Category Archives: California

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Potential #MeToo-Motivated Laws Address More Than Just Sexual Harassment

#MeToo
The #MeToo movement has spawned several bills, many of which are aimed at prohibiting private arbitration of sexual harassment claims or outlawing confidentiality provisions in settlement agreements addressing sexual harassment claims.… Continue reading this entry

California Supreme Court Says Employers Must Pay for Several Minutes of Off-the-Clock Work

Off-the-clock
Last Thursday, July 26, the California Supreme Court issued an opinion concluding that coffee retailer Starbucks must pay its employees for off-the-clock duties that take several minutes per shift. In issuing its opinion, the Court rejected Starbucks’ request to invoke a federal wage rule (known as the de minimis doctrine) that excuses employers from paying … Continue reading this entry

The Heat Is On: Is Your Company in Compliance with State Sun and Heat Worker Protections?

heat
With summer in full swing and heat waves sweeping the country, it is important that employers comply with any state regulations protecting employees who work outdoors from suffering from heat-related illnesses. Just last week, with the National Weather Service issuing excessive heat warnings for California, Cal/OSHA reminded all employers with outdoor workers to be mindful … Continue reading this entry

Invention Assignment Agreements – How to Avoid Pitfalls

invention
Intellectual property assets are the lifeblood of many businesses today. No employer wants to see those assets walk out the door when an employee leaves. Employee invention assignment agreements are one crucial tool for protecting intellectual property, but the laws governing them contain traps for the unwary. If the agreement is too narrow or ambiguous, … Continue reading this entry

Good News for Private Employers in California: Federal Court Temporarily Enjoins Several Provisions of New Law Prohibiting Cooperation with Immigration Enforcement Agents

immigration
Private employers received good news this month when a federal court temporarily stopped the state of California from enforcing most of a new law that restricts an employer’s ability to cooperate with officers who enforce federal immigration laws. This new California law is known as Assembly Bill 450 or the “Immigrant Worker Protection Act”.  It … Continue reading this entry

You Have a Creative Genius in the Workplace. Who Owns the Creative Works?

Creative
The cardinal principle of copyright law is deceptively simple. It protects a creative work as it passes from the fevered brow of its creator to something more tangible – a writing pad, an electronic manuscript, a sound recording, a stone tablet, etc., and, at that moment, ownership vests in the creator. But, of course, deceptively … Continue reading this entry

The Jig Is Up: California Supreme Court Asserts New Independent Contractor Test Impacting The “Gig Economy” and Companies Engaging Independent Contractors

immigration
Yesterday (April 30, 2018) the California Supreme Court issued an opinion on the appropriate test to employ when assessing “independent contractor” classification under state law. The Court’s unanimous decision throws out the prior multi-factor test for determining independent contractor versus employee status for claims based on the California Industrial Welfare Commission’s Wage Orders. This new … Continue reading this entry

California Changes the Rules for Calculating Overtime on Employee Bonuses

Off-the-clock
The California Supreme Court just threw employers a serious curveball with respect to how employers must calculate overtime. And it did so by claiming employers should have known of this calculation method even though the same California Supreme Court declared it void over 20 years ago.… Continue reading this entry

California as a Sanctuary State: Restrictions on Employers’ Compliance with Federal Immigration Actions

California
In October 2017, California passed the widely publicized Senate Bill 54, the unofficial “sanctuary state” bill, which bars state and local law enforcement agencies from asking people about their immigration status. Another new California law, the Immigrant Worker Protection Act (Assembly Bill 450), effective January 1, 2018, provides worksite immigration protection for employees while on … Continue reading this entry

California Federal Court Strikes Down FCRA Claim

EEOC
Earlier this month, in a case pending in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California, Home Depot avoided a class action suit under the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA). The lawsuit accused the company of improperly obtaining personal information about job applicants by relying on background check authorization forms that did not … Continue reading this entry

California Supreme Court Confirms that PAGA Plaintiffs Are Entitled to Broad Discovery of Other Employees’ Contact Information

invention
California’s Private Attorneys General Act (PAGA) allows aggrieved employees to recover civil penalties on behalf of themselves, other employees, and the State of California for Labor Code violations. On July 13, 2017, the California Supreme Court issued its anticipated ruling on the scope of discovery in PAGA cases.  In a blow to employers, the Court … Continue reading this entry

California Employers Further Restricted From Using Criminal History

Employer
California continues its lead in restricting use of criminal records with the Fair Employment and Housing Council (FEHC) recently finalizing new regulations that further limit a California employer’s ability to use criminal history when making employment decisions. The regulations, borrowing heavily from the EEOC’s 2012 Guidance, will be effective July 1, 2017.… Continue reading this entry

A Possible New Year’s Hangover for Multistate Employers With California Employees

California
Multistate employers with headquarters located outside California may wake up to a rude surprise on January 1, 2017, as a result of a new California Labor Code law affecting their employment agreements with California employees. California Labor Code Section 925 applies to employment contracts with employees who live and work primarily in California, prohibiting such … Continue reading this entry

California Is Becoming Even More Employee-Friendly

Since becoming governor of California in January 2011, Jerry Brown has signed a number of significant employee-friendly laws, placing an ever-growing burden on California employers. This article will briefly summarize many of the laws. Misclassification of Independent Contractors (Effective January 1, 2012) This law prohibits any employers from willfully misclassifying employees as independent contractors and … Continue reading this entry

Noncompete Enforcement in California: The Times They Are a Changin'

We all may know that California does not permit enforcement of most noncompete agreements. Despite this broad prohibition, the federal court’s recent decision in Richmond Technologies, Inc. v. Aumtech Business Solutions, (N.D. Cal. July 1, 2011) confirms another overriding general rule: Courts do not like deceptive behavior of former employees — even in California. This … Continue reading this entry

Non-Competition v. Unfair Competition in California

We all know that California does not permit enforcement of non-compete agreements. Despite this broad prohibition, the federal court’s recent decision in Richmond Technologies, Inc. v. Aumtech Business Solutions, No. 11-CV-02460-LHK, 2011 WL 2607158 (N.D. Cal. July 1, 2011) confirms another overriding general rule: courts do not like deceptive behavior of former employees – even … Continue reading this entry

California Employers Should Heed Seating Suits

A wave of wage and hour class actions have been filed in California against retail employers over lack of “suitable seating” for their employees. These cases are based on California Industrial Welfare Commission Wage Order 7-2001, section 14, which requires that: (A) All working employees shall be provided with suitable seats when the nature of … Continue reading this entry

New California Leave Law for Organ and Bone Marrow Donations

Effective January 1, 2011, California employees may now take paid time off from work for the purpose of organ and bone marrow donations. Specifically, California SB 1304 requires that California employers with 15 or more employees provide their employees with up to 30 days of paid time off in any one-year period for the purpose … Continue reading this entry

New California Employment Regulations: Is the "Reprieve" Over?

After Democrat Gray Davis was recalled in 2003 and replaced by Republican Arnold Schwarzenegger, California employers enjoyed an eight-year “reprieve” (relatively speaking) from new state-level employment regulation. Gov. Schwarzenegger frequently wielded his veto pen. With the election of Jerry Brown as governor and both executive and legislative branches returned to Democratic hands, however, California employers … Continue reading this entry

California Supreme Court Expands Liability for "Stray Remarks"

The California Supreme Court issued an opinion last week in which it refused to disregard stray comments about an ex-employee’s age as evidence of discrimination. The opinion rejected the “stray remarks doctrine” introduced by Justice O’Connor in 1981 in a Supreme Court opinion and sometimes applied by federal courts in discrimination cases in order to exclude discriminatory … Continue reading this entry