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Obligations of Employees under the California Labor Code

An employee shall substantially comply with all the directions of his employer concerning the service on which he is engaged

By Chris Micheli, May 6, 2023 8:46 am

The California Labor Code, in Division 3, Chapter 2, Article 3, provides “obligations of employee.” Almost all of these seventeen statutes were enacted by Chapter 90 in 1937. The following are the specified obligations:

One who, without consideration, undertakes to do a service for another, is not bound to perform the same but if he actually enters upon its performance, he shall use at least slight care and diligence therein. (Section 2850)

One who, by his own special request, induces another to intrust him with the performance of a service, shall perform the same fully. (Section 2851)

A gratuitous employee, who accepts a written power of attorney, shall act under it so long as it remains in force, or until he gives notice to his employer that he will not do so. (Section 2852)

One who is employed at his own request to do that which is more for his own advantage than for that of his employer, shall use great care and diligence therein to protect the interest of the employer. (Section 2853)

One who, for a good consideration, agrees to serve another, shall perform the service, and shall use ordinary care and diligence therein, so long as he is thus employed. (Section 2854)

A contract to render personal service, other than a contract of apprenticeship, may not be enforced against the employee beyond seven years from the commencement of service under it. Any contract, otherwise valid, to perform or render service of a special, unique, unusual, extraordinary, or intellectual character, which gives it peculiar value and the loss of which cannot be reasonably or adequately compensated in damages in an action at law, may nevertheless be enforced against the person contracting to render the service, for a term not to exceed seven years from the commencement of service under it. (Section 2855)

An employee shall substantially comply with all the directions of his employer concerning the service on which he is engaged, except where such obedience is impossible or unlawful, or would impose new and unreasonable burdens upon the employee. (Section 2856)

An employee shall perform his service in conformity to the usage of the place of performance, unless otherwise directed by his employer, or unless it is impracticable or manifestly injurious to his employer to do so. (Section 2857)

An employee is bound to exercise a reasonable degree of skill, unless his employer has notice, before employing him, of his want of skill. (Section 2858)

An employee is always bound to use such skill as he possesses, so far as the same is required, for the service specified. (Section 2859)

Everything which an employee acquires by virtue of his employment, except the compensation which is due to him from his employer, belongs to the employer, whether acquired lawfully or unlawfully, or during or after the expiration of the term of his employment. (Section 2860)

An employee shall, on demand, render to his employer just accounts of all his transactions in the course of his service, as often as is reasonable, and shall, without demand, give prompt notice to his employer of everything which he receives for the account of the employer. (Section 2861)

An employee who receives anything on account of his employer, in any capacity other than that of a mere servant, is not bound to deliver it to the employer until demanded, and is not at liberty to send it to the employer from a distance, without demand, in any mode involving greater risk than its retention by the employee himself. (Section 2862)

An employee who has any business to transact on his own account, similar to that intrusted to him by his employer, shall always give the preference to the business of the employer. (Section 2863)

An employee who is expressly authorized to employ a substitute is liable to his principal only for want of ordinary care in his selection. (Section 2864)

An employee who is guilty of a culpable degree of negligence is liable to his employer for the damage thereby caused to the employer. The employer is liable to the employee if the service is not gratuitous, for the value of the services only as are properly rendered. (Section 2865)

Where service is to be rendered by two or more persons jointly, and one of them dies, the survivor shall act alone, if the service to be rendered is such as he can rightly perform without the aid of the deceased person, but not otherwise. (Section 2866)

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