I encourage all companies to cozy up to their favorite EPLI attorney early this year – most of them are providing valuable employment law updates that all employers need to be aware of for 2019. Recently having attended such a briefing by Schor Vogelzang I can offer the following tips:
Wage and Hour claims (especially in So Cal) and Meal Break recordkeeping continue to be the largest source of claims hitting employers
Whatever complaint a disgruntled employee may take to an attorney will always be coupled with at least an attempt to attach a wage and hour violation. Any potential violation found will be a que to the attorney to
pursue a class action involving all employees.
Best defense – a payroll audit
With wage and hour laws changing annually, it is almost impossible to stay up to date and accurate on recordkeeping and payouts. A good EPLI attorney can assist with a payroll audit. If not done annually, then certainly make it a priority if an attorney requests payroll records. At that point, you would be wise to conduct a company-wide payroll audit and promptly address any discrepancies found – thus pre-empting any attempt at a class action. Same for meal break recordkeeping.
Under both federal and California law, overtime is calculated by multiplying 1.5 or 2 x the employee’s “regular rate of pay” – but regular rate of pay might change every week! Make sure you understand the ramifications of the types of bonuses that you may pay your employees – are they discretionary or performance based? It’s confusing – talk to your EPLI attorney to make sure your generosity doesn’t come back to bite!
Extra Minutes must be paid for
In California, those extra minutes that an employee might spend locking up and setting the security alarm… new law says those minutes need to be accounted and paid for.
Cell phone and home internet – for outside sales employees and those that work from home (even occasionally)… are you paying employees for these?
Smaller companies are being targeted because they are typically not compliant – they have become the low hanging fruit for attorneys, unfortunately.
Again, now is a good time to get re-acquainted with your Employment Practices attorney! While you are at it, a review of your EPLI insurance would be wise as well – understand the terms/conditions. Please call me if I can be of help with this. If you do not already have an Employment Practices Liability policy in place – definitely call me! 858-202-6187