This post was authored by Ashley Bobo

On Tuesday, June 27, 2017, Governor Brown signed Assembly Bill 119 into law. The law applies to public agencies including cities, counties, special districts, trial courts, state civil service agencies, the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority, public schools (K-12), community colleges, California State Universities, Universities of California

CapitolThis blog post was authored by Gage Dungy and Shardé C. Thomas

Assembly Bill 218 (“AB 218”), codified as Labor Code section 432.9, goes into effect in just over a week on Tuesday, July 1, 2014, and will have a significant impact on a public agency’s ability to initially use criminal convictions in the hiring

hourglass-small.jpgThis blog post was authored by Leighton Davis

What is the Section 7(k) Exemption?

Unless an overtime exemption applies, the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) requires employers to pay their employees overtime compensation for any work performed in excess of 40 hours in a workweek, defined as seven consecutive days.  While the white collar overtime

Healthcare.jpgThis blog post was authored by Heather DeBlanc

In 2018, health plans too rich in coverage will have to pay a “Cadillac Tax.”  Public employers, who have traditionally provided generous health benefits, are starting to consider the impact. 

The IRS will impose the excise tax on insurers and plan administrators.  Employers anticipate that these costs

This guest post was authored by Alison Neufeld

sacramento.jpgPublic sector pension reform has been a hot topic for months. But despite the public focus on the Governor’s 12-Point Pension Reform Plan, voter initiatives, charter amendments, litigation and bankruptcies fueled by unfunded pension liabilities, time seemed to be running out for pension reform during the current

This guest post was authored by Meredith Karasch

Telephone.jpgWe have all heard about the scandal at Penn State that brought down college football royalty.  We cringe at what happened (or didn’t happen).  We agree there was a moral obligation to report child abuse.  However, moral obligation aside, all public and private entities need to know

Protest.jpgThe rising intensity of political debate in recent years and this fall’s wave of OCCUPY protests nationwide have created unique challenges for public sector employers.  Employers are used to responding to mainstream political disputes in the workplace with the time-tested standby: “Republican or Democrat, it makes no difference, and please just go back to work.”  But now public employers have to contend with a different political landscape, a different level of emotional involvement by employees, and entirely new political causes.  One such cause is the Tea Party movement, one of whose central tenets is the need for a sharp decrease in government spending and in the overall role of public agencies themselves.  Second, on a different axis, the new OCCUPY movement attacks the private sector’s supposed excessive role in government.  This is at least the purpose as articulated by some of the movement’s endorsers, such as film maker Michael Moore, former New York Times writer Christopher Hedges (who quotes literary figures like Albert Camus and W.B. Yeats in support of his economic arguments), and even Harvard law professor Lawrence Lessig (in his new book “Republic, Lost”).  Significantly, although the OCCUPY target for reform is the private sector, it is clear the public sector has had to bear the brunt of its physical effects.  The tents and protests are typically on public property, with City police forces having to dedicate substantial resources to watching out for and responding to any disturbances, and in a few cases to taking even more drastic action.

As to employment law as well, all of this corresponds to increased pressure on public employers to address issues raised by increasing and more intense political activities by employees, both at the workplace and outside on personal time, sometimes through organized protest activities.

How is a public employer to handle increased employee work time spent discussing or even arguing about political issues?

How is a public employer to deal with employees who engage in “cubicle wars” by posting dueling ideological cartoons and slogans at their workplaces? 

How does a City employer respond, if at all, to employees who actively participate in organized protests on public property and identify themselves to the media as a City employees – while at the same time the City’s own police force is struggling to maintain order in the protests?  

Finally, how does a public sector employer respond to the contentions of a discharged young manager who claims that the employer’s reason for the firing was a pretext, and that the real reason was the employee’s actions in advancing ideological goals adverse to the agency?

The answers to many of these questions will come from California statutory laws.  Here are some of them.  As can be seen, most reflect the need to create viewpoint-neutral rules that address the scenarios in advance.  


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This guest post was authored by James Oldendorph

Signing-Document.JPGOn August 3, 2011, the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals held that a public employee had not knowingly waived his right to a due process pre-termination hearing by signing a “last chance agreement,” and that the public employer violated his due process right by not

On July 25, 2011, Governor Brown vetoed AB 455, a bill that would have drastically altered the manner in which public agency personnel and merit system commission appointments are made, and that would have decisively increased union presence on commissions.  (LCW blogged about the bill on July 7, 2011.)  AB 455, authored