The HR Specialist: California Employment Law

As employers continue to try doing more with less, employees sometimes find themselves handling additional duties and responsibilities. That can cause real problems if it results in female employees doing extra work, and they wind up being paid less than male co-workers.

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It’s become a little bit harder for women alleging pregnancy discrimination under the California Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) to win discharge lawsuits. To prevail, a new mother has to prove that pregnancy discrimination was a “substantial motivating factor” in her discharge.

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The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled that the California Department of Industrial Relations (CDIR) did not violate U.S. Department of Labor apprenticeship rules when it ordered three contractors to remove from public works projects apprentices who were enrolled in a federally run program.

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Here’s a practice that can save you from a needless lawsuit: Employees who have used up their FMLA leave may be eligible for more unpaid time off as a reasonable accommodation under the ADA.

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Interior Magic of California, a car detailing service in Riverside County, will have to pay $292,000 in back wages and liquidated damages to 205 current and former employees, plus $34,408 in civil penalties to polish its image following a U.S. Department of Labor investigation.

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Absent limited circumstances, a private employer using prison labor probably isn’t required to provide reasonable accommodations under the ADA.

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California has two new laws affecting employers in the state. The first, signed into law in Au­­gust, applies to employers that prevail in wage-related lawsuits. It limits their ability to obtain attorneys’ fee awards. The second, signed in September, raises California’s minimum wage to $10 per hour by January 2016.

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Back when Congress was debating the initial passage of the FMLA, there was considerable discussion about what kinds of illnesses would entitle an employee to FMLA protection. If in doubt, ask for a medical certification. Decide whether to approve or deny FMLA leave based on what the certification says.

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The EEOC claims managers at a Farmers Insurance Exchange office in Fresno scapegoated two Asian-American adjusters after an improper coding scandal came to light. It also asserts a white adjuster was fired in retaliation for cooperating with the EEOC’s investigation.

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Here’s a good reason to check with your insurance agent on your vehicle accident coverage. A California appellate court has ruled that when an employer requires an employee to use her personal vehicle to visit clients or conduct other company business, the employer may be liable for injuries if she causes an accident.

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