Wage & Hour Violations

THE RIGHTS OF ON-SITE PROPERTY MANAGERS
MISCLASSIFICATION OF EMPLOYEES
OVERTIME PAY VIOLATIONS
MEAL PERIOD VIOLATIONS
REST PERIOD VIOLATIONS
OFF-THE-CLOCK WORK VIOLATIONS
EMPLOYERS ARE REQUIRED TO KEEP ACCURATE RECORDS

THE RIGHTS OF ON-SITE PROPERTY MANAGERS

California law requires that every apartment building with more than 16 units must have an on-site property manager. An on-site property manager is a person who lives in a residential unit, such as an apartment unit in an apartment building.

Every on-site property manager is an employee. This means that the property owner/ manager must have workers compensation insurance to cover on-site property manager injuries on the job and must withhold all proper federal and state income taxes as well as make payments for social security, unemployment insurance and disability insurance.

As an employee managing the daily operations for the property owner/manager, the on-site manager's duties may include, collecting rent from tenants, screening potential tenants, serving eviction notices on tenants, responding to questions and concerns from tenants, and supervising repairs, maintenance and landscaping.

On-site property managers often provide services to the property owner/manager in exchange for a reduction in rent. If, as a condition of employment, the on-site property manager must live at the place of employment or occupy quarters owned or under the control of the property owner/manager, then that property owner/manager may not charge rent in excess of the values set forth under California law. For example, if one person is employed as an on-site property manager, the property owner/manager may credit up to two-thirds of the ordinary rental value, and in no event, more than $451.89. Where two people are employed as a couple, the property owner/manager may credit up to two- thirds of the ordinary rental value, and in no event more than $668.46 per month.

Additionally, unless there is a voluntary written agreement between the property owner/manager and the on-site property manager, meals or lodging may not be credited against minimum wage. The voluntary written agreement must specifically state: "The value of the lodging will be credited against the employer's minimum wage obligation". This means that, unless there is a voluntary written agreement, the property owner/manager must provide free rent and meet its minimum wage requirements.

MISCLASSIFICATION OF EMPLOYEES

Employees are classified as either "exempt" or "non-exempt". An exempt employee is usually an employee who (1) performs office or non-manual work directly related to the management policies or general business operations of the employer or its customers; (2) customarily and regularly exercises discretion and independent judgment; (3) performs under only general supervision work along specialized or technical lines requiring special training ; (4) is engaged in "exempt" activities at least 50 % of the time, and (5) earns twice the state's minimum wage.

Examples of "exempt" employees are typically highly-paid upper management personnel such as executives, professionals and administrators. Exempt employees are typically not eligible for overtime pay or meal and rest breaks.

All other employees, whether paid by salary or by the hour, are "non-exempt" employees. These employees must be paid for meal and rest breaks and must be paid for overtime work.

Whether an employee is "exempt" or "non-exempt" is not determined by job title. If, for example, an employee's job title is "supervisor" but he/she engages in "supervisory duties" less than 50% of the time, that employee may in fact be a "non-exempt" employee.

OVERTIME PAY VIOLATIONS

California law generally requires that a non-exempt employee who works in excess of 8 hours per day and 40 hours per week, and the first eight hours worked on the seventh day of work in any one workweek, shall be compensated at the rate of no less than one and one-half times the regular rate of pay for an employee. Any work in excess of 12 hours in one day shall be compensated at the rate of no less than twice the regular rate of pay for an employee. In addition, any work in excess of eight hours on any seventh day of a workweek shall be compensated at the rate of no less than twice the regular rate of pay of an employee

Consequently, if an hourly employee works 10 hours in 1 day, that employee must be paid as follows: the first 8 hours at the employee's regular rate of pay and the last 2 hours, at the one and one-half time that employee's regular rate of pay.

MEAL PERIOD VIOLATIONS

California Labor Code provides that an employer may not employ an employee for a work period of more than five hours per day without providing the employee with a meal period of not less than 30 minutes, except that if the total work period per day of the employee is no more than six hours, the meal period may be waived by mutual consent of both the employer and employee.

Additionally, an employer may not employ an employee for a work period of more than 10 hours per day without providing the employee with a second meal period of not less than 30minutes, except that if the total hours worked is no more than 12 hours, the second meal period may be waived by mutual consent of the employer and the employee and only if the first meal period was not waived.

A "30-minute meal period" does not count as work time. Therefore, every employee must be free to leave the premises for the full 30 minutes of his meal period.

Employers who require employees to attend a luncheon or a training course or a conference or a dinner or any other work-related activity which is accompanied by a meal are required to count the meal period as work time and are also required to pay for the cost of the meal. As the time is work time, it must be counted as hours worked for overtime purposes. In addition, employees continue to be entitled to a duty free 30 minute meal period.

REST PERIOD VIOLATIONS

Every employer shall authorize and permit all employees to take rest periods, which insofar as practicable shall be in the middle of each work period. The authorized rest period time shall be based on the total hours worked daily at the rate of ten (10) minutes net rest time per four (4) hours or major fraction thereof.

Authorized rest period time shall be counted as hours worked for which there shall be no deduction from wages. If an employer fails to provide an employee a rest period in accordance with the applicable provisions of California law, the employer shall pay the employee one (1) hour of pay at the employee's regular rate of compensation for each workday that the rest period is not provided.

"OFF-THE-CLOCK" WORK VIOLATIONS

Employees may at times be asked to attend a training session or a conference or a meeting outside of his/her regular working hours. These "off-the-clock" activities are considered to be work time. Therefore, employers must compensate employees for time spent on these activities.

EMPLOYERS ARE REQUIRED TO KEEP ACCURATE RECORDS

Wage and hour regulations contain numerous record-keeping requirements for employers. Employers have a statutory duty to comply with the regulations set forth in the California Labor Code, all of which mandate the employer to keep accurate records, including the number of hours worked, rate of pay for each hour, and total wages owed. The employer also has an obligation under the record-keeping requirements to track meal periods. Failure to record hours alone is a criminal offense.

Additionally, employers are required to keep on file for at least three years information regarding hours worked by its employees. Where an employer has failed to keep records required by statute, the consequences of such failure should fall on the employer, not the employee. In such a situation, imprecise evidence by the employee can provide a sufficient basis for damages.

We are here to protect your workplace rights.  If you have any questions regarding your wages, please contact us for a confidential free consultation.  We will listen to your concerns, evaluate your specific situation and provide you with your legal options.