It is well known that California state labor and employment laws tend to be more pro-employee than corresponding federal laws. Therefore, it may come as no surprise that if you make your employees stand in line before they leave so you can inspect their bags to ensure they didn't make off with your merchandise - such as some shiny new Nike Air Force 1's - you must pay them for this time in California. As we previously explained in this space, the California Supreme Court held last summer in a unanimous opinion called Troester v. Starbucks that in a wage and hour complaint under California state law, the federal de minimis doctrine does not apply.
Current California law provides that an employee who claims to have been the victim of unlawful discrimination or harassment must file a complaint with the Department of Fair Employment and Housing within one-year of the unlawful practice before they can file a civil lawsuit. A bill is under consideration before the state legislature that would extend the deadline for filing to three years.
On June 3, a pregnancy discrimination trial began in Napa County Superior Court in which a restaurant server alleged that a job transfer from her New York workplace to the company's location in Yountville fell through because of pregnancy discrimination.
An employee handbook is a document that communicates your company's mission, policies and expectations. Employers give this to employees to clarify their rights and responsibilities while they're employed with the company. Beyond their value in running an organization, when done correctly, employee handbooks can be a valuable tool in building a defense in the event of a lawsuit. These are just a few of the reasons why every employer, regardless of the number of employees, should have one.
A recent unanimous employment discrimination case out of the U.S. Supreme Court has important takeaways for California employers. Fort Bend County, Texas v. Davis decides an unsettled legal question about Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the main federal anti-discrimination law impacting the workplace.
As part of his budget proposals in January, California Governor Gavin Newsom announced support for a change in state law that would allow new parents to take six months of parental leave while receiving partial wage replacement. Families could allocate the time to one parent, or split the time between two parents, or between a single parent and another family member. Ann O'Leary, the governor's chief of staff who is a "leading force behind the proposal," voiced concern about the potential impact of one employee utilizing all six months of leave, stating that it would be too onerous on employers and instead supporting dividing the leave time for a baby between some combination of parents or other relatives.
Since January 1, 2018, California has had a "ban-the-box" law that prohibits most employers in the state with five or more employees from asking in the initial stages of the onboarding process whether job applicants have had criminal convictions. We discussed the law in detail in an earlier post.
California employers should be aware of a change in our state's lactation accommodation law as of January 1. Previously, an employer could satisfy the requirement for a private room for breastfeeding mothers to express milk so long as the room was not a "toilet stall."
In Part 1 of this post, we introduced the December 2018 case of Moreno v. Visser Ranch, Inc., in which a California appellate court addressed issues of employer liability for losses or injuries caused by an employee when he or she was acting within the scope of employment; specifically, in that case, the employer had allowed an employee to use its company vehicle for business and personal reasons and the employee got into an accident leaving his passenger son inured. The son sued, among other parties, his father's employer, who owned and insured the vehicle he was in when the accident happened.
A recent California court decision raises important issues for employers who allow their employee to use company vehicles for personal reasons. In Moreno v. Visser Ranch, Inc., an employer allowed its employee to use a truck it owned and insured for both business and personal travel. Employee Ray Moreno was required to be on call 24/7 to respond immediately to cell phone calls and maintenance needed at all times at the ranches, farms and dairies operated by the employer.