Articles Tagged with California employment attorneys

The Supreme Court’s recent decision in the case of Janus v. American Federation of State, County, and employee rightsMunicipal Employees quickly rose to landmark status in employment law. The 5-4 ruling by the high court determined it is unconstitutional to force nonunion workers to pay fees to unions in the public sector. Justices for the majority decisions explained that forcing workers to financially back an organization whose views they did not necessarily agree with was a violation of their First Amendment right to free speech, according to a CNBC report. The decision overturned the 1977 Supreme Court ruling in Abood v. Detroit Board of Education, which stated fees could be collected for collective bargaining, but not for political purposes. Some believe, however, that by nature collective bargaining and union practices are political.

While the ruling does not affect the private sector directly, the spirit of the decision certainly sets a precedent for legal disputes with private employment unions. It also helps bolster laws that already exist in 27 states which forbid agreements between unions and employers to force all employees who are part of a bargaining unit to contribute to union dues. The ruling is viewed by many as a victory for individual liberties. Continue reading

Employers have long tried to figure out ways to control their employees not only while they are on the clock, but alsoemployment attorneys during their personal time. Joining a company can sometimes feel like a way of life rather than a way to earn income to sustain yourself. The latest way employers are overstepping their bounds is through “moonlighting” bans, or rules restricting employees who want to take on a second job. The National Labor Relations Board, however, recently struck down one such ban, sending a message to other employers across the country.

This is a major victory for employees, who already have more than enough burdens to carry. Our employment lawyers know if someone is taking on a second job, it is almost always because they are in need of more cash in order to make ends meet. The last thing workers should have to worry about is whether taking on additional work to provide for their families will jeopardize their first source of income.

An NLRB administrative law judge recently ruled on a company policy that put undue restrictions on the type of second job an employee could take on. Limitations imposed by the company stated that the job could not be inconsistent with the company’s interests and could not reflect poorly on the company’s public image. While the company argued the policy was meant to prevent employees from working for competitors, the judge rightly countered that insisting employees put company interests first even in their free time had the potential to infringe on unions, whose interests would serve other employees rather than the company. Whether intentional or not, the wording would affect workers’ right to organize, and thus those parts of the policy were struck down. Continue reading

Many companies have employment policies in place to help separate people’s personal lives from the workplace. Limiting personal calls, restricting social media use onemployment attorneys company computers, forbidding offensive materials from being displayed in work spaces and not allowing company resources to be used for personal gain or to spread personal messages — all of these are common practices. It is permissible and necessary for offices to limit such activities to keep workers focused, reduce wasteful spending, and prevent a hostile work environment.

However, problems can arise when managers selectively choose who can and cannot engage in such activities, with only certain people being punished. At best, a company can cause resentment among employees by singling out individuals for actions that are also being committed by others. At worst, they could find themselves in court for violating the First Amendment.

This is in line with the perspective of the Washington Supreme Court, where justices recently filed an opinion in the case against the fire department in eastern Washington. The court determined that a former fire captain, who was terminated after sending religious messages using a company forum, was denied his First Amendment rights to free speech and can sue for damages. Continue reading

“Gig” employment, also known as the, “sharing economy,” has exploded across the country, with increasingly more services following in the footsteps of the likes of Uber and Grubhub. These businesses often use appsCalifornia Employment Attorney to connect workers with customers for one-time services. These companies amass an eager base of workers who sign up for shifts as able, delivering groceries, transporting passengers, and more.

Many workers view gig employment as a flexible and easy way to earn extra money, while employers view it as a cheap way to staff a robust labor pool.

However this dynamic has led to a growing number of employee misclassification lawsuits as the debate comes to a boil as to whether these workers are independent contactors or employees (with all the rights that employees receive). Continue reading

The increase of the presence of the marijuana industry in California and states around the country has boosted economies and bolstered tax revenues. The potential for big profits has caused dispensaries and other marijuana-related businesses to pop up everywhere it has become legal.sexual harassment

This surge of new businesses has some potentially negative ramifications, though, mostly in regards to proper employee relations and the potential for more sexual harassment incidents.

According to a survey by New Frontier Data, 27 percent of people surveyed said they have witnessed sexual harassment in some way in the cannabis industry. And 18% said they had personally experienced harassment. Further, a third of respondents said that they knew someone who had been sexually harassed in the industry. Continue reading

Gender discrimination in the technology sector has long been a problem which female Californians have simply had to endure. The anti-diversity manifesto by a former Google engineer is just the latest in a long line of more subtle disparities in the treatment of women employed in the technology industry. Now, a proposed bill by California Senator Hannah-Beth Jackson aims to address sexual harassment in venture capital.sexual harassment attorneys

Forbes reports the bill would make an almost imperceptible change to California’s current sexual harassment statute. By adding a single word – “investor” – venture capital relationships would be added to the employment relationships which are protected from sexual harassment by the California Labor Code. Yet this single word could make a world of difference to the women who find it difficult to both access venture capital and maintain employment within the technology sector. For decades, the imbalance of power lead to “rampant harassment of women entrepreneurs”. It is only recently that media attention has shed light on the problem and inspired action on the issue. Continue reading

Funding and maintaining pension programs has become a serious problem for public employers across the nation. The bankrupt city of Detroit made headlines in 2014 when it settled with its underfunded public pension fund, and drastically reduced benefits to thousands of former city employees. The New York Times reports that the presiding bankruptcy judge called the deal “miraculous”. Now, the ugly reality of underfunded public pension programs has hit California as well.California public pension lawyer

The Mercury News reports California’s new state budget projects nearly $206 billion in “unfunded liabilities for the state’s two public pension systems.” What this means is that former state employees are entitled to $206 billion of benefits that the state simply cannot pay. CalPERS, the state employee retirement fund, manages close to $330 billion in assets. It is the largest public pension fund in the nation. And yet, it is only funded at approximately 65 percent of the total amount of its obligations to former state employees.   

Nearly half of this $206 billion deficit has been added in just the past eight years. The exponential nature of these retirement benefit payments have turned the underfunding into financial time bomb. Unfortunately, public pension funding is not an easy issue for state politicians to tackle. Budget cuts, increased taxes, and reallocation of limited financial resources are unpopular measures which can wait until someone else takes office. But this waiting is exactly what caused the crisis that California now faces.   Continue reading

In the current American political climate, immigration has become a heated – and often violent – issue. This conflict has implications beyond splashy front-page news stories. Employers may soon face significant legal hurdles to sponsor non-citizen employees. Both bringing foreign workers to the United States, and maintaining their residencies once they are here, is likely to become far more difficult in the coming months.California employment lawyers

Specific Policy Changes

The Trump Administration has targeted several specific immigration programs in furtherance of the President’s “America First” campaign theme. One such program is Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (“DACA”). KQED reports that nearly 223, 000 young immigrants have been granted residency and employment privileges under the program since DACA was enacted in 2012. The brainchild of the Obama Administration, DACA has become a target of criticism by both Trump and the Republican party. A group of GOP officials is even threatening to sue the federal government if Trump does not rescind DACA by September 5. 2017. Continue reading

Employers can encounter many different types of whistleblowers in their daily operations. Most people imagine the classic example of a low-level employee who alerts federal authorities to embezzlement, fraud, or other white collar crimes. But these types of blatant offenses are increasingly rare. Whistleblowers can bring attention to a wide variety of far more subtle violations. These can all expose the unprepared employer to legal liability, poor public relations, and other damaging consequences.California whistleblower lawyers

Whistleblowers have rights under both state and federal law. The California Labor Code prohibits employers from retaliating against employees who report a violation of the law to government authorities.  Similarly, the federal Occupational Health and Safety Act also prohibits retaliation against employees who report violations of the Act. Employers who do not appropriately respond to whistleblower complaints may therefore face both state and federal liability – in addition to administrative consequences (such as the loss of a business license) and bad publicity. Continue reading

New data indicates that the California job market – and thus, the state’s overall economy – is slowing. California employers collectively reduced fourteen hundred jobs across the state in June 2017. According to the Los Angeles Times, this is the second month in 2017 in which the state has posted job losses. April 2017 saw an even greater decrease in California’s employment market. Job growth in 2017 is significantly lower than California’s 2016 job growth.California employment lawyers

There are many causes to these job losses. Economic consultant Chris Thornberg posits that there are jobs available, but many workers simply cannot afford to live in California. A shortage of available housing has increased California’s notoriously high home prices and rental rates even further. This is certainly true of Silicon Valley: The New York Post reports that many technology companies are expanding operations outside of the pricey area. While Silicon Valley has experienced job losses over the past five years, both Seattle and Austin are experiencing job growth in the technology sector. The Press-Enterprise even speculates on whether California is experiencing another “tech bubble”, and the state’s ability to survive a burst of such an economic bubble. The fact that many technology firms are slowly leaving the state is not a positive sign for the technology industry, not the state’s overall economy. Continue reading