The HR Specialist: California Employment Law

California courts are hard on employers that force employees to sign arbitration agreements. Judges often find these agreements unconscionable. And one of the quickest ways to end up with an unconscionable and invalid agreement is to cut the time an employee has to file a claim.

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Current and former drivers of Bimbo Bakeries USA who sued the company for allegedly breaking California’s meal and rest break laws are now offering to settle for $3.75 million. In the original action, drivers also charged Bimbo Bakeries with violating the Fair Labor Standards Act by failing to pay them overtime.

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Staffing Services, a temp agency, must pay $20 million in restitution to resolve a workers’ compensation insurance fraud case recently heard in a Los Angeles court. The $20 million was a bargain. The defendants originally faced up to 24 years in state prison, in addition to another $40 million in fines.

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Staffing Services, a temp agency, must pay $20 million in restitution to resolve a workers’ compensation insurance fraud case recently heard in a Los Angeles court. The $20 million was a bargain. The defendants originally faced up to 24 years in state prison, in addition to another $40 million in fines.

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State Sen. Mark Wyland, a Republican who represents San Diego County, recently introduced a bill that would exempt armored car companies from having to comply with California’s laws requiring rest and meal breaks for some employees.

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State Sen. Mark Wyland, a Republican who represents San Diego County, recently introduced a bill that would exempt armored car companies from having to comply with California’s laws requiring rest and meal breaks for some employees.

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The Superior Super Warehouse chain of grocery stores must pay $79,200 in penalties for allowing teenage employees to operate dangerous equipment. The U.S. Department of Labor cited the chain for violations of the Fair Labor Standard Act’s child labor provisions at 33 stores in Southern California.

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Generally, public employees are entitled to a hearing before they are terminated. But in some government functions, employees who work at senior levels are deemed to be serving at the pleasure of the head of their agency or unit.

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As part of a wider crackdown on companies that violate worker protection laws, California Attorney General Edmund G. Brown Jr. filed a lawsuit alleging that a Los Angeles car wash, Auto Spa Express, failed to pay minimum wage and overtime to its employees and denied them workers’ compensation benefits.

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The California Department of Parks and Recreation recently settled a sexual harassment lawsuit brought in August of 2008 by a park ranger who argued that she was harassed and experienced gender and sexual-orientation discrimination during the six years she worked at San Onofre and San Clemente State Beaches.

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