Fact Check Your Paycheck: Sorting Through Common Pay Issues

Paychecks can be confusing. There are many factors that go towards your final paid amount. Some of the most common pay issues arise through unique changes to your paycheck. Whether that is commission payments, raises, or termination final payments, there are precautionary steps you can take to prepare yourself to understand what you are entitled to.

Although every circumstance is different, take the following steps at the beginning of your employment or as soon as possible to define how each situation would affect your paycheck and what you can expect.

Address It in Advance

Although addressing pay with your employer can feel uncomfortable, it is important to ask any questions you have directly. Work with your employer to make sure any questions are addressed in writing. If you will be working under a commission pay structure, make sure you determine the commission rate and when you are to be paid the rate. If you are offered a raise, take the time to determine what that means. Are you able to receive a raise in payment form only or can you receive it in the form of additional paid time-off days? Finally, one of the most uncomfortable conversations to have is if you are to be terminated, what is offered to you? How will you receive your accrued paid time-off and your final paycheck?

Asking the questions in advance provides you the knowledge to address any potential issues that may occur during your employment.

Know the Laws and Your Rights

We know you are not a lawyer, but it is important to educate yourself with the applicable laws that may protect you and your paycheck. If you are concerned about a situation and worry there may be some misuse of your time, money, and compensation, take the time to learn. If you need to address your employer, having the correct knowledge will allow you to protect yourself. The California Department of Industrial Relations is an excellent resource and can be found at: https://www.dir.ca.gov/iwc/wageorderindustries.htm

Speak Up

If you feel like you are not being properly compensated based on your discussed employment, be sure to stand up for yourself. You work hard and deserve your compensation. If your employer is not respecting your concerns or dismissing your rights, contact a lawyer and determine your best plan.

Asking the right questions at the beginning of your employment will provide you with the information and formalities to protect you from any mistreatment. However, if you find yourself unsure, it is important to educate yourself and be sure you have the tools to successfully stand up for yourself.

Contact us today at info@bakerllp.com or (858) 452-0093 if you have any questions regarding your compensation as an employee or if you are concerned about your paycheck.

You’re Expecting: Know Your Rights as a Mom-To-Be

Whether you are first time mother, or a master at raising kids, being pregnant is an exciting and uncertain time. As you are preparing for the arrival of your child, settle your worries by knowing your pregnancy leave rights and ensuring your employment is protected while you are away.

While you are planning for pregnancy leave, consider the following: How much leave is available to you? When can leave be taken? What reinstatement rights apply? What type of pay is provided during leave? Some of these questions can be answered through California law and some are decided by your employer.

California employees are protected by three laws for their leave when pregnant and after giving birth. These laws are California’s Pregnancy Disability Leave Law (PDLL), The California Family Rights Act (CFRA), and Federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA).

So, which laws apply to you, and what do they offer?

Pregnancy Disability Leave Law

The law that is often referred to first is California’s Pregnancy Disability Leave Law (PDLL). PDLL applies to most employees and provides the best job protection. If you work at a company with at least five employees, PDLL applies to you. This law protects you starting on your first day of employment, whether you are full or part-time. PDLL requires that employers must reasonably accommodate any pregnancy related disabilities and allows for up to four months of pregnancy disability leave. PDLL falls within the California Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) and therefore requires allowance of extended reasonable pregnancy disability leave unless the extension would cause undue hardship on the employer.

California Family Rights Act

An additional protection is the California Family Rights Act (CFRA). CFRA applies in more limited circumstances and affects companies of 50 employees or more. In order to qualify for CFRA, you must have been hired at least 12 months prior and worked at least 1,250 hours of work during that time. CFRA is bonding leave and will not eliminate your access to PDLL. With CFRA, you are provided with 12 additional work weeks of leave that can be taken at any time. CFRA and PDLL protection cannot be used concurrently.

Federal Family and Medical Leave Act

Finally, Federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) is a federal law and is not as protective as PDLL and CFRA. FMLA is only required of companies that employ at least 50 employees. Just like CFRA, you must have worked 12 months and at least 1,250 hours in order to for it to be available. However, FMLA provides protection for serious health conditions related to pregnancy for 12 weeks. FMLA runs concurrently with CFRA.

Simply understanding how you are protected through California’s laws is not enough to be fully prepared and confident in your leave. You should also speak with your employer to understand company-specific pregnancy leave policies. The California laws do not entitle you to your continued salary during leave unless your employer also provides paid leave to other temporarily disabled employees. Work directly with your supervisor or the human resources department to learn about your company’s policy on pregnancy leave.

Expecting is stressful enough, don’t let work leave add to it. If you have any concerns about your workplace policies, how you have been treated as a pregnant woman, or anything regarding workplace pregnancy leave, reach out to us today.

#MeToo is for You, Too: Part 2

The #MeToo movement is working towards eliminating harassment or assault from daily concerns. While many companies are striving towards more transparent workplaces, some still struggle to provide harassment or assault protection resources for their employees and colleagues. Changes being made within the workplace to end harassment reach much farther than sexual harassment; because of the #MeToo movement, systems are evolving to protect against many forms of harassment.

It is unlawful employment practice in California for an employee to “fail to take all reasonable steps necessary to prevent discrimination and harassment from occurring.” (Government Code 12940(k).) You have the right to take action to ensure your workplace meets the standards of the U.S. Government in protecting you and other employees.

The hardest part about moving forward is finding the next steps to take. Here are three next steps if you are concerned about a situation in your workplace.

  1. Contact an attorney.

It is important to contact an attorney before moving forward. Attorneys are up to date on local, state, and federal laws that will apply to your specific case. Your attorney will work with you on every step along the way and will provide key instruction to ensure your success in communication and steps forward.

  1. File a Claim.

Provide as many details and examples of the incident(s) to your attorney. All details will be helpful in compiling a full report and providing examples of all work place policy discrepancies to win your case. Your attorney will use this information to write a claim showing fault and intent for action.

  1. Fight for Your Rights.

Once your claim has been sent and received, the next steps can be variable. Whether the threat of a claim is enough to solve your problem, or you must file a lawsuit, you have begun your journey towards fighting for your right to be supported and protected against harassment.

Harassment in the workplace can be a difficult subject to approach, especially if there are no support systems in place to protect you and your job. Luckily, there are many resources for you to utilize and a lot of support backing the end of harassment today.

If you have any questions regarding harassment, protective systems provided by your employers, or specific cases, we are happy to answer your questions or set up an appointment with you today. Visit www.bakerlawllp.com for more information.

#MeToo Is For You, Too

If you’ve had access to a smartphone, computer, television, or even a newspaper in the last year, it is no surprise to you that harassment is prevalent in the news and not to be taken lightly. The #MeToo movement has surfaced unfortunate truths of what can take place in public areas, at home, or even at work. People are standing up for themselves and all industries should be working towards creating a safe space that holds people accountable and protects employees.


Movements like this are eye-opening for employers and employees. It begs the question, what constitutes harassment and what are our rights?


Luckily, there are measures you can take to protect yourself. To begin, we will start by defining harassment.


According to Roby v. McKesson Corp (2009), harassment “refers to bias that is expressed or communicated through interpersonal relations in the workplace.”


There are multiple types of harassment in the business world, but some of the most common are sexual, racial, and gender. So how do you keep this from happening to you?


Here are five simple questions you can ask and steps you can take to protect yourself from harassment within your work environment.


  1. What is the written policy regarding harassment?

Ask your employer if there is a written harassment policy. If so, familiarize yourself with the policy and related resources. If not, work with human resources or your superior to request the creation of a written policy. Allowing full transparency of the policy will allow all employees, including yourself, to feel comfortable with knowing what you are protected from and what is considered inappropriate behavior that should be brought to light.


  1. Is the complaint process clear and comfortable?

Understand the steps needed to file a harassment complaint. Speak with your employer to determine the best point of contact and to identify an option who is not your direct superior. It is important for you to know you can speak with a member of the company who is not your direct supervisor. Filing a complaint is stressful and the additional stress of approaching a superior can be enough to deter you from speaking up, causing further problems.


  1. Is there a thorough, fair, and timely investigation process?

If there are no systems to protect you in the workplace, you may not be taken seriously or cared for. Speak with your employer or superior to determine set protocols. If there are none, contact human resources to request the outline of an investigation process in writing.


  1. Will you have confidentiality and protection if you speak up?

No matter the situation, this is a sensitive subject for all parties involved. Confidentiality is key to providing the support necessary for you and allows you to feel comfortable and safe through the process. It could also protect you from opinions and criticism that may result in increased harassment by co-workers. You have a right to feel safe from judgement or further harassment through the reporting and correction process.


  1. Will your company/employer follow through with action?

The most important step is to confirm the processes are in place that leave you confident your company or employer will take every incident seriously and will take the necessary steps to protect you. If you are ever in an incident of harassment, your company should assure you of their value of you as an employee and person and demonstrate the necessary steps to insure your safety and protection.


The #MeToo movement has inspired change and a voice for this ongoing problem within the workplace. You, too, can step up to prevent harassment in the workplace. Follow these five steps, ask the right questions, and work with your company or employer to perfect your prevention plan.


If you are concerned about the resources offered by your company to protect you from workplace harassment or if you have experienced harassment and need additional support outside your company, reach out to us today.