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The HR Specialist: California Employment Law

The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that a class-action lawsuit filed by a worker under the FLSA was properly dismissed because the ­worker’s suit was moot when she failed to accept an offer of judgment from her employer.

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Like most employers, your em­­ployee handbook probably in­­cludes a disclaimer informing employees that nothing in the document creates a contract. But what if your handbook also includes a clause that says employee disputes must go to arbitration instead of state or federal court, where a run­­away jury might bankrupt the company? Bad idea.

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Employers are supposed to reasonably accommodate an employee’s disability so he or she can perform the essential functions of the job. Some workers take that as a guarantee that—should they develop a disability—their employer must find a position the employee can do. That’s simply not the case.

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Here’s some good news: An employee’s interpretation of a manager’s facial expressions isn’t enough for a successful lawsuit. A smirk isn’t evidence.

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The San Jose Minimum Wage Ordinance, which took effect on March 11, raised the minimum wage for “covered employees” to $10 per hour. A “covered em­­ployee” is anyone who works two or more hours per week within the city limits.

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A cardinal HR rule: Everyone who breaks the same rule should receive the same punishment. That doesn’t mean a frequent rule-breaker can’t be punished more harshly.

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A hearing-impaired Los Angeles man is suing the Bed Bath & Beyond retail chain, complaining that it fails to provide captions or transcripts for the promotional videos that play in the aisles of its stores.

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Occasionally, we all have to deal with overly emotional ­employees. Handling them requires a mature and measured response, especially if it looks like you may have to discipline them.

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Merced-based Alia Corp., which owns 20 McDonald’s franchises in the Cen­­­­tral Valley, will pay $100,000 to settle a former supervisor’s disability discrimination suit. The man claimed Alia illegally demoted him because of his intellectual disability.

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States will play an important role in implementing the provisions of the ACA. For California employers with between 50 and 100 employees, recent legislative developments may add some complexity to ongoing discussions about the ACA’s “shared responsibility” or “play-or-pay” requirements.

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