The HR Specialist: California Employment Law

California has two new laws affecting employers in the state. The first, signed into law in Au­­gust, applies to employers that prevail in wage-related lawsuits. It limits their ability to obtain attorneys’ fee awards. The second, signed in September, raises California’s minimum wage to $10 per hour by January 2016.

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Back when Congress was debating the initial passage of the FMLA, there was considerable discussion about what kinds of illnesses would entitle an employee to FMLA protection. If in doubt, ask for a medical certification. Decide whether to approve or deny FMLA leave based on what the certification says.

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The EEOC claims managers at a Farmers Insurance Exchange office in Fresno scapegoated two Asian-American adjusters after an improper coding scandal came to light. It also asserts a white adjuster was fired in retaliation for cooperating with the EEOC’s investigation.

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Here’s a good reason to check with your insurance agent on your vehicle accident coverage. A California appellate court has ruled that when an employer requires an employee to use her personal vehicle to visit clients or conduct other company business, the employer may be liable for injuries if she causes an accident.

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The EEOC has filed suit against Madera-based Zoria Farms and its predecessor company, alleging it fired several women after they complained of rampant sexual harassment.

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When female workers sought temporary jobs at a warehouse, they were told that the temp agency, Los Angeles-based Industrial Labor Man­­age­­ment Group (ILM), was only hiring men for the positions. The women complained to the EEOC, which is now suing the firm for sex discrimination.

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Think your business is too small to be covered by Cal-OSHA safety regulations? Think again.

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The hit television reality show “Stor­­age Wars” has suffered a legal set­­back. A court in Los Angeles has given one of its former stars, Dave Hester, the go-ahead to sue the show’s producers and the A&E cable TV network for retaliation.

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Private employers have the right to set their own dress and grooming codes. Within limits, that includes restricting an employee’s facial hair and insisting on a clean-shaven face unless an employee can’t shave because of a documented medical condition or religious requirement.

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Public employees can’t be punished for speaking out on matters of public importance, as long as doing so isn’t an official part of their jobs. Until now, it has been an open question whether a police officer’s complaints about police brutality were protected.

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