How JustAnswer Works:

  • Ask an Expert
    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional Answer
    Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site.
    Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
    Rate the answer you receive.

Ask Patrick, Esq. Your Own Question

Patrick, Esq.
Patrick, Esq., Lawyer
Category: California Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 7646
Experience:  Significant experience in all areas of employment law.
60109343
Type Your California Employment Law Question Here...
Patrick, Esq. is online now
A new question is answered every 9 seconds

Our company policy (small alarm company less than 10 employees)

Resolved Question:

Our company policy (small alarm company less than 10 employees) is outside technicians riding a company owned vehicle and all techs get paid while they are on company vehicle to go to job site (sometimes to go to job site takes 30min to 2 hours). If any employee refuse to ride on company vehicle to go to job site, our company do not pay the travel time that the employee using his personal vehicle to go to job site (daily). Is it okay not paying employee when they are usingtheir personal vehicle to go job site (daily)? Also if this employee gets an accident on the way to jobsite from his home (daily), does company also be responsible for his accident or can this employee sue company for the accident? Please advise. Thank You.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: California Employment Law
Expert:  Patrick, Esq. replied 1 year ago.
Good morning and thank you for entrusting me to answer your question. I will do everything I can to assist you.

Unfortunately, employees must be paid for all "on the job" travel time, regardless of whether they are riding in a company car or their own personal vehicle. The only travel time which is not compensable is the employer's initial commute to the employer's principle place of business. Employers never have to pay for that, but once an employee is working--and they would be if they were driving to a particualr job site--they are entitled to be paid for that time.

The travel time should be paid at the employee's regular rate of pay. However, it is generally permissible to have a wage agreement whereby employees are paid at a lower rate not to fall below minimum wage for compensable travel time and other types of non-productive work time, as noted in 29 C.F.R. 778.318(b) and a DOL administrative opinion letter dated January 22, 1999 (BNA, WHM 99:8211).

Note well, however, that any such agreement should be clearly expressed in a written wage agreement signed by the employee, and the time distinguished as travel time must be carefully and precisely recorded. Further, if such travel time results in overtime hours, the overtime pay must be calculated according to the weighted average method of computing overtime pay, as provided in 29 C.F.R. 778.115.

With regard to your second question about liability, if an employee is involved in an accident in their personal vehicle while driving to a job site, the company would be liable for any damages pursuant to the legal theory of "respondeat superior." Respondeat superior holds that liability for any on the job conduct that occurs in the ordinary course and scope of the employee's employment automatically transfers to the employer. There is no way to avoid respondeat superior liability, regardless of whether the employee drives a company or personal vehicle.

Finally, though you did not specifically ask about this, I feel obliged to mention that Labor Code 2802 requires employers to reimburse employees for all expenses necessarily incurred in the course of discharging their duties. This would include gas expenses and "wear and tear" on any personal vehicle they use to perform company work.

The total mileage reimbursement (aking into account both gas and wear and tear) recommended under the IRS rules is .56.5 cents per mile for 2013. See here for more information: http://www.calchamber.com/headlines/pages/11272012-irsannounces2013mileagereimbursementrates.aspx

Please do not hesitate to let me know if you have any questions or concerns regarding the above and I will be more than happy to assist you further.

If you do not require any further assistance, please be so kind as to provide a positive rating of my service so that I may receive credit for assisting you. Very best wishes to you and thank you so much for coming to Just Answer.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

there is no office or chairs for our outside technicians in our office.


Also, this employee is going to job site from his home (not coming to office where no chairs or room for him). Do we still have to pay for his travel time from his home to go to job site (15min to 40min)?


 


When the employee finish his work from jobsite, he doesnt' come to office to check-out for the day, he goes his home from the jobsite.


 


Please advise,


 


Thank you,


chris

Expert:  Patrick, Esq. replied 1 year ago.
Chris,

Thank you very much for your reply. If some technicians are riding in company vehicles to job sites aren't they reporting to your place of business? Do they go straight to the job site ONLY if they refuse to ride in the company car?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.


First, thank you for your prompt response.


 


Yes. the emploXXXXX, XXXXX goes to jobsite from his home straight and when he is done working on the jobsite, he goes home straight - Mike and his supervisor prearrange a day before where Mike has to go.


 


Mike doesn't report to office before or after work. He only report to his supervisor on jobsite. On the jobsite, he says good bye to his supervisor, and goes home. Sometimes, when he doesn't have money to buy gas, etc. he come to office and ride with his supervisor - he make his decision whether he drives his own vehicle to go jobsite from home or come to office and ride with his supervisor to go jobsite.


 


Hope this helpe, Thank you, Chris

Expert:  Patrick, Esq. replied 1 year ago.

Chris,

This additional information is very helpful.

The answer to your question does become much more complicated when the employee are commuting directly to the job site, so let me back track my answer.

The CA Supreme Court addressed the issue of travel time in the case of Morillon v. Royal Packing (2000) 22 Cal 4th 575. The Court held it was necessary to distinguish between "travel that the employer specifically compels and controls...and an ordinary commute that employees take on their own."

The Court in Morillion concluded that workers who were required to meet at designated departure points at certain times to ride the employer's buses to work were under the control of their employer and thus entitled to compesation for that time. The Court also noted, however, that "This conclusion should not be considered as holding that ALL travel time to and from work, rather than compulsory travel time as defined above, is compensable."

The question then becomes, "What is compulsory travel time and what is an ordinary commute?" This is an intensely fact-dependent inquiry. The DLSE has indicated it will consider and give weight to how far away the work site is and whether the employee is transporting employer tools in their vehicle, among other things.

The tough part about your question is that there is no black and white answer. Since some technicians are being paid for their travel time, however, you are essentially already acknowledging an entitlement to compensation for this time.

I am perhaps more risk averse than others, so if it were me, I would consider this travel time "on the clock." However, the law is simply unclear when it comes to traveling directly to work sites where the employee has no primary work site to report to.

I wish that I could provide you with a more concrete answer, but it is simply not possible to do so under the circumstances.

Again, please feel free to let me know if you have any further concerns. If I have answered your question, I would be very grateful for a positive rating of my service so that I may receive credit for assisting you.

Kindest regards.

Patrick, Esq., Lawyer
Satisfied Customers: 7646
Experience: Significant experience in all areas of employment law.
Patrick, Esq. and other California Employment Law Specialists are ready to help you

JustAnswer in the News:

 
 
 
Ask-a-doc Web sites: If you've got a quick question, you can try to get an answer from sites that say they have various specialists on hand to give quick answers... Justanswer.com.
JustAnswer.com...has seen a spike since October in legal questions from readers about layoffs, unemployment and severance.
Web sites like justanswer.com/legal
...leave nothing to chance.
Traffic on JustAnswer rose 14 percent...and had nearly 400,000 page views in 30 days...inquiries related to stress, high blood pressure, drinking and heart pain jumped 33 percent.
Tory Johnson, GMA Workplace Contributor, discusses work-from-home jobs, such as JustAnswer in which verified Experts answer people’s questions.
I will tell you that...the things you have to go through to be an Expert are quite rigorous.
 
 
 

What Customers are Saying:

 
 
 
  • Mr. Kaplun clearly had an exceptional understanding of the issue and was able to explain it concisely. I would recommend JustAnswer to anyone. Great service that lives up to its promises! Gary B. Edmond, OK
< Last | Next >
  • Mr. Kaplun clearly had an exceptional understanding of the issue and was able to explain it concisely. I would recommend JustAnswer to anyone. Great service that lives up to its promises! Gary B. Edmond, OK
  • My Expert was fast and seemed to have the answer to my taser question at the tips of her fingers. Communication was excellent. I left feeling confident in her answer. Eric Redwood City, CA
  • I am very pleased with JustAnswer as a place to go for divorce or criminal law knowledge and insight. Michael Wichita, KS
  • PaulMJD helped me with questions I had regarding an urgent legal matter. His answers were excellent. Three H. Houston, TX
  • Anne was extremely helpful. Her information put me in the right direction for action that kept me legal, possible saving me a ton of money in the future. Thank you again, Anne!! Elaine Atlanta, GA
  • It worked great. I had the facts and I presented them to my ex-landlord and she folded and returned my deposit. The 50 bucks I spent with you solved my problem. Tony Apopka, FL
  • Wonderful service, prompt, efficient, and accurate. Couldn't have asked for more. I cannot thank you enough for your help. Mary C. Freshfield, Liverpool, UK
 
 
 

Meet The Experts:

 
 
 
  • LawTalk

    Attorney

    Satisfied Customers:

    936
    I have 30 years of experience in the practice of law, including employment law and discrimination law.
< Last | Next >
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/LA/LawTalk/2012-6-6_17379_LawTalk.64x64.JPG LawTalk's Avatar

    LawTalk

    Attorney

    Satisfied Customers:

    936
    I have 30 years of experience in the practice of law, including employment law and discrimination law.
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/MU/multistatelaw/2011-11-27_173951_Tinaglamourshotworkglow102011.64x64.jpg Tina's Avatar

    Tina

    Attorney

    Satisfied Customers:

    888
    JD, 17 years experience & recognized by ABA for excellence in employment law.
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/PI/PIExpert/2012-7-1_152453_Attorney.64x64.jpg Brandon, Esq.'s Avatar

    Brandon, Esq.

    Lawyer

    Satisfied Customers:

    334
    Has received a certificate of recognition from the California State Senate for his outstanding legal service.
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/PH/phoenixrising119/2012-7-26_11214_043.64x64.jpg melissamesq's Avatar

    melissamesq

    Attorney

    Satisfied Customers:

    47
    Represent clients to maximum recovery in employment cases.
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/IG/Iggy1001/2013-11-20_23344_JApic.64x64.jpg Joseph's Avatar

    Joseph

    Lawyer

    Satisfied Customers:

    3755
    Extensive experience representing employees and management
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/JK/jkiani22/2013-11-18_15348_JacobKiani1copy2.64x64.jpg jkiani22's Avatar

    jkiani22

    Attorney

    Satisfied Customers:

    24
    Attorney
  • /img/opt/shirt.png Legal Counsel's Avatar

    Legal Counsel

    Lawyer

    Satisfied Customers:

    32
    California Licensed Attorney- 29 years- Wages, Hours, Overtime, Discrimination, Wrongful Termination.
 
 
 

Related California Employment Law Questions

Chat Now With A California Employment Lawyer
Patrick, Esq.
Patrick, Esq.
2320 Satisfied Customers
Significant experience in all areas of employment law.