With the ever-continuing advances in technology, the ability to work from home, or work remotely, has become less of an afterthought and more of an expansion of business opportunities.
Although the ability to work remotely is often seen as a benefit, some employers blur the line on the concept of “working hours” and take advantage of employees’ apparent flexibility. If an employee has no option but to stay home and work, they are essentially available around the clock, right? Wrong.
At the Consumer & Employment Law Group, we go after businesses that take advantage of their employees and employers that steal from their workers. And it’s our job to help clients understand their rights and fight for what they’re legally entitled to.
Working from Home in California
Although businesses have capitalized on having a remote workforce for years, it did not necessarily have the appeal that it does today, post-pandemic.
Amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, when life was quickly brought to a halt and many businesses had to close their doors, organizations needed to figure out how to continue their daily practices while ensuring their employees could do their job in lockdown.
This forced many employees out of the office and into their homes (or in some cases a garage or RV).
In California, workers are protected by numerous labor laws.
Although most employees in California are considered at-will, meaning that both the employer and employee may terminate the employment at any time without notice or cause, California law nonetheless requires that nonexempt or hourly employees be paid overtime for work in excess of eight hours in a workday or 40 hours in a workweek.
This is true whether the work is performed on-site or remotely.
How Might a California Employer Try to Take Advantage of Employees Working From Home?
Some examples of how your employer may unlawfully attempt to avoid having to pay you overtime include:
- Employee misclassification – claiming that you are an independent contractor instead of an hourly employee or misclassifying you as exempt from overtime and paying you on a salary basis;
- Enacting “on call” policies that substantially restrict your free time and pay you only when you are required to respond to report to work;
- Shift splitting – occurs when your employer divides your work day into two or more parts with an extended, unpaid break in between. This is common for occupations that include shift work such as servers and store clerks; and
- Requiring or encouraging employees to respond to emails, text messages, or calls outside of work hours and not paying you for the time spent.
A key to ensuring that you are adequately compensated for your time, including for any overtime you work, is to track all of your hours. This is especially true while working remotely, where you are likely to have fewer breaks and work longer hours than if you were working from the office.
Contact the Consumer & Employment Law Group Today
If you work remotely and are not being paid the wages you are entitled to, contact the dedicated attorneys at the Consumer & Employment Law Group today at 619-239-1321. We have represented thousands of employees in California and are extremely well-versed in labor and employment law.