Boss Can’t Make You Lie About Your Hours!

Leona_helmsleyIs your boss a Leona Helmsley type?  Hopefully not BUT, as hard as it may be to believe, some employers take advantage of, and abuse, their employees in a myriad of ways.  One way is by making them sign a release that states that they have been paid all of their owed wages and/or taken all of the breaks to which they are entitled before they will agree to pay them!!!  How angry does this make you?  Well, apparently it got Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger’s attention and he has attempted to right this egregious wrong by signing AB 2075 (details below).  The bill was sponsored by the California Rural Legal Assistance Foundation whose mission is "Fighting For Justice and Changing Lives."  Although their focus is primarily to help low income families, this new bill will be of benefit to all California Wage Earners — I applaud their successful efforts.  Please read the important information below and, of course, if you, or someone you know, have been a victim (or suspect you have been a victim) of Wage & Hour Abuse, please call me immediately at (323) 852-1100 or send me an e-mail at lowell@steigerlaw.com

New California Law: Limit on Wage and Hour Releases

Schwarzenegger_signs_billGovernor Arnold Schwarzenegger recently signed into law AB 2075, which modifies California Labor Code Section 206.5. The new provision takes effect on January 1, 2009.Section 206.5 currently prohibits an employer from requiring the “execution of a release” of a claim or right on account of wages due, or to become due, or made as an advance on wages to be earned unless payment of those wages has been made. Consequently, an employer cannot condition payment of earned wages on an employee’s execution of a release, and an employee cannot waive wages owed by an employer, unless all wages have already been paid. A violation of Section 206.5 will invalidate the release agreement, be deemed a misdemeanor, and may also result in civil ramifications. The new Section 206.5(b) defines a “release.” For the purpose of the amended Section 206.5, “execution of a release” will now prohibit an employer from requiring an employee, as a condition of being paid, to execute a statement of hours that he or she worked during a pay period which the employer knows to be false.Employers should closely review their employee release agreements, time recording documents and processes in light of the soon-to-be-modified Section 206.5.

Josepadilla Sponsored by the California Rural Legal Assistance Foundation (photo: Executive Director Jose Padilla) whose justifiably employee-friendly rationale is written as follows:

According to the author’s office, increasingly unscrupulous employers protect themselves from litigation over   underpayment of wages or meal & rest period violations by adopting false pay records and timekeeping systems.  In many instances, these employers have instituted a practice of requiring their employees to sign off on timesheets which do not reflect actual hours worked and which are created at the direction of the employer or his/her staff, and/or to sign declarations attached to their timesheets that they have received all their rest and meal periods when, in fact, they have not.  These statements are generally required to be signed before the timesheets are turned over to the employer and wages  are paid. Workers who question this practice are often retaliated against.

It took this great foundation to put the wheels in motion to strengthen the rights of California Wage Earners.   

If you, or someone you know, have been a victim (or suspect you have been a victim) of Wage & Hour Abuse, please call me immediately at (323) 852-1100 or send me an e-mail at lowell@steigerlaw.com