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Patrick, Esq.
Patrick, Esq., Lawyer
Category: California Employment Law
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Experience:  Significant experience in all areas of employment law.
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On Friday my boss had a meeting saying who ever is late on

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On Friday my boss had a meeting saying who ever is late on Monday they will be sent home. A few people came in late on Monday and where send home. Come Tuesday someone that is never late came in 1 minute late and was sent home. Is this legal. There are circumstances that we might be late. If I am sent home because I have no control of maybe traffic or weather related reasons. Will it be legal for him to send me home?
Hello and thank you for entrusting me to answer your question.

In general, employers retain tremendous discretion to manage their business and may discipline, suspend or even fire employees for virtually any non-discriminatory reason.

California law has a "reporting time pay" requirement (IWC Orders 1-16, Section 5), which mandates that employers pay employees who show up for a cancelled shift the greater of half their pay for the scheduled shift of two hours of pay. (i.e., if an employee is turned away from work at the beginning of an 8 hour shift, they would be entitled to 4 hours of pay.) However, the Wage Order that provides for reporting time pay specifically exempts employers from the requirement where the employee has not reported to work on time and is sent home as a disciplinary action.

As this exemption from reporting time pay specifically relieves an employer of the obligation to provide any pay where an employee shows up late--even one minute late--as a disciplinary action, and in the absence of any law that otherwise regulates how an employer may discipline their employees and manage their business, the policy that you describe is regretfully legal, though understandably unfair.

I realize that the law is not entirely in your favor here and I am truly sorry to have to deliver bad news. Nonetheless, I trust that you will appreciate an accurate explanation of the law and realize that it would be unprofessional of me and unfair to you to provide you with anything less.

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, I would be most grateful if you would remember to provide my service a positive rating, as this is the only way I will receive credit for assisting you.

Finally, please bear in mind that none of the above constitutes legal advice nor is any attorney client relationship created between us.

Very best wishes to you.
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