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Employment Lawyer Network:

Joseph L. Beachboard (Editor)

California Employment Law

(213) 239-9800

Click for Full Bio

Joseph L. Beachboard is a nationally recognized expert on employment law issues who speaks regularly at SHRM and other HR events. He also is a regular contributor to several national and California publications. In 2000, Mr. Beachboard sold The Labor Letters, Inc., a publisher of monthly employment law journals that he founded to advise human resource professionals. He is a founding member and executive director of the Management Employment Law Roundtable, a national, invitation only, organization of management labor and employment lawyers.

Track when you first considered discipline

Employees who suspect they are facing a disciplinary action such as termination may think complaining about discrimination or taking protected leave will insulate them from negative consequences. But smart employers start documenting poor performance early on, as well as their preliminary decisions to consider discipline.

AB 5—California’s new independent contractor law—comes under fire

Opponents of California’s controversial new independent contractor law, AB 5, have moved to get a competing law on the ballot. They fear that if gig workers became employees, as they would under AB 5, it would raise some employer costs an estimated 30%.

California employees can collect penalties for unpaid wages

A new amendment to Labor Code Section 210 allows employees to recover civil penalties without going through the Labor Commissioner.

Employee represents herself? Prepare for long legal slog

Sometimes, litigious employees decide to act as their own attorneys. Don’t assume this will make it easy for you to win in court. If anything, when a past or current employee decides to represent herself, the case may end up taking longer and costing more.

Encourage staff who witness harassment to report it

Since the #MeToo movement became influential in 2017, the EEOC has focused on encouraging so-called bystander reporting of workplace sexual harassment. But a recent case highlights what happens when a bystander takes reporting harassment seriously and finds himself fired.

Broad arbitration agreement can cover even unusual claims

Challenging the legality of a specific arbitration agreement is one way employees might try to get out of it. When that fails, their attorneys may try to come up with a novel claim that doesn’t seem to fit neatly into the agreement. Fortunately, they rarely succeed.

Short-lived, minor illness doesn’t qualify as disability under FEHA

The California Fair Employment and Housing Act outlaws disability discrimination. It includes definitions of disability, including physical disabilities that affect the digestive system if the condition limits a major life activity. But that doesn’t mean that every minor or transient digestive upset qualifies for protection, as the following case shows.

Judges know work can be unpleasant—and they’re willing to cut you some slack

Not every complaint of unfair or unpleasant treatment at work justifies a lawsuit. Rest assured that judges are often willing to defer to employer decisions unless there’s solid proof of biased behavior.

‘Bye, Felicia’ comment not discriminatory

Unless disrespect crosses the line into racial, sexual, religious or other harassment based on a protected characteristic, misbehavior won’t support a lawsuit.

Retain every résumé, application you receive

When you receive résumés and applications for open positions, it’s best to keep those documents even if they are from people you don’t end up interviewing. Here’s why: If you are later sued for failure to hire or promote, you may need those documents to justify your decisions.