The topic of bathroom use by transgender individuals is a hot one, and that includes in the realm of employment law. Indeed, the California Fair Employment and Housing Council (FEHC) is in the process of drafting new regulations that define employment practices which constitute discrimination against transgender applicants and employees. As an employer in California, it is crucial that you stay current with these legal developments.Details
Summer has arrived and for many California employers, that means summer internships. Internships can be a benefit to both the student and the employer, but if not approached properly, can land the employer in legal hot water.
Do we have to pay our company’s summer intern? Maybe.Details
Employers, you may want to take a seat for this… Recently, the Supreme Court of California ruled that under Industrial Welfare Commission Wage Order No. 7-2001, “all working employees shall be provided with suitable seats when the nature of the work reasonably permits the use of seats.” The court held that employers must examine the nature of employees’ tasks at each location where they perform work and determine whether the nature of the work at that location reasonably permits use of a seat. Failure to do so, and failure to provide an employee with a seat where work could be performed while sitting, could land you in legal hot water in the form of a class action lawsuit.
In the case recently ruled upon by the California Supreme Court, the employees argued that their employment as stock clerks, cashiers, and bank tellers required their employers to provide them with seating even though many of their daily duties required them to stand.Details
In Silicon Beach and throughout Los Angeles, offering meals to employees is becoming the norm. And not just any meals, but gourmet meals that cater to carnivores and vegans alike. While employees are thrilled, employers may be starting to look at their bottom line and question how long they can afford such a luxury. Perhaps one way to do so is to count the cost of these lunches as part of employees’ compensation?
In short, the answer is Yes, that can be done. However, in the world of wage and hour law, nothing is black and white. Let’s delve into the grey areas so that employers can be confident knowing that they are not putting themselves at risk for potential wage and hour lawsuits.Details
With the seemingly endless claims surrounding employee misclassification (think Uber, Lyft, and the now out-of-business HomeJoy), many employers are understandably cautious about how they classify their workers. Unfortunately, there is no single test that enables an employer to quickly or easily determine whether an individual can/should be hired as an independent contractor/consultant/freelancer or as an employee.
There are, however, a number of different tests applied by different federal agencies and under different federal laws, as well as individual state tests. Under these various tests, a worker could theoretically be classified as an independent contractor according to the IRS, as an employee for purposes of the FLSA and federal wage-hour law and for purposes of state unemployment insurance, and as an independent contractor for purposes of Title VII. If you are confused and overwhelmed, you are not alone. So what is a California employer to do?Details
Many employers incorrectly assume that if an employee is salaried (paid a flat amount rather than an hourly wage and not subject to partial-day or partial-week deductions), that employee is exempt from overtime. Unfortunately, and perhaps not surprisingly, this is not always the case.
Generally speaking, being paid on a “salary basis” is a prerequisite for exemption from overtime, but a salary alone does not mean an employee is automatically exempt from overtime. In addition to receiving a salary, the employee must also fall within one of several exemptions based on their “primary” job duty. A few common exemptions involve the “white collar exemptions” from overtime, including executive, administrative, learned professional, creative professional, outside salesperson, and computer professional exemptions.Details
As we have discussed previously in this blog, wage and hour lawsuits continue to be prevalent.
Employers big and small have been facing an upward trend in wage-hour lawsuits over the past 10-15 years, and there is currently no end in sight. In the year 2000, for example, there were approximately 2,000 wage-hour claims filed under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FSLA). In 2015, almost 9,000 claims were filed.
Not surprisingly, the alleged misclassification of employees as independent contractors tops the list as one of the biggest weak spots for many employers. To learn more about the difference between an employee and independent contractor, please click here.Details
Whistleblowers, who are individuals who report a person or organization engaged in an allegedly illicit activity, are protected from workplace retaliation under a number of federal and state laws, including the Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA), Sarbanes-Oxley and Dodd-Frank, the Clean Air Act, the California Whistleblower Protection Act, and many others. In other words, an employee can file a legal claim against an employer for purported whistleblower retaliation under a number of state and/or federal laws. Does this mean that an employer’s hands are tied and, regardless of the employee’s performance down the road, the employer will be unable to fire him/her for fear of a potential lawsuit?Details
As we discussed at length in this post, this year we will see substantial changes to FEHA that will affect business owners across the country, including in California. To get specific, FEHA’s new regulations set forth that, as of April 1, 2016, employers must have anti-discrimination and harassment policies that:
· Are in writing.
· List the categories of individuals protected by FEHA.
· Clearly state that FEHA prohibits coworkers, third parties, supervisors and managers from engaging in discriminatory, harassing, or retaliatory conduct.Details
Substantial Changes to Anti-Discrimination and Harassment Policy Requirements Start April 1 for California Employers
2016 is a busy year in the often-changing world of California employment law. We have discussed many of the updates employers need to be aware of here (think minimum wage increase, the Fair Pay Act, changes to Unruh, and more). The newest change that California businesses need to be aware of involves changes to the California Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA).
FEHA is designed to protect employees from discrimination and harassment on the basis of various protected characteristics, including, age, race, religion, gender, and disability, as well as retaliation against an employee who engages in a protected activity, such as requesting an accommodation or objecting to conduct prohibited by the FEHA. What’s more, under FEHA, employers must engage in an interactive process to determine a reasonable accommodation for an employee who is disabled, and to accommodate the employee. All employment provisions of the FEHA anti-discrimination provisions apply to all employers with five or more full-time or part-time employees.Details