Editor in Chief

Bernadette M. O'Brien is an attorney at law in California.

She is the author of the popular Lexis Nexis publication Labor and Employment in California; A guide to Employment Laws, Regulations and Practices Second Edition which has been in publication since 1992. The book covers an array of employment related issues including discrimination, sexual harassment, wage and hour, family Medical Leave Act, and Privacy in the workplace.

She is of counsel with the Law Offices of Floyd, Skeren & Kelly, LLP in the firm's Sacramento office.

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Co-Editor

Rene Thomas Folse, JD, Ph.D. is an attorney at law and licensed psychologist in California.

He has practiced workers' compensation law for 35 years. His focus of practice involves claims of mental health injury where forensic psychology is involved in the evaluation of the claim. He has been an instructor and lecturer for many organizations and educational institutions and teches continuing education courses for attorneys, physicians and psychologists.

The EmploymentLawAcademy is pleased to offer our users FREE access to California Unemployment Insurance and Disability Compensation Programs - Online Version by David W. O'Brien, California Unemployment Insurance Administrative Law Judge (Retired). The paper version of this text contains nearly 1000 pages of information and law covering the California unemployment and disability Insurance claim. The online version may be searched by keywords, or you may navigate from chapter to chapter.

Recent Employment Law News for Dec 22, 2014

Lawsuit Filed to Stop New Minimum Wage at Large Hotels
Mon, 22 Dec 2014 09:23:14 - Pacific Time

The American Hotel & Lodging Association and the Asian American Hotel Owners Association have filed a lawsuit to stop the City of Los Angeles from implementing the Hotel Workers Act, which increases the minimum wage to $15.37 for workers at hotels with more than 300 rooms. These large hotels would have to comply with the law beginning on July 15, 2015. Hotels with at least 150 rooms have another year to comply. Read more here.

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California’s New Paid Sick Leave Law Takes Effect January 1, 2015
Mon, 22 Dec 2014 08:31:37 - Pacific Time

California’s new paid sick leave law (the Healthy Workplace Healthy Family Act of 2014) takes effect January 1, 2015.  However, the right to accrue and take sick leave under the new law does not take effect until July 1, 2015. Pursuant to the paid sick law, an employee who, on or after July 1, 2015, works in California for 30 or more days within a year from the beginning of employment, is entitled to paid sick leave. Employees, including part-time and temporary employees, will earn at least one hour of paid leave for every 30 hours worked. Accrual begins on the first day of employment or July 1, 2015, whichever is later. An employer may limit the amount of paid sick leave an employee can use in one year to 24 hours or three days. Accrued paid sick leave may be carried over to the next year, but it may be capped at 48 hours or six days.

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Obama Administration Publishes Proposed Rule on Excepted Benefits Under the ACA
Mon, 22 Dec 2014 08:00:33 - Pacific Time

The U.S. Departments of Labor (DOL), Health and Human Services, and Treasury are seeking public comment on proposed rules that would amend the definition of excepted benefits pursuant to the Affordable Care Act (ACA) to include certain limited wraparound coverage. The proposed rules would allow group health plan sponsors, in limited circumstances, to offer wraparound coverage to employees who are purchasing individual health insurance in the private market. Pursuant to the proposed rules, employees who otherwise may not be able to get generous employer-based benefits, will have access to high level benefits. The proposed rules are also intended to provide businesses, including small businesses, with flexibility to meet the unique needs of their workforces. Read more here.

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NLRB Issues Complaints Against McDonald's Franchisees and their Franchisor McDonald's, as Joint Employers
Mon, 22 Dec 2014 07:49:14 - Pacific Time

The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) has issued complaints against McDonald’s franchisees and their franchisor, McDonald’s USA, LLC, as joint employers. According to the NLRB, McDonald’s and certain franchisees violated the rights of employees working at McDonald’s restaurants at various locations around the country by, among other things, making statements and taking actions against them for engaging in activities aimed at improving their wages and working conditions, including participating in nationwide fast food worker protests about their terms and conditions of employment during the past two years. The alleged unlawful conduct includes discriminatory discipline, reductions in hours, discharges, threats, surveillance, interrogations, and overbroad restrictions on communicating with union representatives or with other employees about unions and the employees’ terms and conditions of employment. Read more here.

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Los Angeles City Employee Injury Leaves on the Rise
Mon, 22 Dec 2014 07:37:13 - Pacific Time

The City of Los Angeles, which has a generous employee leave policy, is experiencing increasing injury related leaves. Under the Los Angeles employee leave program, the average injured worker is paid nearly 90% of base pay while on leave. Because injury-leave pay is tax-free under federal and state law, employees can take home substantially more money while recovering than they would if they had worked. The cost to Los Angeles City taxpayers for civilian leaves has increased 50% in the five years that ended in January, to $18 million, according to a Los Angeles Times investigation. Both the rate at which employees are claiming injuries and the duration of their leaves are on the rise. Among California's five largest cities, San Diego is the only one other than L.A. that permits civilian employees to collect so much of their salary while on job-related injury leave. San Jose pays 85%, for more limited periods. San Francisco and Fresno each pay 66%, which is in line with what most employees at private companies receive while on a workers' compensation leave. Read more here.

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San Francisco’s OLSE Issues FAQs on New “Ban the Box” Ordinance
Fri, 19 Dec 2014 16:48:10 - Pacific Time

The Fair Chance Ordinance (FCO) took effect on August 13, 2014, in San Francisco. The ordinance regulates employers’ and City contractors’ use of arrest and conviction records when making employment decisions regarding individuals who perform, or who will perform, work in San Francisco. San Francisco’s OLSE recently issued FAQs providing more information on the new ordinance.

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Attorney General Holder Directs DOJ to Include Gender Identity Under Discrimination Claims
Fri, 19 Dec 2014 16:07:05 - Pacific Time

Attorney General Holder has announced that the Department of Justice (DOJ) will take the position in litigation that the protection of Title VII extends to discrimination claims based on an individual’s gender identity, including transgender status. As a result, all DOJ component heads and United States Attorneys have been advised in a memo that the department will no longer assert that Title VII’s prohibition against discrimination based on sex excludes discrimination based on gender identity per se, including transgender discrimination, reversing a previous DOJ position.  Title VII makes it unlawful for employers to discriminate in the employment of an individual “because of such individual’s…sex,” among other protected characteristics. The DOJ does not have authority to file suit against private employers. Read more here.

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Federal Judge Rejects Proposed $75 Million Settlement with NCAA
Thu, 18 Dec 2014 19:09:40 - Pacific Time

A federal judge in Chicago rejected a proposed $75 million class-action head injury settlement with the NCAA asserting that it is too unwieldy and potentially underfunded. The judge urged both sides to continue negotiations. Pursuant to the settlement, the NCAA would toughen return-to-play rules for players with concussions and create a $70-million fund to test current and former athletes in contact and non-contact sports for brain trauma. It also would set aside $5 million for research. The proposal was intended to settle a number of class-action lawsuits alleging that the NCAA failed to protect athletes against head trauma. Read more here.

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