Los Angeles- Feb. 10, 2017- I don’t think anyone would disagree that even if we got rid of most administrative agencies, there would still be a few remaining that we definitely SHOULD not get rid of. Which reminds me of the time I went before the labor commissioner and I was up against a law firm. [This is after a previous time of going before them without good results then suing them in state court to force compliance with the law]. If an employer does not pay workers properly, they can face a 30 day penalty. Probably most employers will try to avoid that penalty which the Labor Commissioner will only rule if the employer does not have an EXCUSE for their actions, i.e their actions were willful. [It is not hard for an employer to come up with an excuse because the Labor Commissioner gives them counseling on this.] Anyway I was up against this small law firm who had cheated me out of meal period wages. Without the 30 day penalty, the award only came to about $500. The moral is I was glad to get the $500 and the win against the law firm; but what does $500 mean to a law firm that makes $millions$? A slap on the wrist. THE EMPLOYMENT DEVELOPMENT DEPARTMENT UNDER GOVERNOR JERRY BROWN AND director Patrick W. Henning Jr. Everyone knows we need the “EDD” because they give out the money when you get terminated or laid off from your job. [Unless we eliminate the EDD and let people go straight to court. Oh, I am such a favorite of packing those courtrooms with flexible evening hours]. So here is what looks like an open and
shit shut case: A worker is terminated on January 1, 2017. The employer gives the employee a letter of termination for and on the the same day without prior warning but at the same time says they are paying the worker thru the month of January of which they cut the worker a check dated January 1, 2017, the check saying for “wages” thru January 31. [You can guess what happens. ] So the worker applies for unemployment, tells the absolute truth that he was terminated on January 1, 2017, did not do any work anywhere up to the time of his claim, provides the amounts the employer gave him and the worker seeks unemployment compensation for the rest of January. The worker states in the reporting requirements that he has not earned any money and not worked from January 2 thru the reporting period. The EDD rules the worker will not get any benefits for the period Jan. 2 – 31st [redacted and estimated] because they say “the worker received excessive wages” between Jan. 2-31st. The worker appeals and reiterates to the EDD that he has not worked or received any wages [on any day] from Jan. 2 thru Jan. 31. He adds that in no way could the employer have paid him “wages” from Jan. 2-31 since on Jan. 1 he was no longer employed with the employer. When the worker is asked the question, “Did you work or earn any money?” during the reporting period, the worker correctly answers “no”. [That is like a company saying we are paying you for the next two weeks of work, but we are firing you today. One contradicts the other. Wouldn’t that be great if all employers had the money to fire workers, pay them for the next thirty days, but not have the benefit of that worker’s services. [I am not talking about an amount that is designated “severance”; I am talking about an employer law firm mischaracterizing “wages” to cheat the system.] . I am told that admin agencies have no obligation to abide by the facts. Moral: We don’t need administrative agencies to be lying and cheating and stealing. [Spoiler: if not only in California, how does any employer law firm, absent fraudulent billing to their clients, maintain in writing that they paid an employee “wages” for a time period that such worker was no longer on their payroll or time sheets? Amazingly I have received “pro” as well as “con” opinions on this!] Stay tuned for this developing story.
[Editor: Update March 19, 2017. An administrative law Judge for the EDD California has ruled that the law firm in this example mischaracterized as “wages” payments to the employee. Can you say “fraud”?]