The recent switch to remote work has shaken up workflows around the world. Management of a remote team relies heavily on the managers and team leaders. In many cases, team managers are the primary force holding a remote team together, coordinated and collaborating. Prior experience and natural talent vary, so results have also been quite variable. Some teams adapt quickly to remote collaboration, with or without prior experience, while others struggle to build a new workflow.

One of the greatest challenges of the new approach is how to clock working hours with remote-only work. How do you decide when an employee is ‘working’ vs ‘off the clock’ when their office is their home? Employers have erred on both sides of the law and respectful work policies. Some begin nickel-and-diming, marking employees as ‘off the clock’ the moment their keys stop typing or they are no longer looking at the camera. Others assume that at-home employees are on-call 100% of the time. After all, there’s nowhere else you could be.


“Zoom Hours” and Fair Pay Violations

The zoom-hours phenomena began with the rise of remote video calls between once-on-site teams. It occurs because employers don’t know how to treat the home as a workplace. Those who tend toward demand-shift scheduling will assume that you are “on your own time” and don’t have to be paid any time you are not actively working. Those who tend to expect unpaid “dedication” also tend to expect employees to be available-to-work at any time, because there is no commute to stop you from working.


On-Call All the Time

Legally, you are required to be paid for on-call time. This is a time where you could be called in to work at any moment, or for a shift without much prior warning. This time must be paid like a working shift because you are not free to make other plans. Quarantine changed that viewpoint. Employers drew the conclusion that since you couldn’t leave the house, all time could be on-call time without worrying about disrupting your global-disaster-limited options for personal plans.

The assumption is that if you’re not sleeping, you might as well be available for a work call or surprise assignment.

The Legal Violation

Legally, the birthday party rule applies even if you are stuck at home and unable to make diverse plans. If you are not scheduled for a shift or being paid to be on-call, you should not be called. If a surprise assignment could– for example– pull you away from a birthday party, then you were really on-call and should be paid for on-demand time.


Nickel-and-Diming by Timestamp

The other side of this is the “you’re only at work when you’re working” approach to scheduling. Zoom, chat, and online collaboration software introduced something that is dangerous in the hands of some managers: timestamps.

Timestamps and their offspring – activity tracking – make it possible for micro-managers to decide when an at-home employee is “really” working. Employers with problems with piecemeal scheduling may insist, demand, or sneakily enforce that any periods of online inactivity (your mouse doesn’t move, your keyboard doesn’t clack) as “not working”. 

This disregards the natural flow of a work day. Sometimes you are reading. Sometimes you are spending very important minutes thinking about a problem but not taking action. And quite often, you are taking legally mandated breaks for rest, meals, and personal care. This also ignores the fact that some work is done on offline platforms and your activity may simply be un-tracked as you work on a word-processor or design program without uploading the progress continually.

The Legal Violation

Employees have the right to two paid 15-minute breaks (not piecemeal) and one unpaid 30+ minute break every day for rest and meals. You also, according to federal and California labor laws, have a right to reasonable bathroom breaks and personal care breaks while on-the-clock. You can grab a cup of coffee and head back to your desk, still paid. In fact, employers who deny their employees the freedom and availability of on-the-clock breaks for personal care are legally liable.

This clearly defines the nickel-and-diming approach to activity-tracking pay as legally questionable. In many of the recent situations, employers have clearly violated employee rights. There are many other examples where employers have entered a shady gray-area of remote work and can be corrected with a legal reminder.


Are You Being Subjected to Unfair “Zoom Hours” Pay?

If your employer is not fairly paying you either based on time-stamps or unpaid on-call expectations, you have legal recourse. Here at Aiman-Smith and Marcy, we are dedicated to helping employees get fair pay, both on-site and working remotely. There are already legal and logistical standards to capably manage remote workers with fair work and pay policies. Employers who go out of their way to take advantage of you working at home are just as legally subject as those who violate labor laws for on-site shifts. Contact us today to consult on your remote work situation.

Lisseth Bayona


Education and Background

I am a Los Angeles native and daughter of Salvadorian immigrants. From an early age, my parents instilled the value of hard work and education in me and my two siblings. Their perseverance enabled each of us to graduate from college and earn professional degrees.

My interest and commitment to workers’ rights have roots in my parents’ experiences as undocumented workers in Los Angeles. Witnessing the challenges they faced inspired me to pursue a career where I can help individuals confronted with similar struggles. To help someone in those moments is very satisfying. I love connecting with people and learning about their stories. I believe that dignity in the workplace is a right of all workers, not a convenience or privilege reserved for employees of a certain race, gender, age, sexual orientation, or gender identity.

Legal Experience

I received my J.D. from the University of Southern California (USC) Gould School of Law. While there, I served as a judicial extern to the Honorable Patrick J. Walsh of the United States District Court for the Central District of California, where I drafted a criminal judicial opinion. Also, while at Gould, I served as an extern for the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Central District of California. As a Criminal Division Extern, I had the opportunity to work closely with a trial team of Assistant U.S. Attorneys on a money laundering case which further sparked my interest in litigation.

Personal Interests

In my free time, I enjoy urban vegetable gardening, traveling, and spending time with my nephew and niece. I also love to spend time at San Onofre Beach learning to surf, although admittedly, I am not very good.



Hallie L. Von Rock

Attorney (SBN 233152)

Education and Background

I moved to the Bay Area from Washington after graduating high school. I had been accepted to UC Berkeley through a program where I could defer for two years while getting my California residency and attending community college, which was significant since I was paying for college on my own. I began working for Randall Aiman-Smith and Reed Marcy in 1996 as an office manager while taking night classes. My first foray into the legal world was soon after starting at the firm when I was ready to transfer to UC Berkeley. Rather than accepting my resident status, the Board of Regents took the position that California residency required a student to be in California “two calendar years.” Randall and Reed took up my case with the same verve as they helped their actual clients and I got the chance to comb through the UC Berkeley library to read their codes and regulations to support my position. In that experience, I learned what is was like to feel helpless against a big organization and then to have dedicated attorneys in my corner to take up my cause.

After a break to pursue my major in art history, I went to UC Hastings College of Law and continued working with Randall and Reed. Having worked together now for over 25 years, we have a unique ability to work collaboratively and finish each other’s sentences. I have strived throughout my career to make a difference in the lives of our clients. At the end of the day, if I am helping someone to get compensation for losses they suffered, then I know that all the work put into a case has been worth it.

Legal Experience

I have extensive experience in civil litigation and class action cases, including conducting discovery and depositions, calculating damages analysis, preparing motions for certification, writing appellate documents, and overseeing claims administration. We have handled several class actions against retailers where plaintiffs claimed they were forced to purchase clothing to wear to work and were not compensated for these purchases, including against Abercrombie & Fitch, Hugo Boss, Armani Exchange, Uniqlo, Dollar Tree, and Ross. Recently, I was trial counsel in a defamation claim against Bank of America on behalf of a former employee who claimed the Bank blacklisted her with future employers. The jury found Bank of America liable, including for punitive damages.

Personal Interests

Aiman-Smith & Marcy has sponsored me in the Boston Marathon and New York Marathon. When I race, I often wear a “Rockstar Ronan” shirt to support research for childhood cancer through The Ronan Thompson Foundation.


University of California, Berkeley, B.A., 1999

Hastings College of the Law, University of California, J.D., 2004

Randall Aiman-Smith

Abogado (SBN 124599)

Aiman-Smith & Marcy. Oakland consumer fraud attorneys.

Educación y antecedentes

Fui afortunado. A pesar de no haber terminado la escuela secundaria o la universidad, pude -aunque con mucho trabajo- ser admitido y sobresalir en una de las mejores escuelas de derecho del país: La Facultad de Derecho de la Universidad de Berkeley. Mientras estuve allí, tuve el privilegio de ser editor de la California Law Review y miembro del Moot Court Board, asesorando en la redacción de escritos y en la defensa de apelaciones a otros estudiantes. Después de salir de la escuela de derecho, en mis primeros años de práctica, enseñé la escritura legal y la defensa de apelación en la Universidad de California, Hastings College of the Law. También, a lo largo de los años, he sido presentador en eventos de educación legal continua.

Experiencia legal

He sido abogado durante 35 años. He dedicado mi práctica exclusivamente a representar a empleados, consumidores e inversores en los tribunales estatales y federales de primera instancia y en los tribunales de apelación. Me gusta ir a los tribunales por mis clientes y he llevado muchos casos con jurado en los tribunales estatales y federales.

¿Ejemplos? En 2010, fui la abogada principal, junto con los otros abogados del bufete, en el caso Williams v. Union Pacific Railroad donde, después de cuatro años de preparación, el bufete obtuvo un veredicto del jurado de 1.670.000 dólares para una empleada afroamericana. En Rivero v. Surdyka, fui el abogado principal en el juicio y la apelación de un caso de derechos civiles que duró 15 años, incluyendo un juicio completo y tres apelaciones al Noveno Circuito, concluyendo finalmente con una sentencia para los demandantes de más de 2.300.000 dólares. Estos casos ilustran el lema del bufete: compromiso – resultados. Hay que comprometerse con un caso, a veces durante mucho tiempo, para obtener el resultado que el cliente merece.

No siempre ganamos en el juicio. Cuando eso ocurre, el compromiso significa llevar el caso al siguiente nivel y recurrirlo. En el caso Rivero, antes mencionado, eso fue lo que ocurrió: el tribunal desestimó el caso -habíamos perdido- pero apelamos y conseguimos una victoria para nuestros clientes que mantuvimos a través de dos apelaciones más. Desde entonces, el bufete ha conseguido muchas victorias en apelación que reivindican los derechos de los empleados y los consumidores.

A lo largo de los años he sido abogado de los demandantes en numerosos casos individuales y acciones colectivas. Puede sonar cursi, o difícil de creer, pero después de todo este tiempo, y después de todas las grandes experiencias que he tenido, mi parte favorita de ser abogado es cuando consigo dar un cheque a mi cliente.



Facultad de Derecho, Universidad de California, Berkeley, J.D., 1986