The HR Specialist: California Employment Law

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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These days, employees and their attorneys often go to great lengths to intimidate employers. One way to do that is to file a huge lawsuit—one that takes up pages and pages, and includes a laundry list of allegations … Before you panic, call your attorneys

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Now is a good time to review the eligibility requirements for your health and welfare benefits plans. If you word them correctly, you can exclude people who work for the company under third-party contracts …

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A federal judge has given final approval to the settlement of a race discrimination lawsuit brought by financial advisors against Morgan Stanley & Co. Inc. The settlement establishes a $16 million fund, of which $14 million will be divided among class members who submitted claims.

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Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has signed a bill that will eliminate overtime pay for certain computer professionals. Assembly Bill 10 creates an overtime exemption for computer professionals working in California who are engaged in “intellectual or creative” work …

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The Kaiser Foundation Health Plan has agreed to settle a class-action wage-and-hour lawsuit brought by 770 California employees. Under the terms of the settlement, Kaiser agreed to pay $5.4 million, $3.7 million of which will go directly to the class members who claimed they were misclassified …

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The EEOC has settled a lawsuit it filed against Texas-based Cadit Co., which was doing work for the San Francisco Municipal Railway. The agency said Cadit allowed a foreman to harass a Chinese-American welder.

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California’s Labor Code provides substantial protection for hourly workers by requiring that their employers offer meal breaks during long shifts. But what happens if you tell employees when to take their meal breaks, and they don’t?

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