Is it illegal to be on a company payroll if you don’t work there?

UPDATED: Sep 30, 2022

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Is it illegal to be on a company payroll if you don’t work there?

My employer ’employs’ his kids and they’re never there. They have other jobs in a
different city where they reside. Consequently, there’s not enough money to give
us raises or benefits.

Asked on May 4, 2016 under Employment Labor Law, California


M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

Your employer can have his family on the payroll, whether or not they actually come into the office. As long they are reporting their income on their tax returns, there is no issue here. To pay children for no-show jobs is not an illegal act, so long as the employer is the owner of the business. He can even give them full insurance benefits, depending on how his contractual arrangement is set up with the company's insurance provider.
Whether or not this leaves enough money for raises/benefits is of no legal consequence. Unless this treatement constitutes some form of legally actionable discrimination (and it doesn't appear to) or this action violates the terms of company policy, an employment contract or union agreemnt (which you did not indicate), you have no claim here. The fact is that in an "at will" work relationship, an employer can set the terms and conditions of employment much as they see fit; this includes hiring no-show family members.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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