Top Ten Wage and Hour Myths in California


Top Ten Wage and Hour Myths in California

Speaker Spotlight with Alexander Chemers & Julia Luster 

Top Ten Wage and Hour Myths in California Alexander Chemers and Julia Luster

Top Ten Wage and Hour Myths in California

If there’s one thing California HR pros appreciate reassurance on, it’s the constantly shifting laws surrounding wage and hour. Join Alexander Chemers and Julia Luster for their crucial session at the PIHRA 2020 Legal Update. This January is the perfect time to reassure yourself – and your company – that you’re operating in compliance for 2020.

In their session, The Top Ten Wage and Hour Myths, Alexander and Julia will address common misconceptions about California wage-and-hour law. This includes areas where employers frequently leave themselves exposed to lawsuits. In addition, our speakers will tackle such pitfalls as meal period and rest break compliance, accurately paying employees for all hours worked, and wage statement formatting.

Chemers and Luster will provide critical takeaways such as:

  • Neutral time rounding policies are riskier than you think;
  • Many meal period and rest break policies have outdated language; and;
  • The risks from paying bonuses and commissions often outweigh the benefits.

Wage and hour laws are some of the trickiest and most costly to get wrong. In order to stay on top of the latest case studies, this PIHRA 2020 Legal Update session is not to be missed. California employers, business owners and HR pros will gain crucial insight to navigate the new changes effective in 2020. Most importantly, you’ll learn how to defend your organization and minimize wage and hour risks. 

Keynote Speaker Spotlight: Alexander Chemers & Julia Luster, Ogletree Deakins

Special thanks to contributing writer and PIHRA Programs Chair, Baskaran Ambalavanan, who conducted this interview with PIHRA 2020 Legal Update presenters Alexander Chemers and Julia Luster.

PIHRA: Neutral timing offers more risks than benefits for the employers with off the clock work, de minimis work doctrine, etc… What are the best practices to handle employee varying time punches?

Julia & Alexander: Accurately tracking employee hours is vital to every business that employs hourly workers. By doing this, employers can more easily process payroll in a timely manner and ensure compliance with the California Labor Code and other applicable law. This is even more vital as courts continue to erode or eliminate employer-friendly policies, such as the de minimis doctrine.

Some best practices to avoid class and collective actions include:

  • Performing audits of timekeeping and payroll systems to identify risks and prioritize solutions. Although auditing itself may present some risks, if completed by an attorney, the resulting assessment can be attorney-client privileged;
  • Implementing “attestations” as part of clock in and out, which can confirm whether the hours are complete and accurate, flag whether a meal or rest premium may be required, and track potential problem areas with time punches;
  • Training managers and supervisors regarding proper practices and policies related to employee time recording.

How often you would recommend employers review the meal break and rest break period policies language?

Julia and Alexander: California has very specific and strict requirements related to meal and rest break periods. A large proportion of class and collective actions include claims for meal and rest period violations. Employers should regularly monitor changes in meal and rest break law though HR organizations to stay current on the laws. If an employer has never asked an attorney to review its policies, or several years have gone by without review of the applicable policies, attorney review can help identify potential risks and minimize future exposure.

Bonuses and commissions are the key drivers for performance. What are the risks involved?

Julia and Alexander: Although bonuses and commissions can help incentivize high performers and hard workers, the more complex a pay scheme is, the more likely it is to conflict with California law. For example, it can inadvertently result in an inaccurate “regular rate” or “overtime rate” calculation, and lead to underpayments. Even minimal underpayment can expose an employer to liability. Because of that, pay structures should be monitored regularly for compliance in both principle and application.

How can employers balance the business needs vs risks with pay for performance?

Julia and Alexander: Pay for performance connects compensation with specific measure of job performance or specific goals. One example of pay for performance is the piece rate model. This incentivizes production and can increase output in various industries while rewarding productive workers. Unlike Federal law, California law does not allow productive and non-productive time to be lumped together to satisfy minimum wage requirements for all hours worked. Further, non-productive time spend in rest and recovery must be treated differently than other non-productive time. Unless handled with care, it can expose the employer to potential liability.

Why are you excited to present at the PIHRA 2020 Legal Update?

Julia and Alexander: We’re excited to present at the PIHRA 2020 Legal Update to discuss the top 10 wage and hour myths we regularly see in our practice. We’re also excited to help California employers identify potential risks and traps they may face now or in the future!


Are you getting HR Certified in 2020?

Join PIHRA’s preparation class led by expert instructors to help you pass your certification exam:

Register for the January 2020 SHRM-CP / SHRM-SCP Preparation Course

About Alexander “Zander” Chemers, Presenter at the PIHRA 2020 Legal Update

The Top Ten Wage and Hour Myths with Zander Chemers at PIHRA 2020 Legal UpdateAlexander “Zander” Chemers is Shareholder, Los Angeles office of Ogletree Deakins. Zander helps businesses navigate California’s challenging legal requirements. He regularly advises clients on best practices to comply with state and federal law. Additionally, he has testified before Congress on issues surrounding independent contractors, an area in which he regularly litigates.

Through his counseling, he advises clients on compensation plans, meal period and rest break compliance, regular rate calculations, and other strategies to minimize litigation risk.

Zander’s litigation practice focuses on wage-and-hour claims, ranging from class actions involving thousands of putative class members, to representative actions under the Private Attorneys General Act, to single plaintiff arbitrations. These cases involve a broad spectrum of wage-and-hour claims, including alleged violations of minimum wage, overtime, prevailing wage, regular rate, meal period and rest break, business expenses, and wage statement statutes.

About Julia Luster, Presenter at the PIHRA 2020 Legal Update

The Top Ten Wage and Hour Myths with Julia Luster at PIHRA 2020 Legal Update
Julia Luster is Associate, Los Angeles office of Ogletree Deakins. Julia vigorously represents employers in all stages of litigation in state and federal court, as well as in arbitration.

She has extensive experience preparing and responding to discovery, drafting dispositive motions, taking and defending depositions, arguing in both trial and appellate courts, and preparing single-plaintiff and class settlement agreements.

In addition, Julia handles cases ranging from wage and hour and misclassification class actions to single-plaintiff cases where she has assisted clients facing claims for discrimination, harassment, retaliation, failure to accommodate, and wrongful termination.

She also represents clients before administrative agencies, including the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH), and the Division of Labor Standards Enforcement (DLSE).

Is it time to renew your PIHRA membership?

This special offer (for active PIHRA members only) also ends January 30, 2020:

Check out our Legal Update Renewal Bundles for Active PIHRA Members!

Interview Conducted by Baskaran Ambalavanan, MBA, SPHR, GPHR, SHRM-SCP, PIHRA Programs Chair

Baskaran Ambalavanan, PIHRA Programs ChairBaskaran Ambalavanan, MBA, has more than two decades of HR experience in India, Oman, and the U.S. in both the functional HR and in the HRIS/HR Technology.

He is the Principal of Hila Solutions, LLC, a full-service HR Technology Advisory firm for SMEs. Baskaran earned his MBA from Alliance Manchester Business School, U.K. and also certified in SPHR, SHRM-SCP, GPHR, and PHRca.

He is based in Irvine, California and serving as the Programs Chair for PIHRA and an active volunteer leader in SHRM, IHRIM. In his role as PIHRA Programs Chair, Baskaran is instrumental in curating HR sessions for the PIHRA Legal Update and the California HR Conference. He is responsible for assembling the Task Force that selects California HR Conference speakers.

You can follow Baskaran’s insights on all things technology, HR, leadership, and strategy on Twitter at @baski_LA and LinkedIn. Register today to join us at a PIHRA 2020 Legal Update near you and learn from the top legal experts in California!


Choose from 5 convenient locations! Lodging discounts available.

Rancho Mirage (½-Day) | Riverside | La Jolla | Anaheim | Burbank

Experience a comprehensive California legal update with PIHRA! In the world of human resources, staying ahead of constantly evolving employment laws and workplace legislation is essential. Certainly, PIHRA’s most famous flagship program will provide timely information, tips and crucial resources. Most importantly, our expert speakers will help you cut through the complexity, so that you can protect your organization and effectively manage risk. 

→ Register today! (Group discounts available)


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