California Tightens Restrictions on Smoking in the Workplace

2017-12-13T21:46:29+00:00 July 18th, 2016|General Labor Law|

California has led the country in anti-smoking legislation for decades. Recently, the state changed its smoking laws and significantly increased the number of businesses and employers which are required to provide a smoke-free working environment. The new law also raises the smoking age from 18 to 21. The new law will cover almost all employers, [...]

Ninth Circuit Clarifies Rules for “Rounding” Employee Hours

2017-12-13T21:46:30+00:00 June 17th, 2016|Wage and Hour|

Is your employer required to pay you for every minute that you work, or is your company allowed to round your hours up or down? The United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit recently considered this question, and clarified how employers are allowed to keep track of their employees’ time. The case of [...]

What To Do If You’re Asked An Illegal Interview Question

2017-12-13T21:46:30+00:00 June 15th, 2016|Discimination|

Interviewing is stressful enough without fielding questions that make you uncomfortable. If you are a job seeker, it is important to know what types of questions are illegal, and what you should do if they are asked. During a job interview, potential employers are not allowed to discriminate against applicants based on race, gender, religion, [...]

30% of Female Doctors Report Sexual Harassment At Work

2017-12-13T21:46:30+00:00 June 13th, 2016|Discimination, Sexual Harassment|

In fields traditionally dominated by men, like engineering, medicine, and law, female employees have made great strides in leveling the playing field. However, women still face a disproportionate amount of gender discrimination in Los Angeles and sexual harassment, regardless of their level of education. According to a survey reported in the Journal of the American [...]

Lowe’s Settles ADA Accommodation Lawsuit, EEOC Issues Guidance

2017-12-13T21:46:30+00:00 June 10th, 2016|Discimination, Wage and Hour|

On May 9, 2016, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) released new guidance on employer-provided unpaid leave as a reasonable accommodation under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Under the ADA, employees with disabilities must be granted “reasonable accommodations” that will allow the employees to complete their duties on the job. According to the EEOC, [...]

Is It Still Retaliation If You’re Fired For Something You Didn’t Do?

2017-12-13T21:46:30+00:00 June 8th, 2016|Discimination, Wrongful termination|

All employees have certain rights, and exercising these rights shouldn’t be grounds for getting fired. For example, employees cannot be punished for making discrimination complaints or speaking up about sexual harassment. In addition to these rights, public-sector employees can also participate in free speech or political activities outside of work without fear that their opinions [...]

Caregiver Discrimination Lawsuits Up by 269% in Past Decade

2017-12-13T21:46:30+00:00 June 6th, 2016|Discimination, Wrongful termination|

When a person needs to care for a sick child, disabled family member, or a new baby, both state and federal law allow that person to take time off work without worrying about whether they will lose their jobs. Through the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) and other laws, many employees are guaranteed a certain [...]

EEOC & OSHA Clarify Their Positions on Transgender Rights in the Workplace

2017-12-13T21:46:30+00:00 June 3rd, 2016|Discimination, Sexual Harassment|

Transgender rights and accommodations have been in the news every day for months. The debate over how transgendered people should be treated in the workplace and in public areas has reached such an uproar that both the Equal Opportunity Employment Commission (EEOC) and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) have issued or re-issued guidelines [...]

Can An Employer Ask A Potential Employee About His Or Her Criminal Record?

2017-12-13T21:46:30+00:00 June 2nd, 2016|Discimination, General Labor Law|

Nearly one in four Americans have some type of criminal record. Whether it is a misdemeanor arrest for a youthful indiscretion or a more serious felony offense, any type of criminal record can hurt job seekers in their search for employment. California law provides multiple types of protections for job seekers with a criminal past. [...]

Changes Coming Soon To Federal Overtime Exemption Rules

2017-12-13T21:46:30+00:00 June 1st, 2016|General Labor Law, Wage and Hour|

The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) dictates which employees must be paid overtime, and which employees are exempt from the overtime rules. Last year, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) issued proposed changes to the FLSA rules regarding overtime, and these rules were submitted for review in March of 2016. The DOL is expecting the [...]

Ninth Circuit Rules Against Tip Pooling Arrangements

2017-12-13T21:46:30+00:00 May 31st, 2016|Wage and Hour|

The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals recently overruled itself and held that employers are no longer able to require their tipped employees to pool and share their earnings with non-tipped employees, even if the employer does not take a tip credit. Tip pooling is the practice of requiring tipped employees, like restaurant servers or bartenders, [...]

Does It Matter When You Take Your Breaks Under California Law?

2017-12-13T21:46:30+00:00 May 13th, 2016|General Labor Law, Wage and Hour|

California is one of the few states in the country that mandates rest breaks and meal breaks for employees. Employees are allowed to take meal breaks of at least 30 minutes, as well as ten-minute rest breaks. Not only does California law mandate these breaks, but it also determines when these breaks should be taken. [...]

Support Animals In The Workplace: Know Your Rights

2017-12-13T21:46:30+00:00 May 12th, 2016|Discimination|

If you rely on a service dog for help with a mental or physical disability, both federal and California law allow you to bring your animal to work if you need it. Before you do, make sure you know your rights and obligations regarding your service animal. Which Animals Qualify? California’s Fair Employment and Housing [...]

How Much of Your Appearance Can Your Employer Regulate?

2017-12-13T21:46:30+00:00 May 11th, 2016|Discimination, General Labor Law, Sexual Harassment|

Most workplaces have some type of dress code. Some require uniforms, while others allow each employee to make his or her own fashion choices. When it comes to the dress code, how much of your appearance can your employer regulate? In general, California law allows employers to set their own rules for employee’s dress and [...]

Weighty Issues: Is Obesity Considered a Disability Under California Law?

2017-12-13T21:46:30+00:00 May 10th, 2016|Discimination, General Labor Law|

It’s no secret that the country as a whole is getting heavier. While many people are not affected by carrying a few extra pounds, very heavy individuals often have a difficult time in the employment arena. Obese people face discrimination when seeking employment, and may need extra accommodations at work based on their size. When [...]

California Appeals Court Expands FEHA to Include People Caring for a Disabled Person

2017-12-13T21:46:30+00:00 May 9th, 2016|Discimination, Wrongful termination|

California’s 2nd District Court of Appeals recently expanded the state’s Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) to include people who associated with someone with a disability. While the 2nd District Court of Appeals only covers employers in Los Angeles, San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara, and Ventura Counties, the decision could have an impact on how [...]

San Francisco to Become First U.S. City to Mandate Paid Family Leave

2017-12-13T21:46:31+00:00 May 6th, 2016|General Labor Law|

The city of San Francisco is poised to become the first in the nation to mandate paid family leave for private-sector employees. The San Francisco Board of Supervisors unanimously passed a new city ordinance that would require employers in the city to provide up to six weeks of fully-paid family leave. California state law already [...]

California Supreme Court Finds Employers Must Give Workers a Chair

2017-12-13T21:46:33+00:00 May 5th, 2016|General Labor Law|

The California Supreme Court recently handed down a ruling that will help workers whose jobs require constant standing. The state’s highest court clarified what constitutes “suitable seating” as well as when an employer must provide seating for standing workers. For years, California law has required employers to provide employees with suitable seating whenever a job [...]

Working Overtime Without Permission: Do You Still Get Paid?

2017-12-13T21:46:33+00:00 May 4th, 2016|Wage and Hour|

For non-exempt workers, overtime pay can add a significant amount of money to a weekly paycheck. At time-and-a-half, many employees jump at the opportunity to work extra and make a little more. But what happens if that overtime is unapproved or unauthorized? Can an employer refuse to pay it? In California, state law requires that [...]

Uber Settles Lawsuits Over Independent Contractor Status of Drivers

2017-12-13T21:46:33+00:00 May 3rd, 2016|General Labor Law, Wage and Hour|

Uber, the massively popular ridesharing company, has agreed to settle two large class action lawsuits based in California and Massachusetts.  The lawsuits centered around whether the company’s drivers should be considered full-time employees or independent contractors. In California, Uber agreed to settle the claims of approximately 385,000 drivers for a total of $84 million. If [...]

California’s Minimum Wage Law Affects Overtime Exemptions

2017-12-13T21:46:33+00:00 May 2nd, 2016|Wage and Hour|

Minimum-wage workers across California applauded the state’s new plan to increase the minimum wage over the next few years. While many workers are looking forward to an increase in their base pay, the new law will also affect which employees qualify for overtime. Whether or not a worker qualifies for state-mandated overtime pay depends on [...]

Pay Secrecy: Can Your Employer Prevent You From Discussing Salaries With Co-Workers?

2017-12-13T21:46:33+00:00 April 18th, 2016|Wage and Hour|

In many businesses, it is an unwritten rule that management does not want employees discussing their salaries. While the National Labor Relations Act of 1935 (NLRA) prohibits employers from discouraging their employees from talking about their pay, this federal law provides for no real consequences if the employers do so. As a result, the majority [...]

New Fair Day’s Pay Act Lets Employees Hold Owners Individually Responsible for Missed Wages

2017-12-13T21:46:33+00:00 April 15th, 2016|Wage and Hour|

While a company has always been liable to its employees for failing to pay fair wages or failing to follow California’s many labor laws, a new act is in place which strengthens the Labor Commissioner’s power to penalize companies that violate the law. Additionally, employees may now be able to hold an individual person responsible [...]

Do You Have A Right To Vacation Pay? Understanding Your Vacation Pay Rights Under California Law

2017-12-13T21:46:33+00:00 April 14th, 2016|Wage and Hour|

The United States is one of the only developed nations in the world that does not mandate paid vacation time for its workers. While no state in the union gives every worker guaranteed time off, California employees are lucky to have some of the country’s strictest laws protecting employee vacation time. In California, employers must [...]

5 California Statutes That Could Force Your Employer To Pay Your Attorneys Fees

2017-12-13T21:46:33+00:00 April 13th, 2016|General Labor Law|

In general, each party to a lawsuit pays its own attorneys’ fees. In limited instances, a judge may order the losing side to pay the winner’s legal fees and costs. If you file a lawsuit against your employer in the state of California, here are five statutes which you could use to recover your legal [...]

California Reaches Deal On $15 Minimum Wage

2017-12-13T21:46:33+00:00 April 12th, 2016|Wage and Hour|

California recently made history as the first state in the nation to raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2022. The governor and the state legislatures reached a deal on the proposed plan on March 28, and the bill was signed into law on March 31. Currently, California’s minimum wage is $10 an [...]

Quid Pro Quo Harassment: When Your Boss Wants a “Favor”

2017-12-13T21:46:33+00:00 April 11th, 2016|Sexual Harassment|

Sexual harassment comes in many forms. When your employer, boss, or supervisor expects you to go out on a date, have a sexual relationship, or perform some other favor in exchange for a promotion or a raise, it is known as quid pro quo harassment. Quid pro quo is a Latin term that means “this [...]

How Does a State Discrimination Investigation Process Work?

2017-12-13T21:46:33+00:00 March 24th, 2016|Discimination|

The Department of Fair Employment and Housing enforces civil rights laws in California. It has the legal power to handle discrimination claims in housing, public accommodations, and employment. By law, your employer cannot treat you differently because of your membership in any protected class. The protected classes are very broad and include many individual qualities, [...]

Spear-Phishing: What Is It and Why Should You Care?

2017-12-13T21:46:33+00:00 March 23rd, 2016|General Labor Law|

Spear-phishing: It sounds like an aquatic sport, but it isn’t. Spear-phishing is when a cyber attack is targeted at a specific employee. Spear-phishers try to convince an individual employee to provide information or money. They can be very convincing because they do their homework, researching business and individual information to make their emails look completely [...]

Your Rights: Accommodation of Pregnancy and Related Conditions

2017-12-13T21:46:34+00:00 March 22nd, 2016|Discimination|

If you’re working and are pregnant or plan to become pregnant, it’s important that you understand your rights to accommodation under federal and California laws. These laws cover almost all California workers, and they require that employers provide reasonable accommodations to pregnant employees or employees affected by pregnancy. A reasonable accommodation is an adjustment to [...]

Your Rights: Your Employer Must Keep Your Health Information Separate and Secure

2017-12-13T21:46:34+00:00 March 21st, 2016|Discimination, General Labor Law|

We live in a privacy-oriented society. Information security breaches have highlighted costly errors for businesses and employers across the country like never before. Personally identifiable information is any information that can be used to identify a specific person. Examples of PII include a person’s name, address, home phone number or email address, and Social Security [...]

Why You Should Take the Initiative to Keep Personal and Business Email Separate

2017-12-13T21:46:34+00:00 March 18th, 2016|Discimination, General Labor Law|

The National Labor Relations Board’s position is that employers cannot prohibit employees from using company email after hours for nonbusiness purposes. The reason for this position is that reasonable employees could believe that they would not be allowed to engage in concerted activity, such as union organizing, under such a ban. But even though the [...]

What Is an Email Curfew, and Can My Employer Really Do That?

2017-12-13T21:46:34+00:00 March 17th, 2016|Wage and Hour|

Most of us have read in the news about proposed changes to federal overtime rules, many of which are long overdue and worker-friendly. But have you heard about email curfews? This is one measure being considered by some employers to help keep their overtime exposure down after the new rules are implemented. The Fair Labor [...]

NLRB: Blanket Instructions to Not Discuss Investigations Violate the NLRA

2017-12-13T21:46:34+00:00 March 16th, 2016|General Labor Law|

Over the last year, the National Labor Relations Board has been turning up the heat on employers who violate the National Labor Relations Act. Employers are scrambling to rewrite handbooks and policies that violate the NLRA, including blanket confidentiality provisions that keep employees from talking about the terms of their jobs. A “blanket” confidentiality provision [...]

If You’re Disabled and Terminated, Consult an Employment Lawyer

2017-12-13T21:46:34+00:00 March 15th, 2016|Discimination, Wrongful termination|

Employers nationwide got a surge from a California jury decision that refused to award a former disabled FedEx driver any damages after he was fired, even though he had suffered a work-related injury. Robert Gardner injured his neck and shoulder while working as a driver for FedEx. The company’s policy allowed him 90 days of [...]

EEOC: Proposed Rule Would Allow Employers to Request Spouse Health Information under Limited Circumstances

2017-12-13T21:46:34+00:00 March 14th, 2016|Discimination|

Under the federal Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act, can your employer legally obtain your spouse’s genetic information? Maybe. But only voluntarily within the context of a group health plan wellness program and under very limited conditions. It’s important to note that this rule would only define what is legal under GINA; you can read more about [...]

Be Careful: The Top Five National Safety Violations

2017-12-13T21:46:34+00:00 March 11th, 2016|General Labor Law|

Want to stay safe at work? Follow the lead of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration and California OSHA. OSHA is the federal agency charged with ensuring “safe and healthful working conditions” for America’s workers. It performs this function by educating workers and employers, training, and enforcing safety-related laws and rules. OSHA covers most employees [...]

Female Leaders Bring Stronger Financial Returns in Business

2017-12-13T21:46:34+00:00 March 10th, 2016|Uncategorized|

Female leaders are making their mark in the corporate world as they are proving to bring stronger financial returns than their male counterparts. In a review conducted by MSCI ESG Research, statistics showed that as of September 2015, companies with a strong female leadership presence generated a better equity return than those without. These findings [...]

Information Technology Salaries Continue to Increase

2017-12-13T21:46:34+00:00 March 9th, 2016|Uncategorized, Wage and Hour|

A number of business sectors, including telecommunications, healthcare, hospitality, managed services, and financial services, use information technology to achieve optimum quality services. These companies aim to hire top IT professionals who have outstanding skill sets and experience–making recruitment and hiring strategies highly competitive. It seems that every California company is offering a high compensation package. [...]

EEOC Issues Q and A for Employers About Rights of Muslims at Work

2017-12-13T21:46:34+00:00 March 8th, 2016|Discimination|

Our last article discussed employee guidance provided by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission relating to Muslim or Middle Eastern worker rights.  This guidance stemmed from the EEOC’s concerns due to tragic events involving extremist groups in Paris and San Bernardino.  A companion document was issued at the same time for employers.  This blog will discuss the employer [...]

EEOC Issues Guidance to Employees About Treatment of Muslim Employees

2017-12-13T21:46:34+00:00 March 7th, 2016|Discimination|

The United States Equal Opportunity Commission recently issued guidance documents relating to the proper treatment of Muslim and Middle Eastern employees at work.  The EEOC’s concern about this issue stemmed from unfortunate, tragic events involving extremist groups in Paris, France and San Bernardino, California.  One guidance document is intended for employees and the other is [...]

USDOL Issues Joint Employer Guidance: What Could It Mean for You?

2017-12-13T21:46:34+00:00 March 4th, 2016|Wage and Hour|

As I have reported on before, the United States Department of Labor is cracking down on companies who improperly try to avoid classifying a worker as an employee.  One of the new measures it is taking is considering whether a worker might be considered a joint employee of two different businesses.  It has therefore issued [...]

How Is Overtime Calculated on Flat Sum Bonuses in California, and Why Does It Matter?

2017-12-13T21:46:34+00:00 March 3rd, 2016|Wage and Hour|

Although you may not realize it, how overtime should be calculated on bonuses of a flat amount has been hotly contested in California employment law.  This may seem like an issue that only accountants or human resources professionals should care about.  But as an employee, it’s important that you know the result of flat sum [...]

Bank of America Latest to Settle Class Action Suit for Allegedly Misclassified Employees as Exempt

2017-12-13T21:46:34+00:00 March 2nd, 2016|Class Action|

We can now count Bank of America as the latest company in a string to reach major settlements in claims of allegedly misclassifying employees as exempt from wage and hour laws.  A federal magistrate judge recently approved a $2.25 million settlement against the financial giant. Federal and California law require that employees who are covered [...]

United States Supreme Court to ERISA Health Plans: Injured Party Can’t Be Required to Reimburse After the Money Is Gone

2017-12-13T21:46:35+00:00 March 1st, 2016|General Labor Law|

Have you ever wondered whether someone who wins a lawsuit has to pay back his health insurance company for medical claims it paid on his behalf?  Recently, the United States Supreme Court held that a man who had spent his settlement money could not be required to pay his health plan back. Robert Montanile was [...]

Your Rights: Protections for Private Whistleblowers in California

2017-12-13T21:46:35+00:00 February 29th, 2016|Discimination|

California law protects whistleblowers, employees who disclose suspected illegal activity with “reasonable cause” to believe that a legal violation has occurred.  Generally speaking, employment in California is “at will,” which means that, unless a contract or exception applies, an employee may be fired at any time. Whistleblower protection is a major exception to this general [...]

Worker Classification: Issues to Watch

2017-12-13T21:46:35+00:00 February 26th, 2016|Wage and Hour|

The misclassification of workers as independent contractors presents serious problems for both employers and employees.  Some employers try to game the system by overusing the independent contractor classification.  In the short run, this may allow them slight gains, such as reducing payroll costs and tax contributions.  In the long run, however, they could suffer greatly. [...]

Apple Wins Employee Bag Check Case in Federal Court

2017-12-13T21:46:35+00:00 February 4th, 2016|Wage and Hour|

Even if you don’t work for Apple, you should care about a federal court decision relating to California Apple employees. A judge recently dismissed a class action lawsuit in which Apple employees claimed they should have been paid for time waiting to have their bags checked after they got off work. The case was first [...]

EEOC Issues Guidance to Doctors about Dealing with Employee Requests for Reasonable Accommodation

2017-12-13T21:46:35+00:00 February 3rd, 2016|Discimination|

Equal Employment Opportunity Commission issued two documents in support of the White House's National HIV/AIDS Strategy. Our last blog provided an overview of the document issued to help employees understand their rights. This blog will give you an overview of the guidance the EEOC has provided to employee health care providers in understanding their role [...]

Your Employment Rights: What Your Employer Must Do if You Have HIV

2017-12-13T21:46:35+00:00 February 2nd, 2016|Discimination|

This winter, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission published two documents that relate to proper and legal treatment of employees who have HIV infection or AIDS. These documents are designed to provide guidance to both employees and their health care providers about HIV and AIDS in the workplace. They were issued pursuant to the White House's [...]

In California, Whistleblower Protections Extend to Reports of Matters of Personal Interest

2017-12-13T21:46:35+00:00 February 1st, 2016|General Labor Law|

Did you know that, in California, you have whistleblower protections even when you have only reported a personal issue to the authorities? That's the holding of a recent appellate court. For their 25th wedding anniversary, Rosa Lee Cardenas' husband bought her an expensive ring. Every day, when she arrived at work, she placed the ring [...]

Lactating Surrogate Mom’s Case Proceeds in California Federal Court

2017-12-13T21:46:35+00:00 January 31st, 2016|Discimination|

A controversial lactation accommodation case will move forward in federal court. A California woman sued Marriott, alleging that it failed to provide her with proper lactation accommodations, as required by law. Mary Gonzalez, a full-time accountant and cashier for Marriott, gave birth to a baby girl in 2014. Her regular schedule included one unpaid lunch [...]

State Supreme Court Reviews “Day of Rest” Law

2017-12-13T21:46:35+00:00 January 30th, 2016|Wage and Hour|

The California Supreme Court will soon render a decision on three questions of critical importance to thousands of California employees. All of these questions relate to how the state’s “day of rest” law should be interpreted and applied. Why has the court decided to rule on these questions? It all started in 2009, when a [...]

Final Wage Payments in California: What Are Your Rights?

2017-12-13T21:46:35+00:00 January 29th, 2016|Wage and Hour|

California laws have strong protections in place to ensure that terminated employees receive all that is due to them when they leave. These protections apply to employees regardless of the reason they left, whether fired, retired, resigned, or laid off. What Is Due? The general provision of law is that all final wages are due [...]

You’re Fired: Your Rights to Notices When Dismissed in California

2017-12-13T21:46:35+00:00 January 28th, 2016|Wrongful termination|

California law requires that employees who are terminated receive various notices, all of which are designed to inform them of their legal rights. These requirements stem from the California Labor Code, the California Unemployment Insurance Code, and other California laws and regulations. Any time an employee is discharged, laid off, or placed on a leave [...]

At-Will Employment in California: What Is It?

2017-12-13T21:46:35+00:00 January 27th, 2016|General Labor Law|

Can California employers fire their employees for no reason? The answer might surprise you: generally, yes, they can! California follows what is known as the "at-will" employment doctrine. This means that, unless an exception applies, a California employer can fire an employee for no reason or even for no good reason, as long as the [...]

California Antidiscrimination Law 101

2017-12-13T21:46:35+00:00 January 26th, 2016|Discimination|

If you live or work in California, you probably know that California laws generally protect employees more than other states or even federal law. This is certainly true with California's antidiscrimination law, the Fair Employment and Housing Act ("FEHA" or the "Act"). Who Is Covered? The breadth of California's antidiscrimination coverage is first apparent when [...]

Bumble Bee Foods’ Worker Death Settlement

2017-12-13T21:46:35+00:00 December 29th, 2015|General Labor Law|

Occupational safety rules are established and enforced by both federal and state agencies. As one might expect, with the many employers across the nation and the limited resources of the governmental agencies, enforcement is difficult. For this reason, self-monitoring and compliance with standards is the most important way to ensure workers are kept safe at [...]

Alcohol Abuse and the Americans With Disabilities Act

2017-12-13T21:46:35+00:00 December 28th, 2015|Discimination|

The firing of Steve Sarkisian as football coach at the University of Southern California provides a case study of how an employer is to handle alcohol-related issues with its employees. Sarkisian had reportedly made one or more public appearances while appearing intoxicated, and he had failed to attend a practice session. The university first offered [...]

EEOC Granted Access to Employee Test Results in Discrimination Case

2017-12-13T21:46:35+00:00 December 27th, 2015|Discimination|

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has prevailed in a dispute with an employer over access to employee "pedigree" information. A ruling by the federal appeals court governing California required the employer to provide the information on employees who had taken the same strength test as an employee who had been fired. The pedigree information requested [...]