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News Notes: Wrongful Termination Law Reform Proposed

Governor Wilson has introduced legislation to reform California’s wrongful termination laws. If passed, the measure would put an end to court cases that have allowed employees to sue on the ground that the employer’s actions or practices created a promise-though not in writing-that the person could only be fired for good cause. For example, employees […]

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Sexual Harassment By Customers: A 4-Point Plan To Protect Your Organization And Your Employees

  Has an employee ever complained about offensive conduct by a salesperson, customer or vendor? If that behavior veers toward sexual harassment, you may have to step in and stop it. But how you handle the situation may make the difference between resolving the problem, losing a good customer, or worse-being sued.

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Wage and Hour: State Moving To Change Certain Meal Period Rules And Overtime Exemption Requirements

We recently reported on California’s plan to amend the wage rules to drop the requirement of paying overtime after eight hours in a day, in favor of the federal law that requires overtime pay only after 40 hours in a week. However, some other changes are also in the works. Here’s what you should know.

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Hostile Workplace: When Does Vulgarity Cross The Line?

It’s not always easy to know when inappropriate behavior becomes illegal harassment. While a single offensive comment alone may not be enough to justify a claim, there isn’t always a clearcut test for harassment. In the accompanying story beginning on page 1, the jury found that racial harassment had occurred, but the results in similar […]

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Exempt Workers: High Court Clarifies Rules On Pay Docking Policies; Why You Should Review Yours Now

You probably know that docking the pay of an employee who is exempt from overtime is fraught with risk-the person could lose their exempt status and you could have to begin paying overtime, as well as back overtime for up to three years. And some courts have said that merely having a written policy giving […]

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Medical Marijuana: Fired Employee Files First Challenge To New Law

In January, we reported on the impact California’s Proposition 215, the Medical Marijuana Initiative, will have on the workplace. Prop. 215 allows marijuana use if it is recommended, orally or in writing, by a physician. But there are many unanswered questions, including when the use of medical marijuana can be grounds for termination and how […]

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Investigating And Terminating Employees: How One Employer Did It Right

Every time you fire someone, you run the risk of being sued. But your chances of getting hit with a big jury verdict or a hefty legal bill defending yourself can be drastically reduced with proper planning. That’s what one employer found when, because it carefully laid the groundwork to dismiss an employee accused of […]

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Racial Harassment: Employer Ordered To Pay $1.9 Million; Why Teasing Even Among “Friends” Can Land You In Court

Good-natured banter is part of the normal work environment. But when the teasing takes on racial or sexual overtones, you can be sued for millions of dollars-even if everyone laughingly participates in the give-and-take. That’s what happened to a Los Angeles employer who failed to intervene when kidding crossed the line and became illegal workplace […]

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News Notes: Court To Review Microsoft Independent Contractor Case

Late last year, software giant Microsoft Corp. was ordered by a federal Court of Appeal to extend retroactive pension and stock purchase benefits-potentially worth millions of dollars-to employees improperly classified as independent contractors. (See CEA November 1996.) But now, the court says it will reconsider its decision-a potentially positive signal for Microsoft. A change in […]

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News Notes: Help On New Health Insurance Laws Available

Several federal laws affecting employee health benefits were added last year, including the Health Insurance Portability Act, the Mental Health Parity Act and the Newborns’ and Mothers’ Health Protection Act. To help clear the confusion about these complex regulations, the U.S. Department of Labor has issued a booklet that answers some of the most common […]

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