The HR Specialist: California Employment Law

The California Supreme Court has issued a decision in a closely watched construction liability case that involved an independent contractor’s injury. It concluded that true independent contractors working in construction are responsible for making sure the workplace is safe and can’t claim that the hiring contractor or owner was liable for any resulting injuries.

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Employers aren’t allowed to retaliate against employees for participating in another employee’s discrimination case. But sometimes supervisors get frustrated and may threaten some form of retaliation. If that happens and you find out about it, act fast. Make sure the threat is never carried out.

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Employees who don’t belong to the same protected class as one that is the subject of alleged harassment can’t successfully sue over that harassment except in limited circumstances. Certainly try to stop all harassment based on protected class membership, but don’t worry too much that any employee can sue.

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Chicago-based Standard Parking Corp. recently settled a wage-and-hour lawsuit brought by current and former California parking attendants, valets and cashiers. The company will pay more than $4 million to some 7,100 employees.

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A bill that would give California farm workers overtime pay for working fewer hours per week was recently approved in the state Senate. The bill, S.B. 1211, would allow farm workers to receive overtime pay for working more than 40 hours in a week, down from the current 60-hour threshold.

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A bill that would give California farm workers overtime pay for working fewer hours per week was recently approved in the state Senate. The bill, S.B. 1211, would allow farm workers to receive overtime pay for working more than 40 hours in a week, down from the current 60-hour threshold.

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A group of in-home health care aides who claim the state illegally reduced their wages can file a class-action lawsuit, following a ruling by the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California. According to the workers, who are part of the state’s In-Home Support Services (IHSS) program, California violated federal law when it cut state employees’ pay in an effort to balance the state budget.

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A group of in-home health care aides who claim the state illegally reduced their wages can file a class-action lawsuit, following a ruling by the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California. According to the workers, who are part of the state’s In-Home Support Services (IHSS) program, California violated federal law when it cut state employees’ pay in an effort to balance the state budget.

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The U.S. Supreme Court has held that a police department’s search of an officer’s text messages was reasonable and didn’t violate the officer’s Fourth Amendment rights. The court said that even if the officer had a reasonable expectation of privacy in his text messages, the search was motivated by a legitimate work-related purpose and was not excessive in scope.

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Employers aren’t allowed to delve into an employee’s disabilities or medical history when that employee wants to keep the information private—unless the employer can show a job-related reason for doing so. To qualify, the inquiry must be narrowly tailored to assess whether the employee is capable of performing the essential functions of his job. Broad questions often run afoul of the law.

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