Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently asked questions

Most frequent questions and answers

May I require an employee to work overtime?


What action must I take if a vendor is harassing our receptionist?

An employer must protect employees from sexual harassment by non-employees.  If the vendor does not stop, you will have to contact the vendor’s employer and perhaps bar the vendor from your business.

I have an employee who was arrested and has not been to work for a week. What are my options?

There is no legal right to a job protected leave for being in jail.  Consistent with your policies, you may terminate the employment relationship.

An employee was asked if she was pregnant. She said no, but later had a miscarriage. Can we fire her for lying about her pregnancy?

No.  The employee was not required to tell you she was pregnant, nor should an employer ask an employee, or applicant, if she is pregnant.  If it becomes obvious that an employee is unable to physically do her job, an employer may inquire into her health and ask for a Doctor’s certification that she is able to work.

An employee wants to eat lunch at her desk. Is that OK?

No.  Once the employee is fired, laid off, or quits, the employee may file a wage and hour claim alleging that she actually did work while eating at her desk.  Employees should be required to leave their work area during the meal break.

Must I pay an employee for being available to answer a cell phone when clients call after hours?

As long as the employee is free to pursue personal business, you do not have to pay for carrying a cell phone.  Time worked starts when the phone is answered.

May we prevent an employee from posting pictures of co-workers that were taken at work on Facebook?

Yes. That is considered an invasion of privacy.

Is it legal for our payroll system to automatically deduct 30 minutes for lunch?

No. Such a system is not proof that the employee took the meal period. The employee should certify that they took the lunch period by using a time clock or other system.

How can we ensure that our drivers take a meal period?

Have the drivers fill out and sign a time sheet showing what time they began and ended the meal period.

If a non-exempt employee works over 8 hours this week, can he work less hours next week to avoid overtime?

No. All overtime is calculated on time worked within each 25 hour workday and 7 day work week.

What requirements are necessary to hire a high school student?

The student must have a work permit from their school, and the employer must comply with California and Federal laws on permissible work for minors.

Our policy requires that employees work the day before and the day after a holiday to be paid for the holiday. If an employee is sick the day before, may we refuse to pay for the holiday?

No. The sick leave law does not allow an employer to punish an employee by not paying holiday pay in this situation.

An employee has resigned with two weeks notice. Can we fire the employee immediately?

You may, but that will turn the resignation into a termination. You may pay the employee through the resignation date and let the employee leave early. From an HR standpoint, if you fire an employee on the day they give notice, no other employee will ever give you advance notice of resignation.

If we fire an employee during their introductory period, can he/she receive unemployment benefits?

Whether the employee is fired during their introductory period, or after working for 10 years, has no effect on unemployment insurance eligibility.