Category Archives: California

Cash Payments Made To Employees In Lieu Of Health Benefits Must Be Factored Into Overtime Pay Under The FLSA

In Flores v. City of San Gabriel, the Ninth Circuit held that cash payments made by the City to its employees in lieu of healthcare benefits must be factored into the base pay that is used to calculate overtime pay (1.5 times base pay). The City provided a “Flexible Benefits Plan” to its employees, under which it gave employees a designated monetary amount to aid in the purchase of healthcare (vision, dental, and medical) benefits. Employees had the choice to obtain medical benefits through the City or receive cash instead. The cash was added to the employees’ paychecks as a …

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New Guidance on Interns v. Employees

The test for determining whether unpaid interns at a for-profit employer are employees under the Fair Labor Standards Act, and thus entitled to compensation for services provided, has been the subject of considerable litigation over the past few years. Employers now have recent guidance from two federal appellate courts to use in analyzing their intern programs. In Glatt v. Fox Searchlight Pictures, Inc., Nos. 13‐4478; 13‐4481 (2d Cir. Jan. 25, 2016), the Second Circuit (which covers district courts in Connecticut, New York and Vermont) explained that, in determining whether an individual is an intern or employee, the salient question is …

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The Legal Pitfalls Inherent in Using “Works Made for Hire” in California

Labor and employment issues are frequently triggered in the entertainment space, particularly in California.  Some of these issues are well-known by practitioners in both areas of practice, while others can be a bit more obscure.  This article addresses one important area of overlap that is often the source of confusion for practitioners and their clients alike who, unbeknownst to them, have created employment relationships with their commissioned independent contractors, simply by including standard, boilerplate copyright language in their contracts. Under U.S. Copyright Law, only the author of a work can rightfully claim the copyright in that work. Obviously, when you …

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What Does HR Have to Do with a Med Mal Case for Long Term Care Providers?

It is no secret that HR professionals and executives are the gatekeepers for so many workplace legal concerns. With long term care providers, the focus on patient care is always paramount; but mitigating risk goes hand in hand with your day-to-day staff operations. This patient care and employee/employer behavior reaches an immediate, pivotal crossroads when a medical malpractice claim is filed. Now, the facility’s HR practices are heavily scrutinized to determine if and what was known about the offending employee from the time of hire to the reported incident and steps taken by the employer to correct and more.  Brian …

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California Implements Statewide “Ban the Box” Law Effective January 1, 2018

  California has become the tenth state to pass the “ban-the-box” law which removes the conviction history question on job applications for private employers with five or more employees.   Connecticut, Hawaii, Illinois, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Jersey, Oregon, Rhode Island, and Vermont have already passed ban-the-box laws statewide. Assembly Bill 1008 signed by Governor Jerry Brown will become effective January 1, 2018.  AB 1008 adds a section to the California Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) which prohibits an employer from engaging in various defined forms of discriminatory employment practices. Employment Application.  AB 1008 makes it an unlawful employment practice under …

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National Origin Discrimination: California to up the Ante

Remember the travel ban? The Wall? Ramped up deportations? California is moving to counter and guard against potential negative employment consequences for foreign-born workers and more.  The California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH), the agency charged with enforcing the state’s civil rights laws, is considering new regulations to implement or enhance California’s national-original discrimination statute. The current statute, Government Code §12940, identifies national origin as a prohibited basis for discrimination, but doesn’t provide details. The DFEH is empowered to promulgate regulations interpreting and implementing this statute and others. Cal. Gov’t Code §12935(a). So what enhancements are contained in …

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California Equal Pay a Reality In 2016

California employers, prepare yourselves (again). The State has added a larger arrow to the plaintiff’s quiver – more equal pay. Decades before the Lily Ledbetter Fair Pay Act was implemented, California had a comparable equal pay statute in place. Enacted in 1949, the California Equal Pay Act (“Old Act”) provided equal pay protections to the opposite sex. But, the Old Act did not age well, its flaws uncovered. Critics bemoaned the Old Act’s limitations, including a difficult burden of proof, ambiguous affirmative defense, and the lack of an anti-retaliation provision found in other employment statutes. The time had come for …

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Berwick vs. Uber: Small Decision, Uber-Sized Headache

In a somewhat unexpected, but not that surprising, ruling, the California Labor Commissioner, on June 3, 2015, issued a 12-page decision in favor of a pro se plaintiff driver against mighty Uber Technologies, Inc. for misclassification of the plaintiff as an independent contractor instead of an employee. The award though a modest $4,152.20 may have a multi-million dollar impact upon Uber and its competitors, particularly their business model and foundational argument that they are “just a neutral technological platform.” The path started out difficult for Uber. The Labor Commissioner noted that California law presumes that a worker providing personal, not …

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Gimme a W!  Gimme an A!  Gimme a G!  Gimme an E!  What’s that Spell?!? . .

NFL cheerleaders are one of the more recent groups to Bring It On! in the form of wage and hour litigation for the alleged failure of their teams to pay them a minimum wage. In fact, to date, cheerleaders from five NFL teams have filed lawsuits against their respective teams alleging that they were not paid a legal wage for the time spent rehearsing, performing, and appearing at events. These spirit spreaders allege that they received little – and, in some cases, no – compensation for their heavy pompon lifting. The litigating squads include the Raiderettes, the Ben-Gals, the Tampa …

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California’s On-Duty Meal Period – Not a Waiver of a Meal Period!

Under California law, employees are required to take an off-duty 30-minute meal period before the end of the 5th hour of work. Employees who work less than 6 hours may waive the 30-minute meal period by mutual consent of the employee and employer. Employees who work more than 10 hours are required to take a second off-duty 30-minute meal period before the end of the 10th hour of work. Employees who work no more than 12 hours may waive the second 30-minute meal break by mutual consent of the employee and employer only if the first meal break was not …

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