As if paid sick leave wasn’t scary enough! From accrual methods, to the protections provided to the time off, to the varying (and ever growing) laws in different jurisdictions, paid sick leave can be spooky.
Articles Discussing Human Resource Issues In California.
As election day approaches, employers are reminded that California law requires them to post a notice 10 days before the election informing employees of their voting rights under state law. Specifically, employees must be informed that if they do not have sufficient time outside of working hours to vote, they may take off enough working time that, when added to the voting time available outside of working hours, will enable them to vote. Up to two hours of this time must be paid. The employer can require that the time off for voting be taken at the beginning or end of the employee’s shift, whichever allows the most free time for voting and the least time off from the regular working shift.
On September 27, 2016, Governor Jerry Brown signed Assembly Bill 1843, which prohibits certain inquiries into the criminal past of applicants for employment. The new law now adds a prohibition against asking about, considering as part of the hiring process, or attempting to discover, information relating to any “arrest, detention, processing, diversion, supervision, adjudication, or court disposition” that occurred while the applicant was subject to the “process and jurisdiction” of the juvenile court.
With holiday hiring in full swing, it’s a good time to review what should and should not be asked on employment applications.
The DOL’s final rule on paid sick leave was not the only news-making event in the world of leave management last Friday. While additional time off was being lauded by the federal government, additional protected leave was rejected in California.
On September 25, 2016, Governor Brown signed into law a new California Labor Code provision (Section 925) that is likely to have major repercussions for contracts with employees who live and work primarily in California. The new California Labor Code provision prohibits the use of contract provisions that apply another state’s law or require adjudication of disputes in another state as a condition of the employment of an individual who primarily resides and works in California.
On September 27, 2016, California Governor Jerry Brown signed Assembly Bill No. 1843, which amends the California Labor Code to prohibit employers from considering certain juvenile records for employment purposes. The amendment is effective January 1, 2017.
On September 14, 2016, Governor Jerry Brown signed AB 2377 into law which expands the employer notice requirements regarding domestic violence employee protections provided by Labor Code section 230.1. Despite the protections under current law, many employees remain uninformed about their employment-related rights when it comes to domestic violence. This new bill requires employers of 25 or more to provide written notice to employees of their rights to take protected leave for domestic violence, sexual assault or stalking. Employers must inform each employee of his or her rights upon hire and at any time upon request. The Labor Commissioner must develop and post online a form that employers may use to satisfy these new notice requirements by July 1, 2017. An employer’s obligation to comply with these new disclosure requirements will become effective when the Labor Commissioner posts the new form.
On August 22, 2016, a California Court of Appeal held that an arbitration agreement in an employee handbook did not create an enforceable agreement to arbitrate. Esparza v. Sand & Sea, Inc. et al., B268420 (Aug. 22, 2016). The employee handbook at issue stated, “[T]his handbook is not intended to be a contract . . . nor is it intended to otherwise create any legally enforceable obligations on the part of the Company or its employees.” Although the employee signed the handbook acknowledgement form, which mentioned the arbitration agreement contained in the handbook, the form did not state that the employee agreed to the arbitration. As such, the appellate court held that the trial court properly denied the employer’s petition to compel arbitration. This case emphasizes the importance of employers having standalone arbitration agreements for employees or removing landmines that may be lurking in their handbooks.
By now, California employers are probably aware of the “Ban the Box” movement sweeping the nation. Lawmakers and government agencies aim to provide applicants with a fair chance at employment by eliminating conviction history inquiries in background checks, interviews, and applications. Over 100 cities and counties nationwide have adopted similar initiatives to prevent employers from inquiring about and then rejecting applicants from positions based on their criminal history. President Obama has even endorsed the hiring reform, requiring that federal agencies delay inquiries into criminal records.
Does the court or the arbitrator decide whether the parties to an arbitration agreement intended class arbitration where the agreement does not contain an express class action waiver? The California Supreme Court responded that there is no “one-size-fits-all” answer and the issue is a matter of contract determined by state law contract interpretation principles.
Executive Summary: In a decision that will likely be seen as a win for employees, a sharply divided California Supreme Court ruled that the question of whether a court or an arbitrator decides if an arbitration agreement permits class claims should be determined on a case-by-case basis, specifically focusing on the agreement’s terms and resolving any ambiguities in favor of the non-drafting party. Given the high stakes nature of class proceedings and limited review of arbitrators’ rulings, we strongly recommend all employers seeking to avoid class arbitration have their agreements reviewed.
Within the last few weeks, California has raised its minimum wage and expanded its paid family leave rights. Another bill expanding employee rights that is pending in the State Legislature is SB 878. This bill is designed to require California grocery, retail, and restaurant employers to provide employees advance notice of their work schedules and to pay its employees “modification pay” for any unilateral changes that the employer makes to the schedule thereafter.
Today, the California Supreme Court issued its opinion in Baltazar v. Forever 21, Inc., rejecting an employee’s argument that her arbitration agreement with her employer was unconscionable and unenforceable simply because it permitted the parties to seek a temporary restraining order or preliminary injunction in court pending completion of an arbitration. The plaintiff argued that this provision unfairly favored the employer because employers are more likely to benefit from such a provision than an employee (because employers more commonly seek restraining orders and/or injunctive relief relating to claims against an employee for misappropriation of trade secrets and similar wrongful business practices).
California’s Fair Employment and Housing Council has issued proposed regulations concerning the use of criminal history information in employment decisions. The proposed regulations set forth pre-existing statutory prohibitions on using or inquiring about the following types of criminal history about an employee or applicant, when making employment decisions such as hiring, promotion, training, discipline, and termination: