The HR Specialist: California Employment Law

It’s easier for employees to prove retaliation for complaining about discrimination than it is to prove the underlying complaint. When disciplining someone who has complained, make sure each infraction is iron-clad—and don’t pile on additional dubious charges.

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Surviving relatives of employees who were exposed to nuclear radiation at a La Jolla defense contractor’s facility are now eligible for compensation.

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Here’s an important reminder for managers handling workers returning from medical leave who may qualify as disabled: Placing workers in a temporary job may be part of an accommodation but that doesn’t end the process.

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Here are seven hot-button topics that California HR leaders should stay on top of. Practical advice will help you comply with a shifting employment law landscape.

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C&H Collins-Hartwell Programs, a Southern California provider of medical day care, must pay 32 employees $344,000 in back pay and damages after the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division found it only paid straight time to workers who worked more than 40 hours in a week.

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Employees of the Seafood Peddler restaurant in San Rafael have netted $185,000 after a jury determined the restaurant and its owner retaliated against them for cooperating with a U.S. Department of Labor Wage and Hour Division investigation into the eatery’s pay practices.

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It’s not always possible to accommodate an employee’s disability. Employers do have to consider possible accommodations that allow a disabled employee to retain his job. However, it is unreasonable to expect the employer to entirely eliminate an essential job function.

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A lawsuit filed in California alleges that Handy, the sharing economy’s version of a cleaning service, is playing dirty with its workers. Like its brethren—Uber, Taskrabbits and others—the company uses independent contractors instead of employees.

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San Jose-based Electronics for Imaging (EFI) will have to pay $40,156 to eight workers it brought in from India. A U.S. Department of Labor Wage and Hour Division investigation found the company required workers to put in as many as 122 hours per week and paid as little as the equivalent of $1.21 per hour in Indian rupees.

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Here’s a warning for new supervisors who want to replace long-term employees with individuals of their own choosing: They could be courting a discrimination lawsuit if the replacements belong to a different protected class and aren’t as qualified as those being replaced.

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