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The HR Specialist: California Employment Law

Remind all hiring managers and supervisors that absolutely no racial slurs are allowed during an interview—not even in passing or in jest. Applicants who aren’t hired will get a jury trial if they can show that someone with hiring authority uttered a racial slur.

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The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals had ruled that cruise lines and the unions who negotiate labor contracts on behalf of the “seamen” who work on cruise ships can agree that all disputes go to arbitration, and that employment contracts that include arbitration clauses are enforceable.

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Faced with California’s ongoing budget crisis, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenneger announced that all state workers must take two unpaid days off every month beginning in February. The austerity measure didn’t sit very well with two labor unions …

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A group of police officers recently filed suit against the city and county of San Francisco, claiming the police department has repeatedly promoted and given raises to younger employees instead of to more experienced, older officers.

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Roberto Hernandez, who used to work in American Apparel’s inventory and IT operation, claims he was fired for refusing to pad the company’s stats at CEO Dov Charney’s request. Now he’s filed suit against the company, alleging wrongful termination, breach of contract, infliction of emotional distress and other charges.

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Claims adjusters may be exempt from overtime under the California Industrial Welfare Commission Wage Order No. 4. Reason: They’re administrative employees.

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If you thought that one advantage of using independent contractors was that those contractors couldn’t sue you for injuries suffered at work, think again.

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Are you looking for a way to discourage employees from using the company e-mail system to send personal messages and curtail circulation of potentially harassing or discriminatory communication? Then tell them about the case involving Henry T. Nicholas III, the embattled co-founder of Broadcom.

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A California appeals court has overturned a large punitive damages jury award in a case involving underpaid wages and missed meal and break periods. Had the court upheld the awards, employers would have had a whole new reason to lose sleep over inaccurate payroll records.

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California’s Fair Employment and Housing Act protects employees from sexual harassment by co-workers. But what happens if management stops the harassment but the co-workers find other ways to make life miserable for their victims? It’s HR’s responsibility to make sure a victim of sexual harassment isn’t targeted for other mistreatment …

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