The HR Specialist: California Employment Law

Employers can read any e-mails sent using company-owned computers or other devices, as long as they inform employees they should have no expectation the communication is confidential. That’s true even of e-mails an employee sends to an attorney to discuss a potential lawsuit against the employer.

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It’s not enough to have a sexual harassment policy. You had better be prepared to enforce it—no matter who is doing the harassing. In the following case, family ties cost a bundle for an employer that turned a blind eye to harassment.

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Sometimes, it’s possible for an employee to have two employers. That’s often the case when a temporary service provides workers for a client, and both the temp company and the client exercise significant control over how and when the work is performed. But now there’s a new wrinkle.

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When a union asks an employer for the names and contact information of employees who do not belong to the union, employers must first inform the employees of the request and give them an opportunity to object, according to a recent California Court of Appeal decision.

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The California Paid Family Leave Law that went into effect in 2004 hasn’t increased employer costs or hurt productivity as critics once predicted, according to a new study.

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As of Jan. 1, California employers with 15 or more employees must provide up to 30 days of paid leave to employees making organ donations, and up to five days of paid leave to employees who donate bone marrow.

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Orange County’s Laundry Room Clothing had a hard time making payroll during the depths of the Great Recession. Now the men’s fashion manufacturer must make amends big time to the employees it stiffed.

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The rules for meal and rest breaks just got a little more flexible for some California employers, following enactment of a new state law that exempts some construction workers, commercial drivers, security guards and utility workers from the state’s usual break requirements.

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What happens if a union passes a dues increase in the middle of the year—perhaps in an election year? Can the union collect the increased amount and then adjust it at the beginning of the next year? According to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, that’s exactly the way to handle the increase.

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The Court of Appeal of California has ruled that employees can’t pursue related claims in different forums at the same time.

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