Posts tagged HR.
Posted in Staff Infection
Employer Alert: New Law Prohibits Employment Discrimination Based on Natural Hairstyles

On July 3, 2019, Governor Gavin Newsom signed into law Senate Bill 188, the Crown Act (Create a Respectful and Open Workplace for Natural Hair).

The text of the law includes an explanation for its purpose. In pertinent part, SB 188 states that the “history of our nation is riddled with laws and societal norms that equated ‘blackness,’ and the associated physical traits, for example, dark skin, kinky and curly hair to a badge of inferiority, sometimes subject to separate and unequal treatment.” It goes on to state that the societal understanding of “professionalism was, and ...

Posted in Staff Infection
Employer Alert: Expansion of Reporting Time Pay Rule

A recent California Court of Appeal ruling significantly expands the conditions under which the reporting time pay rule in California will apply.  Skylar Ward v. Tilly’s, Inc. involved retail clothing store workers who were assigned on-call shifts, but did not know if they must report to work for each shift until they made a required call to the employer two (2) hours in advance of the shift.

Under all California Wage Orders, including Wage Order No. 7 that applies to retail workers, reporting time pay must be paid for each workday an employee is required to report for work and does ...

Posted in Staff Infection
Department of Fair Employment and Housing Issues Harassment Training Toolkit

Senate Bill 1343, which became effective on January 1, 2019, requires that every California employer with at least five employees or independent contractors provide two hours of interactive harassment and abusive conduct prevention training for their managers and supervisors, and conduct this training thereafter every two years and within six months of a person’s placement into a supervisory or management position. SB 1343 also requires that these employers provide interactive harassment training to their non-supervisory employees of at least one hour, and thereafter ...

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

The 2019 mileage rates used to calculate the deductible costs of operating an automobile for business, charitable, medical, or moving purposes have increased from last year, or remained unchanged. Specifically, as of January 1, 2019, the standard mileage rates for the use of a car (also vans, pickups, or panel trucks) are:

  • 58 cents per mile for business miles driven, up three and one-half cents from 2018;
  • 20 cents per mile driven for medical or moving purposes, up two cents from 2018; and
  • 14 cents per mile driven in service of charitable organizations.

The IRS standard mileage rate for ...

Posted in Staff Infection
Employer Alert:  SB 1343 Extends Harassment Training Requirements to Small Employers and Non-Supervisory Employees

Under current California law, organizations with 50 or more employees or independent contractors must provide two hours of interactive harassment and abusive conduct prevention training for their managers and supervisors every two years and within six months of placement into a supervisory or management position.  The training required must include information and practical guidance regarding the federal and state statutory provisions concerning the prohibition against, and the prevention and correction of, sexual harassment, as well as the remedies available to victims ...

Posted in Staff Infection
Employer Alert: New Fair Credit Reporting Act Summary of Consumer Rights Form Required for Background Checks

Beginning September 21, 2018, employers must use the newly issued model Summary of Your Rights Under the Fair Credit Reporting Act form (or their own form based on the model) when providing the required written notice to an employee or a job applicant that a background check will be conducted. The revised federal form is also required if an employer plans to take adverse action against an employee or applicant based on the report.  

The revised form includes notification of the newly granted right under the Economic Growth, Regulatory Relief and Consumer Protection Act passed by Congress ...

Posted in Staff Infection
California close to Banning Employment Arbitration Agreements 

The California Legislature is poised to dispense with a cost-effective and expedient method of resolving employment disputes.  Specifically, Assembly Bill 3080 seeks to prohibit any person or business from conditioning employment, or any employment-related benefit, on any applicant for employment or employee agreeing to the binding arbitration of disputes that involve any alleged violation of any provision of the California Fair Employment and Housing Act.  The bill also includes a prohibition against arbitration agreements that would require an employee to opt out of ...

Posted in Staff Infection
Assembly Bill 1710 Expands Military Personnel Employment Protections

Effective January 1, 2018, AB 1710 amends Section 394 of the Military and Veterans Code by including protection against discrimination in all terms, conditions or privileges of employment due to membership or service in the military.  This applies to all military service and personnel including the National Guard, and expands existing anti-discrimination measures for military personnel.

The new law also includes criminal and civil penalties for violations.

Employers are reminded to train employees to comply with this law and other existing anti-discrimination laws ...

Posted in Staff Infection
New and Proposed Tax Legislation Present New Difficulties for Employers Attempting to Settle Sexual Harassment Claims

Most employers have heard of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, signed into law on December 22, 2017, and have contemplated what it may mean for them.  What has been largely overlooked, however, is a denial of deduction buried deep in section 162(q) of the Internal Revenue Code, which may have a significant impact on employers’ ability to settle lawsuits based on sexual harassment or sexual abuse.  Referred to as the “Harvey Weinstein Tax” (even though it is not a tax), section 162(q) provides:

  • No deduction shall be allowed … for (1) any settlement or payment related to sexual harassment or ...
Posted in Staff Infection
New Law Phases In Overtime Increases for Agricultural Workers

Beginning on January 1, 2019,  Assembly Bill 1066 phases in overtime for agricultural workers over a four year period, ultimately making these workers eligible for overtime pay at one and one-half (1-½) times their regular rate after eight hours per day, rather than the current ten hours. Employers who employ 25 or fewer employees will have an additional three years to comply with the phasing-in of these overtime requirements and will be required to meet the same phased in standards mentioned below commencing on January 1, 2022.

More specifically, in 2019, employers with more than 25 ...

Posted in Staff Infection
Alert: Employers Should Distribute Updated Sexual Harassment Brochure or Poster

The California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) recently issued an updated sexual harassment brochure (DFEH-185) (found here in English and here in Spanish), which replaces the prior version.   The DFEH also provided this information in an easy-to-print poster form (DFEH-185P) (found here in English and here in Spanish).

Either the new poster or updated brochure will fulfill the employer’s obligation to provide employees with an information sheet regarding sexual harassment under state law.  Employers should provide all new employees with the updated ...

Posted in Staff Infection
Employer Alert: Reporting Requirements for All New or Rehired California Employees

All California employers must report their newly hired or rehired employees who work in California to the California Employment Development Department (EDD).  Reporting is done using the EDD’s Report of New Employees form, which was recently updated and can be found HERE (along with instructions for completion).

Reporting is aimed at locating parents not providing child financial support as obligated.  For general information regarding reporting requirements, including how to report, multi-state employers, etc., check the EDD’s New Employment Registry site found HERE.

Posted in Staff Infection
Reminder: Employers Must Provide Notice of Victim Rights to Employees

As a reminder, all California employers must provide the newly issued Rights of Victims of Domestic Violence, Sexual Assault and Stalking notice to new employees upon hire and to current employees on request.

You can find the new notice HERE in English, and HERE in Spanish.

The notice informs employees who are victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking of various rights and protections, including the right to: unpaid time off to obtain legal relief (e.g., a restraining order); freedom from employer retaliation or discrimination due to their victim status; and ...

Posted in Staff Infection
California Places New Limits on Employer Use of Criminal History

New regulations issued by the California Fair Employment and Housing Council (FEHC) impose additional limitations on an employer’s use of criminal history information, and expand the types of criminal history that employers are prohibited from considering.  Effective July 1, 2017, these regulations prohibit an employer from considering criminal history in employment decisions if doing so would result in an adverse impact on individuals within a protected class, such as race, sex, or national origin.  An applicant or employee has the burden of proving adverse impact, but if ...

Posted in Staff Infection
Fair Chance Initiative Posting Required 

The recent Los Angeles Fair Chance Initiative for Hiring requires, among other things, that employers post a notice of the ordinance at job sites and workplaces.  The City of Los Angeles has now provided the notice that must be posted, which can be found at this LINK, along with guidelines and other information regarding the ordinance.  The notice should be placed in a conspicuous location that employees and job applicants can access

This blog is presented under protest by the law firm of Ervin Cohen & Jessup LLP.  It is essentially the random thoughts and opinions of someone who lives in the ...

Posted in Staff Infection
A Reminder: The Domestic Worker Bill of Rights is Permanent

Effective January 1, 2017, Senate Bill 1015 removes the 2017 sunset provision of 2013’s Assembly Bill 241, the Domestic Worker Bill of Rights, which granted overtime protections to California’s privately hired domestic workers who are personal attendants.  The law is therefore permanent.  Under the Domestic Worker Bill of Rights, daily overtime is required after 9 hours worked in one day and weekly overtime after 45 hours are worked in one week.

This blog is presented under protest by the law firm of Ervin Cohen & Jessup LLP.  It is essentially the random thoughts and opinions of ...

Posted in Staff Infection
New Law Requires Gender Neutral Restrooms

Existing law requires businesses that serve the public or are open to the public and maintain toilet facilities to make those facilities available to the public free of charge. Existing law also states that publicly and privately owned establishments where the public congregates must maintain a sufficient number of temporary or permanent toilet facilities to meet the needs of the public at peak hours. These laws also require that each business establishment provide, within reasonable access, a sufficient number of toilet facilities for the use of the employees.

Effective March 1 ...

Posted in Staff Infection
A Reminder: The IRS Requires Employers to Obtain Informed Consent to Email W-2s

Unless you reside in a cave (in which case you likely will not be reading this), you are aware that we are moving towards a paperless society.  However, assumptions about providing documents electronically can be dangerous, and privacy rights must also be respected.  With respect to issuing Form W-2, IRS Publication 15-A provides the following:

Furnishing Form W-2 to employees electronically. You may set up a system to furnish Form W-2 electronically. Each employee participating must consent (either electronically or by paper document) to receive his or her Form W-2 ...

Posted in Staff Infection
New Law Requires Written Notice to Employees on Hire (and Existing Employees upon Request) of Rights of Victims of Domestic Violence, Sexual Assault, or Stalking

California law already prohibits employers with 25 or more employees from discriminating or retaliating against employees who take time off work for specified purposes related domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking.  Assembly Bill 2337 (AB 2337) amends Labor Code section 230.1 to require that employers provide written notice of these rights to all new hires and, upon request, to current employees.  The bill also requires the Labor Commissioner to develop a form that an employer can elect to use to comply with this requirement, and when developed, to post it online.  The notice ...

Posted in Staff Infection
New Law Bans the Box in Los Angeles 

Effective January 22, 2017, the Los Angeles Fair Chance Initiative for Hiring will prohibit most employers in the City of Los Angeles from inquiring about a job applicant’s possible criminal history until an initial job offer is made.  Part of a national trend of “ban the box” laws, the ordinance bans the “check the box” or other questions on a job application regarding criminal convictions and prohibits employers from inquiring about such convictions by any other means until a conditional employment offer is made.  With limited exceptions, the ordinance applies to ...

Posted in Staff Infection
New I-9 Form Promises to be Fun for Everyone

Just kidding.  It may not be fun, but the new Form I-9 issued by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) may be used immediately. Finalized on November 14, 2016, the new version of the Form is available here https://www.uscis.gov/i-9 . Employers will not be permitted to use the old version of Form I-9 (dated 03/08/2013) as of January 22, 2017.   The new version asks for “other last names used” rather than “other names used,” and streamlines certification for certain foreign nationals.  Other changes include: the addition of prompts to ensure information is ...

Posted in Staff Infection
New Law Expands California’s Heat Illness Regulations to Include Indoor Employees

Existing regulations establish heat illness prevention standards for outdoor workers.  The regulations include requirements for providing sufficient drinking water at no charge to the employee, allowing for recovery or “cool down” periods, providing shade when the temperature exceeds 80 degrees Fahrenheit, and creating written safety standards.Senate Bill 1167 expands California’s heat illness regulations to protect indoor employees.  The bill requires the Division of Occupational Safety and Health to propose by July 1, 2019, a heat illness and injury prevention ...

Posted in Staff Infection
Assembly Bill 1843 Prohibits Employers from Inquiring about Juvenile Convictions or Using Juvenile Proceedings In Employment

Effective January 1, 2017, Assembly Bill 1843 prohibits hiring-related inquiries concerning juvenile convictions or from using information regarding juvenile court actions or custodial detentions as a factor in determining any condition of employment.  The new law expands upon recent legislation that restricted the use of expunged, sealed or dismissed juvenile convictions, and is representative of a nationwide trend of restricting inquiries regarding prior convictions.

This blog is presented under protest by the law firm of Ervin Cohen & Jessup LLP.  It is essentially the ...

Posted in Staff Infection
Senate Bill 1001 Amends the California Labor Code to Expand Protection from Unfair Immigration-Related Practices

Continuing a recent legislative trend, Senate Bill 1001 expands existing prohibitions regarding unfair immigration-related practices.  Specifically, this bill amends the California Labor Code to provide a civil remedy for an applicant or employee against any unfair immigration-related practice as defined by Labor Code section 1019.  Such “unfair immigration-related practices” include an employer requesting more or different documents than required under federal law for verification purposes, using the federal E-Verify system to check the status of a person at a time ...

Posted in Staff Infection
Los Angeles Moves Toward Prohibiting Criminal Conviction Inquiry Prior to Job Offer

Consistent with a national trend, the Los Angeles City Council’s Economic Development Committee voted last week in favor of a new law prohibiting most employers from inquiring about a job applicant’s possible criminal history until an initial job offer is made and allowing applicants to appeal an adverse decision.  The proposed law, known as the Los Angeles Fair Chance Initiative for Hiring (Ban the Box), will next be heard by the Entertainment and Facilities Committee and if approved, would then be considered by the full City Council.

Referred to as a “ban the box” law, the ...

Posted in Staff Infection
AB 2535 Expands Exceptions to Tracking Hours Requirements on Itemized Wage Statements

Prompted, in part, by a 2015 federal court decision which held that employers must state the total hours worked by outside sales persons, Assembly Bill 2535 amends Labor Code section 226 to further clarify the categories of workers whose wage statements need not show total hours worked.  The amendment specifies that salaried persons exempt from overtime under statute (Labor Code section 515) or an order of the Industrial Welfare Commission need not have hours included on wage statements.  In addition, the amendment lists the following categories of workers for which employers do not ...

Posted in Staff Infection

Beginning January 1, 2017, Assembly Bill 1245 requires that employers with 10 or more employees must file all unemployment insurance reports and returns using the e-file system. Also, these employers must remit contributions for unemployment insurance premiums by electronic funds transfer. The law will extend to all employers on January 1, 2018. Businesses without the necessary technology may be exempted, but must request a waiver.

This alert is intended to note current legal trends in commercial lending and risk management issues. No alert should be construed as representing ...

Posted in Staff Infection
New Workplace Smoking Prohibitions Include E-Cigarettes

So you think vaping is the key to reducing workplace stress? Think again. Senate Bill 5 expands no smoking prohibitions to include e-cigarettes (vaping), vaporizer carts and expands the definition of “tobacco products” to include all forms of tobacco or nicotine, except for approved cessation products, such as nicotine gum. Assembly Bill 7 expands the prohibition on smoking in the workplace to include owner-operated business, including a business where the owner is the only employee. Even though vaping equipment such as cartridges from Hamilton Devices CCELL are readily ...

Posted in Staff Infection

A trial set for January 26 will confront whether Sears should be held liable for emotional distress of customers and employees who allegedly suffered from a Sears employee installing peepholes and video cameras in women’s changing rooms in a North Hollywood Sears location. The Daily Journal reached out Kelly Scott, ECJ’s Employment Law head, to get perspective from an employer’s standpoint in the article titled “Sears faces liability for peeping tom employee.”

This blog is presented under protest by the law firm of Ervin Cohen & Jessup LLP. It is essentially the random ...

Posted in Staff Infection
Don’t Put Away Those Party Supplies Just Yet: The New IRS Mileage Rates Are Here!

For the first time in human history, or at least a very long time, the mileage rates used to calculate the deductible costs of operating an automobile for business, charitable, medical or moving purposes have declined. Specifically, beginning on Jan. 1, 2016, the standard mileage rates for the use of a car (also vans, pickups or panel trucks) will be:

  • 54 cents per mile for business miles driven, down from 57.5 cents for 2015
  • 19 cents per mile driven for medical or moving purposes, down from 23 cents for 2015
  • 14 cents per mile driven in service of charitable organizations

The IRS standard ...

Posted in Staff Infection
New Law Extends Retaliation Protections to Family Members

Assembly Bill 1509 amends sections 98.6, 1102.5, and 6310 of the California Labor Code by extending certain retaliatory protections afforded to employees to their family members who work for the same employer. Under existing law, employers are prohibited from discharging an employee or taking an adverse action against an employee or applicant for employment because the employee or applicant has engaged in protected conduct, such as filing a written complaint with a government agency based on employment conditions. Effective January 1, 2016, such retaliatory protections will ...

Posted in Staff Infection
The Fair Pay Act: An Equal Pay Game-Changer

It was little commented upon as it worked its way through the legislature, being just one of thousands of laws proposed each year, but make no mistake about it—Senate Bill 358, The Fair Pay Act, is an important new law for California employees and employers. Prompted by the continuing wage gap between men and women, SB 358 is designed to improve a California law that has existed since 1949. Prior to the enactment of SB 358, employees claiming that they received unequal pay based on their gender had to demonstrate that they weren’t paid at the same rate as someone of the opposite sex at ...

Posted in Staff Infection

Effective January 1, 2016, Assembly Bill 987 prohibits an employer from retaliating or otherwise discriminating against a person for requesting accommodation of his or her disability or religious beliefs, regardless of whether the accommodation request was granted. This legislation was in response to the California Court of Appeal decision in Rope v. Auto-Chlor System of Washington, Inc., in which the court held that a request for reasonable accommodation was not a protected activity under the California Fair Employment and Housing Act, and therefore a claim of retaliation ...

Posted in Staff Infection

Senate Bill 600 expands the protections of the Unruh Civil Rights Act, a law designed to protect consumers. The Unruh Civil Rights Act already provides that all persons within the jurisdiction of this state are entitled to full and equal accommodations in all business establishments regardless of their sex, race, color, religion, ancestry, national origin, disability, medical condition, genetic information, marital status, or sexual orientation. SB 600 extends these protections by prohibiting discrimination by businesses based on citizenship, primary language or ...

Posted in Staff Infection

Global warming, a decaying infrastructure, budget problems, pollution, endangered species; these are all serious problems. In a world full of serious problems, lesser tragedies frequently go unnoticed. Like the plight of the American cheerleader. These men and women generally promote their teams for little or no pay, have no benefits, and are afforded none of the basic rights enjoyed by hourly employees. For a while it seemed as if no one would hear their choreographed cries for help. But fear not, readers, for the California Legislature has stepped in to save the day.

Assembly Bill ...

Posted in Staff Infection

A hot topic for legislators throughout the United States, last fall California became the second state to require paid sick leave. Effective July 1, 2015, California’s Healthy Workplaces, Healthy Families Act of 2014 provides that all employees working in California for 30 or more days within a year from the commencement of employment are entitled to paid sick leave, which means that temporary and part-time employees may be eligible. Sick leave must either (i) accrue at the rate of no less than one hour for every 30 hours worked, or (ii) total at least three days or 24 hours and be ...

Posted in Staff Infection
Interns and Volunteers Protected from Workplace Harassment, Discrimination and Retaliation

We’ve written here about the abuse of interns previously. At the time, we were focused on the all-too-common practice of using unpaid interns to augment the workforce, a violation of labor law that occurs frequently in the entertainment industry. But whether paid or unpaid, it is clear that interns and volunteers must be treated with the same dignity and respect as are paid employees and independent contractors.

Indeed, Assembly Bill 1443 recently amended the Fair Employment and Housing Act to prohibit discrimination in the selection, termination, training or treatment of ...

Posted in Staff Infection
A Reminder: Employers Must Train Supervisors on the Prevention of Abusive Conduct

Assembly Bill 2053 expanded the existing requirement for sexual harassment training under Government Code section 12950.1 to include training on the prevention of abusive conduct. Effective January 1, 2015, the law applies to every California employer that employs 50 or more persons or receives the services of 50 or more persons pursuant to a contract. “Abusive conduct” is defined as conduct that a reasonable person would find hostile and offensive and is otherwise unrelated to legitimate business interests. Abusive conduct may include derogatory remarks, insults ...

Posted in Staff Infection
EEOC Reports Statistics on Employee Filings for 2014

At the beginning of every year, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission reports statistics on types of charges filed by employees and former employees over the course of the preceding year. These statistics help employers self-audit and focus on policies and practices they need to revisit to avoid becoming part of the following year’s statistics. The charge numbers released by the EEOC for 2014 show the following breakdowns by bases alleged in descending order.

  • Retaliation under all statutes: 37,955 (42.8 percent of all charges filed); nearly half of all charges filed!
Posted in Staff Infection

In order to comply with employment notice requirements under state and federal law, employers must be sure that all notices and posters they display for their employees are current and that they post any newly required notices. In 2014, a number of required notices and posters changed and a new requirement regarding a paid sick days’ notice went into effect, requiring that it be posted by January 1, 2015.

Attached are the following notices that changed in 2014, and the new paid sick day posting:

  1. California Minimum Wage Notice (updated in ...
Posted in Staff Infection

Ever wonder how your employees would handle a life-threatening situation? Well, four supervisors of the West Kern Water District apparently did. And they didn’t just wonder; concerned about robberies in the area and following staff training, on July 29, 2011, they decided to test their cashiers by staging an armed robbery of the District’s office.

The supervisors put on quite a show. They kept their plans secret until one of the supervisors entered the District's office wearing a ski mask and sunglasses. He approached cashier Kathy Lee, slammed a paper bag on the counter in front ...

Posted in Staff Infection
Introductory Periods Must Be Reconsidered in Light of Insurance Waiting Time Rules

Most employers have an “introductory” or “probationary” period for new full-time employees. This period is usually defined as a set period of time following the date of hire, usually 90 days in length, during which a new employee is considered to be on “introductory status” and the employee and the employer get acquainted. During the introductory period, new employees are eligible only for certain benefits, such as Workers' Compensation insurance and Social Security. Employers usually inform new hires that the period may be extended if the employer determines that ...

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