The HR Specialist: California Employment Law

If you want to take advantage of the arbitration process to resolve workplace issues, make sure the arbitration agreement you give employees covers enough territory. Remember, for example, to include statutory claims in the language. If you don’t, employees will still be able to sue in court to enforce those laws.

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In what may be a classic case of “do as I say, not as I do,” a California appeals court has ruled that public employers in the state don’t have to follow the same state overtime and pay rules that apply to private employers.

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A state court of appeals recently ruled that Richmond-based Dicon Fiberoptics adequately pleaded its claim against California’s Franchise Tax Board in a case involving a tax credit for hiring disadvantaged workers.

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Rep. Susan Davis (D-Calif.) recently introduced a bill in the U.S. House of Representatives that would add mandatory coverage for second opinions on medical treatments under several laws, including ERISA.

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Yes, you read right. Four billion dollars. Billion—with a “B”! A California superior court recently confirmed an award of $4.1 billion against a Chinese company, its U.S. affiliate and its founder after an arbitrator found them liable in a compensation dispute with a former executive.

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Here’s something to keep in mind when you are tempted to give an employee a choice between termination and early retirement: He may allege that the retirement option was really a constructive discharge.

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A federal judge recently approved an $8 million settlement between UPS and approximately 38,000 current and former California employees. The workers alleged the company failed to provide meal and rest breaks and did not pay terminated employees their wages on a timely basis.

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If you are a public employer, you know how hard it is to punish an employee. Now the California Court of Appeal has made it a little easier by overturning a Civil Service Commission decision that merely slapped a harasser on the wrist. Now it’s clear that government employers have to take serious measures to end harassment in the workplace.

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Employers sometimes can’t get arbitration agreements to stick in California. Now an appellate court has finally upheld such an agreement.

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In a case that illustrates why you should review all your employment decisions for potential hidden bias, a California appeals court has ruled that employees can use other employees to testify that they, too, were discriminated against in the same way.

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