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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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 Apr 28, 2016

City of Milpitas to Pay $140,000 For Alleged Age Discrimination
Fri, 22 Apr 2016 21:50:37 - Pacific Time

The City of Milpitas, located in California, will pay $140,000 and provide other relief to settle an age discrimination lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). The EEOC's suit charged that the city failed to hire qualified applicants over age 50 who scored higher than the person selected in a three-person panel review of the candidates. Instead, the city hired a younger applicant, age 39, for the position of executive secretary to the city manager. The city denied the allegations, but, agreed to pay $140,000 to three job applicants. In addition, the city will distribute revised age discrimination policies to all employees; implement a comprehensive procedure for reporting complaints; provide annual anti-discrimination training to all employees, managers and supervisors; and report any age discrimination complaints to EEOC for two years. Read more here.

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California’s DFEH Issues New Fact Sheet On Protections For Military And Veterans Status
Fri, 22 Apr 2016 21:31:40 - Pacific Time

California’s Department of Fair Employment and Housing has issued a new fact on protections for military and veterans status. The fact sheet species that “the opportunity to seek, obtain, and hold employment without discrimination on because of military and veteran status is a civil right. Under our law, military and veteran status means a member or veteran of the United States Armed Forces, United States Armed Forces Reserve, the United States National Guard, or the California National Guard. Military and veteran status also includes a perception on that a person is a veteran or member of the military or that the person is associated with someone who is a veteran or member of the military.” Read more here.  

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Governor Brown Signs AB 908 to Increase Paid Family Leave Benefits
Fri, 22 Apr 2016 20:50:24 - Pacific Time

Beginning in 2018, pursuant to AB 908, signed into law by Governor Brown on April 11, 2016, California’s paid family leave program will pay employees, depending on their salary, up to 70% of their weekly normal earnings, up from 55%. Paid family leave provides employees who are entitled to leave to care for specified family member with up to six weeks of wage replacement. Paid family leave is a program provided for under California’s Unemployment Insurance Code and is administered by the Employment Development Department. San Francisco’s new Paid Parental Leave Ordinance, in effect as of 2017, requires that employers make up the difference between the state benefit and full salary, providing full pay for all six weeks of leave for most employees. San Francisco employees will have to be employed by their employer for at least 180 days before starting the leave period to be eligible for the top up benefit. The ordinance will apply to all employers who regularly employ 50 or more employees, regardless of location. Over the following year, the ordinance will be phased in until employers with just 20 employees or more must comply after January 1, 2018. Read more here.

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Uber Will Pay Up To $100 Million To Settle Misclassification Lawsuits
Fri, 22 Apr 2016 20:11:29 - Pacific Time

Uber has settled two lawsuits brought by drivers who argued they should be classified as employees instead of independent contractors.Uber has agreed to pay up to $100 million to the 385,000 drivers, but their employment status will not change, so they will remain classified as independent contractors. The class actions were brought in California and Massachusetts. Uber, which is valued at up to $70 billion, will make an initial $84 million dollar payment, and another $16 million if it goes public. Under the terms of the settlement, Uber must give drivers more warning before they are removed from the service. The company is also required to establish an appeals process for divers who believe they have been unfairly terminated.The settlement, which must be approved by a judge, allows for the creation of "driver associations" that will represent workers in talks with management. Read more here.

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Union and Apprentice Program To Pay $1,650,000 to Settle EEOC Race Bias Lawsuit
Tue, 19 Apr 2016 21:05:56 - Pacific Time

Local 25 of the Sheet Metal Workers' International Association and its associated apprenticeship school will pay a combined $1.65 million and provide remedial relief in partial settlement of race discrimination claims made against them by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). The EEOC's decades-old lawsuit continues to address allegations that Local 25, which is the trade union for sheet metal journeypersons in northern New Jersey, together with Local 25 Joint Apprenticeship Committee, discriminated against black and Hispanic journeypersons in hiring and assignments. The settlement covers violations from April 1991 through December 2002. Analysis of hours and wages showed African-American and Hispanic workers received fewer hours of work than their white co-workers for most of the 10-year period. Prior court actions in the lawsuit resolved violations before April 1991.Read more here. 

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Current Form I-9 Remains Effective After March 31, 2016
Mon, 18 Apr 2016 10:55:22 - Pacific Time

Until further notice, employers should continue using Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification. This current version of the form continues to be effective even after the Office of Management and Budget control number expiration date of March 31, 2016, has passed. USCIS will provide updated information about the new version of Form I-9 as it becomes available.Employers must complete Form I-9 for all newly hired employees to verify their identity and authorization to work in the U.S. The USCIS published a notice in the Federal Register on March 28, 2016, to inform the public of proposed changes to Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification. The public may provide comments on the proposed changes for 30 days, until April 27, 2016. For a detailed summary of the proposed changes, please see the USCIS Seeks Comments on Proposed Changes to Form I-9 webpage. Read more here. 

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DOL Publishes Final Rule On Conflicts of Interest in Retirement Plans
Mon, 11 Apr 2016 20:59:51 - Pacific Time

On April 8, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) published in the Federal Register a final rule to address conflicts of interest in retirement advice by applying the fiduciary standard to those who provide investment advice to sponsors and participants in 401(k)-type workplace retirement plans and individual retirement accounts (IRAs). According to the DOL, “those that provide investment advice to plans, plan sponsors, fiduciaries, plan participants, beneficiaries and IRAs and IRA owners must either avoid payments that create conflicts of interest or comply with the protective terms of an exemption issued by the Department. Under new exemptions adopted with the rule, firms will be obligated to acknowledge their status and the status of their individual advisers as ‘fiduciaries.’ Firms and advisers will be required to make prudent investment recommendations without regard to their own interests, or the interests of those other than the customer; charge only reasonable compensation; and make no misrepresentations to their customers regarding recommended investments. Together, the rule and exemptions impose basic standards of professional conduct that are intended to address an annual loss of billions of dollars to ordinary retirement investors as a result of conflicted advice.
For more details about changes made from the 2015 proposed regulatory package to the final rule and exemptions, refer to the “‘Chart Illustrating Changes from Department of Labor's 2015 Conflict of Interest Proposal to Final.’” Read more here. 

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California and New York Raise Minimum Wage to $15 Per Hour
Mon, 11 Apr 2016 20:00:46 - Pacific Time

Governors of California and New York have each signed legislation that will raise the minimum wage in those states to $15 per hour. California Governor Jerry Brown's legislation makes California the first state to commit to raising the minimum wage in increasing increments to $15 by the end of 2022.  Smaller businesses will have until the end of 2022 to comply. The increase will boost the wages of about 6.5 million California residents, or 43% of the state’s workforce, who earn less than $15. The bill does provide for "off-ramps" allowing the governor to delay increases to avoid budgetary or economic crises. New York's plan will bring the $15 minimum wage to New York City before it goes statewide. For workers in New York City employed by businesses with at least 11 employees, the minimum wage would rise to $11 at the end of 2016, then another $2 each of the next two years. For employees of smaller companies in the city, the minimum wage would rise to $10.50 by the end of the year, then another $1.50 each year for three years. In addition, New York's new family leave provision, when fully implemented, will make workers eligible for 12 weeks of paid leave when caring for an infant, a family member with a serious health condition or to relieve family pressures when someone is called to active military service. Read more here. 

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