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Harvey Sohnen
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Harvey Sohnen’s Answers

26 total

  • What kind of employee am I? Oh they also take commission from us if a mistake us made. Is any if this legal?

    I am in sales. My employer lists me as a non-exempt employee. They require us to work Monday through Friday and every other Saturday. They want us in the office every morning at 7 o'clock. We run estimates until 5 or 6 at night. We get a minimum o...

    Harvey’s Answer

    Regarding overtime pay, your description raises a number of important issues, but unfortunately does not provide enough detail about certain things, such as what industry you are in and whether you are primarily inside or outside sales (or neither), I suggest you go over the particulars with a lawyer in your community who handles wage & hour cases for employees.

    Regarding the employer's policy about expenses, the basic rule is Labor Code 2802 (a) which states: An employer shall indemnify his or her employee for all necessary expenditures or losses incurred by the employee in direct consequence of the discharge of his or her duties, or of his or her obedience to the directions of the employer...

    A full answer about expenses would require knowing more details than are in your question. The employer can give you some guidance about using company gas that is on hand, but it does sound like the employer is forcing you to pay for some necessary expenses out of pocket and not reimbursing you, so it would be worthwhile to consult with an attorney on this too.

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  • What should I do with my scheduling & unprofessional boss problem?

    I work at a small company with no hr department. I work part time, 3 days a week and my hours are set. Often times I come into work and my boss has not done the needed work for me to do my part or she has not followed up with the client and I cann...

    Harvey’s Answer

    There is no lawyer's solution for it being a bad job, but if you report to work and the work day is very light, you should at least collect what is known as reporting time pay. It sounds like you are in the accounting field, which would be covered by Wage Order 4, Section 5. That section states that if you report to work, and receive either no work or less than half the usual amount of hours, the employer is required to pay you for half the usual hours, but the amount paid for that day shall be no less than 2 hours and no more than 4 hours. You are to be paid at your regular rate of pay when this happens.

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  • Do I have a case? I was made to feel uncomfortable by a male assist manger sexually and forced to quit.

    I was being Sexually herassed by a assistant manager. I would still have a job today if it wasn't for him making me feel uncomfortable. Touching me and verbally hinting he was into me. I couldnt take it much longer so I quit .I'm a male who is...

    Harvey’s Answer

    It's worth your time to set up an appointment with an attorney in your community who represents employees in employment matters, and go into the details further than one would do in an email exchange. Be mindful that there are deadlines for starting such cases, which you do by filing first with a state or federal agency. - 300 days from the act complained if you choose a federal agency (EEOC) complaint procedure, and one year from the act complained if you choose the state agency (DFEH) procedure. Don't wait to pursue this until you are just on the edge of the deadlines!

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  • Can she get away with doing this to us? How can I make sure I am going to get the proper amount back that belongs to me?

    My previous employer did not file the correct amount for my W-2. My coworkers and I feel that she did not report everything we made for the months of January through July of 2015. We have tried to contact her via cell phone but it seems like she h...

    Harvey’s Answer

    If an employer states an incorrect amount on a form W-2 and refuses to issue an amended w-2 when you point out the error, I believe there is a procedure for you to file a statement with your tax return stating that the w-2 is in error and stating the correct amount. If you have someone who assists you in preparing your tax return, that tax preparer would be the next person to ask.

    The company is required to keep payroll records for three years. There may be some penalties assessed against it for not doing so. Some of the applicable laws are Labor Code Sections 226 (f), and 1198.5(k).

    Employers who act in the manner you described are often violating a whole series of laws which may entitle the employees to more by way of remedies than those that just apply for a failure to furnish records. You may want to review the overall payroll situation at this company with an experienced "wage and hour" employment lawyer. With all due regard to the legal talent all around the state, start looking in your own community for professional assistance for something like this.

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  • How can this be a legitimate/legal reason to terminate my employment?

    I have been placed on paid leave for the duration of the investigation. Which started this past Thursday January 28th. I work in the medical field in an outpatient center that logs your employee ID through our computer system. I had begun my inter...

    Harvey’s Answer

    Your description raises some questions about whether your employer was violating the law by not providing you the half hour meal periods you are entitled to under California, and also whether they were not authorizing and permitting paid rest periods as required by California law. It also raises the question about whether you were being retaliated against for taking proper breaks when they terminated you.

    This situation bears some further scrutiny! I suggest that you go over the particulars of what happened in a meeting with a local employment law attorney who represents employees.

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  • Do I need to file a right to suit?

    I was a cashier at a local grocery store. 1 year into my job I was promoted to a "fill in manager" and given a raise. I was training with another manager who was sexually harassing me. When I reported it to the owners of the store the fired that m...

    Harvey’s Answer

    Your email raises a number of points that might be worth discussing in more detail with an attorney in your community who handles employee rights cases. As part of analyzing this, also, you might want to get a hold of a copy of documents from your personnel file that you can request under the Labor Code. Be aware that every claim has a statute of limitations, and for claims such as sexual harassment or disability discrimination, you have a year from the complained of act to file with the state agency- the Department of Fair Employment and Housing, and less time (300 days) if you file with the federal agency, the EEOC.

    Also, while you didn't raise this in your question, please be aware that there are some class actions about the working conditions of grocery store and other cashiers that are wending their way through the courts, focussing on whether a requirement to make cashiers stand all day long while at the cash register is a violation of California law and whether penalties should be assessed.

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  • What is the difference between a corporation, a LLC, and a limited partnership?

    I am in the beginning phases of starting a product line and in attempting to trademark my business name in California the forms asked if the potential company was a corporation, a LLC, or a limited partnership. I have no knowledge as to what the ...

    Harvey’s Answer

    This is one of the most common (and important) questions people ask when forming a new business. My recommendation is that you set up a meeting with a local attorney who works in this area and review the pluses and minuses of the three forms as they apply to your business plan, line of work, ownership structure, etc. If you are a "do-it-yourselfer" there is an excellent Nolo Press book on Forming a Corporation in California, that has a five page chart comparing the different corporate entity structures (Subchapter S, Subchapter C and LLC, but not limited partnerships.) You might also check out an article on LLCs versus S Corporations in the October, 2015 Contra Costa Lawyer magazine that is available free online.

    If you have an accountant, it would be a good idea to get that person's input too.

    Best wishes on your new venture!

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  • Do I need a labor attorney? Job clause from current employer preventing me from accepting job from my client

    Summary I am planning to change my employer. However the job clause in my offer letter prohibits me from joining any of my company's client. I am seeking consultation to understand the repercussions & legality around the job clauses from my empl...

    Harvey’s Answer

    Definitely consult with an attorney. This is a potentially high dollar matter in which the employer, right or wrong, has taken an extremely aggressive stance in the document it got you to sign. When a lot of money is at stake, don't rely on anonymous, generalized internet discussions.

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  • Advice on the situation

    My mother is an illegal immigrant works at a residents garage house picking thorns off cactus with a knife standing all day its paid on commision when i droped her off at work once i saw the horrible conditions where they work it is very unsanitar...

    Harvey’s Answer

    One way to complain about unhealthy working conditions is to file a complaint with Cal-OSHA. Such complaints can be initiated by telephone, and I believe they will keep the name of the complaining person confidential if requested.

    You have also mentioned that your mother is paid by commission. If you mean that she is paid a percentae of garage receipts, rather than paid by the hour, this is a payment arrangement in which there is a good chance that there are series of violations of wage laws. For example, unpaid overtime, not paying for rest breaks, to name just a couple. It might be wise for her to review the pay arrangements at her job with a lawyer in your community who is experienced in wage and hour law, to see whether the laws are being complied with in this regard.

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  • I am being forced to either quit school or my job by my employer of the last 16 months.

    I have worked selling mattresses and furniture at my job since May 16 of 2014, during this period of time I have also been attending College during my entire employment and was registered for school prior to starting my employment here (registered...

    Harvey’s Answer

    I agree with the other attorneys who have told you the employer can do this.

    It also sounds like your not accepting the employer's scheduling requirements might disqualify you from unemployment insurance benefits. However, not all is lost. I suggest you read up on the EDD website how you can purge the disqualification. (generally it can be done by a certain number of weeks of temporary work) Even better than getting unemployment benefits would be finding another job, which hopefully your ongoing education will help you to do. Best wishes.

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