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The HR Specialist: California Employment Law

A forecast by the U.S. Conference of Mayors says the Los Angeles area will suffer some of the largest job losses in the nation in 2009. It’s expected to lose about 164,000 jobs this year …

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Tell managers and supervisors not to embellish the reasons for discharging an employee. If they do, they risk the potential for a defamation lawsuit. That may be true even if the former employee is compelled to repeat the allegedly false information.

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The California Labor Code prohibits potential employers from asking about marijuana possession convictions more than two years old. But sometimes, federal law overrides state law—and that’s the case for employers that are hiring potential employees to work in pharmacies.

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The Orange County Register recently agreed to pay $22 million to settle a class action brought by its paper carriers, who claimed the newspaper misclassified them as independent contractors rather than employees. The settlement will bring to an end a two-month trial against the newspaper.

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A government employee has won a jury trial against Contra Costa County, and the verdict may cost the county more than $1 million.

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Fifteen companies headquartered in California have made the 2009 Fortune magazine “100 Best Companies to Work For” list. Why did so many California companies make the list? Great benefits seem to be the reason.

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California State University Fresno has settled a suit brought by a female former volleyball coach who accused the school of sex discrimination. The settlement was reached 18 months after a California Superior Court jury returned a $5.85 million verdict in the favor of Lindy Vivas …

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The downturn has hit California hard. Many stable California employers find themselves for the first time contemplating reductions in force in order to survive. If you’re considering a large-scale layoff, be prepared to familiarize yourself with California’s version of the federal Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification (WARN) Act.

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Workers who alleged they had to endure marathon schedules while working on reality television shows such as “Trading Spouses” and “The Bachelor” have agreed to settle their lawsuits …

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Not every little lost privilege or benefit translates into a winning lawsuit for employees. Minor changes such as temporarily losing the use of a company car aren’t serious enough to constitute an “adverse employment action.”

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