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U.S. sues over California law that protects immigrants at work

We recently wrote about a new California state law that took effect on January 1 imposing new legal responsibilities on employers in certain immigration-related situations. To recap, the main provisions of the law require California employers to:

  • Only let federal immigration agents access nonpublic areas of work premises if they have valid judicial warrants, with some exception
  • Only let these agents review employee records if they show official court orders or subpoenas, with some exception
  • Provide posted 72-hour notices of certain federal immigration Form I-9 or similar inspections as well as furnish copies of certain related documents to employees on request
  • With some exceptions under federal law, refrain from re-verifying employment eligibility of employees

Is an alternative workweek right for your business?

When competing for talented employees, many businesses look for new ways to provide flexibility to current employees and attractive options to potential hires. Taking advantage of California's alternative workweek is one way to accommodate the lifestyles of many employees, whether they have child care needs, work a second job or just want an extra day off. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, flexible or alternative workweeks are on the rise nationwide.

However, the alternative workweek model may not work well for every business. On its face, the benefits of an alternative workweek to employees seem obvious, but the needs of your business and your customers should also be carefully considered. California employers should also be aware that the state requires employers to follow a specific process when implementing it in the workplace, including a written proposal to employees, a secret ballot election, and reporting of the results to the California Department of Industrial Relations.

A look at estate planning and the new SALT deduction limits

Given extensive changes coming with the new federal tax law (the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017), it is a good idea for all taxpayers, especially those in higher income brackets, to sit down with an estate planning attorney to discuss whether their estate plans should be changed.

One aspect of the new law that may affect many Californians is the new limitation on the state and local tax deduction, known as SALT.

Bill would ban discrimination against medical cannabis patients

As you may know, California's legalization of recreational cannabis use does not prevent employers from enforcing drug-free workplace policies. Employers may decline to hire job applicants or fire employees who test positive for cannabis.

Since the California Supreme Court has ruled that this is true even for employees with legal prescriptions for medical cannabis, it is likely the high court would apply the same rule for the legal use of recreational cannabis. However, recently proposed California legislation seeks to change this.

Why a durable power of attorney should be part of your estate plan

A common misconception is that estate planning is only about what happens to your property after your death. The financial or durable power of attorney is an aspect of estate planning that can help manage your affairs while you are still very much alive. Giving a trusted person your power of attorney creates the legal authority for that person to step in and manage your money and related affairs should you become incapacitated.

Some terminology: The person receiving the power is the attorney-in-fact or agent; the person granting the power is the principal.

Court says Grubhub driver is independent contractor, not employee

Here at Duggan Law Corporation, we advise California employers about classifying workers as either independent contractors or employees. The answer is significant to both parties because if the person is an employee, he or she is subject to applicable California and federal labor and employment laws governing overtime, minimum wage, workers' compensation eligibility and more.

A new court opinion interpreting California law

On February 8, the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California released the decision of a U.S. Magistrate Judge in the case of Lawson v. Grubhub, Inc. The court found that Lawson, a food delivery driver for Grubhub for a brief time, had been properly classified as an independent contractor because under state law, Grubhub did not have the "necessary control" of an employer over an employee's work.


California law bans employer immigration-related retaliation

As we discussed in a previous post, new California employer responsibilities that took effect on January 1 require valid warrants, subpoenas or court orders of federal immigration personnel before allowing access to workplaces and employee records. In addition, existing California law forbids employers from taking intimidating actions against employees related to immigration status, including threats to report workers or their family members to immigration authorities.

#MeToo Movement: Workplace Sexual Harassment Prevention Training Is As Important As Ever

The #MeToo movement has brought a heightened awareness to the prevalence of sexual harassment. In California, larger employers are legally responsible for providing sexual harassment prevention training to supervisors. As of January 1, 2018, California law expanded this training to include gender identity, gender expression and sexual orientation.

Who must receive the training?

Duggan Law welcomes attorney Laura McHugh

Duggan Law Corporation is proud to announce that Laura McHugh has joined the firm as a shareholder. Laura brings more than 22 years of experience defending and counseling employers of all sizes in labor and employment law matters.

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With extensive experience in individual and class action litigation, Laura has tried and arbitrated numerous cases, and argued before the California Supreme Court and Third District Court of Appeal in cases that resulted in precedent-setting decisions. In 2017 and 2018, she was recognized by Lawyers of Distinction as being within the top 10 percent of labor and employment lawyers in the country, based on peer and client reviews. In 2017 she received recognition by the Sacramento Business Journal as Best of the Bar. Before joining Duggan Law Corporation, Laura co-founded a successful management labor and employment law firm where she practiced for over 18 years.

How Should Employers Handle Workplace Romances?

In light of the #MeToo movement, office romances may seem like they are quickly becoming a thing of the past. But even if the number of people in workplace relationships is gradually decreasing, it is still far too high for employers to ignore.

At the end of last year, an online Harris Poll survey sponsored by CareerBuilder asked 809 private sector employees across the U.S. about office romances. The survey reported a "10-year low" of people who said they have dated a coworker - 36 percent of respondents. This may be lower than the previous year's finding of 40 percent, but that doesn't mean employers no longer need to worry about their employees dating each other.

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