Category Archives: California

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 …

[ CONTINUE READING ]

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 …

[ CONTINUE READING ]

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 …

[ CONTINUE READING ]

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 …

[ CONTINUE READING ]

Posted in California \ 1 Comment

Men at Work: California Public Works Projects and Prevailing Wage Laws

California’s prevailing wage law, set forth in the California Labor Code, provides that each worker employed by contractors or subcontractors on a public works project must be paid not less than the general prevailing wage rate for work of a similar character in the locality in which the work is performed. Prevailing wages are significantly higher than the minimum wage. California legislature has recently passed laws that expand the scope of available remedies and time periods for enforcement as well as access to certain information in certified payroll records. Previously, only the Labor Commissioner could obtain liquidated damages equal to …

[ CONTINUE READING ]

California Employee Termination – Getting It Right

Letting an employee go is never easy. No one wants to be the bearer of bad news, especially in California where employee terminations seem to frequently end in (or begin) claims or lawsuits alleging discrimination, harassment, or retaliation. Avoiding, or reducing, the risks of claims and suits requires preparation before, during (including the termination meeting), and after the employment. Preparation should start before the employment Be sure your company has written policies and procedures about handling employee complaints or concerns relating to discrimination, harassment, and retaliation. Have written discipline policies and evaluation processes to show that the company takes employee …

[ CONTINUE READING ]

Body Modification – New, Protected Religious Practice?

Ever have a sales employee show up at work with a first-time facial piercing? Or, have a job applicant arrive at the interview sporting a hard-to-hide tattoo of some thing reveling in the black arts or an image of Beelzebub? The HR decision is easy, right? Send the pierced employee home with instructions not to wear the adornment at work, and tell the job applicant that the company will never hire someone bearing that ink. Ten or even five years ago, these employment actions might have been uncomplicated and legal. Perhaps no more. California’s passage of AB 1964, which added …

[ CONTINUE READING ]

New California Employment Statutes for 2013

As we have reported every year, the California Legislature likes to create more procedural hurdles for, and more potential claims against, employers.  2013 will be no exception. AB 1396 & AB 2675 (Commission Agreements) AB 1396 requires all commission-based compensation be in writing.  And, it must specify how commissions will be calculated and paid, a copy must be given to the employee, and the employer must receive a signed receipt acknowledgement from the employee.  Also, the terms survive the agreement’s expiration and remain in effect unless the employee is no longer working under its terms or the commission agreement is superseded. …

[ CONTINUE READING ]

California Anti-Religious Discrimination Laws Expanded

It wasn’t a surprise.  California is probably the most religiously diverse, pro-employee state in the U.S.  The issue of wearing religious garb at work had been festering for some time.  Perhaps the most publicized example was of a Muslim female employee claiming that Disneyland had illegally refused to accommodate her request to wear her religious head scarf, or hijab, while working as a restaurant hostess.  So, when California’s Governor, Jerry Brown, recently signed AB 1964 into law (effective January 1, 2013), adding religious clothing and grooming as protected religious practices, employers and employment lawyers were not completely caught off guard. …

[ CONTINUE READING ]

Posted in California \ 1 Comment