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New California Family Rights Act Regulations Become Effective July 1

Amendments to the California Family Rights Act (“CFRA”) regulations, going into effect on July 1, 2015, are meant to clarify a number of uncertainties, align the CFRA regulations more closely with the federal Family and Medical Leave Act (“FMLA”) regulations (where the laws are consistent), and ensure employers and employees have a clear understanding of their rights and duties under the CFRA.

PAYING FOR ON-CALL AND SLEEP TIME

When non-exempt employees are performing their “regular” duties, employers typically understand their responsibility to pay for the time. But in some circumstances, it is unclear whether an employee’s time is compensable. Recently, in Mendiola v. CPS Security Solutions, Inc., the California Supreme Court addressed two such situations: on-call time and sleep time.

New FLSA Overtime Exemption Regulations Still Under Consideration By Department of Labor

Earlier this week, Secretary of Labor Perez announced that her agency is still working hard on revising the regulations governing the existing white collar overtime exemptions. These regulations were originally expected to be published in early 2015. However, that did not happen. Secretary Perez now expects that the regulations will be finalized and published this spring.

The Interactive Process Dance, Part Two: What Happens When the Music Stops?

Part one of this two-part series covered the details of the interactive process in California and discussed a scenario in which the employee fails to respond to the employer’s attempts to communicate on an accommodation to his disability. Part two covers two additional scenarios and provides key take-aways to be drawn from recent California court rulings on the interactive process.

The Interactive Process Dance, Part One: What Happens When the Music Stops?

California employers are not only required to refrain from discriminating against any employee on the basis of disability, but they also have an obligation to provide “reasonable accommodations” for employees with disabilities. Additionally, the California Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) provides that to determine whether there is an effective and reasonable accommodation that can be implemented, employers and employees must participate in a mutual, good-faith interactive process. While this sounds like a relatively simple obligation, it has become a topic that often confuses employers and employees alike. In litigation, the issue of the interactive process has become one of the most important aspects for litigants, counsel, and judges. An article in the September 2010 issue of the California Labor & Employment Law Review examined the steps of the interactive process “tango.” This article explores what happens when, for whatever reason, the process comes to an end.

California Corner: There's a Classification for That—Recent Cases Challenge Whether Application-Based Service Platforms Misclassify Independent Contractors

As the number of services offered to consumers through applications ("app" or "apps") on their tablets and smartphones continue to expand, the companies that are profiting from them are facing a series of lawsuits that may redefine how they (and others) do business. These cases are not the first instance—and will undoubtedly not be the last—where wage and hour laws lag behind technological advances. Mobile apps such as Uber, Lyft and Sidecar have taken a number of markets by storm, revolutionizing the way consumers request, track and pay for taxi and "black car" rides. TaskRabbit, meanwhile, is an app attempting to redefine the way consumers complete their "to do" lists by enabling them to arrange for someone else (the "Tasker") to perform a number of different tasks such as cleaning, shopping or making deliveries. With an ever-growing number of people earning a living by serving as someone else's "private driver" or errand runner, the question being asked is whether these companies should be classified as employees or independent contractors. The answer may well determine whether certain businesses survive and/or prosper.

No Employer Liability If There is No Actionable Harassment or Discrimination, California Court Rules

An employer cannot be held liable for failure to prevent sexual harassment under the California Fair Employment and Housing Act (“FEHA”) if there is no actionable sexual harassment, the California Court of Appeal has ruled. Dickson v. Burke Williams, Inc., No. B253154 (Cal. Ct. App. Mar. 6, 2015). Likewise, a jury’s finding that an employer is not liable for sex discrimination precludes liability for failure to prevent discrimination.

Oakland Minimum Wage and Paid Sick Leave Law Effective This Week

In addition to having to comply with the new statewide paid sick leave law, California employers with employees in Oakland need to ensure that they are complying with a new Oakland minimum wage and paid sick leave measure that took effect March 2, 2015.

Court of Appeal: No Duty to Remove Essential Job Functions as Reasonable Accommodation and More...

The Court of Appeal in Nealy v. City of Santa Monica upheld summary judgment in a disability discrimination case. The case involved an injured "solid waste equipment operator," which may mean garbage truck operator. Nearly injured his right knee lifting a large bin, leading to several surgeries.

"ON-CALL" REST PERIODS ARE LEGAL

California law requires employers to provide non-exempt employees paid rest periods of at least 10 minutes during each four-hour work period, or major fraction thereof. Because these rest periods are short and paid, they are fundamentally different from legally mandated meal periods. For example, may an employer require employees to be “on call” during a rest break? Or must a rest break, like an unpaid meal period, be entirely free from the employer’s control?