The HR Specialist: California Employment Law

Now that the smoke has begun to clear after record wildfires swept through Southern California, employers face some smoldering pay and leave questions. What if the fires forced you to close your workplace? Do you have to pay employees who were ready and able to work? When must your organization pay employees who were forced to leave their homes? …

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Each organization has its own culture, and some even strive to differentiate themselves based on that unique atmosphere. But some words of caution are in order: If you use “cultural fit” to limit applicants or to drive out those who don’t conform, prepare for trouble …

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In uncertain economic times, employers place a premium on flexibility. That includes being able to retain the most talented, productive and experienced employees, and perhaps terminating those with more seniority. But that can lead to discrimination claims over age and other characteristics …

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The California Division of Labor Standards Enforcement (DLSE) recently conducted two days of sweeps at approximately 100 car washes in six Southern California counties, uncovering an array of employment law violations …

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Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger recently signed California’s new law allowing military spouses to take leave. The law requires some employers to provide up to 10 days of unpaid leave to the spouse of a qualified member of the U.S. armed forces, National Guard or reserves. Here are employer guidelines on exactly how to administer this new entitlement …

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Without a doubt, complying with California and federal wage-and-hour rules is difficult. For example, making deductions from the regular salary of exempt employees who are absent can destroy their exemptions and mean back pay for overtime. Thankfully, there is a safe harbor …

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The U.S. Labor Department announced that a Southern California company paid $200,013 in back wages for unpaid overtime to 231 current and former employees. Memo Scaffolding, which specializes in setting up scaffolding for residential and commercial construction projects, also paid $60,000 incivil penalties …

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On Oct. 3, the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Western District of Missouri approved motions to allow the managers of Interstate Bakeries Corp. to go ahead with plans to close most of its Southern California operations …

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A California appeals court ruled that employees can still participate in class-action wage-and-hour lawsuits even if they signed arbitration agreements waiving their rights to those kinds of suits as a condition of continued employment. The court said such agreements are unconscionable and therefore not enforceable …

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Employees are more productive if they have windows in their work areas, according to a recent study. That’s one reason the new SAP labs in Palo Alto have incorporated lots of windows. Does it really work? …

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