California has long been a pioneer of worker’s rights, and state law protects workers from many types of discrimination beyond those prohibited by federal law (such as religion and gender). The California Labor Code also lists many situations in which an employee is entitled to take time off work without being terminated or retaliated against. Many employees may not know that victims of domestic violence and sexual assault have employment rights under California. Now, a new law expands the duty of employers to advise employees of these rights. Continue reading
A recent ruling by the California Supreme Court on May 8, 2017, makes it easier for employers to comply with the state’s “day of rest” statute. The enhanced flexibility can benefit both employers working to accommodate their business needs, and employees who desire more flexibility to accommodate their personal activities with their work schedule and responsibilities.
The California “day or rest” statute prohibits employers from causing employees to work more than six in seven days. The San Francisco Business Times reports that, in Mendoza v. Nordstrom, the Court clarified that the day of rest is guaranteed for each work week, rather than any given period of seven days. Previously, it was unclear which measure had to be used for purposes of calculating the day off. Some employers would go to great lengths to accommodate every seven-day period on a rolling basis. Now, they need only to set a defined work week, and ensure that employees have one day off within that week.
The ruling also gave employers the option of scheduling employees for more than seven days in a row if they are given time off equivalent to one day per work week. This, too, allows greater flexibility in scheduling. It also appears to signal the Court’s awareness of the realities of the contemporary American workforce. Continue reading
Employers might be surprised to learn that the actions of an Airbnb host can affect policy and obligations created by the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing. Nonetheless, that is the outcome of a particularly heated racial case arising out of Big Bear.
The Star reports that, in February 2017, Asian UCLA law student Dyne Suh had rented a cabin in Big Bear. The cabin had been rented from Tami Barker through Airbnb. After driving for hours through rain and snow, Suh received a text message canceling the reservation when she was only minutes away from the cabin. Barker wrote:
- “I wouldn’t rent to u if u were the last person on earth”
- “One word says it all. Asian.”
- “This is why we have Trump”
- “I will not allow this country to be told what to do by foreigners.”
Suh, an American citizen and law clerk at the Riverdale County Public Defender’s Office, reported the case to the Department of Fair Employment and Housing. The Department ordered Barker to pay a $5000 fine, issue a personal apology to Suh, take a college level course on Asian American studies, complete community service at a civil rights organization, and report rental data to the Agency for the next four years. Airbnb also permanently banned Barker from their site. Continue reading
According to a recent news article from CNN, the City of Los Angeles has issued a demand for $1.45 million from fast food chain Carl’s Jr. This money is to pay fines and make restitution for employees that were underpaid. The city found that the company did not pay employees minimum wage pursuant to local law for over a six-month period.
At the time of these findings, the minimum wage in the City of Los Angeles was $10.50. Pursuant to legislation already passed, the minimum wage for hourly workers has already gone up to $12 per hour for employers who employ more than 26 people. By the year 2020, there will be a city minimum wage of $15 dollars per hour. Continue reading
According to a recent news article from the San Francisco Gate, new regulations are now in effect that provide specific protections to transgender and gender-nonconforming employees in California. This comes at a time when transgender workers are receiving more support from some and facing more hostility from others than ever before.
One issue that employers are worried about is that even if they want to do the right thing and follow the law, they are not sure exactly what they are required to do. They also say they do not have the resources to fully follow the law and learn what to do. While these claims seem somewhat hard to take seriously, there is clearly a need for more training. Continue reading
As discussed in a recent news article from the National Law Review, California’s newly passed Ban-the-Box regulation has now taken effect. This means that our state has joined a growing list of states that are what is being called the Ban-the-Box bandwagon.
When we use the term “box” we are talking about asking prospective employees if they have any criminal convictions. While on some applications there is actually a box to check if the applicant has a criminal history, the new law applies to any form of the question. Continue reading
In most states, at certain jobs, your employer will ask you to sign what is known as a non-compete clause. This means that if you leave the job for nearly any reason, you will not be able to work in the same industry. There is normally a geographical limit on where you may not compete, though in some industries, a geographical limit would not make any sense. You are generally not required to sign a non-compete agreement, but the employer has a right to not hire you if you refuse to do so.
While this is true nationally, there is a ban on non-compete clauses in the state of California. In other words, even if you are asked to sign one, it will not be enforced in a California court. However, despite the ban on non-compete clauses in our state, many employers will still require employees to sign them. They will also try to word them in terms that they believe will be enforceable in a court of law. Continue reading
According to a recent news article from CNN Money, workers at a major department store chain have managed to avoid a strike when it seemed like the situation had turned hopeless in terms of reaching a deal with management.
Before we get to the actual dispute in this situation, much of the trouble stems from a shift from people shopping in so-called brick and mortar stores to online shopping with giants such as Amazon. There is no question that the retail market is changing, and that will mean big changes for the employers and employees at department stores. However, the changes go much further than that, as even the shopping malls that typically house these large anchor stores, as they are often called, are also closing as less people go out to the mall these days. Continue reading
While we may never see a flying car, as many science fiction movies of the 80’s and 90’s liked to feature, it seems that self-driving cars are going to be on the roads in large numbers in the relatively near future. There are already some models on the road, like the ones made by Tesla, but these electric cars are technically not self-driving cars, but rely on an advanced guided cruise control system. In other words, they make driving easier, but a human driver still needs to be behind the wheel paying attention.
However, there are true self-driving cars in the works. Google seems the closest, with a system that will allow an occupant to simply program the car’s destination, and the vehicle takes over and does all of the work. They have even tested one with a blind operator sitting in the driver’s seat. This would obviously be a great help to those who are blind or unable to drive based upon a disability. Continue reading
According to a recent news article from the Los Angeles Times, the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has just ordered a large nationally chartered bank to rehire a whistleblower and also to pay this aggrieved employee around $5.4 million in back pay, attorneys fees, and damages.
Bank manager was working at an office in Los Angeles when he discovered what he believed to be potential fraud and disclosed that potential fraud to his employer. He told his direct supervisors and also called an ethics hotline run by the company. The company claims the employer did not call the hotline and leave a message, but it should be noted that the company admitted during the litigation various known problems with the ethics hotline system. Continue reading