San Diego Employment Defense Attorneys
The employment landscape has substantially changed in the past few months, and it is imperative for San Diego area employers to stay in compliance with Federal, State and local employment laws, wage and hour, and employee classification issues. Many employment disputes arise from wage and hour litigation related issues such as:
- Overtime compensation
- Fair Pay Act
- Straight Commission (minimum hourly compensation)
- Piece Rate Pay
- Minimum Wage
Exceeding 40 hours in a work week may not immediately trigger overtime calculations. What strategic decisions regarding seasonal employment, independent contractors or temporary workers affect these calculations and the impact this will have on your bottom line?
The experienced employer defense attorneys at the Watkins Firm help employers to understand the complexities of employment laws, regulatory compliance and wage and hour issues to protect their businesses while reducing or eliminating potential exposure to employment related litigation.
Private Attorneys General Act or PAGA Defense
The Watkins Firm provides a strong defense for San Diego and Southern California employers in California Private Attorneys General Act or PAGA cases. These actions represent a substantial legal and financial threat to area employers. Once a PAGA lawsuit is underway, plaintiff’s attorneys can force you to post notices to existing employees in central and obvious locations inviting them to join the action against you.
A PAGA plaintiff’s attorney has the right to access all information about employees past and present. The complaints of a single employee are magnified into an extremely expensive class action.
The good news is the Watkins Firm can help to put an immediate stop to any potential employee-related dispute or PAGA action, but you, the employer, must take immediate action to contact the Watkins Firm as soon as you learn of a potential dispute. There is a clock ticking which is actually completely hidden from you.
If we take immediate action the employer defense attorneys at the Watkins Firm can often help you to remediate the damages or resolve the issue altogether quickly and cost-effectively. The key here is immediate action. You need the PAGA defense attorneys at the Watkins Firm who have more than 40 years of experience defending San Diego and Southern California employers in PAGA actions and other wage and hour claims.
We invite you to review the strong recommendations of our clients and contact the Watkins Firm or call 858-535-1511 for a complimentary consultation today.
Independent Contractor or Employee?
The large portion of employment related litigation arises from disputes related to wage and hour issues, as well as the classification of employees. Is a worker an “employee” or an “independent contractor”? For many years employers used measures such as the provision of tools and equipment, scheduling, and control over the work to be performed in these calculations.
A recent US Supreme Court case or ruling(?) has completely changed the landscape of these issues for US employers. In layman’s terms, the Court has ruled that the “economic relationship” of the worker has as much or more to do with their classification as an independent contractor or employee.
The IRS and California’s tax agencies have significantly increased employment audits that focus on this central question. Are you prepared for the changes that may be required to become compliant with employment associated laws and policies?
The California Supreme Court recently added a significant “ABC Test” which substantially limits those who may be classified as an independent contractor in California as well as an important new legal presumption: All workers in California are legally presumed to be an employee.
The legal burden of proof falls upon the provider of work, you as the employer, to prove that the independent contractor meets all of the requirements in the ABC Test:
- “that the worker is free from control and direction over performance of the work both under the contract and in fact.” and
- “that the work provided is outside the usual course of the business for which the work is performed,” and
- “that the worker is customarily engaged in an independently established trade, occupation or business.”
Most companies here in San Diego and Southern California with independent contractors will fail the second provision, resulting in a finding of misclassification of independent contractors who should actually be “employees” under the new law. A simpler way to look at this issue might be:
If an independent contractor is contributing to the central focus of, production and/or profitability of your company you will in all likelihood fail the ABC test.
Failure to comply exposes area employers to substantial fines and draconian penalties, the collection of payroll associated taxes, benefits such as unpaid overtime and healthcare reimbursement for a look-back period of 4 years.
Hourly Wage Related Issues
While the minimum wage in California was recently increased to $15.50 per hour, the minimum wage in San Diego is $16.30 per hour. Employers must come into compliance with regulations regarding breaks and meals, and review issues such as a “complete relief of duties” during breaks and meals, especially as it relates to the payment of wages and overtime calculations.
National restaurant chains and now regional and local businesses have changed compensation policies as well as the process of collecting and distributing tips. Local businesses are considering these strategies, and the Watkins Firm provides insight and counsel to our clients regarding “best practices” and the legal implications of employer-related questions.
Contact Experienced Employer Wage and Hour and Employment Law Attorneys Serving the San Diego Region
It is time to reconsider the impact of recent changes in the law, the aggressive tactics of the IRS and California tax agencies such as the FTB, the EDD and the CDTFA and how they impact the employment policies of your company. It is also important to consider substantial recent changes in federal law which have gutted California’s laws against the requirement of an arbitration agreement for all employees.
The time is now to review all aspects of employment in your company including the employee handbook, policies and procedures and arbitration agreements to ensure compliance with all federal, state and local laws and regulations and reduce potential financial exposures.
We invite you to review the strong recommendations of our clients and contact the Watkins Firm or call 858-535-1511 for a substantive and complimentary consultation today. We will establish a process to review your present employment and wage related practices, and work to bring you into compliance while reducing your vulnerability to employment related litigation.
Contact Experienced Attorneys Who Represent, Defend and Protect Employers in San Diego and Southern California
Are you looking for a law firm who has the power, experience and legal skill necessary to protect your interests in wage and hour disputes, PAGA actions, retaliation claims and other related employer disputes and litigation in San Diego and Southern California? The Watkins Firm has served the San Diego business community and corporate shareholders for more than four decades.
We invite you to review the strong recommendations of our clients and contact the Watkins Firm or call 858-535-1511 for a complimentary consultation today. We will help to bring existing documents and policies into compliance and protect and defend you as an employer in this contentious work environment.. To set up a free, no-obligation consultation with one of our knowledgeable San Diego employer defense lawyers, call us for a free consultation at 858-535-1511 or contact us online.
Contact a San Diego Employer and Wage and Hour Defense Attorney Today
To set up a free, no-obligation consultation with one of our knowledgeable San Diego employer defense lawyers, call us for a free consultation at 858-535-1511 or contact us online.