Monthly Archives: June 2017

Managers Are Not Always Exempt from Overtime Pay

To determine whether an employee is exempt from overtime, the law requires more than an examination of the employee’s title. Thus, a manager is not automatically exempt from overtime pay.

California has been hit particularly hard by the current economic slow-down. The most recent unemployment rates in the state are hovering around 11% according to the US Department of Labor. In this tough economy, employers are doing whatever they can to cut expenses and meet bottom lines. For some employers, this includes lay-offs, hiring freezes, cutting back on benefits and requiring employees

The reduction in workforce can mean more work for employees who remain on-the-job. For those in managerial positions, this can result in increased job duties, longer working hours and less compensation. It can also result in managers doing the work of lower level employees who are laid off as part of a reduction in force.

Managers generally are exempt from overtime compensation under state and federal wage and hour laws. However, it is important to remember that it is job duties and not job titles that determine whether or not an employee actually is exempt from this important source of increased compensation.

Those currently in managerial positions should examine their day-to-day job duties and determine whether they now are spending a majority of their time managing others or performing the same tasks as those they supervise. Even though employees may have started their jobs as exempt, this doesn’t mean their status cannot change. Employees who once may not have been eligible to receive overtime pay may be surprised to discover they now are entitled to receive time and one-half and, in some cases, double time for hours worked in excess of eight hours in a day or 40 hours in a week.

What Do You Think About Lying on Your Resume?

It is tempting to put little white lies on your resume. These might include overstating your knowledge of required software (“If they call me, I’ll teach myself over the weekend”), a certification (“They’ll never go through all that trouble to find out”) or extending dates at a former employer (“They can’t find out. The company went out of business”).

How many times have you heard someone say, “Just put it on your resume. There’s no way they’re going to find out”?

It is tempting to put little white lies on your resume. These might include overstating your knowledge of required software (“If they call me, I’ll teach myself over the weekend”), a certification (“They’ll never go through all that trouble to find out”) or extending dates at a former employer (“They can’t find out. The company went out of business”).

So what’s the big deal? It’s not like you’re claiming to be a medical doctor, right? Who are you hurting anyway? You’re just stretching the truth a little to get your foot in the door — or so you tell yourself. If these are familiar thoughts, you might want to re-think them. Why? Because the risk of getting caught is real. The odds of getting away with listing false information on your resume are probably, well . . . who really knows? Do you really want to find out the hard way?

There are many reasons that could prompt a human resources manager to conduct an employment background check. Maybe you are not performing your job as well as expected. Maybe a co-worker has the same credential and became suspicious when your facts did not add up during a conversation. Some companies have never experienced a dishonest employee who lied on his/her resume, and does not routinely verify work histories and the validity of credentials. In short, they have a false sense of security. Just the same, many hiring managers are keenly aware that lying on a resume is becoming a costly problem for many companies, and thoroughly check all facts even after they hire a candidate.

Sadly, it is quite common these days to learn of employee terminations because background checks revealed dishonesty. Depending on the level of the position or the severity of the falsification, this could sometimes lead to legal actions. So, before you decide to make yourself look better on paper, think again. It is not worth getting the job if you are not going to be able to live up to it or hold on to it.

California leads U.S. in science and engineering employment

California leads U.S. states in science and engineering employment, according to a new report from researchers at the National Science Foundation

In 2011, the state employed 786,653 people in science and engineering jobs — nearly 14% of the 5.7 million workers in such occupations across the United States. New York and Texas were also science jobs standouts — but with 328,851 and 450,316 jobs, respectively, they trail the Golden State.

The two local regions with the highest science and engineering employment were also in California: the Santa Clara or Silicon Valley area, with 143,329 jobs; and the Los Angeles region, with 141,719 jobs.

The NSF research, which used data from the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2011 American Community Survey, broke out science and engineering employment into subcategories including biological sciences, computer and mathematical sciences, physical sciences, social sciences and engineering.

The Los Angeles region ranked high in all subcategories — the only metropolitan area to do so. Los Angeles led employment in the physical sciences, with 9,306 jobs reported.

Most of the science jobs tallied in the report — around 4.7 million — were computer, mathematics, or engineering-related.

Mexico’s City of Promise

Alberto Limon Padilla started with a shabby clapboard store in a working-class neighborhood. He went on to build Tijuana’s first shopping mall and today presides over a business empire.

Aurora Pelayo came to Tijuana a penniless single mother to work in a factory. Today she is secretary-general of the Baja California Democratic Revolutionary Party.

Justina and Rafael Brambila opened a street-side taco stand, La Especial, on Avenida Revolucion when they came from Jalisco in 1948. Today it is a 180-seat restaurant, though the original stand still draws crowds. Their son Alfredo is a successful Tijuana gastroenterologist.

“We came here with nothing, worked night and day, and thanks to God, we prospered,” said Justina Brambila, who will be 90 in March.

“People come from all over Mexico to find work here. Just look at all the ‘help wanted’ signs,” she said. “People bad-mouth Tijuana. They’ve called it Tijuana the Sinner, Tijuana the Pervert. Now they should call it Tijuana the Refuge for Everyone. Because that’s what it has become.”

If the pulsing crisscross of the border is this city’s heartbeat, the legions of immigrants who flow into Tijuana from all over Mexico are its soul. The newcomers lured by the promise of a job and a better life have reinvented this former bawdy backwater into a teeming city of more than a million people where the dream of making it can become a reality.

Its fabled 1% unemployment rate attracts men and women looking to work hard and break free of the barriers to upward mobility that are found in many Mexican cities where land is scarce and those born poor are condemned to die with nothing. Today, only 40% of Tijuana citizens were born here.

“Tijuana is the American dream for Mexicans,” said Nick Inzunza, a member of a family prominent on both sides of the San Diego-Tijuana border. “It means jobs. People come here to work hard and get ahead. It is the land of opportunity.”

Like the American dream, Tijuana’s is something of a myth. It is highly unlikely that a poor Mexican will become a millionaire here, Inzunza added.

“The last time I heard about a poor Mexican Indian who came from Oaxaca and hit the big-time was Benito Juarez, and he’s been dead a hundred years,” Inzunza said, referring to one of Mexico’s most beloved presidents. “Everybody loves that story–‘he started with nothing’–but it’s almost never true.”

Success is relative. For the newly arrived, it can mean simply having a job that can feed, clothe and shelter the family. In a country facing its worst economic crisis since the Great Depression, anything beyond that is an achievement.

So in Tijuana, most real-life Horatio Algers are like Juan Jose Espiritu, 23, who came from Guadalajara when he was 13 with his divorced mother and got work cleaning a stained-glass window studio to help support his five younger siblings.

He now earns $480 a month–the salary of many police, teachers, journalists and bank employees–creating Tiffany-style windows with peacocks and ships.

He dreams his good fortune will give his younger siblings educational opportunities he was denied. He says he won’t allow them to quit school to work, as he did.