Category Archives: Current Legal Issues
The California legislature has recently passed a bill limiting depositions to seven hours, total. It provides a few exceptions: persons most qualified, experts, and, apparently, employment law cases, among them. Why employment cases are singled out is unclear, but the “one deposition rule” has taken on a very new meaning. Link to the bill.
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has added state-by-state records of the charges it received between 2009-2011 to its website. Interesting information. It is an interesting set of data, and worth reviewing. California produced roughly 7% of all charges the EEOC received each year. The state includes about 12% of the U.S. population. Presumably, that discrepancy can be attributed to the strength of the Fair Employment and Housing Act and other worker protection laws in California, although that’s purely conjecture without more data. Over 40% of the charges included retaliation, not much of a surprise given the strength of that theory in the courts. Enjoy!
Meal and rest break claims have gotten heavy coverage in employment and legal circles recently, owing to the California Supreme Court’s long-awaited decision in Brinker v. Superior Court. Yesterday, the Court further limited the viability of meal and rest claims in Kirby v. Immoos Fire Protection, Inc. After an appellate court stated employers can recover fees if they prevail on meal and rest claims, the Supreme Court weighed in on “whether attorney’s fees can be awarded under either [Labor Code] section 1194 or section 218.5 to a party that prevails in a section 226.7 [meal and rest break] action.” The short answer: neither section provides for attorney fees. The Court decided a meal and rest claim is neither a claim for failing to … Continue reading
This is a guest blog post by attorney Jeena Cho. She’s a bankruptcy ace and venerable blogger. We are happy to have her advice and hope you are too. As a bankruptcy lawyer, I frequently help small business owners strategize ways to deal with a failing small business. Here are 10 things to keep in mind. 1. Let’s be frank. A lot of businesses are experiencing financial difficulties. Customers have delayed or eliminated purchases. Those who have purchased have negotiated prices down, and are slow to pay. Suppliers won’t extend terms. Banks aren’t lending. Lines of credit are not being renewed. It’s been a rough few years. 2. What’s your objective? The first step is to have a frank discussion about whether the business can … Continue reading
A new law, effective immediately, now exists to protect employees who are misclassified as independent contractors. SB 459 imposes serious penalties on employers who misclassify workers to avoid paying employment taxes, workers’ compensation, and the like, when they are actually regular employees. Effective immediately, an employer who ‘willfully’ misclassifies its workers is: 1) subject to fines ranging from $5,000 to $25,000 for each violation; 2) barred from charging workers a fee or making any deductions from a worker’s compensation where such a fee or deduction would have been illegal if the person was classified as an employee; and 3) in certain circumstances, required to post, on its website or in another manner accessible to its employees and the general public, a … Continue reading
California Labor Code 226 requires employers to give workers wage statements with every paycheck. These statements must include several details, including gross and net pay amounts, hours worked, deductions, and information about the employer itself. Section 226(e) says that if an employer does not give its workers these statements, or gives them incorrect or incomplete statements, the employee can recover the greater of actual damages or $50 for the initial pay period and $100 for each violation in a subsequent pay period, up to a total penalty of $4000, in addition to costs and reasonable attorney fees. Last year, in Price v. Starbucks Corp. (2011) 192 Cal. App. 4th, 1136, the court held a worker is not injured just because one of … Continue reading
As of January 1, 2012, California businesses have two new options: the Benefit Corporation and the Flexible Purpose Corporation. This post is the second in a series that will cover what they are, the pros and cons of each, and other questions about the new laws. As we discussed in our last post, a Benefit Corporation is a new kind of business that 1) works to create a positive impact on society or the environment; 2) considers non-financial ends when making decisions; and 3) reports on its social and environmental performance using third party standards. It has great potential to bring socially positive businesses to California, and gives current businesses a new way to pursue their goals. But, we lawyers are … Continue reading
One of the most important areas of employment law over the last few years is known as family responsibilities discrimination. This focuses on the rights of an employee to take time off of work because she is pregnant, his spouse is pregnant, to care for a sick child, or care for an elderly parent, among other issues. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) recently held a panel on this important area of employment law; a brief summary is available here. Contact us today if you have questions about your right to take time off to care for your family, or if you seek advise about what accommodations your employees are allowed to take.
As of January 1, 2012, California businesses have two interesting new options to consider when forming: the Benefit Corporation and the Flexible Use Corporation. This post is the first in a series that will cover what these entities are, pros and cons of each entity, and other questions about the new laws. The newly-created Benefit Corporation is a hybrid of a traditional corporation and a non-profit organization. While a traditional corporation can take on a socially responsible or environmental cause, it ultimately has to create profit with all of its decisions. If not, directors expose themselves to lawsuits from unhappy shareholders. Conversely, non-profits must ensure their actions do not result in excess profits, which can cost them their tax-exempt status. … Continue reading