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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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

The First Amendment in Employment and Education – Five Issues for 2014

Posted in Education, Employment, First Amendment
The year 2014 will bring important developments in a number of areas of free speech law in employment and education.  The following are five primary areas worth following in the next 12 months: 1.  Anti-SLAPP Motions Creatively Invoked by Public Employers and Educators: December 2013 saw a surprising new case in the context of anti-SLAPP … Continue Reading

Untimely Administrative Complaint Can Save an Agency from Liability if the Continuing Violation Doctrine Does Not Apply

Posted in Discrimination, Employment
Many agencies have had the experience of being served with a complaint of harassment, discrimination and/or retaliation filed by an employee with the California Department of Fair Employment & Housing (“DFEH”). Filing such an administrative complaint is a prerequisite to suing in court for damages. There are deadlines associated with an employee’s ability to bring … Continue Reading

Independent Contractors – The Importance of Knowing Who Is and Who Is Not

Posted in Employment
Shakespeare asked, “What’s in a name?”  You may answer “independent contractor,” but someone else would say, “employee.”  Does it matter?  You better believe it.  There are numerous laws that may very well cause employers to pay a lot more than they bargained for when hiring people and treating them as independent contractors.  A recent court … Continue Reading

Supreme Court Published Important Decisions Regarding Title VII in the Nassar and Vance Cases

Posted in Discrimination, Employment
This blog entry was authored by Brian Walter and Michael D. Youril  On Monday, June 24, 2013, the Supreme Court published important decisions in two employment cases.  In Vance v. Ball State University, the Supreme Court held that for the purposes of vicarious liability under Title VII, an employee is a “supervisor” if he or she … Continue Reading

Employers Must Provide Notice of Exchange to Employees by October 1, 2013

Posted in Employment, Healthcare, Retirement
This post was authored by Heather DeBlanc On May 8, 2013, the Department of Labor (DOL) issued guidance setting an October 1, 2013 deadline for employers to provide notice of the exchange (now called the Health Insurance Marketplace) to all employees.  The notice to employees must: Inform employees of the existence of the Marketplace, including … Continue Reading

Court of Appeal Rules: Absent Undue Hardship, Employers Must Accommodate Pregnancy Disabled Employees By Providing Additional Leave beyond the Four Months of Pregnancy Disability Leave

Posted in Discrimination, Employment
This guest post was authored by Judith S. Islas The Court of Appeal’s decision in Sanchez v. Swissport, Inc., is a case of widespread importance, impacting the rights of employees disabled by pregnancy and pregnancy related-conditions.  In this case, the Court considered the plight of Anna Sanchez.  After becoming pregnant, she was diagnosed with a … Continue Reading

California Supreme Court Holds That Employee Must Prove That Adverse Employment Action Was “Substantially Motivated” by Discrimination, and Liability is Limited Where Employer Proves It Would Have Taken the Same Action Against the Employee Anyway

Posted in Employment
Harris v. City of Santa Monica has been pending before the California Supreme Court since 2011.  On December 4, 2012, the Supreme Court held oral arguments, and issued its long-awaited opinion on February 7, 2013.  The issue pending before the Supreme Court was whether giving a mixed-motive jury instruction under California’s Fair Employment and Housing … Continue Reading

5 New Year’s Resolutions for Public Employers

Posted in Employment, FLSA, Personnel Issues, Workplace Policies
With the beginning of each new year, we make resolutions that often involve improving ourselves:  lose weight; eat healthier; get organized.  The new year is also a good time for personnel and human resources directors, managers and analysts to resolve to make their agencies an even better place to work and to reduce risk.  Here … Continue Reading