EMPLOYMENT LAW

These rules make arbitration agreements stick

05/22/2015
There’s no point in using arbitration agreements if they’re not enforceable. Make sure yours will hold up in court by following these rules.

Small amount on the table? Know when to fold 'em

05/21/2015
When a Domino’s Pizza worker sued for wage violations, it quickly became clear that a few thousand dollars was the most he was owed. His attorney wanted to settle, but Domino’s insisted on a three-day trial ...

Can we require English-only on the job?

05/20/2015
Q. We want to require our employees to read, speak and write English at work. Is such a policy legal?

Caltrans liable for not addressing accommodation requests

05/20/2015
The California Court of Appeal has upheld a jury’s verdict finding the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) liable for failure to provide a reasonable accommodation and failure to engage in the interactive process.

Compensation available for La Jolla, Ca. radiation survivors

05/20/2015
Surviving relatives of employees who were exposed to nuclear radiation at a La Jolla defense contractor’s facility are now eligible for compensation.

Oakland, Ca. children's hospital settles ADA complaint

05/20/2015
The Children’s Hospital and Research Center in Oakland has reached a settlement with an employee who had cancer and was fired for taking too much medical leave.

Court upholds arbitration despite language barrier

05/20/2015
A California Court of Appeal has upheld an arbitration agreement written in English and signed by employees with limited language ability.

Sudden harassment claim? Investigate before firing

05/20/2015

Sometimes, employees hold back on reporting sexual harassment out of fear, especially if the perpetrator is a supervisor. The first you hear about it may be during the termination meeting. If that happens, suspend the employee instead of firing him. That will give you time to investigate.

9th Circuit decision: Car dealership service advisors are nonexempt employees

05/20/2015
The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals had ruled that so-called automobile service advisors are nonexempt under the Fair Labor Standards Act.

Does clicking 'Send' too soon deliver a lawsuit?

05/20/2015
Have you ever felt that punched-in-the-gut feeling after clicking “Send” and realizing you blasted an email to the wrong person? As the CEO in this case learned, one misguided email mixed with poor judgment can stir up a potent legal stew.

OK to discipline for intermittent leave abuse

05/19/2015
Unexpected absences can cause scheduling headaches. However, since FMLA leave is an entitlement, there isn’t much employers can do—at least when the call-offs are legitimate. But not every absence is legit.

When making layoff decisions, focus on worker performance, cite business necessity

05/18/2015
When it comes to reductions in force, employers must make sure that they develop a fair, reasonable and explainable selection process. Be prepared to show that the selection was based on sound business decisions and that the layoff wasn’t an excuse to terminate employees who might otherwise have a legal discrimination claim.

Leave harassment investigation to the pros

05/18/2015

There are compelling reasons to outsource or at least get legal help with a sexual harassment complaint. First and foremost, the investigation must be quick, thorough and reasonable. Employers that drop the ball and don’t punish what looks like a clear case of sexual harassment face a long, uphill battle in court.

Never retaliate for reporting safety hazards

05/18/2015
A federal appeals court has concluded that California employees are entitled to protection from retaliation for reporting safety hazards, even if it’s part of their jobs.

Must we pay for time spent preparing to work?

05/18/2015
Q. We have an employee who regularly comes into work a half-hour or more before her scheduled shift in order to get her work station ready and otherwise get herself set up for the day. This preparation time is important to the employee because she does not believe that she can meet the production requirements of her job without it. The employee has been told that she cannot start performing her actual job tasks until the start of her scheduled shift. Our new HR manager has advised that we must pay the employee for the time that she spends preparing for her shift, even though she had no approval to work during that time. Is that right?
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