The HR Specialist: California Employment Law

You may remember a case that garnered lots of publicity a few years ago. A saleswoman claimed that her employer’s team-building activities were really a form of sexual harassment. A jury agreed, giving her $1.4 million in damages for having to endure public spanking and other indignities. Now the employer will get another shot at the case in front of a new jury …

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In January, leaders of the California Nurses Association/National Nurses Organizing Committee (CNA/NNOC) and the Pennsylvania Association of Staff Nurses and Allied Professionals (PASNAP) announced that the two unions have joined forces …

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The California Supreme Court has ruled that an employer doesn’t have to accommodate an employee’s marijuana use even though he had a valid prescription. Employers can and should continue to use post-offer, pre-employment drug tests if having a work force free of impairment is an important safety consideration …

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California’s attorney general recently filed suit against a Southern California drywall contracting firm for what he called “a sophisticated and heartless scheme” to cheat its employees out of wages. Attorney General Jerry Brown sued Irvine-based Interwall Development Systems, claiming that it failed to pay its employees overtime …

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 Nearly a quarter century after the Internal Revenue Service started releasing piecemeal proposed regulations on cafeteria plans, employers now have new, updated guidance on important topics such as nondiscrimination testing and debit card programs. They’re not final IRS regulations, mind you. But at least a new set of coordinated proposals is on tap to replace the old ones …

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A San Francisco County jury has awarded $353,680 in damages to a data entry clerk who suffered from a chronic condition that often left her with cracked and bleeding skin …

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On Jan. 4, a California Superior Court judge certified a class action brought by drivers who claimed they had been denied meal and rest breaks in violation of California law. The suit was brought by approximately 345 White Cap Industries delivery drivers …

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A growing number of labor unions have recently expressed opposition to A.B.X. 11, which would require all California residents to purchase health coverage by July 2010. Labor leaders argue that the bill doesn’t sufficiently control how much health plans and insurers can charge for coverage …

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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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The most recent UCLA Anderson Forecast lowered its California job-growth estimates from the already weak numbers that it forecast last year, but included a silver lining in an otherwise cloudy report by predicting that the state would avoid recession …

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