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LawTalk, Attorney
Category: California Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 34884
Experience:  I have 30 years of experience in the practice of law, including employment law and discrimination law.
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I sent employees on an overnight trip from SF to LA. They

Customer Question

I sent employees on an overnight trip from SF to LA. They were instructed to drive down to LA, drop off their passenger and spend the night in a motel before returning to SF the next day. (They were in a company vehicle with a company gas card.) The senior employee on this trip had made similar (distance) trips in the past and always had spent the night on the trip. The trip was on a Saturday so that no one was in the office. Rather then spend the night the senior employee decided to drive back the same day, thus incurring time and a half and double time wages for the return leg. He claims he did not know it was an "overnight" trip but had been advised verbally and in writing on his manifest that it was an overnight trip. He was also provided in writing with the motel information where a reservation had been paid in advance. As a result, the two employees have put in for the overtime costing me $470 more than I would have paid at regular time plus I still had to pay for the motel. Do I have to pay the overtime, or can I pay straight time since the employee disregarded and ignored verbal and written instructions?
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: California Employment Law
Expert:  LawTalk replied 3 years ago.

Good morning Dan,

I'm Doug, and I'm very sorry to hear of your situation.

Unfortunately, even when an employee disregards XXXXX XXXXX instructions of the employer, and works hours in a day not authorized and thereby incurs overtime hours, the employer---under both CA employment law and federal employment law----has no recourse but to pay the overtime.

That being said, the employer may discipline the employee(s) who violated the employer's directions and which resulted in unintended overtime. However, this discipline is the only remedy allowed the employer. It would even be in violation of labor laws and the Fair Labor Standards Act for the employer and employee(s) to enter into an agreement for the employee(s) to accept straight time, or comp time, in lieu of overtime pay. Discipline is the only remedy allowed the employer under the law. I'm sorry.

You may reply back to me using the Continue the Conversation or Reply to Expert link if you have additional questions; and if you do, I ask that you please keep in mind that I do not know what you may already know or with what you need help, unless you tell me.

I understand that you may be disappointed by the Answer you received, as it was not particularly favorable to your situation. Had I been able to provide an Answer which might have given you a successful legal outcome, it would have been my pleasure to do so.

Please remember to press the smiley faces/stars on the right of your screen when we are finished with our communication so I will be credited for my time in assisting you. Kindly remember to ONLY rate my answer when you are fully satisfied. If you feel the need to rate anything less than OK, please stop and contact me with whatever issue or clarification you may need. I will be happy to continue further and assist you until I am able to address your concerns to your satisfaction.

I wish you the best in 2013,


Customer: replied 3 years ago.

All I received is a cut and paste from the CA labor code which I had already been to myself. I was expecting some additional insight.

Customer: replied 3 years ago.
Relist: Answer quality.
Expert:  LawTalk replied 3 years ago.

Good morning,

I’m truly disheartened to see that you rated my assistance to you as negative (the first or second star/face). How may I better answer your question for you? I invite you to ask any additional question that you may need to, for clarification of your issue.

I'm interested in understanding why you felt my service to you was poor. Would you please explain that so I can understand how I failed you?

I didn't cut and paste anything. I merely explained---through summarization--- the law to you. There is nothing more to say about the law. It is what it is, and as an employer you are without the ability under the law to not pay the overtime. There is no additional insight to be gained. The law is black and white in this area.


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