Can an employee who is just picking up her check not in uniform and not on the time clock be confronted to talk to her boss on her own time, then have hours cut because the boss did not like the answer or way it went

I was picking up my paycheck on Friday Oct. 23rd. My co worker said the boss wanted to see me, she (my boss) then attempted to discipline me for something someone said I did (someone being a co worker). My boss did not let me speak for myself. then she did not like what I said next, then she let me finish about a week and a half of work and the next schedule this week. was cut to weekends only. My question is .. is this retaliation, because I was not on her clock I was on my time. I did not cuss or swear I just told her how I felt.

1 answer  |  asked Nov 2, 2015 04:59 AM [EST]  |  applies to California

Answers (1)

Marilynn Mika Spencer
There are two issues here. The first is that your employer has to pay you for all time it controls. If your discussion with the boss lasted more than 15 minutes, you might want to make a note of the date, time, and circumstances, and after you are no longer working with this employer, pursue a claim. Keep your note at home, not at work, because you never know what will disappear. You have three years from the date you should have been paid to file a claim with the Division of Labor Standards Enforcement for unpaid wages. The DLSE is a sub-agency within the California Department of Industrial Relations. http://www.dir.ca.gov/dlse/. Some people refer to the DLSE as the Labor Commissioner. The DLSE enforces California's wage and hour laws, including those pertaining to overtime, rest and meal breaks, and more. The link for information on filing a wage claim is here: http://www.dir.ca.gov/dlse/howtofilewageclaim.htm.

Regarding the discipline itself: Unfortunately, employees and job applicants have very few employment rights, and employers have a lot of leeway in how they choose to run their businesses. In general, an employer can be unfair, obnoxious or bad at management. And an employer can make decisions based on faulty or inaccurate information. An employer has no obligation to warn an employee that he or she is not performing as the employer wants. It’s not a level playing field. An employer hires employees to provide work for its benefit, not for the benefit of the employees. Don't expect the employer to take care of its employees; it doesn’t have to and it rarely does.

There are some limitations on what an employer can do, mostly in the areas of public policy (such as discrimination law or whistle blowing), contract law, union-employer labor relations, and constitutional due process for government employees. Please see my guide to at-will employment in California which should help you understand employment rights: http://www.thespencerlawfirm.com/pdf/tslf-at-will-california.pdf. After you take a look at the guide, you may be able to identify actions or behavior that fits one of the categories that allows for legal action. If so, an experienced plaintiffs employment attorney may be helpful.

Employment rights come from the state and federal legislatures. One of the best things people can do to improve their employment rights is vote for candidates with a good record on pro-employee, anti-corporate legislation. Another way to protect employment rights is to form or affiliate with a union, or participate in a union already in place.

I hope there is a good resolution to this situation.

posted by Marilynn Mika Spencer  |  Nov 2, 2015 12:59 PM [EST]

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