission" attempting to deceive employees in to the belief they are not entitled to overtime and/or paid rest periods.

Commissions are only earned from sales work and if a "commission" is paid for the work performed it will be considered the same as piece rate work. A person who earns a "commission" as a sales employee may also be entitled to overtime wages. It important to note that just because your earnings are commission does not automatically make you entitled to overtime wages. Determining overtime for piece work and piece rate can become complicated as there are two valid methods for paying overtime. One method is to calculate total compensation paid during a week divided by total numbers of hours worked. This determines the regular rate of pay on which overtime is calculated.

 If you are employed or have been employed in the last three years as a piece rate or piece work employee you may contact Gray Law for a (free) evaluation to determine if you are owed money by your current or former employer. The computation of the regular rate of pay for piece rate and piece work can be complicated and many employers do not comply with it. Even some of the more technical violations may not seem like much, if an employer is underpaying a large number of employees, they can keep making large profits for themselves at the expense of the employees. In these cases, an overtime and/or rest period class action can be the most effective way to deal with the problem. In addition, various penalties can be recovered using the Private Attorney General Act.

If you are construction employee who performs piece rate or sales work your employer has not paid you the minimum wage for those hours worked, then call Jose Garay, APLC for a free consultation at (949) 208-3400 or toll free at (888) 843 5290 or email him at jgaray@garaylaw.com. An experienced attorney can help evaluate your claims and potentially help you recover money for your employer's employment violations.

About The Author _____________________________________________________________________________________ Jose R. Garay is an experienced employment attorney with over 15 years of experience. He is the principal owner of Jose Garay, APLC and his office has successfully recovered millions of dollars on behalf of thousands of clients. Mr. Garay graduated from Stanford University and obtained his law degree from Southern Methodist University, and specializes in high profile class action, individual, and multi-party cases.

Beware the Pitfalls of Commission, Piece Rate, & Piece Work: PART FOUR - Are You The Owed Money?

By Jose Garay, Esq., Long Beach, Orange County, Ontario, Oakland, Irvine, Palo Alto, San Diego, Los Angeles

March 21, 2014

If you work in Construction and are a piece rate or piece work rate employee you may be entitled to overtime and paid rest breaks. If you are making a regular rate of pay at $20 per hour you may be entitled to $30,000 + in damages and penalties. Employers in construction typically pay on a piece rate or piece work rate for the following activities.

  • Masonry, block, brick, slabs and beams
  • Carpentry and flooring
  • Electrical, HVAC Installation
  • Dry wall and sheeting installation
  • Piping and Plumbing
  • Roofing
  • Energy Installation
  • Stucco application, painting
  • Septic tank installation
  • Commercial or home electronic installation

 

McDonald's workers in California, 2 other states, sue over wages

Workers in three states have filed a series of class-action lawsuits against McDonald’s restaurants over unfair pay issues. The series of lawsuits includes class-action proceedings in California over straight-time wage, overtime, meal breaks and rest break issues. The workers say that pay records have been altered to deny employees pay that the workers have earned.

In all, 13 workers have brought seven separate lawsuits filed in California, New York and Michigan. The parent company, McDonald’s is named in all of the lawsuits, while five of the disputes are also filed against individual franchisees of the fast-food restaurant chain. While the lawsuits may have nuances that differ from state to state, the common ingredient among the complaints appears to be issues involving denying workers pay that the employees earned on the job.

Beware the Pitfalls of Commission, Piece Rate, & Piece Work: PART THREE-Are You The Victim of False Job Ad?

Employers in sales typically pay on a commission scale. Many of these positions are in the lending industry. Typical titles are:

  • Loan Officers
  • Personal Banker
  • Loan Associate
  • Loan Specialist
  • Loan Processers
  • Account Executives
  • Commissioned employees
  • Salesperson

Commission positions are intended to reward producers. In reality, sales and commission only positions are usually illusory.

Sales People Beware of the Pitfalls of Piece Rate, Commission, Sales, & Piece Work: PART TWO

Employers in many industries compensate for the unit value of time or production work and call it "piece rate" or "piece work." Payment for installations, piece or unit production is very common in these industries and positions:

  • Loan Officers
  • Account Executives
  • Technicians
  • Dish Network Installers
  • Solar Panel Sales Representatives
  • Commissioned employees

The piece rate system, as in any production compensation system, is intended to allow highly productive employees to earn more than the average wage for that industry. The system is intended to reward productive employees who contribute above and beyond the average employee. The concept is simple, the more production the employer gets out of you, the more you earn. In reality, piece work and piece rate systems are often illusory and because an employer can predict standard production, the employee soon realizes that his or her check is almost always the same.

Beware of the Pitfalls of Piece Rate, Commission, & Piece Work. Part One

Employers in many industries compensate for the unit value of time or production work and call it "piece rate" or "piece work." Payment for installations, piece or unit production is very common in these industries and positions:

  • Auto Techs & Mechanics
  • Construction: Drywall installers, Framers, Stair Tile & Carpet installers
  • Cable installers
  • Truck drivers
  • Plumbers, Electricians & other Skilled Trades
  • HVAC technicians
  • Pet groomers & stylist
  • Delivery Drivers in all industries
  • All Commission, Draw & Sales positions
  • Machinist
  • Furniture & Office Product Assemblers

The piece rate system, as in any production compensation system, is intended to allow highly productive employees to earn more than the average wage for that industry. The system is intended to reward productive employees who contribute above and beyond the average employee.

Commissions, piece-rate pay and minimum wage under California law

Minimum wage laws have garnered a great number of headlines in recent months all across the country. The stories have primarily focused upon the rate of pay that is recognized in a particular area. Many of these stories may not fully address an important area of concern for many California workers. How an employer calculates whether a paycheck is in compliance with wage and hour laws has been clarified in several areas in the courts.

An appellate court ruling last year clarified that employers could not simply use a mathematical averaging method to calculate pay for piece-rate workers. The case involved mechanics, or service technicians, who were paid only for flag-time actually spent working on cars at a Southern California business. The employer kept track of time on the premises and compared the number of hours at work with the total pay earned at the piece-rate.

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