The HR Specialist: California Employment Law

On July 11, a California state court issued a restraining order prohibiting Local 3299 of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) from invoking a planned strike against facilities at the University of California …

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Under the California Fair Employment and Housing Act, it is unlawful for an employer to harass an employee based on the employee’s age. And employers are strictly liable for workplace harassment if the harasser is a supervisor. As a practical matter, that means HR must make sure no supervisor or manager makes any kind of comment that suggests any kind of age bias …

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Employees who claim they suffered emotional distress because of illegal disability discrimination under the California Fair Employment and Housing Act don’t have to rely solely on the workers’ compensation system to adjudicate their claims. They can go to court instead, suing for negligent infliction of emotional distress under state common law …

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Rite Aid drugstores recently reached tentative agreements on two new three-year contracts with seven locals of the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) union. The new agreements will cover approximately 7,100 Southern California clerks and pharmacists working at 400 Rite Aid stores …

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San Diego City Attorney Michael Aguirre announced in July that Prudential Overall Supply has agreed to settle violations of the city’s living-wage ordinance. The uniform supplier will pay $65,000. Aguirre filed a lawsuit against the company, arguing that it paid its workers below the rates set forth in the San Diego Living Wage Ordinance, which became law in 2005 …

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A California Court of Appeal has held that California Labor Code sections dealing with overtime compensation, meal breaks and rest breaks don’t apply to California’s “charter counties.”

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An overwhelming majority of nursing home workers at 10 Sava Senior Care facilities in Northern California ratified a new contract in July. It will cover more than 1,000 workers who are members of the Service Employees International Union United Healthcare Workers-West (UHW) …

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Sometimes, employees who are having performance problems think that filing discrimination complaints will help protect their jobs. Word has gotten around that employees can win retaliation cases even if the discrimination claims they make are flimsy. But employers won’t lose a retaliation case if they can show that the employee really did deserve the discipline that followed the discrimination complaint …

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Good news for California employers that pay their employees time-and-a-half for holiday work: You don’t have to cough up additional pay for overtime hours worked on a holiday …

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Two recent cases involving arbitration clauses in employment demonstrate the danger of relying on arbitration agreements to avoid litigation. Federal courts decided one case, while California’s appellate courts decided the other. Both found unconscionable the arbitration agreements employers used. Therefore they were invalid …

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