YOU ARE HERE: LAT HomeCollections


Two Week Notice Is Between Boss, Worker

November 03, 1996

Q I'm interviewing for a job and think I will be hired by a company that is a distant competitor of the company I now work for. If I give the traditional two-week notice, but my boss decides I'm a competitive threat and releases me early, do I get paid for those two weeks? --D.C., Fullerton

A Just as there is no law that requires you to give the "traditional two-week notice" before quitting, there is no law that requires the company to honor your two weeks' notice or to pay you for those two weeks if it decides to release you earlier.

The obligation to pay severance is a matter of contract, expressed or implied, between you and your employer. The best way to determine whether you are entitled to two weeks' severance is to review any employee handbook that your company may have, or ask a human resources employee whether there are any company policies pertaining to severance.

--Josephine Staton Tucker

Employment law attorney

Morrison & Foerster

Employee Entitled to See Personnel Documents

Q When signing a document that's going into my personnel file, I thought it was my right to have a copy of it. My employer feels it is not obligated to give me a copy.

--M.P., Los Angeles


A According to California law, an employer must give you copies of any documents you signed that have been placed in your personnel file. You also have the right to inspect other documents in your file. An employer who fails to produce a copy of a document signed by an employee, or retaliates against an employee for making a request, could be subject to criminal penalties and a lawsuit.

This law does not apply to government workers, but they have many other protections under federal law.

--Don D. Sessions

Employee rights attorney

Mission Viejo

Work in Separate Jobs Still Rates Overtime Pay

Q Is an employee eligible for overtime at a company if he works more than 40 hours a week, but in two separate jobs? Would he be eligible, for example, if he works 40 hours as a security guard and 10 hours as a maintenance worker?

--J.J., Pasadena


A Assuming that the hours are worked for the same employer and the employee is not legally exempt from overtime because of his or her duties and responsibilities, the answer is yes. A nonexempt employee who works more than eight hours daily or 40 hours weekly is entitled to overtime from his or her employer regardless of whether the hours are worked in a single position or in multiple positions.

--Michael A. Hood

Employment law attorney

Paul, Hastings, Janofsky & Walker

Owners Have Rights, as Does AIDS Sufferer

Q One of my employees has taken a disability leave for AIDS virus treatment. The owners do not know the reason he is off, only that he is sick.

What is my liability for not telling the owners about the employee's AIDS status? Can the employer terminate this employee for not returning to work and for not advising the company of the illness? What is the maximum amount of time he can draw disability payments?

--P.M., Buena Park


A You have a fiduciary duty to your employers to share with them all information relevant to their business. On the other hand, an employer may not discriminate against an employee with a disability such as AIDS. If you do reveal the information to the owners of your company, they may not use that information as the basis for terminating the employee.

Whether the employee may be terminated for not returning to work depends largely upon how many employees your company has and how long the employee is absent. If your company has 50 or more employees, it will be subject to the Family and Medical Leave Act, which requires that an employee with a year or more of service be given up to 12 weeks off (without pay) for treatment of a serious medical condition.

If your company has fewer than 50 employees, the employee will not have an absolute right to reclaim the job if he had less than a year of service at the start of his leave or if he is off work for more than 12 weeks.

Courts have held that the Americans With Disabilities Act, which applies to virtually all employers, does not require that employees be given indefinite leaves of absence, because that law protects disabled employees who are able to work. It does not protect individuals whose disabilities prevent them from working. Note, however, that the disabilities act does permit a disabled employee to take intermittent leave or work a part-time or "light duty" schedule, if necessary, so that the employee can obtain treatment for his disability while continuing to work. Employees who work a reduced schedule or lighter-duty job may have their pay adjusted appropriately.

The maximum period in which an individual can obtain state disability payments ordinarily is 52 weeks. After that time, he may be eligible for Social Security disability benefits if he is unable to return to work.

--James J. McDonald Jr.

Attorney, Fisher & Phillips

Labor law instructor, UC Irvine

Workplace Polygraph Use Is Severely Limited

Los Angeles Times Articles