Posted in Staff Infection
A Reminder: The IRS Mileage Rates Have Changed

The 2020 mileage rates used to calculate the deductible costs of operating an automobile for business, charitable, medical or moving purposes have decreased from last year, or remained unchanged. Specifically, as of January 1, 2020, the standard mileage rates for the use of a car (also vans, pickups or panel trucks) are:

  • 57.5 cents per mile driven for business use, down one half of a cent from the rate for 2019;
  • 17 cents per mile driven for medical or moving purposes, down three cents from the rate for 2019; and
  • 14 cents per mile driven in service of charitable organizations.

The IRS ...

Posted in Staff Infection
Update: AB 51 Employment Arbitration Law Remains On Hold

Assembly Bill 51, the controversial law that would have prevented employers from requiring employees to enter arbitration agreements, has been put on hold until at least January 31, 2020.  As reported in this blog last week, the law was supposed to go into effect on January 1st, but before that could happen U.S. District Judge Kimberly Mueller issued a temporary restraining order (TRO) pending a hearing on a motion brought by a coalition of businesses that sought to prevent the bill from taking effect.

The motion hearing took place last Friday, January 10th.  During the hearing, Judge ...

Posted in Staff Infection
Judge Orders Emergency Halt of AB 5 for Truck Drivers

A federal judge issued a temporary restraining order on Tuesday, December 31st, to halt enforcement of California’s Assembly Bill 5 (AB 5), regarding truck drivers, only hours before the law went into effect on January 1, 2020.  AB 5, often referred to as the gig worker law, codifies and expands the “ABC” test set forth in Dynamex Operations West, Inc. v. Superior Court, making it much harder for companies to claim workers are independent contractors.

Although AB 5 exempts a number of professions and services from the ABC test, truck drivers are not included among the exemptions ...

Posted in Staff Infection
Judge Orders Emergency Halt of AB 51 Employment Arbitration Law

A federal judge issued a temporary restraining order on Monday, December 30, to halt enforcement of California’s Assembly Bill 51 (AB 51), which was scheduled to go into effect on January 1, 2020. AB 51 would have prevented employers from requiring employees to enter arbitration agreements as a condition of their employment for claims brought under California’s Fair Employment and Housing Act and the Labor Code. AB 51 also would allow workers to pursue damages and attorneys’ fees and open employers up to criminal enforcement of up to six months imprisonment for violating AB ...

Posted in Staff Infection
SB 707: California Continues to Attack Arbitration Agreements

Although popular with employers as a method to expedite the resolution of disputes and reduce costs, arbitration is unpopular with plaintiff’s lawyers and, apparently, the California Legislature. As we wrote about here, Assembly Bill 51 prohibits employers from requiring that employees submit disputes to binding arbitration as a condition of employment. The attack on arbitration agreements continues with Senate Bill 707, set to become law on January 1, 2020. 

SB 707 applies to employment or consumer arbitration agreements and requires that the drafting party pay any fees and ...

Posted in Staff Infection
20 Steps To Avoid Employment Lawsuits

I have been asked by more than one frustrated California employer how to avoid or reduce employment lawsuits. It is not an easy question to answer as there are many variables that go into generating employment law claims. However, in no particular order, what follows is a list of strategies and steps to consider to implement an effective claim reduction plan:

  1. Document, document, document: Documenting employee issues and the employer’s response is a big part of disproving claims. Indeed, a consistent practice of documenting issues can even be used to indicate that something did not ...
Posted in Staff Infection
AB 749: Because California Needs More Lawsuits

Assembly Bill 749 is an unnecessary law that will only serve to incentivize more lawsuits between former employees and employers.  Effective on January 1, 2020, AB 749 will prohibit an agreement to settle an employment dispute from containing a provision that prohibits a settling party from working for the employer against which he or she filed a claim, or any parent company, subsidiary, division, affiliate, or contractor of the employer. The law states that provisions in settlements signed after January 1, 2020 will be void as a matter of law and against public policy.

AB 749 seems ...

Posted in Staff Infection
Unlimited Vacation Policies: Are They Right For Your Business?

I am frequently asked about the pros and cons of having an unlimited vacation policy. To begin, I do not think it works for every category of worker, nor does it work for every type of company. When it does work, it usually is applied only to executive or professional types of workers, and only then in an atmosphere where such workers are employed in situations where co-workers or clients depend on consistent performance, such that there is always pressure to perform and deliver services in a timely fashion. Workers who work autonomously for extended periods of time may not be as ...

Ask the Receiver: Using the Barton Rule or the Younger Doctrine to Dismiss Cases When Sued as Receiver

Q: I am a health and safety receiver appointed over property that had numerous code violations and was rat infested. The court ordered me to bring the property into the code compliance and, eventually, to sell the property to pay for the repairs and my fees. The owner has now sued the city and me in federal court alleging her civil rights were violated and to prevent me from selling the property. What is the best way to get rid of her federal lawsuit?

A: This seems to happen often in health and safety receivership cases. The defendants must be reading the same online posts. The normal method ...

Posted in Staff Infection
California Court of Appeal Concludes Premium Wage Must Be Paid at the Base Hourly Rate

In Ferra v. Loews Hollywood Hotel, LLC, the California Court of Appeal considered the method for determining the amount of the one hour of pay at the employee’s “regular rate of compensation” for each workday in which an employer fails to provide a meal, rest or recovery period as required by Labor Code Section 226.7. In recent years, plaintiffs have argued in class actions that the method for determining the “regular rate of compensation” under 226.7 must be the same as that used for calculating the “regular rate of pay” for overtime purposes under Labor Code Section 510 ...

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