The HR Specialist: California Employment Law

Disneyland Resort workers have filed a lawsuit claiming the Walt Disney Co. is violating state law by encoding workers’ identification cards with their Social Security numbers. The workers say they’re worried that the encoded information on their ID cards could be accessed using barcode scanners such as the kind commonly available as smartphone apps.

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Here’s a tip that can save your organization from a large disability discrimination verdict sometime down the line: Whenever an employee discloses that he may need some sort of disability accommodation, make sure you carefully document the request and your response.

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Many employers have adopted strict drug and alcohol testing programs for all new hires—and strictly bar employment of anyone who tests positive. Now the 9th Circuit has ruled that applying the rule to a recovering addict is legal unless that addict can somehow prove that the rule discriminates against a class of disabled individuals—namely, recovering addicts.

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Good news for employers: The Court of Appeal of California has found that claims adjusters are exempt administrative employees not entitled to overtime. The court rejected the notion that all claims adjusters who work for insurance companies are nonexempt employees without regard to the work they actually perform.

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The Court of Appeal of California has ruled that employers are only required to make meal and other breaks available to employees. They don’t have to force employees to take those breaks or eat a meal. Your only obligation: Make sure that no work is required to be performed during scheduled break time.

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The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled that the Back Pay Act allows judges to order interest payments to federal government employees who win discrimination lawsuits if the employees were affected by “an unjustified or unwarranted personnel action which resulted in the withdrawal or reduction of all or part” of the employee’s pay.

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The International Union of Operating Engineers and Local 721 of the Serv­ice Employees International Union are suing the city of Los Angeles in the wake of last summer’s mandatory furlough of thousands of municipal employees.

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A recent Court of Appeal of California case clarifies that employers that fail to provide appropriate rest and meal breaks must pay a penalty—referred to as a premium payment—for each missed break each day. An employer had argued it only had to pay one penalty per day.

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Employers and employees can agree that up to eight hours of uninterrupted sleep time does not have to be paid.

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The California Supreme Court has ruled that arbitration agreements are not enforceable if they require employees to arbitrate wage claims before they have a nonbinding administrative hearing before the State Labor Commissioner.

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