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Wildfires Tax Local Fire Departments, Raise Wage and Hour Challenges

Higher than normal temperatures and dry conditions have fueled significant numbers of fires this wildfire season, particularly in the Western United States. Wage and hour issues may be far from the first concern for state and local agencies and communities preparing for, or dealing with, wildfires, but it behooves savvy municipalities to think about possible […]

Youth Workers: Stricter Child Labor Rules May Be on the Way

The U.S. Department of Labor has announced that it intends to make big changes to child labor provisions of the federal Fair Labor Standards Act. The DOL has released a proposal that would strengthen existing youth employment regulations to protect against workplace hazards and expand certain youth workplace opportunities that have been judged safe and […]

Jobless Rate Falls Near Two-Year Low

February 2011 saw the nation’s unemployment rate drop to 8.9 percent, the lowest in almost two years. Employers added 192,000 jobs last month and made significant gains in payroll. Although economists predicted a strong February report, the gains were still above market expectations. The job growth represented the biggest monthly jump since May of 2010. […]

E-Alerts: Mandatory Arbitration: Court to Take Another Look at Recent Ruling

The U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeal has decided to review its ruling last year upholding mandatory arbitration of bias claims. The case involves secretary Donald Lagatree, whose job offer at the law firm of Luce, Forward, Hamilton & Scripps was revoked when he refused to sign a binding arbitration agreement. A three-judge panel sided […]

Workers’ Compensation: Governor Signs Reform Package, Employers to Soon See Savings

Gov. Davis has signed landmark legislation to reform California’s troubled workers’ compensation system and put a lid on the upward spiral in workers’ comp costs faced by California employers. And now, after having pored over the numbers, the Workers’ Compensation Insurance Rating Bureau (WCIRB) has recommended that the 12 percent pure premium rate increase scheduled […]

Employment Law Tip: Workers’ Comp Costs Down—Are You Getting the Best Deal?

Last week, California Insurance Commissioner Steve Poizner announced that insurers’ workers’ compensation costs have plummeted by 70 percent since the workers’ comp reforms of 2003 were implemented—and as a result, pure premium rates will remain unchanged for now. Poizner noted, though, that insurers should continue to pass on the cost savings to businesses in the […]

Tool of the Week: 21-Point Safe Terminations Checklist

Terminating an employee is one of the most unpleasant tasks an employer faces. And the fact that you also need to keep track of a complicated set of legal concerns only adds to the stress. Most employers are acutely aware that if you make a mistake, you could be facing an expensive employee lawsuit.