2014 Cal-Peculiarities

By Kristina M. Launey

Speculate no more: the wait is over. No, we don’t know the details of the new Star Wars movie. Nor do we know the gender of the second royal baby. But we do have the Labor Commissioner’s just-issued FAQs, which can help guide employers in navigating California’s new Paid Sick Leave Law (AB 1522).

These FAQs come on the heels of the LC’s issuance of the highly anticipated Poster and Wage Theft Notice Template.

Of particular significance, the FAQs provide the following guidance and clarifications:
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By Nick Geannacopulos and Emily Barker

With the election upon us, political expression at work likely has intensified and at times may have led to disharmony. We all understand that political speech receives the highest protection in the civil arena—but how far does that protection extend in the California workplace? What if your at-will employee goes on the radio to assert a political stance directly adverse to your company’s interests? Can you stop the company-wide email that asks for contributions to the local independent candidate? Can you require your nostalgic baby boomer to take down his “Nixon’s The One” poster in his office?

A reasonable employer might think that it can regulate, or stop entirely, potentially disruptive workplace conduct that occurs on company premises. But let’s remember once again that California is peculiar: employers here must navigate around strong protections for political activities that apply both in and outside the workplace. Specifically, California Labor Code sections 1101 and 1102 prevent private employers from controlling or attempting to restrict employees from participating in political actions or activities.

Now let’s revisit the examples we mentioned above:
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By Dana Peterson and David Rosenberg

In today’s increasingly mobile workplace, employers often require their non-exempt employees to head out of the office for such things as client meetings, off-site events and training.  Understanding when you must pay employees when they’re on the move might help you avoid a train wreck down the road (pun intended.)

The basics.  If you’ve been following our blog with any regularity, the following should come as no surprise: when determining whether travel time is compensable, the applicable California and federal standards differ quite a bit.   For instance, federal law defines “hours worked” as: (a) all time during which an employee is required to be on duty or be on the premises or workplace of the employer, and (b) all time during which an employee is “suffered or permitted to work,” whether or not the employee is required to do so.

By contrast, California defines the term “hours worked” as “the time during which an employee is subject to the control of an employer, and includes all time the employee is suffered or permitted to work, whether or not required to do so.”  I.W.C. Wage Orders, Section 2 (emphasis added).  Therefore, employees must be compensated for time that they are “subject to the control” of the employer, even if they are not “suffered or permitted to work” during that time. 

Enough with the legal jargon, when do I need to pay for travel time?
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As loyal Cal Pecs Blog readers, you probably know of our signature book Cal-Peculiarities:  How California Employment Law Is Different, which we update on an annual basis.  The 2014 edition will be ready for release next week.

This edition is the most comprehensive to date.  It highlights the most recent court decisions and legislative developments

By Colleen M. Regan

From the promontory of the first full week in January, we look out over the California employment law landscape and offer our fearless predictions for the coming year.

  1. State enforcement agencies are on the prowl. Employers are increasingly finding themselves the targets of California enforcement agencies, particularly the Department of Fair