The HR Specialist: California Employment Law

Some jobs, both in government and in the private sector, require a security clearance from a government agency. Without the proper security clearance, employees aren’t allowed to view sensitive documents. In those cases, a lost security clearance can mean a lost job—with no ability to challenge the termination on discrimination grounds.

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A recent 9th Circuit Court of Appeals decision likely will make it easier for employees and their lawyers to get class-action certification in employment cases.

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More and more former employees who can’t find lawyers to take their cases are filing their own lawsuits. Their pleadings are frequently long on conclusions and short on factual allegations. Don’t let that give you a false sense of security—or tempt you to toss out documents.

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Here’s a warning for employers that want to use arbitration to solve employment-related problems without expensive litigation: Don’t expect to draft the agreement yourself, modify something you find on the Internet or use an English version when employees speak another language, such as Spanish or Viet­­namese.

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You may think you have a great training program that helps good employees acquire new skills and then promotes the best ones. But it takes just one rogue super­visor to sink the best training if you don’t have checks and balances to make sure it is being used appropriately.

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Keck Hospital of USC, formerly the USC University Hospital, has ended a labor dispute by agreeing to pay $87,839 to four employees affected by its decision to unilaterally eliminate an extra shift bonus and a mandatory on-call schedule.

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Corona-based West Coast Customs, an auto restyler famous for being on the MTV cable television show “Pimp My Ride,” will pay $174,000 in back wages and penalties following a U.S. Department of Labor Wage and Hour Division investigation.

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Employees who sue for alleged retaliation after reporting safety problems in the workplace have a new and powerful ally: the Cali­for­nia Labor Commissioner’s office, also known as the Division of Labor Standards Enforcement.

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Sometimes, a disabled employee simply cannot perform his or her job to the standards you legitimately expect. If you make reasonable accommodations and try to find a way for the employee to successfully perform the essential functions of the job, you have done all you are required to do. You can terminate the employee for poor performance.

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Beverly Hills-based Global Horizons, Inc., awaits a trial to determine damages that will go to Thai workers who toiled at Hawaiian plantations.

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