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Category Archives: Uncategorized

Employee Day of Rest

Last week, the California Supreme Court clarified an employer’s obligation to provide its employees with a weekly day of rest. This clarification required interpretation of the Labor Code provision which prohibits an employer from “caus[ing] his employees to work more than six days in seven.” This issue arose when a Nordstrom employee filed a suit alleging that Nordstrom caused him to work more than six days consecutive days when his supervisor asked him to fill in for another employee. The Court agreed with Nordstrom that an employee may be required to work more than six consecutive days, as long as.... Read More >


Employer Liable for Employee Accident on Drive to Work

The law continues to evolve in answering the question of when an employer is held liable for an employee’s actions. The legal doctrine of “respondeat superior” imposes liability on employers for actions of their employees. The purpose of the doctrine is three fold: (1) to encourage accident prevention; (2) to allow an innocent person to be more likely to collect damages; and (3) to encourage employers to protect against risk by obtaining insurance and spreading those costs over the entire business. Last month, the California court took another look at a situation in which an employee collided with a motorcycle.... Read More >


Paying Employee Based on Prior Salary: Violation of Equal Pay Laws?

When a Fresno female math teacher discovered that the County was paying her less than her male counterparts for the same work, she filed a suit under the Equal Pay Act. For the female teacher to be successful in this suit, she must only show that she is receiving different wages for equal work. Once the she establishes this relatively simple fact, the County must show that the wage disparity is permitted by one of the four exceptions to the Equal Pay Act: (i) a seniority system; (ii) a merit system; (iii) a system which measures earnings by quantity or.... Read More >


Commission/Piece-Rate Contracts Game Changer: Employers Must Pay Employees for Rest Breaks

At the end of March, the California Court of Appeal found that employee compensation plans must separately account and pay for rest periods to comply with California law. This decision directly affects employers who compensate employees through commission or piece-rate compensation plans. The employer in this recent case compensated its employees through commission plans that multiplied weekly sales by an applicable commission rate and paid that amount if it exceeded the minimum contractual rate of $12/hour. For sales associates whose commissions did not exceed the minimum rate in a given week, the company clawed back wages advanced to compensate employees.... Read More >


Hugging is Considered Sexual Harassment?

The 9th Circuit court has further defined what constitutes a “hostile work environment” with regards to sexual harassment. In a recent case, a Yolo County correctional officer claimed that the country sheriff, who oversaw more approximately 250 employees, created a hostile work environment by hugging her over one hundred times and kissing her once during her employment from 1999 to 2012. Originally, the trial court granted judgment in favor of the sheriff. However, the correctional officer appealed the decision and the appellate court has recently overturned the trial court’s decision. An employer is liable under Title VII for conduct giving.... Read More >


Legislative Update: California Legislators Add in Last Minute Employment Bills

California legislators put forth several employment bills in recent weeks set to impact private sector employers. For the bills to become effective, the Legislature will still need to vote on each bill. The bills that the Legislature passes will then move to Governor Brown for signature or veto. Opportunity to Work: Already implemented in San Jose, this bill requires employers to offer additional hours of work to existing part-time employees before hiring new part-time, contract, or temporary employees to work such hours. While employers are exempt from offering additional work hours to employees if doing so would require paying overtime.... Read More >


5 Things Employers Need to Know for 2017

1. Federal Exempt Salary Requirement on Hold; California Increase The December 1, 2016 increase in the minimum salary level for exempt employees was put on hold nationwide at the decision of a Texas Judge. The scheduled increase was set to raise the salary threshold under which employers designate workers as “exempt” from overtime and breaks from $455 per week ($23,660 annually) to $921 per week ($47,892 annually). For now, employers should ensure compliance with the new California minimum salary level for exempt employees and check back to see if the federal overtime rule will be implemented at a later date..... Read More >


Employer Liability for Employee Car Accidents?

Generally, an employer is liable for its employee’s actions while the employee is acting within the scope of his or her employment. Activities such as traveling to and from work are considered to be outside the scope of employment, and therefore, employers are not liable for employee actions during commutes. This is known as the “going and coming” rule. The rationale for this rule is that the employee is not providing a benefit to the employer during the commute so the employer should not be liable. However, employers should be familiar with the exceptions to this general rule when requesting.... Read More >


Overtime Exemption Increase on Hold

As of last week, a federal judge in Texas ruled that the anticipated December 1, 2016 increase in the minimum salary level for exempt employees is to be put on hold – nationwide. The scheduled increase was set to raise the salary threshold under which employers designated workers as “exempt” from overtime and breaks from $455 per week ($23,660 annually) to $921 per week ($47,892 annually). Twenty-one states and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce brought suit claiming that the Department of Labor exceeded its authority by raising the salary threshold. The Fair Labor Standards Act originally enacted the exemption requirement.... Read More >


Unpaid Wages: Treat Employees Who Retire the Same as Those You Fire

Most employers are aware that timing requirements exist regarding the payment of final wages to employees who quit or are terminated from the company. However, employers now need to know that they owe the same prompt payment to employees who retire from the company according to a recent decision by the California Supreme Court. There are different requirements placed on employers dependent on how the relationship with the employee ends. On one hand, if an employer discharges the employee, the employer must immediately pay the employee any wages earned that remain unpaid at the time of discharge. On the other.... Read More >


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