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Why Do Employers Need the I-9 Form?

i-9 form

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What is the I-9 form?

This is a form that was introduced in 1989 in US and used by employers to verify the identity and eligibility of anyone they hire to work in the US whether citizens or non-citizens. The employees are required to present the original documents with the exception of a certified copy of the birth certificate. Any employee who fails to produce this document or a receipt for a replacement document within three days can be terminated. If one shows the receipt, he/she is given 90 days period to present the original document.

Why Does Employer Need I-9 Form?

There are some reasons as to why the employer needs this form. Below are some of the reasons:

1.It Verifies Your Eligibility To Work In US

Without this form, you will not be eligible to work in the United States. You are required to apply for this form whether you are the citizen or not. When you are issued with the form or the waiting documents, it means that you are eligible to work. Therefore, this form is a proof that you have the required skills and eligible to work.

2.It Verifies The Real Identity Of An Employee

The employers must know the real identity of the employees for transparency and security reasons. The i-9 Form can be used to reveal the real identity of a person since he/she is properly investigated and screened before issued with the document.

3.It Provides Personal Information When Needed For Verification

There are some instances where the personal details of employees are required within the shortest time possible. In such a case, the employers can use this document to get all the necessary information about the employee in this form. When applying for the form, all your personal details and the private information are required. This way, the employers will be able to get any information about the employee without necessarily involving him/her.

4.It Is A Legal Requirement

It is the requirement by the law in California US that all the employers must file or store electronically the i-9 Form of all the employees. It is also the joy of all the employers to abide by the law and meet the entire legal requirement. By doing so, they are obeying the law.

Those are some of the reasons as to why most of the employers in US have such forms for all the employees. It makes their work easier in terms of security and proper management of employees. Therefore, it is part of paperwork when newly employed in US.

Workplace Bullying Law

workplace bullying

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In California, anti-bullying legislation was introduced in 2003. In the nation, California is the state that was first to introduce legislation regarding workplace bullying. Workplace bullying is defined as recurring, unhealthy mistreatment of one or more target(s) by one or more perpetrators that take any of the forms such as verbal abuse, offensive behaviors that are threatening, inhuman, or intimidating. Workplace bullies are the most common forms of illegal harassment. Workplace bullying can be based on one’s gender, age, race, national origin, physical disability, religion, and number of other factors. Bullying due to those factors is illegal and every employee has rights stipulated in the California labor law concerning workplace bullying.

 

Workplace bullying Signs can go unnoticed because the bullying behaviors begin from little and then grow to big problem for the employees who experience bullying. The signs that one can notice bullying at work include:

  • The employer punishes you physically, psychologically, or emotionally while one does not deserve that treatment;
  • The employer or coworker mocks you due to your ideas, personal circumstances, work or opinions;
  • The employer or coworker publicly embarrasses and humiliates you ;
  • The employer or coworker actions towards you are resentful or holds a grudge seeking revenge
  • The employer or coworker dismantle one’s personal belongings;
  • The employer uses bias tactics to prevent your progression, or advancement in the organization;
  • The employer or coworker spies you, stalks on or bothers you;
  • The employer or coworker aggressively makes you to do or say things unwillingly;
  • The employer or coworker alter threats to you with unjustified termination, punishment, emotional, physical, or psychological abuse;
  • The employer or coworker offensively communicates with you using jokes, rumors, gossip, harassment, or profanity without dignity.

 

Once an employee has noticed sings of bullying, they have to report to ensure that appropriate measure is taken. The united state supreme court says that, where an employee has published sexual harassment /discriminatory harassment policy, the employer must report it under that policy and give the employer the opportunity to fix the situation. In writing the report, one should ensure that the complaints are on a right protected, set forth the harassment as a violation of protected status. Understand the rights and responsibilities if one is harassed in a hostile work environment. The report should be given to the employer and if they allow the harassment to continue or if they retaliate contact an employment attorney.

 

The employers’ duty in workplace bullying law is to maintain a safe workplace. Appropriate remedies that an employer can take for bullying may be to discipline or warn the harasser, to move the harasser, under some circumstances to move the victim, to do training, or in an extreme situation, to terminate the harasser.

 

An employer can protect employees from workplace bullying by discouraging and eliminating bullying. The most effective way to do this is by treating bullying illegal even though it is already illegal. Create a culture in the workplace where in bullying is not tolerated. The employer can take actions in an effort to create a harmonious work environment. Action such as; including bullying in anti-harassment policies, giving instructions on what to do if a bullying incident occurs, investigate and implement discipline commensurate when complaints are brought up.

Constructive Discharge in California

constructive discharge

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There are times when working conditions become intolerable hence you decide to quit. The resolution to quit can be brought about by many factors. For instance, you may face discrimination or other forms of harassment which endanger your life hence you decide to quit. When you resign from your place of work, there are benefits as well as others which you will forego. But, for the case of quitting due to intolerable working conditions, you are treated as if you were dismissed without your choice to resign.

Constructive discharge in California

It is a situation when you quit or resign your job due to unfavorable working conditions which you are subjected to. Some employees can subject you to illegal working conditions which force you to quit. The act of quitting your job due to unfair working conditions is referred to as constructive discharge. The situation is treated as if you were fired because your employer made you to quit due to subjecting you to unbearable working conditions.

How to prove you were forced to quit

For you to prove to the court of law that you were forced to quit hence you deserve compensation, you can used the following ways to prove your case:

Prove you were subjected to illegal working conditions

If you were subjected to conditions such as sexual harassment or incidences where you were punished as retaliation due to complaints you raised in your workplace, then you deserve to be treated as a case of constructive discharge.

Continued mistreatment

If you notice some form of mistreatment in your workplace, then you need to report to your boss or department head. If the head of the department does not act and the mistreatment continues, then you can quit and file a case under constructive discharge.

Intolerable mistreatment

If the mistreatment was intolerable to an extent where your only left option was to quit, then you can file a case after you leave the work place due to intolerable working conditions.

Quit because of the mistreatment

If there is a male coworker who is making sexual advances to you and you are not comfortable, you should ask him to stop. If he persists, then you need to report the matter to your boss. Give the boss some time to act on the issue but if weeks and months pass but without any change, then you can resort to quitting the job and file for constructive discharge so that you can access damages from your employer.

How Long COBRA Benefits Last in California

cobra benefits

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In the state of California, COBRA i.e. Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act allow workers and their spouses and/ or dependents to continue their group- health insurance coverage even if there is a catastrophe which have occurred and which would otherwise terminate coverage, like the worker getting laid off or his/ her spouse getting divorced. Generally, the benefits that one is supposed to reap from the insurance coverage lasts from one to three years, and it is often determined by the circumstance.

 

What are the COBRA Basics?

If you’ re an employee and you have been covered by your employer’s group- health insurance plan in California, you are usually allowed to continue with your coverage despite the existence of factors which would otherwise terminate your coverage.

Some of the factors which in most cases are referred as qualifying events that can easily end up terminating your coverage as an employee include; being fired, getting laid off or quitting (for other reasons apart from gross misconduct).

The spouse as well as dependents of the employee can continue their coverage also in case any of the afore- mentioned qualifying events occur. In case the employee dies, he/ she divorce with his or her spouse, he or she qualifies for Medicare, the spouse and dependents become eligible for their coverage.

However, be informed that an employee, his or her dependent or spouse who benefits via COBRA is always required to pay the cost of coverage in full. Be informed also that the cost of coverage is normally less as it would cost to buy an individual insurance policy because in most cases employers often negotiate lower group- health insurance rates.

 

How Long Does Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act Last?

The qualifying events greatly determine the period of COBRA benefits. Basically, in case the qualifying even happens to be the quitting of the employee, reduction of working hours of an employee or termination of an employee, benefits last for 1 year.

In case the qualifying event is the death of an employee, divorce or the employee or loss of dependent status by the defendant under the plan, COBRA benefits last for three years.

Be informed that COBRA coverage is liable to extension from 18 to 29 months in case the qualifying event is the reduction of hours, quitting or termination of employee. However, in such a scenario, the beneficiary should either have a disability at the time of the qualifying event or he/ she accidentally becomes disabled during the first 60 days of COBRA coverage.

Last, but definitely not least, for more information about how long COBRA benefits last in California, kindly do not hesitate contacting us.

 

The Basics of the Law Behind At-Will Employment in California

at-will employment

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Sometimes, new employees will come across on their job application, employee handbook or employment contract that they will be hired “at will”. For a lot of individuals, this term, at-will employment, is a complete mystery. However, the same individuals are often dismayed when they find out its actual meaning: that their employer has the power to let them go at any time and for any reason they deem fit. In this regard, the reasons why any employer can fire their at-will employees is quite versatile and diverse, naturally to the benefit of the same job provider. If or when the same employment ends, the employees will have a very limited legal potential to do anything about it. But, at the same time, there is a lot more to the same form of employment that is relevant to the employee, especially in the state of California. Here are the most important basic facts about at will employment in California.

At-Will Employment

The law, speaking from the most general standpoint across the US, presumes that anyone is an employee at will. The same does not stand only if the employee can prove that he or she was not hired on an at-will basis. This has to be proven through the use of a written document that was signed by both parties or through an oral statement that was made in the presence of a witness or a third party.

Documents used in the Process – At-Will Employment

Employers usually take a substantial effort to signal that their employees are hired on an at-will basis. This can come in the form of policies, handbook, applications, job evaluations and any other documents related to their employment. If any formal document was signed, the employee has no chance using the law to prove they were wronged in some manner by the employer. That is why anyone must check their document to be sure if they signed that they agree to be fired at any time and without a case. At the same time, a document signed which include a job security promise do not represent an employment at will. If these are breached by the employer, the employee has a right to sue.

Rights of Employee and At-Will Employment Agreements

Often, employers provide their new employees with a written statement that shows they are at-will employees. But, even those who are at-will employees have a set of legal rights. At will employment in California covers protection that a person cannot be fired for reasons that are illegal, either under the state law or the federal one. The same is true for being fired for complaining about a particular illegal activity, about harassment or discrimination, or safety and health violation in the same work environment. The same is true for the protection when it comes to taking medical or family leave, serve in the US military or taking the time to serve on a jury or vote. These are not reasons for getting fired at an at-will job.

With this crucial information on at will employment in California, anyone working under this type of an agreement can make sure their rights are fully protected.

California Paycheck Deductions

paycheck deductions

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All employees must be able to know what their wages or salaries are a well as the exact amounts they take home when all deductions are factored. There are some paycheck deductions like social security and health insurance premiums that are legal but on the other hand, there are deductions that are very illegal. In the city of California, employers aren’t allowed to deduct several expenses from employees’ paychecks

* Items that can never be deducted

There is a basic rule in California stipulating that the employer must pay for all normal costs of running the business. He must never pass such expenses to the employee. Such expense must never be deducted from employees’ paychecks. These types of expenses include;

(a) Business expenses

Employees must be compensated for any loss that they suffer while doing any job. Employees must never deduct these business expenses from the paychecks of their employees. Such examples include gifts for clients, business meals, tolls etc.

(b) Cash shortages and breakages

An employer must never charge an employee for the losses that are caused by carelessness on the side of the employee. For instance, if an employee drops glasses in a restaurant business, the loss will be incurred by the business

(c) Tools and equipment

The employer must reimburse the employee for the items the employee purchases while carrying out business duties. Such item might comprise of hand tools or even uniforms

(d) Licensing and bonding

If employees must be licensed or bonded to work for employers, the employers must foot the costs. On the same note if an employer wants his employees to take fingerprints or even photographs, he must pay for the costs of all those items. Employees who are required to undergo medical exams as a condition for employment must be reimbursed such costs

(e) Tips

In California, tips are given to employees. Tips are not part and parcel of employees’ salaries. Tip sharing and pooling is allowed but employers and their managers must never participate

* Items that may be deducted

Employers may deduct expenses from employees’ paychecks only if they are allowed by the federal law or through collective bargaining agreements. Employers are also allowed to deduct health insurance premiums but they can only do this after getting an authorization from their employees in writing. This means that employees do not have the power to deduct any amount of money even if they owe such employees money

If employers advance money to their employees, they cannot make deduction for such advances unless such employees authorize in writing

 

Filing a Retaliation Claim

retaliation

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Employees and people for the career who go through retaliation or discrimination because they take part in an activity covered by any legislations under the jurisdiction of the Labor Commissioner may record a grievance with the Department of Labor Requirements Enforcement (DLSE). This brochure explains the procedures accompanied by the Labor Commissioner under Labor Code section 98.7 for considering these retaliation and discrimination problems.

Filling the Complaint

A worker or job candidate alleging retaliation or discrimination in violation of any regulation under the jurisdiction of the Labor Commissioner must record a grievance with the DLSE within half a year of the undesirable action. Adverse activities include unlawful release, demotion, suspension, a decrease in pay or time, refusal to employ or promote, etc. There are many exclusions to the 6-month deadline: an issue alleging retaliation or discrimination against patients of domestic assault or erotic assault (Labor Code section 230(c) or 230.1) must be registered within twelve months of the alleged violation; a problem to be paid significantly less than a worker of the contrary love-making doing the same work (Labor Code section 1197.5) must be submitted within 2 yrs of the alleged violation; and a grievance alleging retaliation or discrimination for complaining about violation of licensing or other laws and regulations associated with child day health care facilities (Health Insurance and Protection Code section 1596.881) must be submitted no later than 3 months after the undesirable action.

Make sure to sign and time the grievance form. Copies of any helping documents should be mounted on the grievance form. Usually do not send originals, as they might be lost.

After the problem is submitted, the problem will be analyzed to verify that the DLSE has jurisdiction over the precise complaint. If it’s discovered that the issue comes under the jurisdiction of the Labor Commissioner, it’ll be designated to a Retaliation Issue Investigator (RCI) for analysis.

Filing a problem with the Labor Commissioner will not prevent you from submitting an exclusive lawsuit.

Any worker or job candidate alleging retaliation for having complained about work environment health or safeness issues gets the right to document a concurrent problem with National OSHA within thirty days of the event of the negative action.

The Investigation

After submitting the problem, the staff or job candidate will be approached with an RCI investigator who’ll conduct a study. The investigator will contact the workplace and any witnesses with information about the alleged discrimination or retaliation. If appropriate, the investigator may ask the people meet to explore the likelihood of arrangement. The co-operation of both celebrations is vital to ensure all available fact is uncovered in the inspection. Investigators hold the authority to concern subpoenas to acquire data related to the situation.

Once the inspection is complete, if no negotiation is come to, the investigator will make a written brief summary of conclusions and frontward those documents to the Labor Commissioner.

The Determination

The Labor Commissioner will review the brief summary of conclusions and make a conviction. In case the Labor Commissioner locates the workplace violated regulations by retaliating or discriminating resistant to the staff or job candidate, the company will get ten times to either document an appeal or even to adhere to the dedication to cure the retaliation or discrimination. In case the employer does not comply, a legal professional for the Labor Commissioner will record a courtroom action to enforce the conviction.

The Hearing

The hearing can be a casual, investigative proceeding to obtain additional facts highly relevant to the truth. At least five days and nights before the appointed hearing, the workplace and worker or job candidate will each get a backup of the conclusion of findings made by the investigator formulated with the facts she or he found through the investigation. Either aspect may bring a lawyer, union consultant or another person of choice to signify them at the ability to hear.

Appeal Rights

Either get together may seek an overview of the Labor Commissioner’s perseverance by submitting a charm with the Director of the Team of Industrial Relationships within ten (10) days and nights of the time frame of service. The charm shall define the lands after that you’re appealing get together considers the willpower to be unjust or unlawful, and every concern to be looked at by the Director.

Unemployment Benefits Eligibility in California

unemployment

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Many people who are unemployed may collect unemployment funds in California State. However, not all of them are eligible for the employment benefits. The California’s Employment Development Department has set eligibility requirements for the benefits. To qualify, you must have attained the earnings of a set amount in a specified period and unemployed because of circumstances beyond your control. Moreover, you must be willing to work and actively seeking for a new job.

Unemployment benefits eligibility in California

To qualify for the benefits, the California Employment Development Department (EDD) will use the following criteria:

#1. Past earnings

The EDD will assess your recent earnings before filing for the employment. Your earnings will be evaluated based on a period of 1 year, which comprise of four calendar quarters before the filling of unemployment. In a base period of 1 year, you should have the earnings of not less than $1,300 in highest paid quarter. Alternatively, you must have got the earnings not less than $900 in the highest-paid quarter not less 1.25 times the earnings in the highest-paid quarter in the whole base period.

#2. Reasons for unemployment

In most cases, the people who apply for unemployment funds have been permanently or temporarily laid off by the employer. The employee who was laid off due to company’s downsizing process is eligible for the unemployment benefits. On the other hand, the Department may approve those employees who were fired because they were not competent in the job. However, the employees who were fired due to professional misconduct or breach of contract are not eligible for the unemployment benefits.

Also, an employee who quit the job because of unsafe conditions may collect the benefits. To remain eligible, you must have tried to resolve the issue with the employer and allow time for the problem to be fixed. Moreover, employees who quit the job for health or family reasons are eligible for the unemployment benefits.

#3. Willingness to work

People who apply for the unemployment funds in California must be willing to work and actively seeking for a new job. In this case, you must show the proof that you have been searching for a job. The EDD will ask you to give the information about the companies you have contacted recently as well as their feedback.

Conclusion

If you are unemployed and live in California, you should consider applying for the unemployment benefits. The California’s Employment Development Department has set the eligibility requirements for people who wish to collect the benefits.

Overview of California’s Laws on Meal Periods/Breaks

meal break

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Are you working in California and your employer gives you a meal and rest breaks? It is a surprise to many employees to realize that the federal laws do not give employees the right to have short breaks and meal breaks during the normal working hours. There are some employers who just allow their employees to have such breaks just because they are aware that fatigued employees are not productive. Therefore, the federal laws don’t allow the employers to give rest breaks to the employees. On the other hand, the state law requires the employer to give a number of paid rests and meal breaks to their employees.

The Federal Laws: Paid versus Unpaid Breaks

The federal laws require the employer to pay the employee for the hours worked including the designated breaks. If an employee has to work while on break or rest, he/she must be paid. For instance, when a receptionist has to wait for some deliveries at lunch time, he/she must be paid since he/she is working. Another good example is when a repairman has to take a meal while working. He is taking a meal while doing some repairs and this law demands that he should be paid for such a break.

Besides, the federal law demands that the employees must be paid for those short breaks lasting between five to twenty minutes. They are considered working hours and therefore, the employees must be paid.

On the other hand, the employer is not required to pay for breaks that are bonafide. These are the breaks whereby the employee is relieved of all the duties and allowed to go and rest for more about thirty minutes or more. At that time, the employee is not working and in such case, he/she should not be paid.

These rules only apply if the employer allows breaks. This is because the federal law does not force them to do so.

California Laws Allow Meal and Rest Breaks

California is a state that requires that the employees be allowed breaks and be paid for some of the time they spend on breaks. The employees are allowed meal breaks and paid rest breaks.

Meal Breaks

The California requires that the employees are given a thirty-minute meal break after working for five hours. The employer is not required to pay for this time. If the total working hours are less than six, the employee may decide to waive the meal break. Therefore, meal breaks are not paid unless the employee is required to do some work while taking meals provided by the employer. That is the California law meal periods.

Rest Breaks

The employers are required to provide a ten minutes paid break after every four working hours. They should be provided at the middle of working hours. However, employees who work for less than three and a half hours are not entitled to such breaks.

 

California Paid Family Leave

family leave

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The California Paid Family Leave Act provides up to six weeks of paid leave to take care of a sick or injured family members. California is one of only two states with such a benefit. For those concerned about maternity benefits, you get six additional weeks of paid time off to bond with your healthy baby.

Workers who pay into the California SDI program are eligible for the paid family to leave benefit as well. The state short term disability program allows for up to four weeks of time before delivery, plus eight weeks of paid time for a C-section delivery. Add six weeks for your time to bond with the baby to get eighteen weeks of total paid time for a normal pregnancy, and a healthy baby.

Another recent change expands coverage under the California Paid Family Leave (PFL) law. Since 2002, this law has permitted eligible employees across the state to take paid time off to care for a parent, spouse or child with a serious health condition, or to bond with a new baby. Benefits are paid through the state disability insurance program.

This sounds great until you realize these eighteen weeks come with a 45% pay cut or more. Many families are living check to check before mum gets pregnant, gets her eighteen-week pay cut, then have to face the extra bills to feed, clothe, and raise a child.

How long can you pay your bills when mum is taking a 45% pay cut? California couples need to ask themselves this question before getting pregnant. You may enjoy up to eighteen weeks of paid leave in California between your pregnancy, maternity leave, and time bonding with baby. This sounds great until you realize you are getting only a fifty-five percent income replacement. And many CA workers don’t qualify. Know your facts before you conceive.

Not every CA worker is automatically enrolled. Know the rules before getting pregnant. And if you can’t afford an extended pay cut, consider purchasing supplemental short term disability coverage to increase your maternity leave income.

The California Family Rights Act is similar to the Federal Family Medical Leave Act in that it allows for twelve weeks of unpaid; job-protected leave. Both laws apply only to employers with more than fifty employees.

The California law differs in how an absence from work for you own disability is treated. Suppose you experience pregnancy complications and need to leave work twelve weeks before your delivery. Under the Federal law, you would have used up your job protected time. The California law does not count time away from work for your disability. This is covered under the California Pregnancy Disability Leave Act.

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