During an economic crisis, employees are understandably focused on retaining their current job. But having a protective employment agreement is always important. Favorable terms in an employment contract can make it more difficult for an employer to terminate your employment without cause, ensure that you receive an adequate severance payment, and secure your family’s health... read more.
Coronavirus Mass Layoffs in California and Severance Packages Here in the San Francisco Bay Area six counties (Marin, San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Alameda, and Contra Costa) have just issued a shelter-in-place order, prohibiting all non-essential travel outside of the home. What will this mean for the economy, and Bay Area employment? Many economists... read more.
What Are My Employer’s Obligations When I am Pumping at Work? August is National Breastfeeding Month, with a theme of “Support Changes Everything.” The United States Breastfeeding Committee developed this campaign in conjunction with breastfeeding coalitions, member/partner organizations, and individual supporters to generate advocacy for necessary policy and practice changes and “build a landscape of... read more.
Visiting Angels Lawsuit Rukin Hyland & Riggin is currently investigating potential employment violations by Home Care company Visiting Angels. Over the last few years, multiple home care, hospice care, and senior care corporations have come under the spotlight for abusing home how employees are classified and paid. California labor and employment laws are put in place to protect... read more.
The #MeToo movement has put workplace sexual harassment in the spotlight, with numerous high-profile sexual harassment and assault allegations against powerful leaders in multiple industries. #Metoo has helped shed light on, and create a public conversation surrounding workplace issues that often go unreported. As more and more people step forward to share their stories, and... read more.
The new year is almost upon us, and with it comes a new obligation for California attorneys participating in mediations. Effective January 1, a California attorney representing a client in a non-class/non-representative action must provide the client with a printed disclosure explaining mediation confidentiality and obtain the client’s signed acknowledgment. Why is this happening now?... read more.
First, you should know that you’re not alone. Unfortunately, as the #metoo movement has demonstrated, sexual harassment in the workplace is all too common. In 2015, almost one-third of the charges received by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC)—the federal agency that administers and enforces federal civil rights laws against discrimination—were harassment claims. And a... read more.
In a case filed just last month in San Francisco Superior Court, a current employee of Google asserts claims against the company based on its allegedly overbroad confidentiality agreement that Google requires all employees to sign and its policies regarding the use and disclosure of confidential information. (John Doe v. Google, Inc.; San Francisco Superior... read more.
The holiday season is when many employers announce raises, bonuses, and other increases in compensation. This holiday season, millions of workers were going to become newly eligible for overtime under the Depart of Labor’s new overtime rule. However, a Texas federal judge recently blocked the new federal overtime rule from going into effect. Now, it is uncertain... read more.
A change to the federal overtime regulations that will come into play at the end of 2016 will likely have a significant impact on workers. The U.S. Department of Labor recently promulgated new overtime regulations which increase the national overtime salary threshold, thereby dramatically increasing the number of workers eligible for overtime. While hourly-paid workers... read more.
For years, employers have used background checks in making hiring and promotion decisions. Since the advent of the internet, and particularly since the 9/11 terrorist attacks, more and more employers are requiring background checks as a condition of applying for employment—and they are increasing their reliance on such checks. Moreover, the internet has provided the... read more.
There is good reason that Bay Area residents readily bandy about slang terms such as “tech bro” and “brogrammer”—terms that evoke a distinctive image—a tech scene made up of young male employees. Although the wage gap persists nationwide, recent reports have shown that both hiring and pay disparities are particularly pervasive in Silicon Valley, from... read more.
Over the years, we have observed a familiar pattern that catches many start-ups off guard and can prove costly and distracting. Worse yet, these companies could easily have avoided the problems. One of the Biggest Mistakes Start-Ups Do Companies in the early stages of growth predictably generate buzz and excitement that feeds the hopes of... read more.
Dynamex v. Superior Court (California Court of Appeal, Second Appellate Division): What It’s About: Employer Dynamex appealed the trial court’s denial of its motion to decertify, arguing that the court improperly adopted the definition of “employee” from IWC Wage Orders to determine the status of class members, instead of using the common law definition of... read more.
The U.S. Supreme Court recently announced that it would review the Tenth Circuit’s decision in EEOC v. Abercrombie & Fitch. 731 F.3d 1106 (10th Cir. 2013). In that case, the Tenth Circuit held that an employer is not liable under Title VII for failing to accommodate an applicant’s religious dress unless the applicant explicitly notifies... read more.
Ybarra v. Apartment Investment and Management Company (California Court of Appeal, Second Appellate District): What It’s About: The Court of Appeal vacated and reconsidered its prior order reversing the trial court’s order denying the defendant’s motion to compel arbitration. In light of Iskanian, the Court of Appeal held that the representative action waiver in the... read more.
The Problem With Misclassifying Independent Contractors As the economy improves, there has been an increased focus on the problem of independent contractor misclassification in the service sector (the part of the economy in which employees provide services and information, in contrast to producing manufactured goods, mining, or farming). Since August 2009, employment by staffing agencies has... read more.
The subject of bullying in schools and in the workplace has over the past several years attracted nationwide attention and generated significant discussion. California recently took its first steps toward addressing the problem of workplace bullying. New Law Aims to Prevent Workplace Harassment On September 9, 2014, Governor Brown signed AB2053. This new law amends... read more.
California Governor Jerry Brown yesterday signed into law the Healthy Workplaces, Healthy Families Act of 2014 (AB 1522), which requires employers to provide paid sick leave to most California employees. According to the Legislature, sick leave benefits are good for both employers and employees, as sick leave lowers health care costs, increases productivity and prevents... read more.
Yesterday, the Ninth Circuit gave plaintiffs an important victory in off-the-clock overtime cases when it affirmed the district court’s grant of class certification to a class of auto, property, liability, casualty, and special investigations claims adjusters in Jimenez v. Allstate . The Court first rejected Allstate’s argument that the common questions identified by the district... read more.
CA Supreme Court opinion on franchise law Yesterday, the California Supreme Court addressed the circumstances under which a franchisor may be deemed to be the employer of a franchisee’s employees for purposes of the Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA). The case, Patterson v. Domino’s Pizza, LLC, (Cal., Aug. 28, 2014, S204543) 2014 WL 4236175,... read more.
In Rhea v. General Atomics, 14 C.D.O.S. 8201, the California Court of Appeal on Tuesday reaffirmed an earlier decision holding that an employer can require (or allow) an exempt employee to use vacation/paid time off (PTO) for partial day absences without compromising the employee’s exempt status. The Rhea Court further held that an employer can... read more.
Many people often ask me, “Is it harassment if my coworker makes racist remarks?” The answer: maybe. Not every mean or rude comment qualifies as harassment. On the other hand, many employees suffer long periods of unlawful harassment or sexual harassment from their fellow employees but are unaware of what they can do about it.... read more.
Who is entitled to overtime pay in California? Both federal and California law requires that employees be paid the minimum wage for all hours worked and that nonexempt employees be paid the proper overtime pay rate for overtime hours worked. Stating the rule is the easy part. How is it applied in practice? First, one... read more.
Should an employer have the right to disqualify applicants based on criminal convictions? If so, should the law impose any limitations on this right? There exist strong arguments on either side of the debate. From the employer’s perspective, uniform application of a policy excluding candidates who have a criminal conviction – i.e., application of the... read more.
Ayala v. Antelope Valley Newspapers (California Supreme Court) What It’s About: Newspaper home delivery carriers claiming they had been misclassified as independent contractors, brought a class action for overtime wages, unreimbursed business expenses, and other employment benefits. Affirming a Court of Appeal decision, the California Supreme Court found that the trial court had erred in... read more.
Two days ago, the United States Supreme Court agreed to hear the appeal of a former United Parcel Service employee’s claim that the company violated the federal Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA) when it refused to provide accommodations for her lifting restrictions during her pregnancy, despite the fact that it provides accommodations to non-pregnant employees with... read more.
According to the United Nations, out of 185 countries and territories with available information, the United States is one of the only three countries in the world, along with Papa New Guinea and Oman, lacking paid maternity leave. Most developed countries provide both paid maternity and paternity leave, and paid family and sick leave. Countries that... read more.
This year marks the thirtieth anniversary of the bestselling pregnancy manual What to Expect When You’re Expecting. The most recent edition of What to Expect includes some general information about the legal rights of pregnant employees under federal law alongside practical advice about how to tell your boss you are pregnant and tips for staying safe and healthy on... read more.
Telecommuting as Disability Accommodation? When Yahoo! CEO Marisa Mayer implemented a ban on telecommuting at the company in 2013, the initial backlash seemed to focus primarily on her taking a step that would most harm those for whom she had served as a role model – working mothers in Silicon Valley. After stepping into the... read more.
Can Doctors Negotiate Contracts? I’m surrounded by doctors. No, I’m not in a hospital, I’m just married to one (a doctor-to-be, that is). My husband is an M.D./PhD student, who recently finished his Ph.D. and is currently in his third year of medical school. Many of our friends are medical students, residents, and fully licensed... read more.
Journalists have called 2014 the year of the whistleblower. The recent award of a Pulitzer to the Guardian and the Washington Post for stories based on Edward Snowden’s NSA leaks have again sparked debates about what should be covered as whistleblowing activity and how far those protections should extend. However, one form of whistleblowing continues... read more.
Ilya Somin over at the Volokh Conspiracy has an interesting post about the implications of the Brendan Eich/Mozilla affair. For those of us in California, of course, free speech protections in the workplace are nothing new. California law has long prohibited employers from punishing employees for expressing their political views. For example, Labor Code sections... read more.
In its first published ruling on the subject, a California appeals court has rejected as unreasonable and as against public policy an employer’s attempt to contractually shorten the amount of time an employee has to sue under California’s Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA). Pursuant to the FEHA’s statutory requirements, codified at Cal. Gov. Code... read more.
PAGA Overview California’s Private Attorney General Act of 2004-or PAGA-gives private citizens the ability to pursue penalties against employers for violations of the California Labor Code. In cases in which plaintiffs successfully bring PAGA claims, 75% of these penalties go to the state entities (specifically, to the California Labor and Workforce Development Agency or LWDA).... read more.
Intern Programs and Compliance With the Law For employers, December raises questions about how to prevent problems at the holiday party and what to do when the alcohol and holiday-spirit induced indiscretions inevitably arise. June brings questions about the unpaid interns scheduled to arrive in the next week or so. Although some companies have in... read more.
Employers are not under any obligation to provide employment references for former employees. Providing employment references may leave former employers open to legal liability from the former employee and the prospective employer. For example, if the employer makes disparaging comments about a former employee and as a result, the employee is not hired for the... read more.