Legal Question in Employment Law in California

lanlord termination harrassment

I am a onsite property manager for a apartment community. The company I work for is privatly owend. This is not the only property they own. Ive been onstite here now for one year now. This is what I was told by my boss/owner. Ive got bad news you and the onsite leasing agent will have to find new jobs, you have done nothing wrong. Im going to be bringing back a former renident manager who needs a job. You have two months to find another job. ''Remember I live onsite and so does the leasing agent who just moved onsite two months ago. There where no grounds of termination or wirten letter. No write ups no verbal warnings.

What are my wrights as a Onsite mananger/lanlord where my rent is apart of my salary. Can the owners just tell me to go just becouse sombody they know personaly and that person needs a job that I need to find another job?

Asked on 12/31/05, 1:28 pm

2 Answers from Attorneys

Carl Starrett Law Offices of Carl H. Starrett II

Re: lanlord termination harrassment

Your employer is being far more generous than is legally required. The could have fired you and told you to move out immediately without any type of notice. I am sorry that you are in this situation, but your are probably an at-will employee and the employer has every legal right to hire someone else even if they have no cause.

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Answered on 1/03/06, 6:39 pm

Scott McMillan The McMillan Law Firm, APC

Re: lanlord termination harrassment

I'd be interested in hearing about the pay and duties, and the postings and the site. And, how much time you were putting in. You might have a right to recover minimum wage pay, if the deduction for rent was improperly made.

The California Industrial Welfare Commission [IWC - California's labor department] regulates the minimum wage law for apartment managers [part of the "Public Housekeeping Industry"], and requires that resident managers be paid at the prevailing minimum wage for all hours worked. The current law is presented in IWC Order 5-2001 The exemption for managers and others in an administrative capacity would rarely apply to apartment managers, and then only because they are paid at least double the minimum wage on a 40-hour per week basis. If the manager works more than 40 hours per week, the standard time-and-a-half rule applies. Substantial case authority exists holding that where an employee is required to be on call, to be on the premises of a location, and specifically -- subject to the "control of the employer," whether or not that employee is engaged in personal activities, that employee is still "suffered to work" and thereby entitled to minimum wage and, potentially, overtime compensation. Thus, to provide any determination as to your rights, we'd need to see the contract, and understand what your duties were and how much time it took to fulfill those.

Generally, against that minimum wage obligation, the landlord can deduct up to 2/3 of the market rental value of the manager's apartment. However, that deduction cannot be more than $381.20 for a single manager and $563.90 for a couple, and it is only permissible there is a voluntary written agreement to that effect. The inclusion of the term "voluntary" written agreement necessarily means implies a "knowing" element on the part of the employee as to his or her rights to minimum wage. In order to demonstrate the "voluntary" element, its my theory that the employer must demonstrate that the employee knew that they had a right to minimum wage. I.e., were familiar with the work place postings, had signed the contract which specified the right to receive minimum wage, or had received a copy of the wage order.

Thus, the issues you have may not be what you inquired about.

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Answered on 1/03/06, 8:16 pm

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