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socrateaser
socrateaser, Lawyer
Category: California Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 34356
Experience:  Retired (mostly)
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Hello, I am a teacher at an "at-will" public, year-round,

Resolved Question:

Hello,

I am a teacher at an "at-will" public, year-round, independent-study-program (1-on-1) charter high school and feel that I am being taken advantage of with respect to overtime hours. Although I am an exempt employee, the company verbally declared to me and another teacher that they would pay overtime (after the 30 regular hours) during summer school when we have to service more than the normal company-stated maximum of 50 students, and this has been allowed to continue into the regular school year if one has more than 50 students. My issues with this have been

1. my more-than-50 students went up to 110,
2. my more-than-50 students has averaged 100 for the past 9 months,
3. I have not been allowed to report more than 30 x 1.5 = 45 hours per week regardless of the number of students I have (which is 2 times the maximum), which they say has no limit, even though I have regularly had to work more hours than this,
4. sometimes they ask us to shuffle our hours around onto different days, weeks, or months, so that they don't exceed 9 on any one day,
5. no teacher is allowed to report the hours as overtime after all -- instead they must be reported as "sub (substitute) hours" even though no one is substituting for any other teacher, and these "sub" hours are paid at 3/4 one's regular rate,
6. I am essentially harassed about reporting any extra hours, and was recently written up for it, claiming poor time management.

Additionally, we are asked if we voluntarily want to work some of our week's vacation days for regular + vacation pay, but if we opt not to, we are pressured to work some of those days anyway. Lastly, all teachers were required to sign a form to "voluntarily" give up their lunch break since we (supposedly) work a 6-hour shift.

I have responded in writing to H.R., contesting the write-up and am now wondering if they plan to dismiss me.

My questions are:
1. Are any of these policies legal?
2. Do I have a possible case to get pay for all of the overtime that I have done but not gotten paid for or been allowed to report?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: California Employment Law
Expert:  Fran-mod replied 1 year ago.
I'm Fran, and I’m a moderator for this topic.

We have been working with the professionals to try to help you with your question. Sometimes it may take a bit of time to find the right fit. I was checking to see if you had already found your answer or if you still needing assistance from one of the professionals.

Please let me know if you wish to continue waiting or if you would like for us to close your question.Also remember that JustAnswer has a multitude of categories to help you with all your needs from Health, Pets, Computers, Cars, Finance, Law, to Home Improvement, and more.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

I wanted to get another lawyer's opinion.

Expert:  Fran-mod replied 1 year ago.
Thanks Gary,

We'll try to find you a CA Employment professional to answer this. We appreciate your patience.
Expert:  socrateaser replied 1 year ago.
Hello,

Customer service asked me to review your question.

1. You say that you work for a company, but for a charter school. Who is the contracting party in your employment agreement (private employer, county, state, school district, etc.)?

2. Are you being paid a salary (fixed pay of at least $2,773.33 per month), regardless of the number of hours worked?

3. You say that the "normal" class size is 50 students. Is this stated in mandatory language in the employment contract, or in some other employer policy document (e.g., class size shall not exceed 50 students). Or, is this just something that the employer said it will try to maintain (e.g., normal class size is 50 students)?

Note: I have a judicial temperament. I like to know the precise facts before I start flapping my "virtual lips." Otherwise, my answer is likely to be a pile of rubbish.

Thanks in advance.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.

1. Technically, a public charter school, but run like more of a private company.


2. Yes, being paid salary, but before last summer, company verbally promised hourly "overtime" pay for more than 50 students. However, they limited it to 15 hours (for 30 additional students), but kept adding up to 110 students total.


 


3. There are no classes: it is an independent-study-program (1-on-1 approximately 1/2-hour meetings with students by appointment). I have not seen "50 student maximum" in writing, but that is the company-wide policy.

Expert:  socrateaser replied 1 year ago.
Okay, thanks.

1. Oral agreements are impossibly difficult to prove. If there are a group of instructors who are all willing to testify that the employer offered certain conditions of employment (e.g., overtime, and/or maximum student loads), then that would be grounds to file a grievance with the school district and obtain an administrative law hearing on the matter. Otherwise, you will be wasting your time, because it will be nothing more than your word against the school administration -- and in court -- ties go to the defendant -- so you would lose.

2. The Labor Code is only minimally applicable to public employers. Meal break laws do not apply -- so, you will be wasting your time on this issue, entirely.

BotXXXXX XXXXXne, your rights are limited by your actual employment contract, and without either corroborating witnesses or documentary evidence of contract modifications, you are nearly certain to lose. But, if there are a load of teachers willing to testify, then get yourself an employment rights lawyer with experience in government claims, and push back.

For a competent referral, see this link.

Hope this helps.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

Thanks!

Expert:  socrateaser replied 1 year ago.
You're welcome and good luck!
socrateaser, Lawyer
Satisfied Customers: 34356
Experience: Retired (mostly)
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