Category Archives: Blog

Did You Work Off The Clock And Not Get Paid?

Occasionally, we all set in when we’re needed and help out before or past our scheduled work hours. If you have made yourself available to work for your employer when technically “off the clock”, or if your employer has asked you not to report all of your house worked and then refuses to compensate you for work performed and time worked, they may be violating California law. Employment matters are complex and often require a skilled, dedicated and experienced employment lawyer like the law offices of Robert David Baker.

What is “working off the clock”?

Working off the clock can either be worked performed at the request of your employer before or after your scheduled shift, or can take other forms, including:

  • Your employer asking you not to report any time worked on off hours, like hours worked when “on call”;
  • Your employer asking you not to report time which, if reported, would result in your being owed overtime pay;
  • Your employer asking you not to take or not to report meal breaks allowed by California law.

You deserve to be paid for your hours worked – all of them. If your employer is refusing or has refused to pay you for all hours worked, you have a couple of options. You may file a claim and complaint with the California Division of Labor Standards Enforcement, or you may file a civil lawsuit for back pay and other civil penalties. The law offices of Robert P. Baker can assist you with either option, and is proud to be a veteran Los Angeles area employment law specialist. Attorney Baker knows hour and hour and overtime pay legislation inside and out, and also knows all of the remedies that may be available to you under the law if your employer is acting inappropriately and illegally regarding your pay.

If you have any questions about work you have performed, and whether or not you should have been paid for your work and your time, call us today. California employees have rights under the law, and employers must abide by the law. If you have been treated unfairly by your employer, we look forward to hearing from you, and to getting you all the compensation you’re entitled to under the law. We’re conveniently located and available in person, via our online site, or over the phone.

What You Need To Know About Your Sick Leave Right Bill AB 1522

Are you a San Jose area employee concerned about sick leave? Do you have questions about sick leave in California? If so, call the Law Offices of Robert P. Baker today to speak to our experienced and knowledgeable employer law specialists. Attorney Robert David Baker has been zealously advocating for Los Angeles area employees for several decades, and is proud to live and work in our community.

Under California law, as of January 1, 2015, nearly all California employees are eligible for paid sick leave.

What is Bill AB 1522 and how does it impact me?

Bill AB 1522 was signed by Governor Jerry Brown and became effective on January 1, 2015, although the right to begin accruing and taking sick leave under the law associated with this bill did not go into effect until July 1, 2015.

The government of the State of California saw a need to protect employee’s rights regarding leave. They recognized that employees must be able to legally take time away from their jobs in order to care for sick or injured family members or themselves. Although many California employers already provided for paid sick leave, or had sick leave policies, many did not, and AB 1522 aimed at creating an even playing field for all employees regarding some base levels of sick leave.

AB 1522 sets up a baseline for paid sick leave, and generally, the law requires that California employers provide each employee who satisfies the requirements explained below at least 24 hours or 3 work days of paid sick leave per year.

How do you quality for paid sick leave in California?

In order to qualify for paid sick leave in California, an employee must work for the same employer (on or after January 1, 2015) for at least 30 days within a one year period, and that employee must complete a 90-day “probationary” employment period before taking any sick leave. If you work less than 30 days for the same employer within a one year period, you are not eligible for leave from that employer. Likewise, if you work for a California employer for more than 30 days, but less than the 90 required to complete the “probationary” employment period, then you will not be entitled to take paid sick leave under AB 1522.

Leave policies, like all employment law matters, can be complex. Leave policies may also vary by employer, which many employers offering richer paid leave offerings in order to retain the most qualified staff. If you believe that your employer may not be complying with California’s paid sick leave law, or any other law, please call us today. If you have worked for the same employer in California for more than 30 days and have satisfied your 90-day “probationary” period without taking paid sick leave, and then have been denied the use of your accrued paid sick leave, please contact us to set up a free consultation. We’re proud to represent worker’s rights, and will advocate aggressively on your behalf to secure for you everything you are entitled to under the law.

Getting Fired From A Staffing Agency Temporary Job

Have you been recently fired from a staffing agency or other temporary employment agency? Do you believe that your firing was unjust or possibly illegal? If so, call the Los Angeles area employment law expert: Attorney Robert David. Baker.

The Law Offices of Robert David Baker has been advocating for worker’s rights for several decades and we are proud to champion the rights of employees to work in offices free from illegal discrimination.

Determining which employer is legally responsible

When you work through a temp or staffing agency, you may legally have one employer, or you may have multiple legal employers. Before any legal action can be taken on your behalf, we will need to determine which employer is legally responsible. Some factors that will help define your employment relationship with both your former employment or staffing agency and the employer who you actually performed work for may include:

  • Who directed your work?
  • Who managed and/or supervised you?
  • How long was your employment with each employer?
  • Did the company or individual that you performed work for actually have the right to fire you? Did the employment, temp or staffing agency have the legal right to fire you?

In questions about defining an employment relationship, the focus for a court will be on your individual relationship with both the employment staffing firm and the individual or corporation that you performed work for.

Staffing agencies are often unregulated, and many do not play by the rules required of all California employers by the law. Some staffing agencies may believe that their contracted workers do not have any employment rights – they are wrong. If you or a loved one has been fired from a staffing agency or temporary job and has reason to believe that the firing was done in retaliation for a legitimate workplace grievance or some other action protected by California law, please call us today to schedule a free consultation. Our staff is available either over the phone or in person at our conveniently located offices to hear the facts of your case and advise you of your legal rights. Attorney Robert David Baker has built a solid reputation for defending worker’s rights in greater Los Angeles, and he looks forward to hearing from you today.

California Employment Laws Affect Mandatory Sexual Harassment Training For Supervisors

As of the beginning of this year, California employers that are legally required to provide sexual harassment training and must include specific training for supervisors. The training which must be provided to supervisors now includes mandatory training on the prevention of “abusive conduct”. This new law, AB 2053, made the prevention of “abusive conduct” a required component of the sexual harassment training that previously have been required under California law.

What is “abusive conduct”?

Under AB 2053, “abusive conduct” is defined as conduct of an employer or employee “in the workplace, with malice, that a reasonable person would find hostile, offensive and unrelated to the employer’s legitimate business interests.” Examples of abusive conduct include repeated verbal attacks or verbal abuse (such as the use of derogatory remarks, insults), physical conduct that a reasonable person would likely find threatening, intimidating or humiliating, or the unjustified and unreasonable sabotage of a person’s work performance. Generally, a single act or action won’t constitute abusive conduct, but it can if the act or action is especially severe or egregious.

What does the law require?

AB 2053 requires that employees in supervisory positions be provided training on the prevention of abusive conduct in the workplace. There are not clear mandates on exactly how long or extensive the new training must be, but there is some guidance available to employers that highlights that their training should include discussions on the detrimental consequences of this conduct on employers and that the training should specifically discuss the elements of abusive conduct.

Current California law requires that employers with 50 or more employees and/or independent contractors (including state and city governmental entities) must provide supervisors with 2 hours of harassment prevention training every 2 years. Newly hired or promoted supervisors must receive and complete training within 6 months of their hiring or promotion.

I’ve been subject to abusive conduct in the workplace; how can the Laww oOfices of Robert P. Baker help me?

If you have been subject to abusive conduct in the workplace, please call our office immediately. The Law Offices of Robert P. Baker has been advocating for worker’s rights for several decades and we are proud to champion the rights of employees to work in offices free from illegal discrimination. If you believe that you have been a victim of abusive conduct in the workplace, you should also document your experience and contact your human resources department in order to formally document your complaint. No matter where you’re at in the process, our staff is available either over the phone or in person at our conveniently located offices to hear the facts of your case and advise you of your legal rights. Call us today for a free consultation.

California Paid Sick Leave Laws

Employees in California enjoy some job benefits that workers in other states do not enjoy, including mandatory paid sick leave laws. Many employers in the State of California are legally obligated to provide their employees paid sick leave, which employees can use for themselves or to care for an ill family member.

This past July, Governor Jerry Brown signed into law AB 304 Sick Leave: Accrual and Limitations legislation, which amended the Healthy Workplaces, Healthy Families Act of 2014, which is found in California’s Labor Code.  This new law became effective as soon as the Governor signed it, and it has paved the way for nearly mandatory paid sick leave in California.

Which employers are impacted by this law?

Unlike some other leave legislation, California paid sick leave laws have been written broadly enough to encompass most every employer in the State of California. There are no exemptions for small employers (like there is with federal unpaid leave). We recommend that all employers review their leave policies to ensure that they are compliant with California’s new paid sick leave laws.

How does this law impact employers who already offered paid sick leave?

Employers who provide sick leave may not be required to offer additional sick leave under the new law if: the employer has a paid leave policy or a paid time off policy and the employer has made available amounts of leave for specific uses (like sickness) and the employer’s paid leave policy either satisfies the accrual, carry over and use requirements of the law or paid leave is provided pursuant to other provisions of law or some other legal agreements that meets the requirement of the California sick leave laws.

Can employers limit employees’ use of sick leave?

Yes. Under the law, an employer may limit an employee to either 3 days or 24 hours of paid sick leave in either each year of employment, each calendar year or a 12-month period.

How can the Law Offices of Robert P. Baker help me?

If you have concerns that your employer is not complying with California’s paid sick leave laws, or if you have been denied paid sick leave or use of paid sick leave or other leave by your employer, please contact us today. Since graduating from Harvard Law School, attorney Robert P. Baker has built a career on defending the rights of ordinary citizens. Let us be your voice and let us advocate on your behalf for justice and any compensation you may be entitled to under the law. California has set up laws to protect workers and we are proud to enforce those laws and hold employers accountable for their actions.

Minimum Wage Waiver For Organized Workers

Labor unions are known for advocating aggressively for their members and for seeking out the highest pay rates and best benefit packages for their members. Interestingly, however, California’s labor leaders have proposed to exempt unionized workers from Los Angeles’ new minimum wage law – a city ordinance that aims to raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2020. Union leaders have been steady backers of minimum wage hikes across California and other states, and in many cases have explicitly and specifically argued against waivers or exemptions for other groups, including nonprofits and small businesses.

Some labor union organizers have argued that imposition of a minimum wage on organized workers would violate the National Labor Relations Act, the legal basis for unionized collective bargaining agreements. They argue that a waiver for organized workers would simply align Los Angeles’ ordinance with federal labor law. Some labor lawyers are not convinced by this argument however, and see a higher minimum wage as simply setting a higher starting bargaining position for unionized workers.

Why would labor unions want organized workers to be exempted from minimum wages?

Since many labor unions have been at the forefront of minimum wage hike fights in cities across California and the United States, many are left to wonder why they support the hike, but at the same time want a waiver from the rule for organized workers.

Some experts believe that organized labor is requesting waivers from the minimum wage hike in order to drive up unionization across California. If unionized employers were exempt from paying the higher minimum wages, then the unions could effectively tell business owners, especially those likely to hire minimum wage workers like those in the service industry, that if they allow their workers to unionize, the employer will save substantially on payroll by being allowed to pay the unionized workers lower than the legal minimum wage. This may seem like a win-win for employers and unions alike, as unions would benefit from higher member numbers, equally higher dues paid and employers would benefit from being able to retain workers and pay them a lower minimum wage.

San Diego, which raised its minimum wage recently, did not include an exemption or waiver for organized workers; however, the cities of San Francisco, Oakland, Long Beach and San Jose (among others) have all allowed a minimum wage waiver for organized workers in recently passed minimum wage hikes. Waivers or exemptions for organized workers are not limited to California: they have been included in minimum wage laws in Washington state and Chicago, Illinois.

It’s well known that union membership across the country has been dwindling in the past several decades. Could aggressively advocating for minimum wage hikes containing exemptions for organized workers really boost union membership across the country?

What do you think of waivers or exemptions to the minimum wage for organized workers? Tell us in the comments below.

What Happens If Your Marriage Ends In A Divorce Before Your Conditional Permanent Residence (CPR) Expires?

Are you a foreign-born individual who married a US citizen and applied for a green card in order to remain the US with your spouse; only to have your marriage end in divorce before your conditional green card or conditional permanent residence expires? If so, call the Law Offices of Robert David Baker today to learn about your rights, and about what legal steps you must take next in order to remain in the US legally.

Many foreign-born individuals worry that upon their divorce they may be deported or otherwise forced to leave the US and the life that they have built here. They may worry about having to leave family behind, including minor children. If you are a foreign-born individual with a conditional green card who is contemplating or facing divorce before the conditional permanent residence period expires, you will need to file an I-751 waiver form with the USCIS when your divorce becomes final.

What is an I-751 form and an I-751 form waiver?

Generally, when foreign-born individuals marry US citizens, they apply for a green card in order to remain in the US with their new spouse. In order to become a permanent United States resident, they must then file for a conditional green card, which is valid for a period of two (2) years. Once that conditional period has been fulfilled, the individual may submit a form I-751. The filing of this form applies to remove the conditional aspect of the green card so that it is valid for a period of ten (10) years.

If you will be divorced before the initial, conditional 2-year period of residency granted by your green card has expired, you will need to submit an I-751 waiver form. Due to the complexity of the forms required, as well as the red-tape that often surrounds immigration proceedings, it is essential that you retain a skilled and experienced immigration and family law attorney, like attorney Robert David Baker. Attorney Baker will work with you to thoroughly document your marriage, and include proof of joint assets, joint income tax returns and all documentation necessary to prove or bolster your assertion that despite it’s short duration, your marriage was a valid one, and undertaken for all the right reasons. If you have previously submitted an I-751 waiver form and had your form denied, contact our law office today. We can help you to renew and resubmit the necessary paperwork and forms before an immigration judge.

The Law Offices of Robert David Baker has been advocating for individual’s rights for several decades and we are proud to champion the rights of Los Angeles area residents, regardless of citizenship status. If you have any questions about your legal status in the US, please call us today to set up a free consultation and to speak to our compassionate, understanding and knowledgeable staff.