The HR Specialist: California Employment Law

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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Federal government employees who want to bring discrimination and harassment charges must complain to their agency’s equal employment opportunity officer within 45 days of the alleged event. However, when it comes to so-called continual violations, even one incident occurring within that 45-day period will bring earlier incidents into play.

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Some employers provide rental housing so employees can live near their work sites. If you do, be aware that employee injuries that happen near that housing can open a legal can of worms that will leave you wishing you only had to deal with a workers’ compensation claim.

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Ever felt déjà vu when an employee claimed she was suffering retaliation because of a prior discrimination or harassment complaint? If what the employee describes sounds familiar, watch out. You may have a serial retaliator on your hands, and those earlier incidents may end up being used to prove retaliation has occurred again.

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California has one of the nation’s most complex set of laws covering employees who need time off for illness, disability, pregnancy and parenting. Federal and state laws combine to create a complicated mess.

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Effective July 1, 2015, deadlines for reconsideration or appeal of unemployment insurance benefit rulings, determinations, computation or administrative law judge decisions will be extended from 20 days to 30 days.

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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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