'First Thursday' - Labor Law Seminar Series

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Name: 'First Thursday' - Labor Law Seminar Series
Date: July 6, 2017
Time: 11:30 AM - 1:00 PM PDT
Event Description:
Risks of Misclassifying Trainees and Interns
Many employers make the mistake of misclassifying employees as independent contractors, volunteers, trainees or interns.  They do so for a variety of reasons.  These are frequently related to the desire to avoid the many legal requirements applicable to employment relationships.
What these employers fail to understand is that whenever work or any services are provided, the law imposes a legal presumption that the working relationship is one of employment.  This is true regardless of how the parties characterized the relationship, or whether or not the nature of the parties’ understanding is in writing.
For example, if a claim for overtime compensation, workers compensation benefits, unemployment benefits, workplace harassment or discrimination (to name just a few) is initiated, the business-entity defendant will attempt to defend the claim on the basis that the working relationship was not one of employment, but that the claimant was alternatively an independent contractor, volunteer,  trainee or intern.  Because of the legal presumption referenced above, the business will be assigned the burden of proof to establish that the relationship was not one of employment. 
This will require the employer to satisfy the detailed and demanding rules that apply, depending on the nature of the relationship asserted by the defendant. If the employer asserts that the working relationship is one of independent contractor, it will be required to prove the criteria applicable to that relationship.  The same is true if the “employer” asserts the relationship was one of “volunteer,” “trainee” or “intern.” Different rules apply to each.
As explained in this article, to be legally enforceable under California law, a trainee/internship relationship cannot provide any immediate benefit to the employing entity, or it will be deemed to be an employment relationship.  This rule alone disqualifies the vast majority of claimed training/internship relationships, and subjects the employing entity to enormous legal exposure for unpaid wages, tax withholdings, unpaid rest and break periods and fringe benefits provided to similarly-situated workers who were paid as employees. 
To illustrate, in one famous case, Microsoft Corp. agreed to a settlement of $99 million after several workers alleged that they had been misclassified as independent contractors.

This ongoing seminar series is being conducted by veteran Petaluma labor & employment attorney, Jay Putnam. Putnam, has advised employers exclusively, in labor matters for over 36 years. He hopes to provide local business owners and managers with a solid, working understanding of California labor law, as a means of helping them avoid the often crippling cost and disruption caused by lawsuits resulting from a misunderstanding of applicable legal requirements.

Members are encouraged to bring their questions.  Putnam says he intends to conduct the seminars as "informal, working sessions, where people can bring their lunch and their questions and leave each month with important information that will immediately improve their business operations.

To register, please email the Chamber at pacc@petalumachamber.com, or call 707.762.2785
6 Petaluma Blvd N, Ste A2
Petaluma, CA 94952
Date/Time Information:
First Thursday of each month - 11:30am - 1:00pm.  Feel free to bring your lunch!
Contact Information:
To register, call the chamber at 707.762.2785
FREE to PACC members.
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