The HR Specialist: California Employment Law — Business Management Daily: Free Reports on Human Resources, Employment Law, Office Management, Office Communication, Office Technology and Small Business Tax Business Management Daily — Business Management Daily: Free Reports on Human Resources, Employment Law, Office Management, Office Communication, Office Technology and Small Business Tax Page 20
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The HR Specialist: California Employment Law

The Court of Appeal of California has ruled in a case testing the limits of calling workers independent contractors. Employers should review their independent contractor arrangements to make sure they meet California requirements.

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Are you planning to change the way you schedule work or provide overtime opportunities? If the proposed changes would affect your older employees, make sure you document solid business reasons to justify the new system, just in case it is challenged in court.

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An amendment to California’s Healthy Workplaces, Healthy Families Act of 2014 requires employers to offer employees three days or 24 hours of paid sick leave per year. The original law required employers to provide at least one hour of paid sick leave for every 30 hours worked, or to provide an up-front allocation of at least 24 hours. The accrual requirement created a big headache, since most employers do not accrue paid time off on a per-hour basis.

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It’s official—professional cheerleaders are now recognized as employees under California law. In July, California Gov. Jerry Brown signed a bill requiring California professional sports teams to pay their cheerleaders at least the minimum wage.

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Employers can’t rely on the lack of a formal reasonable accommodations request as the basis for not providing one if it is obvious the employee is disabled and has informally indicated he needs help. There are no magic words required, no need to invoke the ADA, the Rehabilitation Act or state disability statutes.

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The Department of Veterans Affairs Inspector General has issued a blistering report on departmental practices.

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Here’s good news for employers facing litigants acting as their own attorneys. The Court of Appeal of California has concluded that low-income ex-employees are not entitled to free counsel under the Shriver Act, which calls for legal counsel to “represent low-income parties in civil matters involving critical issues affecting basic human needs.”

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Here’s a bit of positive news on the litigation front: An employee who is in the very first stages of litigation can’t demand the court force his employer to provide a list of names and addresses for all its employees. Instead, the employee has to first provide some proof of his own, individual claim before he can invade other workers’ privacy.

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If an employee dies of an accidental prescription drug overdose, you’d think it would be hard for the family to claim workers’ compensation death benefits. But as the California Supreme Court shows, if an employee can claim the injury was work-related, an overdose on the resulting medications could trigger a workers’ comp claim.

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It may be natural for supervisors to be upset when one of their key employees goes out on workers’ compensation or FMLA leave, but make sure managers know not to lash out.

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