Category Archives: California Questions

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 have two employees in San Francisco so I am sure we are not covered by this law.  Correct? Answer→

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? Answer→

Oracle: Non-Residents Performing Work in CA For CA Companies Are Covered by CA Overtime Provisions

Sullivan v. Oracle Corporation, et al.

June 30, 2011, in Sullivan v. Oracle Corporation, et al., the California Supreme Court decided three certified questions from the Ninth Circuit regarding work performed in the State of California by non-residents for California based employers.

Three plaintiffs worked as “Instructors” for Oracle Corporation from 2001 to 2004. As Instructors, Plaintiffs’ job was to train Oracle’s customers in the use of the company’s products. Two Plaintiffs resided in Colorado, one Plaintiff resided in Arizona. Plaintiffs worked mainly in their home states but also traveled to work in California and 19 other states. In the three-year period, one plaintiff worked approximately 74 days in California, one worked 110 days and one worked 20 days.

Plaintiffs sued Oracle under three theories. First, Plaintiffs claimed overtime compensation under the Labor Code for days longer than eight hours, and weeks longer than 40 hours, in which such work was performed entirely in California (See Lab. Code §§ 510 (a), 1194.) Second, Plaintiffs restated the same claim alleging violation of California’s overtime laws as one for restitution under the Unfair Competition Laws (“UCL”) (Bus. & Prof. Code § 17203.) Third, and again under the UCL, Plaintiffs claimed restitution in the amount of overtime compensation due under the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”) (29 U.S.C. § 207(a)) for weeks longer than 40 hours worked entirely in states other than in California. Answer→

Quirky Question # 174: A New CA Claim, Providing Employees with Chairs

Question:

I work for a California retail employer. We have tried to stay in line with the state’s myriad wage and hour laws. We’ve audited the exempt status of questionably classified employees. We’ve reviewed and revised our meal and rest break policies. We’ve overhauled our overtime procedures. So far, we’ve avoided becoming a defendant in class action lawsuit. But now I’ve heard about another requirement – that we must provide our cashiers with chairs! Is this a new law? Answer→

Quirky Question # 162: Employee Handbooks Creating Vested Benefits

Question:

Our company is located in California. We have language in our handbook that says all our employees are “at-will.” Our existing handbook also includes provisions setting out the conditions under which we will lay people off and what benefits they would be entitled to if that were necessary. This was put in place five years ago. Given the current business climate, we may be facing lay offs in the next six months and want to change this policy. Since our employees are at-will and can be fired at any time for any reason, can we unilaterally change this policy now that business conditions have changed? Answer→