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Ask Tina Your Own Question
Tina, Attorney
Category: California Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 33166
Experience:  JD, 17 years experience & recognized by ABA for excellence in employment law.
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Customer Question

I am a bartender for a non-profit org. and currently being pd hourly. If my employer changes to all "volunteer" status can he keep anyone in the bar on payroll?
Submitted: 4 years ago.
Category: California Employment Law
Expert:  Tina replied 4 years ago.
Hello again,

Does this question differ from your previous questions? I'm not sure what additional information you are looking for.

Thank you.

Customer: replied 4 years ago.
Our daytime bartender volunteered for 2 yrs then told my boss he needed to be paid or he would leave. Since he had been doing the ordering already (and my boss is very busy) he was put on payroll, I believe, as bar "manager". He does not have a time card and gets paid more than the other bartenders. If we change to all volunteers, can he be kept on payroll even though we do essentially the same job?
Expert:  Tina replied 4 years ago.
I see.

Yes, as long as the company is not discriminating against anyone on the basis of some protected class, such as race, gender, or age, the employer may fill any of the positions with volunteers normally, as long as they are truly volunteers and not employees being coerced to work for free.

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Customer: replied 4 years ago.
I understand your answer. Maybe I'm not asking the right question. I work in a male dominated club, that is to say women can join but cannot hold positions of authority or have any vote regarding the running of the lodge. When I was hired, there were 2 pd positions in the lodge, myself and the other (female) night bartender. Approx. 6 mos. later, the day bartender I mentioned, was put on payroll - at a higher rate of pay. If I am told that I will no longer be paid and the reason given is that the lodge is switching to all "volunteer" positions, can that individual remain paid?
Expert:  Tina replied 4 years ago.
I see.

Yes, that individual can remain in a paid position, even though the employer indicated they were switching to all volunteer positions. That statement is clearly not true as to that one individual at least, but you would not have suffered any damages even if you were to file suit since your position would be changed to volunteer in any case. Therefore, there would be no point in pursuing legal action since I see no basis for seeking damages against the employer.

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