The HR Specialist: California Employment Law

When deciding on whether an employee is exempt or hourly, be prepared to justify why you classified an employee into the category you did. If you have any doubts about classification, seek out professional help. Getting it wrong can get very expensive, especially if you have incorrectly classified an entire group, and a court allows a class- or collective-action claim …

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Here’s some good news from the litigation front. In some cases, employees who file frivolous discrimination lawsuits may actually end up reaching into their own wallets—to pay their employers’ legal fees …

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If you have trouble persuading managers that they cannot discriminate or harass, here’s ammunition. Tell them that if they participate in any form of discrimination or harassment, it’s their assets on the line. An employee can sue them directly, and they may have to pay damages out of their own bank accounts …

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Sometimes an employee gets into an argument with a customer, and what began as a war of words turns into actual violence. When that happens, the employer may be on the hook for damages. Under the right conditions—or more precisely, the wrong ones—the employer may be liable for physical altercations its employee may engage in while working …

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A California Superior Court judge has ordered coffee giant Starbucks to pay its baristas $100 million in lost tips resulting from the company’s tip jar policy. Additionally, the court issued an injunction barring shift supervisors and managers from receiving tips …

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Faced with a large budget shortfall, San Francisco supervisors are proposing a way to deal with the $338 million deficit the city expects next year. Board of Supervisors President Aaron Peskin wants to draft legislation that eliminates some high-paying city positions …

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The California Supreme Court held in 1998 that individual supervisors and managers are not personally liable for discrimination under the California Fair Employment and Housing Act. Now the court has also ruled that individual supervisors and managers may not be held financially responsible for retaliation claims …

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Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has vetoed S.B. 867, a state bill that would have allowed child care workers to organize for the purpose of negotiating with California agencies. Specifically, the bill would have allowed the workers to negotiate reimbursement rates and licensing issues with the state …

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A Superior Court judge recently voided a 2005 ordinance that required large supermarkets to retain workers following an ownership change …

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Citigroup will pay $33 million to settle a class-action lawsuit filed by three female brokers who worked in the Santa Barbara office of Smith Barney, a Citigroup unit. As many as 2,500 former and current Smith Barney female brokers may end up sharing in the settlement pot …

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