California Public Agency Labor & Employment Blog

California Public Agency Labor & Employment Blog

Useful information for navigating legal challenges

Category Archives: Employment

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New CFRA Regulations Impacting Family and Medical Leave Will Be Effective July 1, 2015

Posted in Employment, FMLA
This blog post was authored by Connie C. Almond and Danny Yoo In 2008, the U.S. Department of Labor issued revised regulations interpreting the federal Family and Medical Leave Act (“FMLA”).  Since then, California employers have been left uncertain as to which of the changes the Department of Fair Employment and Housing would adopt for… Continue Reading

NLRB Rules that Employers Must Presumptively Allow Employees to Use Work Email for Statutorily Protected Communications

Posted in Employment
This blog was authored by Alex Polishuk Employer email policies often prohibit employees from using workplace emails for communications that do not relate to business purposes.  However, under a recent National Labor Relations Board (“NLRB” or “Board”) decision, business-use-only email policies may now be unlawful.  In Purple Communications, Inc. (2014), the NLRB ruled that employers… Continue Reading

It’s the Most Wonderful Time to Minimize Liability

Posted in Employment, Workplace Policies
It is that time of the year again… the holiday season.  Time to celebrate!  Many employers throw festive holiday or year-end parties complete with food, alcohol and entertainment.  According to a Society of Human Resource Management Survey on Holiday/Year End Activities, in recent years about two-thirds of organizations have held holiday parties for their employees. … Continue Reading

Screening Applicants With Domestic Violence Criminal History

Posted in Employment
The National Football League’s handling of several recent high-profile domestic violence incidents involving players Ray Rice, Greg Hardy and Jonathan Dwyer has raised the national consciousness regarding how employers handle domestic violence issues. Domestic violence has been, and continues to be, a prevalent problem that creates many challenging issues for employers.  A recent Centers for… Continue Reading

California’s New Paid Sick Leave Law Provides Employees With Paid Sick Days Effective July 1, 2015

Posted in Employment, Legislation
This blog post was authored by Gage Dungy and Stephanie J. Lowe On September 10, 2014, Governor Brown signed Assembly Bill 1522 (“AB 1522”), codified as Labor Code sections 245 through 249, enacting the Healthy Workplaces, Healthy Families Act of 2014 (“Paid Sick Leave law”).  Effective July 1, 2015, this new Paid Sick Leave law entitles… Continue Reading

9th Circuit Says Control Is Key In Determining Independent Contractor Status

Posted in Employment
Many public agencies supplement their workforce with independent contractors.  Since independent contractors who perform services are not employees, agencies do not have to pay them according to the requirements of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). If the contractor does not meet the qualifications for “independent contractor” status, the worker must be treated as an employee… Continue Reading

Understanding and Protecting the Rights of Transgender and Gender Non-Conforming Employees

Posted in Discrimination, Employment
Although the terms “transgender” and “gender identity” have already been protected classifications in the California Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) for a number of years, the State legislature saw a need to provide further clarification to alleviate continued discrimination against transgender employees, as well as employees who may not have had gender reassignment but… Continue Reading

EEOC Issues New Guidance on Pregnancy Discrimination and Accommodation Requirements

Posted in Discrimination, Employment
This blog post was authored by Alex Polishuk On July 14, 2014, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) issued new enforcement guidelines on employer responsibilities with regard to pregnant employees under federal workplace laws.  The Enforcement Guidance on Pregnancy Discrimination and Related Issues (“Guidance”) advances the EEOC’s position that the Pregnancy Discrimination Act (“PDA”) and the… Continue Reading

Let Them Eat Stale Cake – But They Won’t Be Getting COBRA!

Posted in Employment
This post was authored by Jessica Frier Federal COBRA legislation allows departing employees and dependents to continue coverage under an employer’s group health plan after coverage is lost for almost any reason—including death, divorce, reduction in hours, and even termination for cause.  Only the employee’s “gross misconduct” provides a basis to deny COBRA coverage. But… Continue Reading

Regulatory Changes to Workers’ Compensation and Paid Family Leave Go Into Effect Next Month

Posted in Employment
This blog post was authored by Steven Tang A few recent regulatory changes regarding Workers’ Compensation and Paid Family Leave go into effect on July 1, 2014.  Agencies should update their applicable policies, practices and/or forms accordingly. Physician Predesignation Requirements Altered Under Workers’ Compensation regulations, employees may be treated for an industrial injury by a… Continue Reading

Covered Bay Area Employers Must Provide Commuter Benefits By September 30, 2014

Posted in Employment
In 2012, Governor Brown signed Senate Bill 1339 into law which authorized the implementation of a pilot program in the San Francisco Bay Area on commuter benefits.  Senate Bill 1339 authorizes the Bay Area Air Quality Management District (“Air District”) and the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (“MTC”) to adopt a joint “commuter benefit ordinance” that requires… Continue Reading

Looking Back: Highlights of Changes to Employment Laws That Affect Employer Policies

Posted in Employment, Retaliation
This blog post was authored by Steven Tang As we enter the last quarter of this fiscal year, many employers begin to look ahead to new budgets, new agreements with employee organizations, and new opportunities for agency success.  While looking ahead to consider and weigh priorities and objectives, employers may also want to look back… Continue Reading

U.S. Supreme Court Will Hear New Case On Public Employee Free Speech Rights

Posted in Education, Employment, First Amendment
On January 17, 2014, the U.S. Supreme Court decided to hear the free speech retaliation case of Edward Lane.  Lane, a former employee of the Central Alabama Community College District, alleged in federal court that he lost his job because he had testified in a criminal matter against a former co-worker.  In deciding the case,… Continue Reading

Three Common Pitfalls in the Reasonable Accommodation Process

Posted in Disability, Employment
Under the ADA and FEHA, the employer has the duty to identify and implement a reasonable accommodation to allow a disabled employee to perform the essential functions of the job. Common pitfalls for employers in determining appropriate accommodations are: 1.     Over-reliance on the written job descriptionJob descriptions are critical in the disability interactive process for… Continue Reading

Labor Code Section 1102.5: Its “Whistle” Just Got Bigger And Louder

Posted in Employment, Retaliation
When Labor Code section 1102.5, generally referred to as the “whistleblower” statute, was enacted in 1984, the Legislature intended to encourage employees to report violations of state and federal laws by their employers without fear of retaliation.  The statute endured for nearly 20 years before it was first amended in 2003.  It has now been… Continue Reading

5 Resolutions for the New Year

Posted in Employment, Personnel Issues, Workplace Policies
It’s that time of year again to reflect on this year’s achievements and set goals for the new year.  With the beginning of 2014 upon us, we encourage personnel and human resources directors, managers and  1.  Evaluate Your Agency’s Handling of Disability-Related Issues Employee disability-related issues are among the most complicated and confusing that employers… Continue Reading