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The HR Specialist: California Employment Law

California employees of several supermarkets and drug stores will receive their share of a $15 million settlement in a class-action wage suit. Approximately 200,000 employees of Albertsons, Lucky Stores and Sav-On Drugs will each receive up to $350 if their employment ended between Sept. 29, 1996, and Dec. 31, 2004 …

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California’s hands-free cell phone legislation went into effect on July 1. Employers that don’t yet have a policy addressing driving while using a cell phone should create one now. Here’s why: If an employee is involved in an accident while breaking the law—by driving and using a cell phone without a hands-free device—the employer may be liable for any damages …

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Employees who fear their jobs are in danger often try to find some way to protect themselves from being fired. For example, the employee will suddenly report sexual harassment, take FMLA leave or claim he or she has a disability that needs accommodation. Don’t dismiss those claims without an investigation …

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The California Legislature concluded back in 1999 that employees should be able to use any sick leave their employers provide to care for sick family members—whether or not the employers’ policies allow them to do so. Employers can’t skirt that entitlement by not using the term “sick leave” or otherwise creating policies that are hard to pin down …

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California’s Economic Employment Enforcement Coalition (EEEC) has issued 42 citations following a California Labor and Workforce Development Agency sweep of 22 garment manufacturers in Los Angeles and Orange counties. In addition to citations, the EEEC issued fines totaling $457,000 …

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A California judge recently certified a class of about 250 to 300 technical writers employed by Sun Microsystems and SeeBeyond Technology who claimed they were misclassified as exempt from overtime pay and denied meal breaks …

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Maria Isabel Vasquez Jimenez was a 17-year-old undocumented immigrant and pregnant when she died in May while pruning grapevines in 100-degree temperatures. It shouldn’t have happened, since California is the only state with a heat-illness standard for agricultural workers. Her employer, Merced Farm Labor, had already been issued three citations for violating the standards …

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Good news for employers that ultimately bear the cost of workers’ compensation insurance and medical treatments: The Court of Appeal of California has refused to overturn legislation that limits the number of chiropractic treatments an employee can receive for any one industrial accident …

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Building security officers employed by Inter-Con Security Systems and seeking representation by the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) staged a series of one-day strikes in May at 23 California Kaiser Permanente medical facilities …

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The EEOC has filed suit against California-based fruit smoothie retailer Jamba Juice, alleging the company allowed one of its managers to sexually harass several female employees. The EEOC says the company disciplined the manager, but then promoted him two months later … 

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