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Question for the Smarties- California Law Issue- Remote Employee California

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  • Question for the Smarties- California Law Issue- Remote Employee California

    Hello,

    I was recently laid off from a California company but I work remotely on the East Coast. The employer did (edit) NOT provide a Final Paycheck NOR the balance of the Vacation time on the day of separation NOR any indication of a plan to do so.

    Does the employer follow California law which clearly states: "(a) If an employer discharges an employee, the wages earned and unpaid at the time of discharge are due and payable immediately (which includes vacation time)"

    Or do they follow the law of the state where the employee resides?

    This was a big California company that laid off quite a few people, so any California Labor/Employment Law lawyer out there this may be particularly interesting to you.

    Thanks!
    Last edited by TimJax; 11-04-2014, 09:58 AM.

  • #2
    The employer follows the law of the state in which the employee works.

    No California attorneys follow this board looking for clients, and I'm not sure why you think this would be of interest. I'm not a big fan of seeing people laid off, but it's not illegal if done correctly.
    I am not able to respond to private messages. Thanks!

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by Marketeer View Post
      The employer follows the law of the state in which the employee works.

      No California attorneys follow this board looking for clients, and I'm not sure why you think this would be of interest. I'm not a big fan of seeing people laid off, but it's not illegal if done correctly.
      I appreciate you weighing in, but the question is about the legality of refusing to pay final checks or benefits. Attorneys are interested and knowledgeable about developing and uncertain areas of the law that is why they would be interested in this.

      Your answer may be correct, but I am looking for someone familiar with California law who would be able to tell me why the language of that California law, which is clear regarding the California employers legal obligations, does not apply to remote employees. There may be a statutory or judicial exception-- no doubt. But I am trying to see where it is stated that this very clearly written statute, does not apply to all employees.

      Comment


      • #4
        You stated initially that the employer did provide a final paycheck. Are you now stating that the employer did not?
        I am not able to respond to private messages. Thanks!

        Comment


        • #5
          Yeah that was a pretty major typo. No final paycheck was provided. No vacation time paid out. No responses from HR regarding how this will be handled

          Comment


          • #6
            It does not apply to remote employees because California law does not apply anywhere but in California.

            This is well-established law. Whatever state you are in, is the state whose laws apply where you are concerned. You are not in California - you are not subject to California law regardless of where the headquarters is.
            The above answer, whatever it is, assumes that no legally binding and enforceable contract or CBA says otherwise. If it does, then the terms of the contract or CBA apply.

            Comment


            • #7
              State law applies only to the people and entities within that state. This is true in all 50 states. If there were state laws that applied to people and entities outside the state where the laws originated, these laws would not be called "state laws." You don't need to be an attorney to know this, just someone with 25+ years' experience researching and interpreting employment laws (like me, or in cbg's case, 30+ years).

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              • #8
                According to your IP address, you are in PA. That means that PA law applies where you are concerned.

                PA does NOT require that you get your final paycheck or your unused vacation on the last day of employment. PA requires that you get your final paycheck on the next regular payday after your last day of work, and does not REQUIRE that you get unused vacation at all.

                This is not even remotely developing or unsettled law. With limited exceptions that do not apply here CA cannot force other states to enforce their laws. If you are in PA, PA law applies. If you are in CA, CA law applies. If you are in FL, FL law applies. And so on.

                I realize that since CA law is more favorable, you want the CA law to apply. Just because we tell you it does not, doesn't mean that the law is uncertain or developing. It means that you are mistaken that CA law applies anywhere except CA.
                The above answer, whatever it is, assumes that no legally binding and enforceable contract or CBA says otherwise. If it does, then the terms of the contract or CBA apply.

                Comment


                • #9
                  I agree..PA rules apply....but while PA does not require vesting of vacation pay and its payout upon termination ..it does however require that employers follow, their own policy,contracts and written commitments ..and it is a long shot ..but IF some hire letter or handbook or policy manual addressed that vacation benefits were an earned and accrued benefit ..that writing " might" hook the employer to pay .in PA ..it's not in your post and I Have no crystal ball,as to,what is there ..but some poorly written letter,handbook,manual that describes vesting of vacation might hook it for PA as well.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    If you did not get any final paycheck at all, your recourse is to file a claim with the PA (NOT the CA) state wage and hour division. Raster is correct that you MIGHT be due your unpaid vacation IF there is a written policy or practice of paying it out even when not required by state law. While CA requires it unconditionally, PA only requires that an employer follow their policy. Many employers have policies that they will only pay unused vacation when it is required by law, and that provision WILL hold up in PA if your employer has one. We'd have to know what has been the policy or practice for other non-CA employees to say if it is owed for certain or not.

                    Just so that there is no misunderstanding, you are only owed final pay up to the last actual day you worked, NOT for the entire pay period unless you worked the full pay period. And that would be true even in CA.
                    The above answer, whatever it is, assumes that no legally binding and enforceable contract or CBA says otherwise. If it does, then the terms of the contract or CBA apply.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by cbg View Post
                      PA does NOT require that you get your final paycheck or your unused vacation on the last day of employment. PA requires that you get your final paycheck on the next regular payday after your last day of work, and does not REQUIRE that you get unused vacation at all.

                      This is not even remotely developing or unsettled law. With limited exceptions that do not apply here CA cannot force other states to enforce their laws. If you are in PA, PA law applies. If you are in CA, CA law applies. If you are in FL, FL law applies. And so on.

                      I realize that since CA law is more favorable, you want the CA law to apply. Just because we tell you it does not, doesn't mean that the law is uncertain or developing. It means that you are mistaken that CA law applies anywhere except CA.
                      Thanks for the help, though I wouldn't have come here to have someone tell me what I wanted to hear. I wanted to know what the law was. Also, my question was not whether CA state law applied to me, the question is whether CA state law applied to the employer--in California. So the question does California law apply to California employers is hardly preposterous. The CA Law I stated was clear that the obligation applied to the CA employer (it was not a right bestowed upon and employee). I actually do think that is an issue that could be litigated. Regardless Im not sure why that engendered frustration. I wasn't asking about my rights out here, I was asking about their responsibilities out there in CA.

                      Anyway I was able to get to the bottom of it. The short answer as many of you pointed out is PA Law applies.

                      PA does not require that an employer pay vacation time. But PA does not state that the employer has an explicit right to withold vacation time either. The statute is silent. Thus the default rule is that companies are free to create (but then by law must follow) their own policy. Obviously a clear policy is what you would hope for. But in the event that a policy is not overtly stated, this does mean that you are out of luck. There still remains recourse (possibly)

                      I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but PA Law is unsettled regarding what to do in this situation. There is speculation that what the company usually does with unpaid vacation time will be the presumed requirement. Now what "usually" means is obviously ripe for disagreement, especially if payouts are the norm--but because more employees are in states where they are required to be paid the balance.

                      I dont see a case cited that would indicate that "usually" is a term of art. (This may just be a lawyers post Wal Mart guess)From what I can gather is that PA's default rule is no--but not a hard no. If you can establish most employees are given this vacation money that have earned they won't prevent you from recovering it either. What that means or what that is based on, I don't know.
                      Last edited by TimJax; 11-04-2014, 12:44 PM.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        In general, if the law is silent on a particular issue, it is not under that control.
                        Most states expect that the compnay will follow whatever is in the policy manual. However, if it is not addressed in the policy manual, then there is no law that will force vacation to be paid.
                        I find that the harder I work, the more luck I seem to have.
                        Thomas Jefferson

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                        • #13
                          I appreciate everyone chiming in. This forum is a great resource!

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but PA law is not unsettled. PA law is straightforward: if the employer has a policy on the payout of vacation, they have to follow it.
                            The above answer, whatever it is, assumes that no legally binding and enforceable contract or CBA says otherwise. If it does, then the terms of the contract or CBA apply.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by cbg View Post
                              I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but PA law is not unsettled. PA law is straightforward: if the employer has a policy on the payout of vacation, they have to follow it.
                              Exactly. But if they don't have a policy, that does not end the issue in favor of an out of state employer who wishes to keep their employees vacation pay funds. There appears to be a further question of evaluating what the employer "usually" does.

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