The HR Specialist: California Employment Law

Employers that do background checks that come back negative should be able to rely on their good-faith efforts to prevent harm to employees and others. After all, employers should only be liable for harm they reasonably could expect would happen.

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Sure, everyone knows that employees who make a good-faith complaint alleging some form of discrimination are protected from retaliation. But that doesn’t mean that no one can criticize the employee for making the complaint in a way that’s out of line. If he or she is discourteous, you can and should put an end to the disruptive behavior.

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When the EEOC decides that a discrimination claim is valid and orders a remedy, that should signal that the case is about to be put to bed. If you pay up what the agency says you owe, the employee can’t turn around and sue for additional money unless he also rejects the rest of the settlement.

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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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