Employment law question?

A small CA non-profit 501©(3) company, without the aid of general counsel, has approximately 28 salaried employees hired a single hourly employee. Employee was designated to be part time, under 25 hours/week. There is no known employment agreement regarding benefits or vacation. The employee willingly and without reprimand exceeded 25 hours week on a regular basis, averaging 30-35 hours/week. The employee is now claiming that by CA law he is entitled to benefits and vacation.

The company’s policy is to not offer benefits or vacation to part-time workers, although this is not documented in writing.

So what is the straight dope on this? Is the employee entitled to benefits and vacation, is he just blowing smoke, or is it time to hire an employment lawyer?

I’m not aware of any provisions in the California Labor Codes requiring vacations, and a quick poke through said Code didn’t turn up anything actually defining part time.

Short answer - this group needs to consult with an attorney specializing in employment law. They can probably find one that will at least meet with them for half an hour or so for free. The magic phrase is “pro bono” - depending on where they’re at, the might even be able to go to a free law clinic. Check out the SF Bar Association as a jumping-off point. If you’re not near SF, they should be able to aim you at someone closer to you, or google on <your major city> free legal clinic.

It’s time to hire a lawyer. You should have somebody experienced audit the employer’s practices to make sure they are in compliance with applicable law. Especially if you have a loose cannon rolling around.

California in particular has very idiosyncratic employment laws, as different wage and hour regulations apply to different industries (or at least they did back in '98 which is the last time I was paying attention).