News Notes: New Law Expands Right To Time Off For Court Appearances

A new measure signed by Governor Davis expands existing law that permits employees to take unpaid time off from work to serve on a jury or act as a witness. The new law specifies that an employee who is a victim of domestic violence or other crimes may also take time off to attend court […]

New Harassment Legislation: Governor Expands Law To Cover Independent Contractors; 3 Important Steps To Take

One advantage of using independent contractors has traditionally been that you could not be sued for many employment-related disputes. But because Governor Davis has just signed a new law expanding harassment protections to independent contractors, you will now have to be more cautious in how you deal with them. The measure takes effect January 1, […]

News Notes: Ruling Okays Taco Bell Managers’ Class Action Lawsuit Over Wage And Hour Violations

A trial court has given the go-ahead to a class action overtime lawsuit by 2,300 California Taco Bell managers and assistant managers. The workers allege that they were misclassified as exempt employees and wrongfully denied overtime pay by the restaurant chain. They claim that they spent more than half of their working time performing nonmanagerial […]

News Notes: Court Says Restaurant Can Deduct Credit Card Service Fees From Tips

California law forbids employers from taking any part of an employee’s tips. But a trial court has decided this rule didn’t prevent The Castaway restaurant in Burbank from withholding a portion of waiters’ tips that were paid with credit cards to help defray charge card transaction fees the restaurant had to pay. The state Labor […]

News Notes: Public Employers Can Require Workers To Use Accumulated Comp Time

The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeal has ruled that public employers may insist that employees use some of their accumulated compensatory time off when they’ve reached a limit on how much can be banked. The Spokane Valley firefighters’ union contract caps accrued comp time at 144 hours and requires overtime pay once the limit is […]

News Notes: Federal Court Defines Duty To Notify Employees About Proposed Benefit Plan Changes

We reported in April on a federal court decision from Kentucky involving IBM which held that under federal law, if you’re seriously considering changes to a retirement benefit plan, you must tell your employees. Now, in a pair of new cases, the federal Ninth Circuit Court of Appeal has reached the same conclusion, explaining that […]

Workplace Lawsuits: High Court Ruling Clarifies Whose Personnel Decisions Can Result In Punitive Damages—And Steps You Can Take To Avoid A Big Verdict

After Thomas White was fired from his job at an Ultramar convenience store several years ago for allegedly stealing a soda, his employer was ordered by a jury to pay $342,000 in lost earnings and punitive damages. And the company’s legal expenses were just beginning, as the case wound its way through the state appeals […]

Severance Programs: ERISA Traps For The Unwary

Your voluntary separation incentive plan may involve even more paperwork and expenses than you think. According to a new federal government opinion, severance programs that aren’t directly linked to retirement can still be considered pension plans covered by detailed ERISA compliance requirements. 400+ pages of state-specific, easy-read reference materials at your fingertips—fully updated! Check out […]