The HR Specialist: California Employment Law

High-ranking and well-paid employees occasionally think about jumping ship and starting competing companies. And sometimes they try to poach business as they prepare to launch their own enterprises. An employer may never know until it’s too late that a presumably loyal employee was working against its best interests. If that happens to you, consult an attorney right away! In many cases, the former employee may be liable for any losses his predatory behavior caused.

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The California Supreme Court has ruled that employers that don’t have a formal sick-leave accrual policy don’t have to pay employees for leave they take to care for a family member. So-called “kin-care” benefits apply only if employees earn sick leave over the course of their employment.

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Some disabled employees seem to believe they can get whatever accommodation they want. That’s not true. In reality, California’s Fair Employment and Housing Act gives employers great leeway to choose accommodations that suit their businesses. That can include telling the employee to take medical leave until she is well enough to return.

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Employees with multiple medical problems may need to be off work at unpredictable times. That can be a problem if a no-fault attendance policy requires terminating an employee with too many absences. If you don’t want to fire an otherwise good worker, it’s perfectly reasonable to accommodate him by excusing him from the attendance policy—as long as he can provide a doctor’s note.

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California courts are hard on employers that force employees to sign arbitration agreements. Judges often find these agreements unconscionable. And one of the quickest ways to end up with an unconscionable and invalid agreement is to cut the time an employee has to file a claim.

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Current and former drivers of Bimbo Bakeries USA who sued the company for allegedly breaking California’s meal and rest break laws are now offering to settle for $3.75 million. In the original action, drivers also charged Bimbo Bakeries with violating the Fair Labor Standards Act by failing to pay them overtime.

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Staffing Services, a temp agency, must pay $20 million in restitution to resolve a workers’ compensation insurance fraud case recently heard in a Los Angeles court. The $20 million was a bargain. The defendants originally faced up to 24 years in state prison, in addition to another $40 million in fines.

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Staffing Services, a temp agency, must pay $20 million in restitution to resolve a workers’ compensation insurance fraud case recently heard in a Los Angeles court. The $20 million was a bargain. The defendants originally faced up to 24 years in state prison, in addition to another $40 million in fines.

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State Sen. Mark Wyland, a Republican who represents San Diego County, recently introduced a bill that would exempt armored car companies from having to comply with California’s laws requiring rest and meal breaks for some employees.

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State Sen. Mark Wyland, a Republican who represents San Diego County, recently introduced a bill that would exempt armored car companies from having to comply with California’s laws requiring rest and meal breaks for some employees.

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