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“Class Counsel displayed skills beyond those that might be expected of attorneys of comparable expertise or experience.”

- Honorable Jeffrey Hamilton, Jr.

 

“The stipulated class has been adequately represented by competent class counsel from the law firm of Blumenthal, Nordrehaug & Bhowmik.”

- Honorable Nancy W. Stock

 

“Class counsel has extensive experience in class action matters.”

- Honorable Irma E. Gonzalez

 

“If You Feel You’re Being Cheated By You’re Current Or Former  Employer This Is Law Firm For You. I Submitted An Email Too There Website  And Within A Few Short Hours I Got A Response… Its Nice To Know In Theses Troubling Times There’s A Law Firm Like Blumenthal Nordrehaug & Bhowmik That Will Stick Up For The Rights Of The Blue Collar Worker. Thanks Again ”

 

- David LaRue

 

“My experience dealing with Blumenthal, Nordrehaug & Bhowmik was fantastic. They understood the nature of my complaint, they had experience in dealing with similar cases and were extremely helpful and quick to respond throughout the process. I would not have wanted to go through this without having someone like AJ Bhowmik on my side.”

 

- Former Client DWalsh

 

“When I first emailed Blumenthal, Nordrehaug and Bhowmik, I did not expect a response that same day… They have been extremely responsive to my complaint and is moving forward in a timely manner.”

 

- Former Client MartinH

 

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Wednesday
Jul232014

California Law Protecting Whistleblowers Lacking Work Authorization from Retaliation 

California Governor Jerry Brown recently signed Assembly Bill No. 2751 into being. The Bill amends a recently enacted law prohibiting employers from retaliating against undocumented workers who engage in protected activity. The amendment is in reference to Assembly Bill No. 263, which restricted employers’ ability to put disciplinary action in place for employees who misrepresented their personal information (criminal history, immigration status, etc.)

The new law makes it illegal under California law for employers to retaliate by targeting immigration status when employees lacking work authorization are exercising a protected right such as filing a complaint for unpaid wages. The new law would prohibit employers from responding to whistleblowers lacking proper work authorization with threats to contact immigration authorities, discharging the employee, etc. California law now prohibits this type of action unless employee updates to personal information are directly related to the skill set, qualifications, or knowledge necessary for their job. The original bill’s intended purpose was to protect employees who are updating their work-authorization status, but it can be read to include protection for those wishing to update other information based on prior misrepresentations like criminal history. The amendment (AB 2751) clarifies the scope of the bill (AB 263) so that it specifically protects those employees who are attempting to update personal information in relation to name, social security number or federal employment authorization documentation. The amendment’s clarification allows employers to discipline/terminate employees who provides false statements not related to immigrate status, but continues to prohibit retaliation or disciplinary action against any workers who update records on lawful changes to immigration related information and documentation.

If you are unsure whether or not the new California law applies to your situation, you should contact the employment law experts at Blumenthal, Nordrehaug & Bhowmik immediately for legal advice regarding your specific situation. 

Tuesday
Jul222014

Commission Wage Allocation Limited by California Supreme Court Ruling

The California Supreme Court ruling on June 14, 2014, limited commission wage allocation by holding that employers could not satisfy the California compensation requirements for commission sales exemptions by assigning commission wages paid in one pay period to alternate pay periods. The decision could have a notable impact on employers who regularly pay their employees on a commission basis. It could have a particularly significant impact on those who pay commission sales employees a base salary that falls near the minimum wage requirement.

California’s commissioned employee exemption requires (among other things) employee’s earnings to exceed one and a half times minimum wage. It also requires that more than half of the employee’s compensation be commissions.

In Peabody v. Time Warner Cable, Inc. Case No. S204804, the employer (Time Warner) argued that their former account executive wasn’t entitled to overtime pay due to the fact that she was a “commissioned employee” and was therefore exempt. As noted above, there are limitations as to which employees can fall under the commissioned employee exemption. In the case of Time Warner, Peabody was paid an hourly wage of $9.61. This did not fulfill the one and half times minimum wage minimum pay requirement. The wages were paid every other week. Total compensation of the plaintiff did exceed the minimum one and a half times minimum wage requirement when the hourly was combined with the commissions paid to the employee. Commissions were paid only once/month. The commissions paid were earned throughout the previous month.

Due to the pay structure set up by Time Warner, the employee’s compensation fell short of the one and a half times minimum wage requirement during some pay periods. It is also notable that there was no dispute regarding the fact that the employee worked 45 hours per week and was not paid any overtime. In an attempt to meet requirements set down in the commission employee exemption, Time Warner suggested that employee commissions should be reallocated to be paid during earlier pay periods (in which they were earned) rather than the bi-weekly pay periods that were in place. They felt that satisfying the exemption’s minimum wage earnings requirement in this manner should free them from the obligation to pay commission employees overtime. The California Supreme Court rejected their argument. It was concluded that the Time Warner’s attribution of commission wages to meet minimum requirements was impermissible.

If you need to discuss implications of the recent ruling and how it could affect you as a commission employee, contact Blumenthal, Nordrehaug & Bhowmik, the Southern California employment law experts