California Employment Law

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I have questions regarding my rights as a employee while being…

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I have questions regarding my...
I have questions regarding my rights as a employee while being employed as a voluntary/unpaid intern in California. I am on F1 visa and currently on first year OPT
Submitted: 2 years ago.Category: California Employment Law
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Customer reply replied 2 years ago
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6/9/2015
California Employment Lawyer: Law Educator, Esq., Attorney replied 2 years ago
Law Educator, Esq.
Category: California Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 124,192
Experience: JA Mentor -Attorney Labor/employment, corporate, sports law, admiralty/maritime and civil rights law
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Thank you for your question. I look forward to working with you to provide you the information you are seeking for educational purposes only.
I am afraid that as a voluntary, unpaid intern is not generally considered an employee. Even for discrimination cases, under Federal law, an intern is no considered an employee. However, under CA law, the CA courts and anti-discrimination laws do provide that unpaid interns are protected from unlawful discrimination in the workplace (age/race/sex/disability/national origin/sexual preference).
Other than protection from discrimination, a volunteer intern has no other legal rights as an employee.
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Customer reply replied 2 years ago
I maintain weekly timesheets to document my voluntary work. These timesheets list all the tasks completed in a given week and number of hours spent on completing these tasks. These timesheets will be sent to USCIS when I change my immigtaion status. My question is: Can the employer refuse me timesheets? The problem that I am facing is that I am going to tell my employer that I wont be working for him unpaid after July 5th. And I suspect that after knowing that I will be leaving the company, my employer may not provide timesheets for the weeks that I have worked for him. And without timesheets it will be difficult for me to document my unpaid work. So, can an employer refuse giving timesheets to a unpaid intern?
Customer reply replied 2 years ago
This reason why I ask this is because my employer has in the past shown reluctance in giving me the time sheets for the unpaid work that I have done for him: On one occasion he did not sign my timesheet properly. My employment is supposed to end on July 5th. But I want to end my employment on June 11th. I will send him an email informing him about my decision to quit on June 11th. Will I need any document from him to let USCIS know that I ended my employment earlier than July 5th? do i need a termination letter? What if my employer refuses to give me this document?
California Employment Lawyer: Law Educator, Esq., Attorney replied 2 years ago
Thank you for your reply.
Time sheets are the property of the employer, so they do not have to provide them without a subpoena. Before you tell him anything about quitting you need to ask him for them and tell him you need them for school or some other reason and only tell him you are leaving after you make your copies. If you do not do so he can refuse to turn them over to you and then you would need to file suit against him to get them through the courts and that is a huge headache and expense.
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Customer reply replied 2 years ago
Yes, I have all the timesheets right now with me. On my offer letter, he had listed that I was being hired from April 5th to July 5th. So, do I need a termination letter from him because I will be quitting on June 10th. What if he does not provide me a termination letter? My problem is how do I let USCIS know that I ended job earlier on June 10th and not on July 5th? I plan to write an email to my employer that I am quitting on June 10th. So, should i just print that email and use it as evidence that I quite on June 10th ?
California Employment Lawyer: Law Educator, Esq., Attorney replied 2 years ago
Thank you for your reply.
If you have copies of all the time sheets USCIS will take those, so make copies for yourself in case the employer will not cooperate, as the law does not mandate that the employer has to send them upon his request. You would not need a termination letter from him, you would just have to prove you terminated your employment to USCIS. The email to the employer giving him notice is sufficient.
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Customer reply replied 2 years ago
This is going to be my final three queries:
1.) My employment started on April 5th. I have the timesheet of week from June 1st to June 5th. This timesheet has been signed by my supervisor. On Friday June 5th, I was on sick leave. This sick leave has been documented in the signed timesheet. I was also on sick leaves for June 8th and June 9th. I will be informing my employer on June 10th via email that I am quitting my job. So, in this case what will be my last day of employment? Would it be June 5th or June 6th?2.) What email account should I use to send the email to my employer about my inability to continue work with his company? Should I use my own personal gmail account or the company's email account? Which email account will be more suitable since I need to send a copy of that email to USCIS as an evidence of my earlier withdrawal from my job.3.) Can you tell me if weekends and public holidays that fall between start and end date of a voluntary/unpaid employment count towards the 90days unemployment time given on OPT ?
California Employment Lawyer: Law Educator, Esq., Attorney replied 2 years ago
Thank you for your reply.
1) If you are not returning your last day of work would be June 5th, since you did not work the other days you were out sick.
2) You should use your personal email account so you can keep records of what is sent and can access that account (they will turn off your company account access).
3) Only days you actually worked at the job count towards the OPT time, days off and holidays do not count.
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