The HR Specialist: California Employment Law

For years, many California courts refused to enforce class-action waivers, exposing California businesses to class-action liability regardless of any agreement with employees or customers to forgo class litigation. The U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in AT&T Mobility v. Concepcion was supposed to change all that. It didn’t.

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Courts are losing patience with employees who are overly sensitive when it comes to joking and off-color comments in the workplace, and are tossing out flimsy lawsuits because it’s not their role to manage workplaces.

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When you buy a business, the employees generally don’t automatically transfer. Typically, the new owner decides which employees to keep on the payroll. Before you exclude any existing employees from consideration, make sure that rejecting them won’t look like a failure to hire because they have previously filed discrimination litigation.

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San Diego Mayor Bob Filner has resigned after settling sexual harassment claims against him.

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Before you jump for joy when an employee acts as her own lawyer in a federal lawsuit, consider this: Courts give pro se litigants lots of leeway, as this case shows.

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In an important decision on whether employers can limit an employee’s access to an administrative hearing on wage claims, the California Supreme Court has ordered the parties to file supplemental briefs in light of a recent U.S. Supreme Court decision. In American Express Co. v. Italian Colors Restaurant, the U.S. Supreme Court confirmed its long-standing rule that arbitration clauses under the Federal Arbitration Act will be enforced.

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We all use psychological lingo to describe behavior we find annoying or disturbing. But when such terms are used in the workplace, that armchair analysis can create needless legal headaches.

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By focusing on wage theft and retaliation claims instead of broad enforcement efforts, California’s Labor Department has managed to assess more than $51 million in civil penalties against businesses found to be in violation of state labor laws.

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By 2016, California may have the nation’s highest minimum wage—$10 per hour—after the state Legislature approved a two-step plan to raise the rate from its current $8 per hour.

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Good news for employers that want to settle employment-related disputes through arbitration instead of risking a jury trial. The Court of Appeal of California has upheld an arbitration agreement that was presented to all employees when they were hired.

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