California News & Analysis

  • Jury awards ex-employee $1.9M for sexual harassment, retaliation after series of 'flirty' texts

    A nonprofit corporation affiliated with a church terminated a maintenance supervisor five days after he informed it that he intended to pursue state and federal charges based on its unsatisfactory response to his complaint about the executive director's sexually harassing text messages to other employees. A Santa Cruz jury awarded him nearly $900,000 in damages and almost $1 million in attorneys' fees for retaliatory termination and his other claims. Let's take a closer look at the case.

  • Handling office romance in #MeToo era: Know your options

    As Valentine's Day nears, love is in the air—and oftentimes in the workplace. Although workplace romance is common, it can make HR professionals fret about all the what-ifs. What if a relationship is between a supervisor and a direct report? What if rumors of favoritism poison the workplace environment? What if one or both participants is married to someone else? What if a couple's public displays of affection make coworkers uncomfortable? What if a relationship goes sour and the breakup affects morale? And perhaps the most important question to consider: What if a relationship is one-sided and is more accurately described as sexual harassment instead of consensual?

  • Something lacking in your workplace? Boosting soft skills can help

    Anyone involved in recruiting and hiring knows the importance of assessing a candidate's skills. Does the candidate have the right training, experience, and credentials to do the job? But anyone in charge of hiring (or maybe even rehabilitating already-employed workers who aren't quite measuring up) knows that merely evaluating a candidate's hard skills isn't enough. More and more, employers are finding "soft skills" are essential in the workplace.

  • Moving on: adopting a proactive employee mobility strategy

    These days, almost all employers—and, in particular, employers in New Hampshire—are engaged in something of a multidimensional war. There's as intense a competition being waged for talented employees, skilled workers, and seasoned executives as at any time in our history. At the same time, two issues animate and confuse the competition for talent.

  • A word means just what I choose it to mean

    It is a general rule of communication that words have consistent meanings. We point with disdain to Humpty Dumpty's view that a word "means just what I choose it to mean—neither more nor less." And that has been a problem in the world of discrimination, reasonable accommodations, and undue hardship.

  • Cutting-Edge HR

    Report identifies most important skills for recruiters. LinkedIn's new Future of Recruiting report identifies the number one priority for recruiting organizations during the next five years will be keeping pace with rapidly changing hiring needs. The report finds that talent analytics roles have grown by 111% since 2014. The data also show that the three skills that will become more important over the next five years are the ability to engage passive candidates, the ability to analyze talent data to drive decisions, and the ability to advise business leaders and hiring managers. Among the other findings, the report notes that demand for recruiting professionals is at an all-time high, the career path to becoming a recruiter is evolving, and deeper investments in technology will be required to find quality candidates.

  • Federal Watch

    NLRB releases 2019 case-processing data. The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) has announced progress in case processing in three of its divisions for fiscal year (FY) 2019. The Office of Appeals, which reviews appeals by employers, unions, and individuals who believe their unfair labor practice allegations have been wrongly dismissed by an NLRB regional office, reduced its backlog of cases from 294 in FY 2018 to 98 in FY 2019. The Division of Advice, which provides guidance to the regional offices on difficult and novel issues arising in the processing of unfair labor practice charges, reduced the average age of closed cases for FY 2019 to 38.6 days, a 9.8% reduction from FY 2018. The Board's Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) Branch processes all FOIA requests made to the agency. In FY 2019, the branch reported that it responded within 20 working days to 67.5% of FOIA requests and 90% of FOIA appeals.

  • HR Technology

    AI ready to make impact on HR? As artificial intelligence (AI) continues to make an impact on business, HR may be poised to feel the impact soon. In December 2018, tech marketplace firm G2 looked ahead to HR trends set to emerge in 2019 and beyond. One prediction: AI-driven HR technology innovations will see a significant increase. The G2 research found companies increasingly leveraging AI technology to help identify data opportunities, improve internal workflows, and increase productivity. AI-embedded HR technologies also were predicted to improve the employee experience, which begins with the candidate experience. AI also was predicted to enhance the employee lifecycle from recruiting through offboarding since the technology can help businesses treat their candidates and employees like loyal customers.

  • California News in Brief

    Blueberry grower to pay $3.5 million for H-2A violations. The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) announced on December 9 that Delano-based blueberry grower Munger Bros. LLC and two related companies have been ordered to pay $2.5 million in back wages to approximately 3,000 workers to resolve violations of the H-2A visa program and the Migrant and Seasonal Agricultural Worker Protection Act (MSPA). The companies will also pay $1 million in civil money penalties because of the seriousness of the violations found by investigators from the DOL's Wage and Hour Division (WHD) during the 2017 blueberry harvest in California and Washington.

  • Protect your lettuce: trade secrets in the agricultural industry

    The following case illustrates the necessity of protecting trade secrets. Regardless of the industry, competition is almost always fierce, and there will be individuals who are willing to skirt the law to gain an advantage. It's vitally important that companies with trade secrets or other highly confidential information use well-drafted confidentiality and nondisclosure agreements and take all necessary and appropriate measures to protect their trade secrets.