The HR Specialist: California Employment Law

Under California law, employees must receive a rest break for every four hours worked and employers may not require employees to work during their breaks. But what about employees who are allowed to take breaks and do what they wish during that time but still have to respond to calls if necessary? In a recent case, security guards asked that question because they had to carry their radios during breaks in case they were suddenly needed.

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Employers are still adjusting to the requirements under California’s Paid Sick Leave Law. This month, we offer even more information to help you comply.

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A flurry of bills signed at the end of the 2014 legislative session attempted to clarify liability in cases of joint employment.

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An employee who tries to internally report alleged wrongdoing and is then fired can pursue internal remedies—and then go directly to court with her discharge and retaliation claims.

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If a technology problem interferes with a disabled employee’s attempt to use medical leave, fix the problem fast. Otherwise, you may be liable for claims that you violated the ADA’s disability accommodations ­requirements.

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The California Supreme Court has held that the on-call hours for security guards who work 24-hour shifts constituted compensable hours worked. The court also ruled that the guards’ employer could not exclude “sleep time” from the guards’ 24-hour shifts.

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These days, many employers don’t bother to print employee handbooks, arbitration agreements and other employment documents. Instead, they exist solely in electronic form, acknowledged by so-called electronic signatures instead of written ones. That’s fine, as long as you have a system for authenticating those e-signatures.

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It’s up to the employer to choose which ADA reasonable accommodation it wants to offer a disabled employee. If the worker wants a different accommodation, he’s out of luck.

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SB 1360, passed late in 2014, requires employers to pay employees for recovery periods taken during hot weather.

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The California state legislature made changes to both CalOSHA reporting requirements and fines for violations.

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