[Sign Up Now] to Receive Our FREE Daily SCVTV-SCVNews Digest by E-Mail

Inside
Weather
Santa Clarita CA
Partly cloudy
Partly cloudy
78°F
 
Calendar
Today in
S.C.V. History
July 15
1891 - R.E. Nickel publishes area's first newspaper, The Acton Rooster [story]


Commentary by Carl Kanowsky, Esq.
| Friday, Feb 7, 2014
Carl Kanowsky, Esq.

Carl Kanowsky, Esq.

A few weeks ago, I wrote about some missteps that employers seem to repeat. I’ve got a few more to share.

Contrary to what you might expect, these mistakes are made by employers of all sizes, even ones with sophisticated personnel departments.

It seems that often, the motivating factor is to save a few dollars. The problem with that strategy is that a small mistake compounded several times over can result in costing much more than any possible savings.

 

Overtime

Overtime is a common trap for employers. One international company had hundreds of hourly, nonexempt employees report to work 20 to 30 minutes before their shift started.

Once the crew showed up, the employer instructed them to begin assembling files and documents, and to do any necessary online preparation work so that when the workday began, there was no delay with getting geared up.

The problem? The big employer didn’t pay the employees for the time they got ready to begin work.

Yes, there is a de minims argument that a few minutes here and there should not require payment. But what constitutes a “few minutes?” Is it five minutes or 15? Is there a hard and fast, dependable rule upon which the employers can rely?

The answer is no, there is no rule. And because the employer didn’t want to pay for those few minutes, it is now in a major battle to avoid a judgment that it not only has to pay those five to 15 minutes, but must also pay interest, penalties and attorneys’ fees.

What should the employer have done? Don’t play games with an employee’s time. If he or she is performing duties for you, pay the employee.

 

Independent contractors

Another problem is how to classify workers. Are they your employees, or are they independent contractors? This is another deep, dark hole that many employers fall into.

Some employers want to avoid paying their share of the employment taxes, and some workers like the larger paychecks that come when there are no deductions.

But the government guards its right to collect those taxes jealously, especially in these tight fiscal times. If it gets a whiff of an employer trying to play the “independent contractor” game, it will clamp down.

An example is a manufacturing company with sales representatives all around the country. The company and the sales reps gladly agree they are independent contractors, and they are paid accordingly. But then the IRS or one of the state taxing authorities finds out and conducts an audit.

The audit reveals that the sales reps uniformly work only for the manufacturing company; that they are told which customers to call on; and that are required to come to the factory and to conventions on a regularly scheduled basis.

Even though the company and the reps signed agreements stating they were independent contractors, the IRS ignored those contracts and studied the relationship between the parties. The relationship revealed that the company exerted great control over the sales reps.

Now, the company has to pay the government all unpaid taxes plus penalties and interest. And guess what? The IRS is more likely to come back and check up on the company in the future.

My message to employers: You can hire someone to go over your employment practices now, or you can wait until an employee decides to sue you.

 

Carl Kanowsky of Kanowsky & Associates is an attorney in the Santa Clarita Valley. He may be reached by email at cjk@kanowskylaw.com. Nothing contained herein shall be or is intended to be construed as providing legal advice.

Comment On This Story
COMMENT POLICY: We welcome comments from individuals and businesses. All comments are moderated. Comments are subject to rejection if they are vulgar, combative, or in poor taste.
REAL NAMES ONLY: All posters must use their real individual or business name. This applies equally to Twitter account holders who use a nickname.

0 Comments

You can be the first one to leave a comment.

Leave a Comment


Opinion Section Policy
All opinions and ideas are welcome. Factually inaccurate, libelous, defamatory, profane or hateful statements are not. Your words must be your own. All commentary is subject to editing for legibility. There is no length limit, but the shorter, the better the odds of people reading it. "Local" SCV-related topics are preferred. Send commentary to: LETTERS (at) SCVNEWS.COM. Author's full name, community name, phone number and e-mail address are required. Phone numbers and e-mail addresses are not published except at author's request. Acknowledgment of submission does not guarantee publication.
Read More From...
RECENT COMMENTARY
Monday, Jul 2, 2018
In her July message, Santa Clarita Mayor Laurene Weste wishes residents a safe and enjoyable Fourth of July, and recaps a bit of local history.
Sunday, Jul 1, 2018
The Mojave rattlesnake or “Mojave green” is a highly irritable and unpredictable pit viper. By comparison, the Pacific rattlesnake you might be accustomed to is fairly tame.
Friday, Jun 15, 2018
Your rights guarantee that you get the health services the law says you can get, protect you against unethical practices, and ensure the privacy of your personal and medical information. You have the right to be treated with dignity and respect at all times, and to be protected from discrimination.
Friday, Jun 15, 2018
California voters just bought the feel-good tax proposition that was stated to raise yet another $4 billion for “clean water” funds. Days later, Brown declared it isn’t enough. There will be another ballot measure in November to raise another $8 billion.
Friday, Jun 8, 2018
Our state leaders are finally working together to address one of the greatest inequities in higher education – funding for California community colleges that serve high need students.
Wednesday, Jun 6, 2018
Not every decision on the table must be made within the next week. When it comes to deciding how to fund community colleges, it would be wise to hit pause and devote more careful consideration to the discussion.

Latest Additions to SCVNews.com
1891 - R.E. Nickel publishes area's first newspaper, The Acton Rooster [story]
Stay out of the water at Pyramid Lake in Los Angeles County until further notice and avoid eating fish from the lake due to the presence of blue-green algae.
Algae in Pyramid Lake at ‘Danger’ Level – Keep Out
1769 - Portolá party sets out from San Diego; first Europeans to "discover" Santa Clarita Valley 3½ weeks later [story]
The CTG Stars teenage summer workshop production of "Shrek: The Musical, Jr." takes the stage at the Canyon Theatre Guild in Old Town Newhall for two final performances on Saturday night and Sunday afternoon.
July 14-15: CTG Stars Teen Workshop Stages ‘Shrek: The Musical Jr.’
The William S. Hart Museum will host an open house and summer fun event for kids on Thursday, July 19 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.
July 19: Open House, Summer Fun Event for Kids at Hart Museum
College of the Canyons will accept an additional 500 students to its First-Year Promise program for the fall 2018 semester, an expansion made possible by funding from a new state program called California College Promise.
COC to Accept 500 More First-Year Promise Students
The city of Santa Clarita invites residents to explore the newest exhibit at the Westfield Valencia Town Center Art Space -- “Urban Objects” by artist Aaron Kramer, on display now through October 2.
‘Urban Objects’ by Aaron Kramer on Display at Town Center Art Space
Bank of Santa Clarita announced Friday that for the second quarter of 2018, earnings again reached record levels, as net earnings totaled $867,000, a 91 percent growth over its earnings for the second quarter of 2017.
Bank of Santa Clarita’s Earnings Continue to Grow Significantly
Los Angeles County voters may soon be asked to vote on a new "parcel" tax to be levied on private property owners' "impenetrable areas" -- everything from rooftops to driveways -- to help pay for the capture of recyclable stormwater runoff.
Supes Float New Tax on Roofs, Driveways, Patios
In an effort to keep property crime in the Santa Clarita Valley low and help residents protect their valuables, the city of Santa Clarita and the SCV Sheriff’s Station have partnered to bring a new public safety campaign to the city called 'The Stolen Collection.'
Don’t Let Your Items Become Part of ‘The Stolen Collection’
The California Air Resources Board and the United States Environmental Protection Agency have approved emissions modifications for the last remaining Volkswagen vehicles containing undisclosed software which deliberately shut down emission control equipment.
CARB, EPA OK Final VW Diesel Modification to Kill Illegal ‘Defeat Devices’
Vince Fernandez cranked a three-run homer to give the Lancaster JetHawks a lead, but the bullpen and defense couldn’t hold on in an 8-4 loss to the Rancho Cucamonga Quakes on Thursday night at LoanMart Field.
Series Finale Slips Away from JetHawks
A coalition of 13 Attorneys General including California's, along with the California Air Resources Board and the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection, submitted a letter to the U.S. EPA Friday demanding the immediate reinstatement of the Glider Rule for high-polluting trucks.
AG’s Demand EPA Reinstate ‘Glider Rule’ for High-Polluting Trucks
The next meeting of the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors is set for Tuesday, July 17, starting at 9:30 a.m.
July 17: LA County Board of Supervisors Meeting
Santa Clarita Valley International, a free public charter school serving learners in grades TK through 12, has welcomed veteran educator Farnaz Kaufman as its new School Director, and she will welcome visitors on SCVi’s Prospective Family Night on Thursday, July 19.
July 19: SCVi Open House, Meetup with New Director
1884 - Hardison & Stewart start drilling Star No. 1 oil well in Pico Canyon; later form Union Oil Co. [story]
The Valencia Jazz & Blues Summer Concert Series continues Friday, July 13, with Jim Gibson.
July 13: Jim Gibson Takes Stage at Valencia Jazz & Blues Series
Los Angeles County Department of Parks and Recreation presents its latest Recreation After Dark at William S. Hart Regional Park in Newhall with an evening showcase of music and dance featuring the Sue Rey and the Runarounds.
July 28: Sue Rey & the Runarounds at Hart Park
RANCHO CUCAMONGA – The JetHawks turned Rancho Cucamonga’s historic 15-game win streak into history with a 6-2 win over the Quakes on Wednesday night at LoanMart Field. The streak was the longest in the franchise’s history.
JetHawks End Quakes 15-Game Winning Streak
The city of Santa Clarita has been, and continues to be, committed to helping those experiencing homelessness in our community.
City Invites Community to Review Draft of Plan to Address Homelessness
The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department will be conducting a specialized Motorcycle Safety Enforcement Operation on Saturday, July 14, in the city of Santa Clarita in an effort to lower deaths and injuries.
July 14: LASD Motorcycle Safety Enforcement Operation
A Light of Hope is excited to announce a new partner with New Global Adventures, who will bring their event expertise to organize and host the 5th annual Be The Light 5K/10K fundraiser on Sept. 29.
Sept. 29: Be the Light 5K, 10K Night Run/Walk
Two notable judges were selected for the Santa Clarita Artists Association (SCAA) Art Classic Gala to be held on Sept. 29, from 1:30 p.m. - 5:00 p.m. in Hart Hall at the historic Hart Park in Newhall. A free public viewing is on Sunday, Sept. 30, from 10:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.
Santa Clarita Artists Association Selects Judges for September Gala
The Valley Industry Association will be holding a luncheon, Tuesday, July 17, at 11:45 a.m. at the Valencia Country Club, located at 27330 No. Tourney Road, 91355.
July 17: VIA Luncheon to Discuss Whittaker-Bermite
The Dodgers' versatile home run leader Max Muncy has powered his way into the T-Mobile Home Run Derby on Monday, July 16 at Nationals Park in Washington, DC.
Dodgers’ Muncy Powers Way into Home Run Derby; Stripling Named NL All-Star
Their gift is their song and this one's for you, when Kenny Metcalf as Elton & The Early Years Band presents the ultimate Elton John tribute show as part of Santa Clarita’s Concerts in the Park series, presented by Logix Federal Credit Union.
July 14: Concerts in the Park Continue with Elton John Tribute Band
Local restaurant Le Chène French Cuisine has announced they will be hosting Murder Mystery Dinner in their alluring banquet room this summer.
Aug. 25: Le Chène Murder Mystery Dinner
CHICAGO - The Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting has been awarded to the city of Santa Clarita by Government Finance Officers Association of the United States and Canada (GFOA) for its comprehensive annual financial report (CAFR).
City Recognized for Governmental Accounting
On a daily basis, law enforcement personnel are the first to arrive at the scene of a medical emergency. Many of these patients are suffering from opioid overdose emergencies and require immediate assistance.
McDonnell Addresses Opioid Epidemic
Deputies from the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff's Station conducted saturation patrol around the SCV Wednesday.
Deputies Make Felony, Misdemeanor Arrests During Patrol
1900 - Pacific Telephone & Telegraph establishes Newhall exchange; SCV gets first phone [story]
The Master's University men's golf team has released the fall portion of its 2018-19 schedule and will navigate a diverse grouping of courses before winter break.
TMU Releases 2018-19 Men’s Golf Schedule
Experimental composer Coleman Zurkowski (MFA Music 14) bridges the gaps between jazz, dub, psych-rock, and electronic music on his new album "Zero."
CalArts Alum Coleman Zurkowski Releases New Album, ‘ZERO’
Through CSU Fully Online, California State University undergraduate students have the opportunity to take one free fully-online course offered at another CSU campus every term, moving them one step closer to earning a high-quality degree.
CSU Students Can Now Take More Fully-Online Courses Every Term
The Lancaster JetHawks fell behind by four in the first inning and were unable to make it close in a 6-1 loss to the Rancho Cucamonga Quakes Tuesday night at LoanMart Field.
JetHawks Can’t Stop Streaking Quakes
iLEAD Agua Dulce, a free public charter school serving grades TK through 6, has been approved to open in the fall and began enrolling families this week.
Enrollment Open for New iLEAD Agua Dulce TK-6 Public Charter School