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The HR Specialist: California Employment Law

Due to a legislative quirk, the Fair Labor Standards Act doesn’t cover many employees who deliver goods via the nation’s highways. Instead, the drivers are excluded under the FLSA’s motor carrier safety exemption. But it’s not so simple …

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The National Labor Relations Board has concluded that employers are free to forbid employee use of their systems for “nonjob-related solicitations.” The long-awaited decision says that an employer has the right to restrict use of its e-mail system based on its property interest in the computer equipment …

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Punishing someone who has filed EEOC or other discrimination claims is illegal. But that shouldn’t stop you from enforcing reasonable rules. Courts won’t ordinarily view as retaliation minor disciplinary actions that don’t cost employees any pay or benefits …

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Does your organization use an employment contract for some employees? If so, does that contract specify that either party can terminate the agreement for any or no reason at all? If not, insert that language right away. It will help you retain maximum control over the work force while benefiting from having the other terms and conditions in writing …

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You can’t legislate good taste. But that shouldn’t stop you from having and enforcing dress and grooming rules. How you enforce those rules, however, can make the difference between needless litigation and a productive workplace. Don’t joke around about an employee’s dress or style. Instead, call the person into a meeting and discuss the problem in private …

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The owner of several Sonoma County McDonald’s restaurants has agreed to pay $1,155,407 to settle wage-and-hour claims brought by its workers. A class of approximately 1,000 workers claimed that DCT Inc. and Mendes Family Enterprises Inc. denied them overtime pay and breaks …

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The California Supreme Court has ruled that unions and their supporters generally are free to urge customers shopping in private malls to boycott retailers at that mall. The ruling builds on earlier decisions that held that free-speech rights granted to California citizens in the state constitution are broader than those in the U.S. Constitution …

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The controversial San Francisco city plan to roll out universal health care coverage for residents won a huge victory when the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled unanimously that the plan could go ahead. The court allowed the city to proceed with its plan to require all businesses with more than 20 employees to pay a fee to help cover health care costs …

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When it comes to filing a sexual harassment claim under California’s Fair Employment and Housing Act, employees have just one year from the date of the alleged sexual harassment to file a complaint. Missing that deadline bars the employee from suing. But sexual harassment rarely occurs in a vacuum, and there’s rarely just one incident …

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Some applicants clearly have chips on their shoulders. Some go as far as to proclaim they think they are being discriminated against before they even have a chance to turn down job offers. As the following case shows, applicants can’t create retaliation cases simply by letting you know they think you are about to discriminate against them …

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