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Legal Liability and Final Paychecks to Departing Employees

Issuing Final Paychecks to Departing Employees

Many tasks must be handled properly when employment ends, especially the tasks related to the accurate and timely issuance of the employee’s last paycheck. Companies operating without proper procedures, or those just unaware of the rules may dock final employee paychecks due to excess sick days, dress code violations, or missing property and equipment.  final paychecks | Kingsley & Kingsley employment lawyers, Encino, CAAnd while violations of company policy or the established code of conduct may warrant docking an employee’s pay, a company is best served if it avoids undue hassle with a departing employee and remains professional throughout the entire termination process. Even when an involuntary departure is triggered by a rule violation or performance problem, the employer should  minimize the risk of legal liability, while not providing the departing individual with another reason to file an administrative claim or lawsuit.

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Garcetti to Sign Minimum Wage Hike for Los Angeles Hotel Workers

Ordinance to Increase Minimum Wage for Select Workers in LA Hotels

minimum wage los angelesOn Wednesday, October 1, 2014, the Los Angeles City Council gave final approval to a minimum wage increase for workers in large hotels. Council members passed the ordinance in a preliminary vote last week, establishing a minimum hourly wage of $15.37 for workers at Los Angeles hotels with at least 125 guest rooms. If signed by Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, the ordinance would go into effect in July 2015, creating one of the highest minimum wages in the country. The ordinance  would apply first to hotels with more than 300 rooms. Those with at least 125 but fewer than 300 would have to comply by July 2016.

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Late Paychecks Violate FLSA

Late Paychecks Violate Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA)

late paychecks | California lawyers, Kingsley & Kingsley - Encino, CAFrom start-up to the most experienced small business, companies of all sizes can run low on cash due to late receivables or unexpected large expenses.  It is in those situations, that some employers may delay payroll to ease the burden created by cash flow problems.  If the poor financial condition of your employer’s business caused you to receive a late paycheck or no paycheck at all, your employer may have violated the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), also known as the wage and hour law.

Case in Point – The Federal Government

In Martin v. United States, the federal government paid its workers approximately two weeks late because of the government shut down in October 2013. A week after the shutdown ended, a group of federal government employees filed suit alleging violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), 29 U.S.C. § 201-219. On July 31, 2014 the U.S. Court of Federal Claims ruled that late paychecks resulted in a violation of the FLSA. The court concluded that the FLSA is violated when an employer fails to pay its employees all wages due on the regular pay day.  And while the employees got their paychecks, they were entitled to liquidated damages in an amount equal to the late payments, plus attorneys’ fees.

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Governor Brown Signs Bill Mandating Paid Sick Leave

New Law to Affect 6.5 Million Californians

paid sick leaveOn August 29, 2014, California Governor Jerry Brown signed a bill mandating paid sick leave for nearly all employees in California. Lorena Gonzalez, a San Diego Assembly woman authored the bill that will require nearly all California employers to provide a minimum of three paid sick days to their workers, marking a landmark victory for workers’ rights. The bill is expected to affect approximately 40 percent of the state’s workforce, or more than 6.5 million California employees who have no paid sick days.

During a signing ceremony on September 10, 2014 in Los Angeles, Governor Brown remarked, “Whether you’re a diswasher in San Diego or a store clerk in Oakland, this bill frees you of having to choose between your family’s health and your job.”

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CA Supreme Court: Franchisor Not Liable for Sexual Harassment of Franchisee’s Employee

Franchisor Not Liable for Sexual Harassment of Franchisee’s Employee under FEHA

sexual harassment | California lawyers, Kingsley & Kingsley, Encino, CAIn Patterson v. Domino’s Pizza, LLC., the California Supreme Court addressed the issue of whether a franchisor, such as Domino’s Pizza, LLC., can be held vicariously liable for claims of alleged sexual harassment by an employee of a franchisee, such as an individually owned Domino’s Pizza store.  Under the California Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA), an “employer” is strictly liable for all acts of sexual harassment by a supervisor.  The Court held, in a 4-3 decision, that Domino’s Pizza, LLC was not liable for the actions of a shift manager employed by one of its franchisees because Domino’s did not exercise the requisite level of control over the franchisee.

Patterson v. Domino’s Pizza, LLC, No. S204543, 2014 WL 4236175 (Cal. Aug. 28, 2014).


The plaintiff, Taylor Paterson, filed suit against Domino’s Pizza, LLC., the franchisee, and the

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FLSA Violations Cost LinkedIn $6 million

Professional Networking Site LinkedIn to Pay $6 Million for FLSA Violations

After being investigated by the US Labor Department for Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) violations, LinkedIn has been forced to pay out nearly $6 million in damages and unpaid overtime to 359 employees in California, Illinois, Nebraska and New York.linkedin FLSA violation

The investigation revealed violations of the overtime and record-keeping parts of the FLSA. Specifically, LinkedIn failed to properly pay and account for “off-the-clock” hours worked by non-exempt employees. These hours should have been recorded on the employee’s timesheets and paid either at the employee’s usual rate or at an overtime rate where such work caused the employee’s hours to exceed 40 in a workweek.  Under California law, overtime is required where an employee works in excess of 8 hours in a workday or in excess of 40 hours in a workweek.

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Ninth Circuit Certifies Overtime Class Action

Appellate Court’s Opinion

overtime class action | Kingsley & Kingsley, California lawyers, Encino, CAOn September 3, 2014 the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit affirmed the district court’s grant of class certification (overtime class action) to Jack Jiminez and about 800 other Allstate employees in California who alleged that Allstate has a practice or unofficial policy of requiring its claim adjusters to work unpaid off-the-clock overtime in violation of California law.

The Appellate Court holds that the district court did not abuse its discretion in applying Fed. R. Civ. P.23 (a)(2)’s commonality requirement and that the class certification order did not violate Allstate’s due process rights. Specifically, the panel held that the class certification order preserved Allstate’s opportunity to raise any individualized defenses at the damages phase, and that the district court’s approval of statistical modeling did not violate Allstate’s due process rights.

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FedEx Drivers Misclassified as Independent Contractors

California’s “Right-To-Control” Test Cited in Federal Ninth Circuit Court Of Appeals Ruling

FedEx Drivers Are “Employees”, Not “Independent Contractors”


independent contractors | California lawyers, Kingsley & Kingsley, Encino, CAClass actions were brought against FedEx in both California and Oregon by FedEx drivers contending they had been misclassified as independent contractors. The California plaintiff class alleged claims for employment expenses, unpaid wages, and benefits purportedly due them as employees based on their misclassification as independent contractors. The class action was originally filed in the California Superior Court in December 2005.

The plaintiffs in the California case represented a class comprising approximately 2,300 individuals who were full-time delivery drivers for FedEx in California between 2000 and 2007. Plaintiff class members worked for FedEx’s two operating divisions, FedEx Ground and FedEx Home Delivery. (Alexander, et al. v. FedEx Ground Package System, Inc.)

FedEx’s Operating Agreement (“OA”) governs its relationship with the drivers, and the company contends its drivers are independent contractors under California law.

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