The HR Specialist: California Employment Law

Lately, courts have landed hard on attorneys who take so-called frivolous cases, hoping to wrestle a quick settlement from ­employers eager to make the case go away. That should theoretically reduce the number of frivolous lawsuits. It probably won’t.

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In a few short weeks, California employers with 50 or more em­­ployees must change their training programs to include new material. Effective Jan. 1, anti-bullying training is mandatory for covered employers thanks to Gov. Jerry Brown’s signature on A.B. 2053 back in September.

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Employees have to wait a year before becoming eligible for FMLA leave. But you should let them know about the law and what benefits it provides before they hit their one-year anniversary. This is especially true if you have been denying time off for a serious health condition during the first year.

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On Oct. 6, the U.S. Supreme Court declined to review all seven same-sex marriage cases pending before it. The Court’s refusal to hear the appeals meant that the lower court decisions striking down same-sex marriage bans in Indiana,  Oklahoma, Utah, Virginia and Wisconsin took effect right away. The immediate effects are twofold.

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On Saturday, Aug. 30, 2014, in the early morning hours and amid controversy among labor supporters, the California Legislature passed a bill that provides workers with three paid sick days per year. Gov. Jerry Brown enthusiastically endorsed the bill’s passage and signed it into law on Sept. 10.

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Q. I recently discharged some of my employees. How long must I retain their employment records? Are there different rules for electronic records versus paper ones?

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Here’s a warning for employers facing litigation: Don’t wait to check whether the employee filed EEOC or other administrative claims on time. Raise the issue early.

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Employers often confuse the strict rules limiting the docking of exempt employees’ salary with different rules relating to partial-day deductions under vacation or paid time off policies.

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Employees facing the end of FMLA or other medical leave are sometimes entitled to additional time off as a reasonable accommodation under the ADA. But they have to ask.

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If your company is classified as a motor carrier, don’t expect the Federal Aviation Administration Authorization Act of 1994 (FAAAA) to protect you from misclassification claims. That’s the lesson learned by one motor carrier after a recent Cali­­for­­nia Supreme Court decision.

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