Employment Law

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The California Court of Appeal has yet again ruled against employers in an arbitration rights case. This time, the issue was whether employers can use arbitration agreements to limit so-called class- or collective-action claims. The apparent answer is “no.”

Good news for employers that use arbitration agreements: Cali­­for­­nia will send such cases to arbitration even if they start as collective actions—if the arbitration agreement is clear, separate from other handbook provisions and not unconscionable.

HR Law 101: Despite all the risks, providing other employers with references about your former employees is a good business practice. If you refused to provide references, eventually you would compromise your ability to find out about applicants you’re considering hiring ...

HR Law 101: Currently, 23 states have legalized the use of medical marijuana. Whether employers in those states must accommodate legal medical marijuana use depends on how courts interpret state law.

If your organization has a blanket policy that prohibits workers from using the organization’s email for personal matters, it’s time to revise it. The National Labor Relations Board ruled that employees have the right to use their employer’s email system (during off-duty time) to engage in legally protected communications, including discussing wages and even organizing a union.

The National Labor Relations Board says a new final rule issued Dec. 12 will “streamline” union elections. Critics say the result will be “ambush elections” where voting happens so fast that employers stand little chance of persuading employees to reject union representation.

Do you sometimes require em­­ployees to use their personal cars during the workday for job-related tasks like going on appointments, making banking runs or other errands? You’re risking liability if the em­­ployee is in an accident and a jury decides he was negligent.

HR Law 101: The Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA) requires all employers to provide a safe and healthy workplace for their employees. Enacted in 1970, the law also mandates specific guidelines for certain industries and protects workers who file whistle-blower complaints about hazardous conditions in their companies ...

HR Law 101: Many organizations use independent contractors as a way to sidestep payroll taxes, expensive fringe benefits and red tape. But if the IRS concludes that those workers are really employees, the employer could be liable for back taxes, penalties and interest charges ...

In highly competitive fields, it’s not unusual for bosses and subordinates to distrust one another. But when that distrust leads to one party badmouthing the other, that can spawn a lawsuit.
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