News Notes: Undocumented Workers Encouraged To File Complaints

Under a new policy, the U.S. Department of Labor and the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs, which oversees government contractors, will no longer inspect I-9 forms when visiting a worksite to follow up on worker complaints about labor violations. The policy shift is an attempt to encourage undocumented employees to file such complaints without […]

Pension Plans: Supreme Court Restores Employer Discretion Over Surplus Assets

Because of the huge stock market gains in recent years, many defined benefit pension plans contain more assets than are needed to pay out benefits. Since 1997, however, a ruling from the federal appeals court that covers California has sharply limited employers’ discretion in how to use that “extra” money. But in a recent unanimous […]

Americans With Disabilities Act: New Ruling Examines Standards For Refusing To Employ Workers Who May Be At Risk For Injury

An employee has a history of fainting spells, and you’re worried that during one of these episodes the person may injure herself or another worker. What are your options? Although the Americans with Disabilities Act allows you to fire or refuse to hire an employee who poses a “direct threat” to herself or others, a […]

Family And Medical Leave: The Top 8 Mistakes Employers Make

Figuring out how to administer family and medical leave can be tough. And one misstep-even if it seems minor-can lead to a lawsuit. Since the federal family leave law went into effect five years ago, the U.S. Department of Labor has processed thousands of employee complaints. Based on those charges, the department has pinpointed the […]

Salary Surveys: New Wage and Occupation Guides For California Employers Now Available

When hiring a new employee, promoting an existing worker or reviewing compensation packages, it always helps to know what your competitors are paying. You don’t want to shell out too much or discourage the best talent by paying too little. California employers have just gotten some new tools to assist them. The California Employment Development […]

Health Benefits: New COBRA Rules Announced

After a 13-year wait, the Internal Revenue Service has just released its comprehensive regulations covering COBRA health benefits continuation coverage. The new regulations-which are a complex mix of final and so-called proposed rules-clarify several gray areas of the law but don’t change the basic COBRA mandates, including the detailed notice requirements. Even though the rules […]

News Notes: New Ruling Clarifies ADA Light Duty Obligations

Several injured prison guards who lost their jobs after their doctors prohibited them from having direct contact with inmates were not discriminated against under the Americans with Disabilities Act, according to a new ruling by the federal appeals court that covers California. The King County Department of Adult Detention initially accommodated the guards’ injuries by […]

News Notes: Year-Round Alternative Work Not Required For Injured Seasonal Employees

Seasonal workers who are hurt on the job are not entitled to 12 months of continuous modified or alternative work as a replacement for vocational rehabilitation benefits, a California Court of Appeal has ruled. The case involved Jennifer Henry, a ski instructor at Mammoth Mountain Ski Area. After she injured her back, Henry requested vocational […]

News Notes: Employer Ordered To Pay Big For Misclassifying Managers

An Orange County jury has ordered Edwards Theaters Circuit Inc., based in Newport Beach, to pay $276,000 in back overtime wages to four theater managers who claimed they were misclassified as exempt from overtime. The employees said they spent more than half their time performing non-exempt work, including cleaning up, taking tickets and selling popcorn, […]

Retaliation Claims: Court OKs Lawsuit By Fired Employee Who Complained About Health And Safety Problems; How To Avoid This Fast-Growing Employer Risk

Most employers understand, in principle, that it’s illegal to retaliate against a worker who in good faith complains about an unsafe or illegal condition at work. In practice, however, retaliation cases are rarely black and white. Frequently, problems arise when an already difficult employee begins griping about something you feel is irrelevant or unimportant-and the […]