Establish Terms of Employment While the Bloom is On the Rose…

Karina B. Sterman, Esq., Partner, Employment Law Department

When you hire an employee, the trust is untested, on both sides, and the faith is absolute, on both sides. However, inevitably, the trust and faith sometimes get shaken when an employee accuses you of underpaying, paying incorrectly or some other thing relating to the basic terms of employment. This may be an innocent misunderstanding, or it may not be. Maybe the employee is delusional; maybe the employer is trying to take advantage of a desperate worker. When it comes to the essential terms of employment, however, it ultimately doesn’t matter why you and your employees disagree and the California Legislature (those thoughtful folks in Sacramento that are always ready to lend a helping hand) has established a law that should clear up any confusion.

Labor Code section 2810.5 requires that all employers provide all new hires, at the time of hiring, a written notice that contains the following information:

  1. The rate or rates of pay and basis thereof, whether paid by the hour, shift, day, week, salary, piece, commission, or otherwise, including any rates for overtime, as applicable.
  2. Allowances, if any, claimed as part of the minimum wage, including meal or lodging allowances.
  3. The regular payday designated by the employer in accordance with the requirements of this code.
  4. The name of the employer, including any “doing business as” names used by the employer.
  5. The physical address of the employer’s main office or principal place of business, and a mailing address, if different.
  6. The telephone number of the employer.
  7. The name, address, and telephone number of the employer’s workers’ compensation insurance carrier.
  8. Any other information the Labor Commissioner deems material and necessary.

Thankfully, you don’t have to reinvent the wheel. The California Labor Commissioner has developed a “Notice to Employee” form that is available for free download at Make sure you provide the notice in the language the employee speaks and understands, as well as in English. Also, provide any changes to that initial hire notice within seven days of them taking place.

Just so the trust and faith continues and there are no misunderstandings.

This blog is presented under protest by the law firm of Ervin Cohen & Jessup LLP. It is essentially the random thoughts and opinions of someone who lives in the trenches of the war that often is employment law–he/she may well be a little shell-shocked. So if you are thinking “woohoo, I just landed some free legal advice that will fix all my problems!”, think again. This is commentary people, a sketchy overview of some current legal issue with a dose of humor, but commentary nonetheless; as if Dennis Miller were a lawyer…and still mildly amusing. No legal advice here; you would have to pay real US currency for that (unless you are my mom, and even then there are limits). But feel free to contact us with your questions and comments—who knows, we might even answer you. And if you want to spread this stuff around, feel free to do so, but please keep it in its present form (‘cause you can’t mess with this kind of poetry). Big news: Copyright 2013. All rights reserved; yep, all of them.

If you have any questions about this article, contact the writer directly, assuming he or she was brave enough to attach their name to it. If you have any questions regarding this blog or your life in general, contact Kelly O. Scott, Esq., commander in chief of this blog and Head Honcho (official legal title) of ECJ’s Employment Law Department, at (310) 281-6348 or