The HR Specialist: California Employment Law

When it comes to securing em­­ployees’ email accounts against internal hacking, leave nothing to chance. Make it clear that you forbid employees from illegitimately accessing co-workers’ email—and that it’s grounds for dismissal.

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Many an employee has filed a lawsuit, lost … and found herself still working for the company she sued. Little wonder that she might sense retaliation in every subsequent action that hurts her career. Prepare for that possibility by making it a point to document how her supervisors treat her after her case runs its course.

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In April, the Cali­­for­­nia Supreme Court finally issued its opinion in Brinker v. Superior Court. In a major victory for California employers, the court issued clear rules on how and when employee meal and rest periods must be provided.

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In a case that tested the limits of an employer’s attendance policy, a nurse who had requested an accommodation that would have excused her from her employer’s five un­­planned absences limit has lost her appeal and won’t have her case reinstated. The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the dismissal of the nurse’s lawsuit.

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A state Court of Appeals has ruled that Cal/OSHA does not have to produce 2,200 files covering several years in a lawsuit over enforcement of California’s regulations designed to safeguard workers from work-related heat illness.

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The U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division announced in April that it’s cracking down on alleged restaurant-industry violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act in Los Angeles and San Francisco.

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The $153 billion California State Teachers’ Retirement System, which holds more than 5.3 million shares of Walmart stock, has sued the retail giant following allegations in April that executives in its Mexican division offered millions of dollars to Mexican officials in exchange for expediting building permits.

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On April 26, Gov. Jerry Brown signed a bill denying state construction funds to cities that have ordinances that restrict the use of project labor agreements (PLAs).

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Congratulations! You just won a lawsuit filed by an employee who said you cheated him out of meal breaks. Now, can you get the employee to reimburse your legal fees? No, said the California Supreme Court.

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Employees sometimes don’t agree with the way their union resolves complaints. But that doesn’t mean they can sue the union under the Cali­­for­­nia Fair Employment and Hous­­ing Act. They must use federal law as the basis for their lawsuits.

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