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The HR Specialist: California Employment Law

It’s a blow to companies intent on acquiring another business and replacing current employees with new workers: The California Supreme Court has ruled that local governments can pass “retention ordinances” that require new owners to keep existing employees, at least temporarily.

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Employees who are sexually har­assed at work can feel quite vulnerable, especially if they think they have been singled out for such treatment. When an employee finds out others have been treated just as badly, she may sue. Naturally, the employer’s attorney will try to exclude from evidence any incidents that occurred at other times or to employees other than the plaintiff. But now a California appeals court has permitted such “me-too” evidence.

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Six years of litigation came to an end when the union UNITE HERE and Sutter Health settled charges of defamation, trade libel and intentional interference with prospective economic relations. Sutter Health had accused the union of sending postcards to potential patients calling into question the cleanliness of the hospital chain’s linens.

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More than 100 hospital workers have returned to work following a strike that prompted the Salinas Valley Me­morial Healthcare System (SVMHS) to lock them out for two days.

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The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals has clarified who can sue for unpaid benefits under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act.

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It can seem like a waste of time to re­­­spond to a request for information about alleged discrimination if you know your company did nothing wrong. But it’s never a good idea to ignore an EEOC information request.

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A federal court has rejected a bid by two former employees to represent other similarly situated employees, based on the employer’s claim of conflict of interest. The court agreed that these particular employees weren’t the best choice to represent other workers.

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A case that has made it up to the U.S. Supreme Court and back down to the trial court is now making its way up the legal ladder again. The 9th Circuit has ­issued a new decision, ruling that an em­­ployer that challenges a union’s claim that employees have ratified a collective bargaining agreement can make their case to a jury.

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The Court of Appeal of California has finally clarified how much em­­ployers owe employees who don’t get their required meal and other breaks. The penalty is two hours of pay per day if workers missed both types of breaks.

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Are you hearing that a supervisor is making less than flattering statements about a disabled employee or disabled individuals in general? Then it’s time to call in the supervisor and explain to her it has to stop. That’s especially true if the super­visor happens to have a disabled ­employee under her direction and recommends that the employee should be terminated.

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