The HR Specialist: California Employment Law

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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Four major Silicon Valley-based tech companies—Apple, Google, Intel and Adobe Systems—announced a settlement in April in a closely watched lawsuit accusing them of conspiring to hold down salaries in the tech industry.

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More employees are acting as their own attorneys when they sue employers or prospective employers. The reason may be simple: Word is getting around that some federal courts are making it easy to do.

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Oakland-based Lange Trucking and its owners shortchanged their employees’ 401(k) program by nearly $2 million, according to a U.S. Department of Labor Wage and Hour Division investigation.

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The Jet Propulsion Laboratory at the California Institute of Technology was schooled in the NLRA after it disciplined five employees who challenged lab policies.

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California employees have additional rights to family and medical leave under the California Family Rights Act (CFRA). Don’t require an employee to provide an FMLA certification form if she is seeking CFRA leave.

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While HR professionals certainly should strive to create a respectful, courteous and pleasant workplace, don’t worry too much if you fall short. The fact is, supervisors sometimes play favorites and exhibit questionable judgment.

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If you happen to use an arbitration agreement in employment contracts for out-of-state telecommuters, be aware that you may have to specify what state law you want to apply to the contract. Otherwise, the court will likely presume the employee’s state of residence applies.

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