Is my credit report the reason I can’t get a job?

2017-12-13T21:46:27+00:00 February 14th, 2017|Uncategorized|

It’s a hill that feels impossible to climb: You have made some financial mistakes in the past, and your credit suffered as a result. Since then, you’ve gone back to school, worked hard and set some financial goals. Even so, you are having a tough time finding a higher-paying job, even though you interview well. [...]

California overtime laws: What you need to know

2017-12-13T21:46:27+00:00 February 9th, 2017|Discimination, General Labor Law, Wage and Hour|

Nearly every worker older than 18 is entitled to overtime pay in California. State law mandates that employees cannot work more than eight hours per day, or 40 hours per week, without being paid overtime wages. What is the amount of overtime in California? Under state law, overtime is one-half times a worker’s regular rate [...]

Ninth Circuit Finds California Company Can’t Force Employees To Give Up Right To File Employee Class Action Claims

2017-12-13T21:46:28+00:00 December 1st, 2016|Uncategorized|

In many employment contracts there lies an inconspicuous provision that many employees would never notice. It is known as an ‘arbitration agreement”. This clause states that by signing the agreement, the employee gives up his or her right to sue the employer in a class action lawsuit. Instead, the employee agrees to settle differences with [...]

New State Law Aimed At Age Discrimination May Be Unconstitutional

2017-12-13T21:46:28+00:00 November 17th, 2016|Discimination|

California’s entertainment industry is one of its most profitable sectors. Profits from Hollywood studios and other parts of the industry pour an estimated $294 billion into the state’s economy every year, and it is estimated that the entertainment industry employs one out of every ten Californians. While the industry is profitable, it is not without [...]

Can Your Employer Forbid You From Talking Politics At Work?

2017-12-13T21:46:28+00:00 November 15th, 2016|General Labor Law|

With the presidential election around the corner, politics are on many people’s minds. While talking politics always has the potential to be contentious, this year’s election has brought out strong emotions in voters. To minimize the amount of conflict in the workplace, some employers have forbidden workers from discussing politics while on the clock. But [...]

New Law Protects Employees’ Right to Have Legal Claims Heard Inside the State

2017-12-13T21:46:28+00:00 November 10th, 2016|General Labor Law|

The state of California has the sixth-largest economy in the world. In 2015, the state recorded $2.42 trillion in gross domestic product, beating out the economies of France, India, and Brazil. The state’s success comes from the thriving entertainment and technology industries, and has continued to grow as the economy recovers from the country’s recession. [...]

NLRB Rules That Grad Students, Teaching Assistants Can Unionize

2017-12-13T21:46:28+00:00 November 8th, 2016|Wage and Hour|

At any given time, there are thousands of graduate students across the country working as teaching and research assistants. These students may conduct college courses, perform research in a lab, or work with professors on special projects. In exchange, the grad students usually receive a relatively small stipend and course credit. For many graduate students, [...]

Fox News Settles Allegations of Sexual Harassment for $20 Million

2017-12-13T21:46:28+00:00 November 3rd, 2016|Sexual Harassment|

21st Century Fox, the parent company of Fox News, recently announced that the company had agreed to pay $20 million to former news anchor Gretchen Carlson to settle allegations of sexual harassment she made against former CEO Roger Ailes. 21st Century Fox also offered a public apology to Carlson and praised her performance at the [...]

Can A California Employee File A Wrongful Termination Lawsuit After Legal Marijuana Use?

2017-12-13T21:46:28+00:00 November 1st, 2016|Wrongful termination|

Medical marijuana has been legal in California for almost two decades. While it may be almost commonplace at the state level, it is still illegal according to the federal government. As a result, medical marijuana use is a murky area of employment law that is still undergoing change. Recently, a federal judge in California allowed [...]

New Overtime Rules Go Into Effect For Agricultural Workers

2017-12-13T21:46:28+00:00 October 27th, 2016|Wage and Hour|

For many people, the state of California brings to mind sunny beaches, perfect weather, wine tours and celebrity sightings. The majority of the state, however, much more rural and agricultural than it is portrayed in the media. Due to California’s long growing season and favorable soil conditions, the state provides much of the country’s produce. [...]

What Tasks Are Minor? Calif. Supreme Court to Review De Minimus Wage Claims

2017-12-13T21:46:28+00:00 October 25th, 2016|Uncategorized|

People who are not paid a salary and earn an hourly wage often have to perform small tasks before or after a shift at work. For instance, a server in a restaurant may be required to put on an apron and a name tag before clocking in for a shift. For years, judges and employers [...]

Ninth Circuit Finds California Company Can’t Force Employees To Give Up Right To File Employee Class Action Claims

2017-12-13T21:46:28+00:00 October 22nd, 2016|Class Action|

In many employment contracts there lies an inconspicuous provision that many employees would never notice. It is known as an ‘arbitration agreement”. This clause states that by signing the agreement, the employee gives up his or her right to sue the employer in a class action lawsuit. Instead, the employee agrees to settle differences with [...]

Innocent Fun or Sexual Harassment? How to Know When Your Employer Crosses the Line

2017-12-13T21:46:28+00:00 August 31st, 2016|Discimination, Sexual Harassment|

On average, Americans spend a third of their lives at work. When so much of our lives is spent with the same group of colleagues, it can be difficult to know when friendships or harmless flirting crosses the line into sexual harassment. If your work environment is getting uncomfortable, it is important to learn more [...]

When Is The Deadline To File A Claim For Wrongful Termination?

2017-12-13T21:46:28+00:00 August 29th, 2016|Discimination, General Labor Law, Wrongful termination|

The phrase “wrongful termination” applies when an employee has been fired or forced to quit or resign for illegal reasons. If you believe that you were wrongfully terminated, you are required to file a claim within a certain amount of time. If you miss the deadline, your claim will be barred and you will not [...]

Ninth Circuit Says Employees Sharing Passwords May Be Criminal

2017-12-13T21:46:29+00:00 August 19th, 2016|General Labor Law, Wrongful termination|

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit recently held that using a co-worker’s password to access an employer’s computer databases can be considered a criminal action. The case, United States v. Nosal, has been winding through the court systems for almost a decade, and provides insight into what types of employee actions violate [...]

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 [...]

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 [...]

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 [...]

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 [...]

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 [...]

Employee Social Media Access

2017-12-13T21:46:36+00:00 December 26th, 2015|General Labor Law|

Social media is quickly becoming part of the social fabric of our country. It is as common and normal as a casual conversation in the school hallway or workplace break room. Because it occurs over the Internet, however, those casual conversations are memorialized in more than the minds of the participants. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and [...]

Constructive Discharge Statute of Limitations

2017-12-13T21:46:36+00:00 December 24th, 2015|Discimination, Uncategorized|

Employees sometimes reach a point of being so dissatisfied at work that they just have to quit. The reasons can be many, but when they quit because of illegal discrimination, a lawsuit may be filed. In these circumstances, the act of resigning may also be known as constructive discharge. Employers are prohibited from discriminating against [...]

Non-Compete Employment Agreements

2017-12-13T21:46:36+00:00 December 21st, 2015|General Labor Law|

Many employers require employees to sign an agreement restricting them from working for business competitors for a period of time. These are commonly known as non-compete agreements. The concept is that an employee can do harm to his employer if he leaves and begins working for a competitor. Many, if not most, of these agreements [...]

Many Employers Offering “Gig” Work

2017-12-13T21:46:36+00:00 November 30th, 2015|Wage and Hour|

Working from home is an arrangement that has been gaining momentum for a number of years. Employees like the flexibility of not having to report to an assigned location, and employers are freed from providing costly office space. The newest workplace phenomenon, however, is "gig" work. The ride sharing company, Uber, is the most notable [...]

New Law Establishes Pay for Non-Productive Time for Piece-Rate Workers

2017-12-13T21:46:36+00:00 November 23rd, 2015|General Labor Law, Wage and Hour|

Employees who are paid on a piece-rate basis were given a shot in the arm by the California Legislature this year with a bill that will add to their pay. The Governor signed AB 1513, which goes into effect January 1, 2016. The new law requires piece-rate workers to be paid for rest and recovery [...]

DOL’s Amendments to White Collar Overtime Exemptions Reviewed by House Subcommittee

2017-12-13T21:46:36+00:00 November 17th, 2015|Wage and Hour|

The U.S. Department of Labor's proposed revisions to the "white collar" exemptions under the Fair Labor Standards Act are attracting attention from Congress. The House Subcommittee on Investigations, Oversight and Regulations held a hearing in October to hear concerns from business interests. The white collar exemptions specify a salary level at which employees may be [...]

U.S. Supreme Court to Clarify Collective Action Certifications in Overtime Case

2017-12-13T21:46:36+00:00 November 2nd, 2015|Class Action, Wage and Hour|

Lawsuits alleging unlawful treatment of employees by their employers often involve groups of employees who have been subjected to the same practice. These are known as both class-actions and collective actions. In these cases, there are typically one or more class representatives who have filed the suits and who identify groups of people who have [...]

Employer Access of Employee Social Media Accounts in California

2017-12-13T21:46:36+00:00 October 30th, 2015|General Labor Law|

Consistent with its constitutional right of privacy, California has statutory provisions that prohibit employers from invading the social media space of existing and prospective employees. With the advent of technology-based social media opportunities, snooping by employers has become more of an issue in the workplace. While an employer may legitimately monitor communications by employees during [...]

Kentucky Clerk Kim Davis Brings Conscientious Objectors to the Forefront of Discussion

2017-12-13T21:46:36+00:00 October 28th, 2015|Discimination|

One of the most notable ripple effects of the Supreme Court's decision regarding same-sex marriage rights has been the refusal of Kim Davis, Kentucky's Rowan County Clerk, to issue marriage licenses. While the public's interest in this drama may be about the gay marriage issue, employers are interested in issues of workplace religious accommodation. Employees [...]

DJ Sues Taylor Swift in Colorado Federal Court, Alleging Interference with His Employment Contract

2017-12-13T21:46:36+00:00 October 26th, 2015|General Labor Law, Sexual Harassment|

Taylor Swift may learn the hard way that interfering with another person's livelihood can be costly. The music recording star has been sued in Colorado for allegedly causing a disc jockey to be fired. The suit, pending in the U.S. District Court for the District of Colorado, alleges that Swift made an unfounded allegation of [...]

Halliburton Employees Nationwide Gain in Overtime Settlement

2017-12-13T21:46:37+00:00 October 23rd, 2015|Wage and Hour|

Wage and hour overtime violations by employers are probably more common than ever detected by the U.S. Department of Labor. Employers have obligations to follow the Fair Labor Standards Act and to self-monitor their compliance. The regulations that permit the exemption of certain employees from overtime requirements can be hard to interpret and apply. So [...]