The HR Specialist: California Employment Law

Fortune magazine has tallied the 100 best companies to work for in 2014 and 17 California firms made the list. Five of the top 10 are based in Cali­­fornia—and one heads the list.

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Sedona Staffing and several associated firms have agreed to settle a flurry of discrimination charges with the EEOC.

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With strong policies, employees (and their lawyers) will find it much harder to mount class-action wage-and-hour lawsuits. That’s because employees have to show that a common policy or practice was responsible for wage-and-hour violations.

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Some employees end up suing their employers without an attorney’s help. That doesn’t mean you should follow suit and treat the case lightly. While it may seem like a slam-dunk case, chances are the court will give the employee several chances to present his best argument.

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Now is a good time to make sure your employees are being properly reimbursed for expenses they incur while performing their jobs. The problem: If they aren’t reimbursed for those expenses, their pay may fall below minimum wage. And if that’s the case, they can quit and sue, alleging constructive discharge.

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Here’s a warning for federal government employers: Just about any internal complaint about agency wrongdoing may be protected activity under the Whistleblower Pro­­tec­­tion Act (WPA).

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Vallejo-based Pace Solano has settled charges it violated the ADA when it withdrew an employment offer after discovering the applicant’s disability. Pace Solano provides services for Solano County citizens with developmental disabilities.

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Here’s a novel situation: What do you do if you learn that someone is undermining a manager or HR director’s efforts to stop sexual harassment by enforcing company rules? If you ignore the manager’s complaint, she may sue the company for allowing sexual harassment to flourish.

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The California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH), California’s civil rights agency, submits an annual report each calendar year to the governor and the state legislature. The latest report shows growing trends toward more filings related to disability, race and gender-based discrimination.

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Don’t let your organization fall into the retaliation trap. Make sure all supervisors understand that nothing should change for an employee after he files a discrimination complaint without prior approval from HR. Then, act only if it’s clear the proposed action has nothing to do with the complaint.

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