News & Analysis

Governor Brown signs important employment legislation into law

Every year, California employers need to review and update their employment policies to conform with new laws enacted by the California Legislature. This year is no exception. Over the summer, Governor Jerry Brown signed several important employment bills into law. This article highlights and summarizes California's new laws addressing salary history, paid family leave (PFL) insurance benefits, sexual harassment complaints, and meal periods.

California Supreme Court upholds constitutionality of state's background check laws

The California Supreme Court has resolved a conflict between the courts of appeal over whether the Investigative Consumer Reporting Agencies Act (ICRAA) is unconstitutionally vague in violation of due process because it overlaps with the Consumer Credit Reporting Agencies Act (CCRAA).

A satisfying meal: CA Court of Appeal upholds meal period waiver in CBA

The waiver of employees' meal periods during shifts lasting between five and six hours is a hallmark provision of many collective bargaining agreements (CBAs). But do these waivers run afoul of California Labor Code provisions governing meal periods? In a case that's the first of its kind, the California Court of Appeal held that a meal period provision in a CBA that clearly and unmistakably identifies the statutory protection being waived doesn't violate California Labor Code Section 512.

California laws make paying by piece rate a piece of work

Although it isn't terribly common, some employees are paid by piece rate—that is, they are compensated based on the type and number of tasks they perform. However, all California employees, including those paid by piece rate, must be allowed to take rest breaks and must be paid separately for "nonproductive time," defined as time that isn't spent on piece-rate work but is still under the employer's control. A 2016 law complicates this issue so much, we can only conclude that California has sought to dissuade employers from paying employees on a piece-rate basis.

New technologies create new employee privacy issues

Unless you work for a company that's very small or very low-tech by nature, chances are, one of your biggest challenges is keeping up with technology. If your competitors are taking advantage of the many new technological advances that promote efficiency and productivity while you're stuck in 1999, your business will struggle to compete.

Is someone watching me? Do's and don'ts of workplace video surveillance

For many years, it has been common practice for banks, retail stores, gas stations, and other employers that regularly interact with the public to use video surveillance to prevent theft and ensure security. But what if an employer wants to use video surveillance in the workplace to monitor the conduct and performance of its employees?

UPS Ground Freight's policy of paying disabled drivers less violates ADA

On July 27, 2018, a federal judge ruled that UPS Ground Freight violated federal law by having a policy, contained in its current union contract with the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, of paying its disabled drivers only 90 percent of what nondisabled drivers earn when they temporarily move to nondriving jobs.

Where do employees get their Kix?

Labor Day could be called the first widely provided employee perk. A New York City march in 1882 brought 10,000 people out to demand a day off in honor of labor. Labor Day became a national holiday 12 years later. Since then, study after study has tried to determine what makes employees happy.

Agency Action

NLRB launches ADR pilot program. The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) announced in July that it is launching a new pilot program to enhance the use of its alternative dispute resolution (ADR) program. The pilot program is intended to increase participation opportunities for parties in the ADR program and help facilitate mutually satisfactory settlements. Under the new program, the NLRB's Office of the Executive Secretary will proactively engage parties with cases pending before the Board to determine whether their cases are appropriate for inclusion in the ADR program. Parties also may contact the Office of the Executive Secretary and request that their case be placed in the ADR program. There are no fees or expenses for using the program.

Workplace Trends

Survey finds more than half of workers open to new job opportunities. Recruitment firms Accounting Principals and Ajilon released results of a new survey in July exploring job search trends among more than 1,000 U.S. full-time workers in sales, office, and management/professional occupations. The survey found that 25.7% of respondents are actively seeking new job opportunities and that 55.5% are passively open to new job opportunities. The survey found that salary is the most important factor respondents consider when deciding to accept a job offer. The survey also found that 43.2% of respondents would be enticed to leave their company if another one offered a better salary or pay. That rate is highest among respondents ages 18 to 25, while respondents age 55 and older are least likely to leave for better pay.