Author: Gabrielle Wirth

Quirky Question #242 – Policing Break and Time Records Pays Off

Quirky Question #242 – Policing Break and Time Records Pays Off

Question: We are a California employer.   After all the publicity surrounding class actions over meal and break periods, we instituted automatic warnings if employees take too long or too short a meal or rest break. Is anyone really enforcing this kind of discipline or are we wasting our time?

Quirky Question #241, Working for Free In Montana At A Start-Up Business

Quirky Question #241, Working for Free In Montana At A Start-Up Business

Question: I was laid off by my Montana employer and I have decided to help my brother with his start up business. I will be a 50% owner but we are not going to take a salary until revenue is substantial. An accountant friend tells me that my work for free for the start-up may disqualify me for the unemployment...

Quirky Question # 239, Employers Might Be Liable For Accidents During The Commute If They Require Employees To Use Their Vehicle During The Work Day

Quirky Question # 239, Employers Might Be Liable For Accidents During The Commute If They Require Employees To Use Their Vehicle During The Work Day

Question: Our office manager occasionally runs errands during the day such as delivering something to a customer or picking up lunch for a meeting. We reimburse her at the IRS rate for mileage. Yesterday, on her way home, she rear-ended the car in front of her causing substantial damage.  She has asked for the company’s insurance information. We told her...

Quirky Question # 225, California Law Is Not Going to Pieces

Quirky Question # 225, California Law Is Not Going to Pieces

Question: We are located in California and would like to change to a piece-rate system where we pay non-exempt employees a set amount for completed tasks.  I understand that this is referred to as paying for a “piece-rate” and it is legal as long as the employee is compensated at least at the minimum wage for all hours worked.  Is...

Quirky Question # 224, The De Minimis Defense to Off the Clock Work Claims

Quirky Question # 224, The De Minimis Defense to Off the Clock Work Claims

Question: We have an employee who is claiming that he should be paid for time cleaning up his work station after logging out of our electronic time keeping system each night.  Literally, he spends one or two minutes straightening his piles of paper and on other trivial similar tasks.  Another company HR representative said that every minute an employee spends...

Quirky Question # 221, San Francisco Ordinance:  Flexible Work Schedule

Quirky Question # 221, San Francisco Ordinance: Flexible Work Schedule

Question: We have a part-time employee in San Francisco, CA who works Monday to Friday 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. as support for our sole salesperson in the Bay Area.  She has recently requested to alter her schedule to work only 3 days a week.  I know there was a new San Francisco law about flexible schedules but we only...

Quirky Question #220, Independent Contractors

Quirky Question #220, Independent Contractors

Question: I have always understood that California employers that misclassify workers as independent contractors face potential liability, including compensatory damages, penalties and attorney’s fees. I recently heard a news broadcast that mentioned there were cases suggesting that recent court decisions have approved the use of independent contractors in California.  Is that true and what are the takeaways?

Quirky Question #219, Is Unemployment Status a Protected Category?

Quirky Question #219, Is Unemployment Status a Protected Category?

Question: We recently interviewed an applicant with a very spotty resume; there were repeated gaps in his employment history which were apparent from his resume. He was not hired and called HR to complain that it is illegal for us to consider his unemployment status. Is there a new law on this subject?

Quirky Question #217, Bereavement Leave in Colorado and Oregon

Quirky Question #217, Bereavement Leave in Colorado and Oregon

Question: An employee in our Corporate Office recently informed Human Resources that she was requesting bereavement leave with respect to her sister’s death last month.  When she was informed of our company policy, that up to 3 days of paid time off may be taken to attend the funeral, she said her attorney friend told her a new law requires...