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Unpaid Mandatory Meeting

Workers Compensation Law Discussion

Unpaid Mandatory Meeting

Postby Jaycee » Fri Dec 16, 2016 5:58 am

I work for a dental office and there has been several occasions where a meeting will be scheduled and employees are told the meeting will not be paid. Is this legal? We ask if the meeting is mandatory, because I assume if its mandatory it needs to be paid time, and the reply is "you are not a team player if you do not attend", which sounds like black mailing to me.  So my question is is it legal to have a staff meeting without paying your employees and if it is illegal where can I find this information? Thanks
Jaycee
 
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Unpaid Mandatory Meeting

Postby Felipe » Fri Dec 16, 2016 8:59 pm

I work for a dental office and there has been several occasions where a meeting will be scheduled and employees are told the meeting will not be paid. Is this legal? We ask if the meeting is mandatory, because I assume if its mandatory it needs to be paid time, and the reply is "you are not a team player if you do not attend", which sounds like black mailing to me.  So my question is is it legal to have a staff meeting without paying your employees and if it is illegal where can I find this information? Thanks
Felipe
 
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Unpaid Mandatory Meeting

Postby Jaime » Sun Dec 18, 2016 8:48 am

Rachael:

I am assuming you are a non-exempt hourly employee; in other words, you get paid by the hour, and if you work more than eight hours in a day or forty hours in a workweek, under California law you are entitled to be paid overtime.

Any meeting your employer requires you to attend is compensable time, and you are entitled to be paid for it under both California and Federal law.  The standard for determining what constitutes compensable time is more strict in California than under Federal law, meaning that it is more favorable to employees.  The key point under California law is whether the employee remains effectively under the employer's control during the time in question.  

Assuming the meetings take place on the employer's premises, and given what you've said about what the employer tells employees who question whether the meetings are mandatory, I am fairly confident the California Labor Commissioner would find the meetings to be compensable time, since there is a clearly implied threat of some sort of negative impact on you should you decline to attend.

You can contact the California Division of Labor Standards Enforcement(DLSE) to get more information and talk to a staff person about possibly filing a wage claim against your employer for the unpaid time you have spent in these meetings.  This link takes you to a list of DLSE offices, with their contact information:http://www.dir.ca.gov/dlse/DistrictOffices.htm

You may also wish to contact an experienced employment attorney in your area, who can assist you in making a claim against the employer and in dealing with the DLSE. If you don't know an attorney, the best way to get a referral is to look up the web site of the city or county Bar Association where you live.  Just put the words "bar association attorney referral service" and the name of your city or county into a good search engine and you should find the site quickly.  
Jaime
 
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