The HR Specialist: California Employment Law

The Court of Appeal of California has held that an employer cannot compel arbitration of a wage claim when the language in the parties’ arbitration agreement excluded wage-and-hour claims.

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Simply put, immigration status isn’t relevant to whether an employer violated the FLSA by paying less than minimum wage or failed to pay proper overtime. However, if the worker is cooperating with the DOL in an FLSA case, the employer may demand to know whether the worker may receive something of value for his testimony.

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Lately, courts have landed hard on attorneys who take so-called frivolous cases, hoping to wrestle a quick settlement from ­employers eager to make the case go away. That should theoretically reduce the number of frivolous lawsuits. It probably won’t.

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In a few short weeks, California employers with 50 or more em­­ployees must change their training programs to include new material. Effective Jan. 1, anti-bullying training is mandatory for covered employers thanks to Gov. Jerry Brown’s signature on A.B. 2053 back in September.

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Employees have to wait a year before becoming eligible for FMLA leave. But you should let them know about the law and what benefits it provides before they hit their one-year anniversary. This is especially true if you have been denying time off for a serious health condition during the first year.

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On Oct. 6, the U.S. Supreme Court declined to review all seven same-sex marriage cases pending before it. The Court’s refusal to hear the appeals meant that the lower court decisions striking down same-sex marriage bans in Indiana,  Oklahoma, Utah, Virginia and Wisconsin took effect right away. The immediate effects are twofold.

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On Saturday, Aug. 30, 2014, in the early morning hours and amid controversy among labor supporters, the California Legislature passed a bill that provides workers with three paid sick days per year. Gov. Jerry Brown enthusiastically endorsed the bill’s passage and signed it into law on Sept. 10.

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Q. I recently discharged some of my employees. How long must I retain their employment records? Are there different rules for electronic records versus paper ones?

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Here’s a warning for employers facing litigation: Don’t wait to check whether the employee filed EEOC or other administrative claims on time. Raise the issue early.

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Employers often confuse the strict rules limiting the docking of exempt employees’ salary with different rules relating to partial-day deductions under vacation or paid time off policies.

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