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 Jul 31, 2015

CalChamber Releases Status Update Report on Pending Legislation Impacting Employers
Wed, 29 Jul 2015 12:48:32 - Pacific Time

CalChamber has released a status report on the top priority bills for the business community. According to CalChamber, among the pending proposals are 10 job killer bills and four job creator bills still moving through the legislative process. The CalChamber report presents the status of bills as of July 17, when the Legislature began its summer recess. Within each subject area, the list presents bills in order of priority with the highest priorities at the top. The CalChamber will publish a second status report in September, showing the status of priority legislation when the Legislature begins its interim study recess on September 11. October 11 is the last day for the Governor to sign or veto bills passed by the Legislature on or before September 11. The CalChamber will publish its final status report, showing the ultimate fate of bills sent to the Governor this year, in October. Bills signed by the Governor will become law on January 1, 2016. Urgency and budget-related measures go into effect immediately upon being signed. Read the status report here.


Facebook To Release Its Internal Diversity Training To The Public
Wed, 29 Jul 2015 01:15:59 - Pacific Time

Facebook has announced that it will be sharing with the public its employee diversity training program in an effort to help others manage unconscious bias. Chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg wrote, “One of the most important things we can do to promote diversity in the workplace is to correct for the unconscious bias that all of us have … and organizations which consider themselves highly meritocratic can actually show more bias.” “Unconscious bias,” also referred to as “second-generation discrimination” is associated with evaluating the performance of men and women in the workplace. It is bias that an individual is unaware of, and which happens outside of his or her control. Such bias happens automatically and is triggered by the brain making quick judgments and assessments of people and situations, influenced by an individual's background, cultural environment and personal experiences. It is interesting to note that Facebook is made up of 68 percent men, with 55 percent being white. Read more here.


New Data On Employee Benefits Released From The Bureau Of Labor Statistics
Wed, 29 Jul 2015 00:34:09 - Pacific Time

New data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics indicates that full-time workers in state and local government had high rates of access to major benefits: 99 percent had access to retirement and medical care benefits, and 98 percent to paid sick leave. For part-time workers, 39 percent had access to retirement benefits, 24 percent to medical care benefits, and 42 percent to paid sick leave. Paid holidays were provided to 90 percent of full-time and 37 percent of part-time workers in private industry. In state and local government, 74 percent of full-time workers and 30 percent of part-time workers had access. Read more here.


Court Prohibits Bakery From Firing Employee Alleging Discrimination
Tue, 28 Jul 2015 22:11:32 - Pacific Time

Peters' Bakery, a family-owned business in East San Jose, may not terminate a sales clerk, Marcela Ramirez, whose allegations of ethnic and racial harassment and retaliation are the basis for a federal lawsuit by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), according to a preliminary injunction recently issued by the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, San Jose Division. U.S. District Court Judge Beth Labson Freeman found that Peters' Bakery "gave no legitimate business reason for terminating Ms. Ramirez," and that "the EEOC is likely to succeed on its Title VII claims." According to EEOC's complaint, the owner of the bakery harassed Ramirez with repeated derogatory jokes and comments, such as "Mexicans would rather lie than tell the truth," and "I never trusted your kind of people," and ultimately terminated her because of her national origin. Read more here.


Papa John’s Franchisee Must Pay $500k For Alleged “Wage Theft”
Tue, 28 Jul 2015 03:51:22 - Pacific Time

Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman and Administrator for the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division, Dr. David Weil, have announced charges against Abdul Jamil Khokhar and BMY Foods, Inc., which together owned and operated nine Papa John’s franchises throughout the Bronx.  According to court documents, the owner and company allegedly failed to pay minimum wage and overtime to approximately 300 current and former employees, created fictitious identities to conceal overtime worked by employees, and filed fraudulent quarterly tax returns with New York State in order to cover up their alleged wage theft. Read more here.


U.S. Senators Propose “Fair Scheduling” Legislation
Tue, 28 Jul 2015 03:44:26 - Pacific Time

U.S. Senators Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Patty Murray (D-Wash.) and Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), Representatives Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.) and Bobby Scott (D-Va.), and 75 of their colleagues have introduced “fair scheduling” legislation (Schedules that Work Act (S.1772; H.R.3071)) in the Senate and House. The proposed legislation addresses what is described as “unstable, unpredictable, and rigid scheduling practices like placing workers ‘on-call’ with no guarantee of work hours, scheduling them for ‘split shifts’ of non-consecutive hours, sending workers home early without pay when demand is low and punishing workers who request schedule changes.”


EEOC Sues UPS For Religious Discrimination
Mon, 20 Jul 2015 00:43:12 - Pacific Time

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has sued United Parcel Services, Inc. (UPS) alleging that the package delivery company violated federal law by discriminating against applicants and employees around the country whose religious practices conflicted with its uniform and appearance policy. UPS prohibits male employees in customer contact or supervisory positions from wearing beards or growing their hair below collar length. According to EEOC's complaint, since at least 2004, UPS has failed to hire or promote individuals whose religious practices conflict with its appearance policy and has failed to provide religious accommodations to its appearance policy at facilities throughout the United States. Read more here. 


DOL Issues Interpretive Guidance On Misclassification Of Workers As Independent Contractors
Thu, 16 Jul 2015 14:20:30 - Pacific Time

The Wage and Hour Division (WHD) of the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) has issued Administrator’s Interpretation 2015-1: The Application of the Fair Labor Standards Act’s “Suffer or Permit” Standard in the Identification of Employees Who Are Misclassified as Independent Contractors. According to the DOL, “the misclassification of employees as independent contractors presents one of the most serious problems facing affected workers, employers, and the entire economy.” This is because misclassified employees are often denied access to benefits such as overtime compensation, minimum wage, family and medical leave, unemployment insurance and workers’ compensation. Administrator's Interpretation 2015-1 analyzes how the Fair Labor Standards Act’s  (FLSA) definition of “employ” guides the determination of whether workers are employees or independent contractors under the law. It discusses the breadth of the FLSA's definition of "employ," as well as provides guidance on the "economic realities" factors applied by courts in determining if a worker is an employee versus an independent contractor. The Administrator’s Interpretation 2015-1 emphasizes that the “economic realities” test determines whether a worker is truly an independent business or economically dependent on the employer.