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New Sexual Harassment Protection for Legislative Staff

AB403 Protects Legislative Staff from Sexual Harassment Retaliation

Employers cannot retaliate against employees for engaging in protected activity. This includes reporting or participating in an investigation regarding sexual harassment, health and safety issues, patient safety, and other violations of the law. Governor Brown signed AB403 extending similar protections to legislative employees. I suspect AB403 found so much support due to the numerous reports of inappropriate conduct in our legislature.

AB403 defines “Legislative employee” as “an individual, other than a Member of either house of the Legislature, who is, or has been, employed by either house of the Legislature. ‘Legislative employee’ includes volunteers, interns, fellows, and applicants.” Legislative employees are protected from retaliation when making a protected disclosure.

“Protected disclosure” means a “communication by a legislative employee that is made in good faith alleging that a Member of the Legislature or legislative employee engaged in, or will engage in, activity that may constitute a violation of any law, including sexual harassment, or of a legislative code of conduct.” This includes a complaint protected by California’s Fair Employment and Housing Act.

The protected disclosure can be made to a number of agencies or any “individual with authority over the legislative employee, or another legislative employee who has authority to investigate, discover, or correct the violation or noncompliance.”

So, an intern or volunteer can report concerns regarding inappropriate sexual harassment to his or her supervisor without fear of unlawful retaliation. The law is so important that it became effective when Governor Brown signed the bill on February 5, 2018.

AB403 has some unique features. Violators can be subject to $10,000 fine and imprisonment for up to a year. If the alleged victim brings a civil action and proves “by a preponderance of the evidence” t against a legislative employee,” the burden of proof then switches the allegedly offending party to demonstrate “by clear and convincing evidence that the alleged action would have occurred for legitimate, independent reasons even if the legislative employee had not made a protected disclosure.” A prevailing plaintiff can recover attorneys’ fees and punitive damages. Considering most claims against government entities and persons do not allow punitive damages, this last item is particularly significant.

Original article by Robert E. Nuddleman of Nuddleman Law Firm, P.C.

Feel free to suggest topics for the blog. We are happy to consider topics pertaining to general points of Labor and Employment Law. We cannot answer questions about specific situations or provide legal advice over the Internet. If you desire legal advice, you should contact an attorney.

Using this blog does not create an attorney-client relationship between you and Nuddleman Law Firm, P.C. Using the Internet or this blog to communicate with the firm does not establish an attorney-client relationship. Do not post confidential or time-sensitive information in this blog. The Nuddleman Law Firm, P.C. cannot guarantee the confidentiality of anything posted to this blog.

The Nuddleman Law Firm, P.C. represents employees and businesses throughout Silicon Valley and the greater San Francisco Bay Area including Pleasanton, Oakland, San Ramon, Hayward, Palo Alto, Menlo Park, Mountain View, Los Altos, San Jose, the South Bay Area, Campbell, Los Gatos, Cupertino, Morgan Hill, Gilroy, Sunnyvale, Santa Cruz, Saratoga, and Alameda, San Mateo, Santa Clara, San Benito, Mendocino, and Calaveras counties.

IMDb Halts Age Discrimination Law

New Age Discrimination Law in the Entertainment Industry

In 2016, the California legislatures passed AB 1687, “to ensure that information obtained on an Internet Web site regarding an individual’s age will not be used in furtherance of employment or age discrimination.”  The statute prevents IMDb from publishing factual information (information about the ages of people in the entertainment industry) on its website for public consumption. Although Governor Brown signed the new age discrimination law, IMDb sued the government, arguing the statute violated its first amendment rights.

Injunction Prohibiting Enforcement of Age Discrimination Law

On February 22, 2017, U.S. District Court Judge Vince Chhabria issued an injunction prohibiting the government from enforcing the statute. According to Judge Chhabria’s order, “it’s difficult to imagine how AB 1687 could not violate the First Amendment.” Although the government established a valid “goal” of limiting age discrimination, the government failed to show that the restriction is “actually necessary” to serve a compelling government interest. The government “presented nothing to suggest that AB 1687 would actually combat age discrimination (much less that it’s necessary to combat age discrimination).” The court held “there is an exceedingly strong likelihood that IMDb will prevail in this lawsuit.”

So, for the time being, IMDb can continue to publish the ages of actors. I guess Hollywood will have to find another way to combat age discrimination in the entertainment industry. The judge’s order, although not the conclusion of the litigation, is a definite preview of how the court views this new age discrimination law.

Original article by Robert E. Nuddleman of Nuddleman Law Firm, P.C.

Feel free to suggest topics for the blog. We are happy to consider topics pertaining to general points of Labor and Employment Law. We cannot answer questions about specific situations or provide legal advice over the Internet. If you desire legal advice, you should contact an attorney.

Your use of this blog does not create an attorney-client relationship between you and Nuddleman Law Firm, P.C. The use of the Internet or this blog for communication with the firm or any individual member of the firm does not establish an attorney-client relationship. Do not post confidential or time-sensitive information in this blog. The Nuddleman Law Firm, P.C. cannot guarantee the confidentiality of anything posted to this blog.

The Nuddleman Law Firm, P.C. represents employees and businesses throughout Silicon Valley and the greater San Francisco Bay Area including Pleasanton, Oakland, San Ramon, Hayward, Palo Alto, Menlo Park, Mountain View, Los Altos, San Jose, the South Bay Area, Campbell, Los Gatos, Cupertino, Morgan Hill, Gilroy, Sunnyvale, Santa Cruz, Saratoga, and Alameda, San Mateo, Santa Clara, San Benito, Mendocino, and Calaveras counties.

 

Celebrate the New Year

As we enter the new year, I want to thank my colleagues, clients, friends and family who made 2016 such a success. I opened my Pleasanton office a little more than a year ago. With your support and encouragement, I continue to help my clients resolve their workplace issues. It has been a great year, with lots of opportunities. I’m thankful I get to work with such a wide variety of clients in such diverse industries.

New Year, New Laws

We saw a lot of changes in 2016. New decisions regarding arbitration agreements continue to shape how employers and employees resolve their disputes. Legislative changes now make it more difficult for employers to force employees to use arbitration in California.

Employers must now separately track and report rest and recovery periods and non-productive time for piece-rate workers.

More cities and counties adopted higher minimum wage requirements. California followed suit increasing minimum wage to $10.50 per hour effective January 1, 2017, for employers with 26 or more employees. For employers with 25 or fewer employees, the minimum wage is still $10.00 per hour until 2018.

The Domestic Workers Bill of Rights became permanent, which secures the right to overtime for caregivers (aka personal attendants).

Workplaces with single-user restrooms must now be gender-neutral, and California’s Equal Pay Act saw a significant overhaul.

Companies cannot prohibit employees from discussing their wages, and security guards now have to be paid weekly. Employers also face tougher penalties if they fail to pay Labor Commissioner judgments.

Many will struggle with drug policies now that marijuana is legal for recreational purposes, and there are tougher restrictions regarding what employers can ask about criminal convictions.

State Disability and Paid Family Leave benefits were increased to make them more meaningful to low-wage workers.

I hope 2017 brings prosperity to you and yours. Remember to take the time to appreciate what you have. Wishing you a very Happy New Year.

Original article by Robert E. Nuddleman of Nuddleman Law Firm, P.C.

Feel free to suggest topics for the blog. We are happy to consider topics pertaining to general points of Labor and Employment Law. We cannot answer questions about specific situations or provide legal advice over the Internet. If you desire legal advice, you should contact an attorney.

Your use of this blog does not create an attorney-client relationship between you and Nuddleman Law Firm, P.C. The use of the Internet or this blog for communication with the firm or any individual member of the firm does not establish an attorney-client relationship. Do not post confidential or time-sensitive information in this blog. The Nuddleman Law Firm, P.C. cannot guarantee the confidentiality of anything posted to this blog.

The Nuddleman Law Firm, P.C. represents employees and businesses throughout Silicon Valley and the greater San Francisco Bay Area including Pleasanton, Oakland, San Ramon, Hayward, Palo Alto, Menlo Park, Mountain View, Los Altos, San Jose, the South Bay Area, Campbell, Los Gatos, Cupertino, Morgan Hill, Gilroy, Sunnyvale, Santa Cruz, Saratoga, and Alameda, San Mateo, Santa Clara, San Benito, Mendocino, and Calaveras counties.

New Employment Laws in California

As usual, the California legislature has been busy this year.  Recently, Governor Brown signed several new employment laws in California.  The following is a brief summary of the new employment laws.  More will certainly follow.

New Employment Laws in California

Wage Payments for Security Guards

Employers must pay most employees at least twice a month (semi-monthly). Employers can choose to pay employees every two weeks (bi-weekly) or even weekly. Under Labor Code Section 201.3, temporary service employers are required to pay employees weekly.  On July 26, 2016, Governor Brown signed AB 1311 expanding Labor Code section 203.1 to apply to certain security guards .

This new law took effect immediately upon enactment as an urgency statute.

Civil actions for Human Trafficking

Victims of human trafficking can bring a civil action for damages and other appropriate relief.

AB 1684 allows the DFEH to investigate, mediate, and prosecute human trafficking complaints. The DFEH can also recover damages for the victims of human trafficking.

This new employment law goes into effect January 1, 2017.

Work Experience Education and Job Shadowing

16-years old students can receive credit for completing a work experience education program. Students can “job shadow” for a maximum of 25 hours in a specified period.

AB 2063 expands the job shadowing to 14-year olds with the school principal’s certification.  AB 2063 also increases the hours to 40 hours in a specified period with the principal’s certification.

This new employment law goes into effect January 1, 2017

Wages: Itemized Statements

Employers must provide accurate itemized statements to employees containing specified information. The wage statements must show the total hours worked. Salaried employees exempt from California’s overtime requirements do not have to have their total hours on the pay stubs.

AB 2535 adds computer software workers, outside salespeople and certain family members to the list of employees who do not have receive pay stubs showing the total hours worked.

Workers’ Compensation Independent Medical Reviews

Under California’s workers’ compensation system, if a treatment or diagnostic service remains disputed after a 3rd physician’s opinion, the injured employee can request an independent medical review. Existing law requires the review to use standards established in statute or use the American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine’s Occupational Medicine Practice Guidelines.

SB 914 deletes the authorization to use the American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine’s Occupational Medicine Practice Guidelines as standards for those independent medical reviews.

Deaf or Hard-of-Hearing Individuals

Several statutes use the term “hearing impaired,” or a close variation of that term. AB 1709 replace the term “hearing impaired” with the term “hard of hearing,” or a close variation of “hard of hearing,” and makes other technical, nonsubstantive changes in those provisions.

Wage Investigations and Subpoenas

Existing law authorizes the Labor Commissioner to subpoena witnesses and documents. If a person fails to comply with a subpoena the superior court can compel the witness to testify or for the production of documents.

SB 1342 allows cities and counties to delegate that body’s authority to issue subpoenas and to report noncompliance to a judge for enforcement.

These are just some of the new employment laws the California legislature has and will adopt for 2016. This is a good time to review your policies and procedures.

Original article by Robert E. Nuddleman of Nuddleman Law Firm, P.C.

Feel free to suggest topics for the blog. We are happy to consider topics pertaining to general points of Labor and Employment Law, but we cannot answer questions about specific situations or provide legal advice. If you desire legal advice, you should contact an attorney.

Your use of this blog does not create an attorney-client relationship between you and Nuddleman Law Firm, P.C. Use of this website for communication does not establish an attorney-client relationship. Do not send confidential or time-sensitive information via this website. Nuddleman Law Firm, P.C. cannot guarantee the confidentiality of anything posted to this blog.

The Nuddleman Law Firm, P.C. represents employees and businesses throughout Silicon Valley and the greater San Francisco Bay Area including Pleasanton, Oakland, San Ramon, Hayward, Palo Alto, Menlo Park, Mountain View, Los Altos, San Jose, the South Bay Area, Campbell, Los Gatos, Cupertino, Morgan Hill, Gilroy, Sunnyvale, Santa Cruz, Saratoga, and Alameda, San Mateo, Santa Clara, San Benito, Mendocino, and Calaveras counties.

 

New California Employment Laws for 2016

Lest you think the California Legislature and Governor Brown have been idling away their time in office, the following is a list of the new California Employment Laws for 2016 passed in our state.  Some will affect all employers, others just a few.  Be on the look out for more in depth analysis of the new laws in upcoming articles.

AB 202 by Assemblymember Lorena Gonzalez (D-San Diego) – Professional sports teams: cheerleaders: employee status.

AB 215 by Assemblymember Luis Alejo (D-Watsonville) – Local agency employment contracts: maximum cash settlement.

AB 219 by Assemblymember Tom F. Daly (D-Anaheim) – Public works: concrete delivery.

AB 229 by Assemblymember Ling-Ling Chang (R-Diamond Bar) – State employees: travel reimbursement.

AB 285 by Assemblymember James M. Gallagher (R-Nicolaus) – Professions and vocations: registration.

AB 304 by Assemblymember Lorena Gonzalez (D-San Diego) (7/13/15) – Sick Leave: Accrual and Limitations; Clarification.

AB 359 by Assemblymember Lorena Gonzalez (D-San Diego) – Grocery workers. A signing message can be found here.

AB 375 by Assemblymember Nora Campos (D-San Jose) – School employees: sick leave: paternity and maternity leave.

AB 506 by Assemblymember Brian Maienschein (R-San Diego) – Limited liability companies.

AB 546 by Assemblymember Lorena Gonzalez (D-San Diego) – Peace officers: basic training requirements.

AB 599 by Assemblymember Susan Bonilla (D-Concord) – Clinical laboratories: cytotechnologists.

AB 621 by Assemblymember Roger Hernández (D-West Covina) – Drayage truck operators: Motor Carrier Employer Amnesty Program.

AB 622 by Assemblymember Roger Hernández (D-West Covina) – Employment: E-Verify system: unlawful business practices.

SB 623 by Senator Ricardo Lara (D-Bell Gardens) – Workers’ compensation: benefits

AB 630 by Assemblymember Eric F. Linder (R-Corona) – Public officers and employees: oath of office.

AB 705 by Assemblymember Susan Talamantes Eggman (D-Stockton) – Psychologists: licensure exemption.

AB 830 by Assemblymember Susan Talamantes Eggman (D-Stockton) – Civil actions: gender violence.

AB 852 by Assemblymember Autumn R. Burke (D-Inglewood) – Public works: prevailing wages.

AB 868 by Assemblymember Jay P. Obernolte (R-Big Bear Lake) – Public Employees’ Retirement System: contracting agencies: transfer of membership.

AB 897 by Assemblymember Lorena Gonzalez (D-San Diego) – Grocery workers.

AB 963 by Assemblymember Susan Bonilla (D-Concord) – Teachers’ Retirement Law.

AB 970 by Assemblymember Adrin Nazarian (D-Sherman Oaks) – Labor Commissioner: enforcement of employee claims.

AB 987 by Assemblymember Marc B. Levine (D-San Rafael) – Employment discrimination: unlawful employment practices.

AB 991 by the Committee on Public Employees, Retirement, and Social Security – State teachers’ retirement.

AB 1093 by Assemblymember Eduardo Garcia (D-Coachella) – Public safety: supervised population workforce training: grant program.

AB 1168 by Assemblymember Rudy Salas Jr. (D-Bakersfield) – Peace officers: basic training requirements.

AB 1245 by Assemblymember Ken Cooley (D-Rancho Cordova) – Unemployment insurance: electronic reporting and funds transfers.

AB 1267 by Assemblymember Richard H. Bloom (D-Santa Monica) – Lawsuits, liens, and other encumbrances against public officials or public employees.

AB 1270 by Assemblymember Eduardo Garcia (D-Coachella) – California Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act.

AB 1291 by Assemblymember Das G. Williams (D-Santa Barbara) – The County Employees Retirement Law of 1937.

AB 1308 by Assemblymember Henry T. Perea (D-Fresno) – Apprenticeship programs: approval.

AB 1339 by Assemblymember Miguel Santiago (D-Los Angeles) – School district employees: merit system: appointments.

AB 1422 by Assemblymember Jim Cooper (D-Elk Grove) – Transportation network companies.

AB 1506 by Assemblymember Roger Hernández (D-West Covina) – Labor Code Private Attorneys General Act of 2004.

AB 1509 by Assemblymember Roger Hernández (D-West Covina) – Employer liability.

AB 1513 by Assemblymember Das G. Williams (D-Santa Barbara) – Employment: workers’ compensation and piece-rate compensation.

AB 1514 by the Committee on Insurance – Employment Development Department: training benefits: reports.

SB 99 by the Committee on Budget and Fiscal Review – State public employment.

SB 216 by Senator Richard Pan (D-Sacramento) – The Public Employees’ Retirement System.

SB 221 by Senator Hannah-Beth Jackson (D-Santa Barbara) – State public employees: sick leave: veterans with service-related disabilities.

SB 327 by Senator Ed Hernandez (D-Azusa) – Industrial Welfare Commission: wage orders: meal periods.

SB 342 by Senator Hannah-Beth Jackson (D-Santa Barbara) – California Workforce Investment Board: responsibilities.

SB 358 by Senator Hannah-Beth Jackson (D-Santa Barbara) – Conditions of employment: gender wage differential.  Press conference statement can be found here.

SB 354 by Senator Bob Huff (R-San Dimas) – California Public Employees’ Pension Reform Act of 2013: joint powers authority: employees.

SB 386 by Senator Ben Allen (D-Santa Monica) – Unlawful business practices.

SB 432 by Senator Tony Mendoza (D-Artesia) – Public works: aliens.

SB 501 by Senator Bob Wieckowski (D-Fremont) – Wage garnishment restrictions.

SB 546 by Senator Mark Leno (D-San Francisco) – Health care coverage: rate review.

SB 560 by Senator William W. Monning (D-Carmel) – Licensing boards: unemployment insurance.

SB 579 by Senator Hannah-Beth Jackson (D-Santa Barbara) – Employees: time off.

SB 588 by Senator Kevin de León (D-Los Angeles) – Employment: nonpayment of wages: Labor Commissioner: judgment enforcement.

SB 644 by Senator Loni Hancock (D-Berkeley) Limited Examination and Appointment Program: persons with developmental disabilities.

SB 667 by Senator Hannah-Beth Jackson (D-Santa Barbara) Disability insurance: eligibility: waiting period.

 

Provided by Nuddleman Law Firm, P.C.

Feel free to suggest topics for the blog. We are happy to consider topics pertaining to general points of Labor and Employment Law, but we cannot answer questions about specific situations or provide legal advice. If you desire legal advice, you should contact an attorney.

Your use of this blog does not create an attorney-client relationship between you and Nuddleman Law Firm, P.C. The use of the Internet or this blog for communication with the firm or any individual member of the firm does not establish an attorney-client relationship. Confidential or time-sensitive information should not be posted in this blog and Nuddleman Law Firm, P.C. cannot guarantee the confidentiality of anything posted to this blog.

The Nuddleman Law Firm, P.C. represents employees and businesses throughout Silicon Valley and the greater San Francisco Bay Area including Pleasanton, Oakland, San Ramon, Hayward, Palo Alto, Menlo Park, Mountain View, Los Altos, San Jose, the South Bay Area, Campbell, Los Gatos, Cupertino, Morgan Hill, Gilroy, Sunnyvale, Santa Cruz, Saratoga, and Alameda, San Mateo, Santa Clara, San Benito, Mendocino, and Calaveras counties.