EMPLOYMENT LAW

When does 'almost eligible' qualify for FMLA?

07/25/2014

Eligibility for job-protected FMLA leave kicks in for employees after they’ve worked at a covered employer for at least 12 months (and for 1,250 hours). But take note: That doesn’t mean you can fire employees who request FMLA leave just days before they hit their 12-month anniversary date. As this new case shows, employees can use other accrued leave to “bridge the gap” until they reach the 12-month eligibility limit.

Am I allowed to search a worker's backpack?

07/23/2014
Q. One of my workers brought a backpack into work today that I have reason to believe contains illegal substances. The worker stored the bag in his company-provided locker. Can I search his belongings?

Must we grant time off so employees can vote?

07/23/2014
Q. A number of my employees have stated that they will not be able to vote in the upcoming statewide election because their local polling centers are only open during these employees’ work hours. Should I give them some time off during the day to vote?

OK to fire for Facebook complaint about work?

07/23/2014
Q. One of my employees recently made a post on Face­­book expressing his dissatisfaction with his job. In the post, he talked about being paid too little for the amount of work he performs, and that the whole office needs renovating, claiming, “rats don’t even want to work there.” Can I fire him for this, or at least discipline him?

California Supreme Court: Undocumented status doesn't bar back pay

07/23/2014
The California Supreme Court has ruled that federal immigration law does not preempt a California law that extends state law protections to all workers regardless of their immigration status. However, the court held that federal law does preempt state law on the issue of liability for lost wages for any period after an employer discovers that an employee is not authorized to work in the United States.

EEOC eyes personal training company for legal workout

07/23/2014
Custom Built Personal Training in Modesto, Ca. will have to whip its pregnancy-leave policy into shape after the EEOC threw its weight behind a fired employee’s lawsuit.

DOL seeks $2 million--and ban from H-2B Visa program

07/23/2014
The U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division (WHD) hopes to harvest some green from Watsonville, Ca.-based Fernandez Farms. According to the DOL, the farm failed to pay the minimum wage to workers brought into the country under the H-2B visa program.

Trucking firm pays $262,000 to settle labor charges

07/23/2014
Yuba City, Ca.-based Dispatch Trans­por­­tation has settled an unfair labor practice charge with the Teamsters Local 137 and the NLRB.

Be prepared to justify military employee's discharge

07/23/2014

USERRA provides job protection for military-connected employees once they re­­turn from extended military service. Employers shouldn’t fire covered workers without good cause and solid reasons. Be prepared to show you would have taken the same action whether the employee served or not.

Warn bosses: No negative comments about FMLA leave

07/23/2014
Criti­­ciz­­ing employees for taking FMLA leave can mean trouble.

Single act of disobedience doesn't always rule out unemployment compensation

07/23/2014
The California Supreme Court has decided that a single act of employee disobedience may not always constitute misconduct within the meaning of section 1256 of Cali­­for­­nia’s Unemployment Insur­­ance Code.

Suspect employee didn't file on time? Raise that issue early in litigation process

07/23/2014
Here’s a warning for employers facing litigation: Don’t wait to check whether the employee filed EEOC or other administrative claims on time. Raise the issue early.

For class-action lawsuits, independent contractor wording is what matters

07/23/2014

Do you use independent contractor agreements that spell out details about how those independent contractors will get the work done? If so, you may soon face a class-action lawsuit from some of those contractors. That’s because the California Supreme Court has now made it easier to file class actions based on little more than what is in those contracts.

Draft arbitration agreement to limit litigation

07/23/2014
Using arbitration agreements can save time and money by keeping cases out of the court system. But if the agreement isn’t drafted well, the end result may be more litigation rather than less.

California Supreme Court issues key arbitration decision

07/23/2014
The California Supreme Court has issued a long-awaited decision in an important arbitration case. The decision is generally good news for employers seeking to use class-action arbitration waivers to deter wage-and-hour class actions. It’s less helpful to those attempting to fight off wage-and-hour “representative” actions.
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