Archives

News Notes: Historic Ergonomics Regulations Stalled

California’s new workplace ergonomics rules won’t take effect until they are rewritten to make them easier to understand. The California Office of Administrative Law, which must approve all new state regulations, has just rejected the rules and asked for clarification of several different sections. The California Occupational Safety and Health Standards Board expects to have […]

Liability for Employees’ Acts: New Case Limits Your Responsibility to Customers

Employers are generally held legally accountable for their employees’ conduct. But one employer recently persuaded the California Supreme Court to limit this rule. The case involved the question of whether an employee of a fast-food restaurant acted properly during an armed robbery. Although the Supreme Court let the employer off the hook, the case points […]

Computer Security: Safeguard Your Vital Data Now

One of your employees rushes to the airport after your industry’s most important trade show. Halfway there, the worker realizes a company laptop computer was left behind in the hotel lobby, which is swarming with competitors. And that little machine is crammed with sensitive data: new product secrets, pricing information, strategic plans. Or, in a […]

News Notes: New Prevailing Wage Regulations

Prevailing wage laws are designed to protect local workers from seeing their pay decline due to government contracts going to the lowest bidders. They require contractors on public works projects to pay employees the region’s prevailing wage. Until now, the formula used to determine the prevailing wage generally turned out to be union scale, often […]

Religion in the Workplace: Court Strikes Down Ban on Religious Advocacy; What You Can Do

The federal appeals court that covers California recently ruled that a public employer violated employees’ free speech rights when it banned religious discussion and materials in the workplace. The decision highlights the need for public and private employers alike to exercise care in adopting policies that restrict employees’ religious activities at work. Join us this […]

Independent Contractors: How to Protect Yourself–Before You’re Called in for an Audit

The problem can surface without warning. A former independent contractor applies for unemployment benefits, but the state can’t find any record that the person was on your payroll or that you paid unemployment taxes. Before you know it, you’re being audited and facing huge penalties for all the workers you may have misclassified as independent […]

Drug Testing: High Court Rules on Testing in the Workplace; Law Still Unclear

Drug testing has long been a murky area for employers. Now the California Supreme Court has just issued its first decision that sheds some light on the issues and makes a sharp distinction between drug testing applicants and testing existing employees. However, although the case has important implications, it isn’t the sweeping clarification employers had […]

News Notes: Ergonomics Developments

In a victory for ergonomics advocates, Digital Equipment Corporation was recently ordered to pay almost $6 million to three computer users who claimed that Digital’s keyboards caused arm, wrist and hand injuries. Other keyboard makers, including IBM and Compaq, have successfully defended themselves against similar claims-though they now issue warnings to their employees and users. […]