The HR Specialist: California Employment Law

Workers who alleged they had to endure marathon schedules while working on reality television shows such as “Trading Spouses” and “The Bachelor” have agreed to settle their lawsuits …

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When it comes to reducing the time and expense of litigation, be careful what you wish for. Attorneys often advise employers to consider adopting arbitration clauses to settle employment disputes. With arbitration, no jury is involved; the case stays out of court; there’s no bad publicity; and it may be cheaper—or maybe not.

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California’s Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) requires employers whose disabled employees ask for accommodations to “engage in a timely, good faith, interactive process with the employee … to determine effective reasonable accommodations.” The key is to act promptly.

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Remind all hiring managers and supervisors that absolutely no racial slurs are allowed during an interview—not even in passing or in jest. Applicants who aren’t hired will get a jury trial if they can show that someone with hiring authority uttered a racial slur.

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The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals had ruled that cruise lines and the unions who negotiate labor contracts on behalf of the “seamen” who work on cruise ships can agree that all disputes go to arbitration, and that employment contracts that include arbitration clauses are enforceable.

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If you thought that one advantage of using independent contractors was that those contractors couldn’t sue you for injuries suffered at work, think again.

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Claims adjusters may be exempt from overtime under the California Industrial Welfare Commission Wage Order No. 4. Reason: They’re administrative employees.

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Roberto Hernandez, who used to work in American Apparel’s inventory and IT operation, claims he was fired for refusing to pad the company’s stats at CEO Dov Charney’s request. Now he’s filed suit against the company, alleging wrongful termination, breach of contract, infliction of emotional distress and other charges.

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A group of police officers recently filed suit against the city and county of San Francisco, claiming the police department has repeatedly promoted and given raises to younger employees instead of to more experienced, older officers.

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Faced with California’s ongoing budget crisis, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenneger announced that all state workers must take two unpaid days off every month beginning in February. The austerity measure didn’t sit very well with two labor unions …

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