What’s New in California’s Fair Pay Act, and How Employers Should Respond

ThinkstockPhotos-188094090Although prohibiting gender-based wage discrimination since 1949, California’s Equal Pay Act (Lab C §1197.5) was rarely used as a basis for litigation because its language made it difficult for an aggrieved plaintiff to establish a successful claim. But now that the legislature has amended it, §1197.5  may become more popular with plaintiffs. And employers get more clarity about what is and isn’t allowed.

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No Butts at Work, But Some Exceptions

ThinkstockPhotos-487538163Smoking in California workplaces has been prohibited for decades. But just because you see or smell tobacco smoke in a workplace doesn’t mean the law is being broken. Understand the law and its exclusions so you can properly advise your clients. Continue reading

Marijuana Legalization: What’s on the Horizon for California Employers?

ThinkstockPhotos-511371716The following is a guest blog post from Gina Roccanova. Ms. Roccanova is a Principal at Meyers Nave and Chair of the Labor and Employment Practice Group, where she serves public and private clients with nearly 20 years of experience in negotiations, counseling, litigation, arbitration, and training.

With political backing from Lt. Governor Gavin Newsom, financial support from Sean Parker, and a significant coalition of pro-legalization groups, the Adult Use of Marijuana Act (AUMA) is likely to appear on the California ballot in November. According to numerous polls, a wide majority of voters support the initiative. If it passes, adults age 21 and over will have the right to possess, use, and grow limited amounts of marijuana for personal, recreational use. What does this mean for California employers? The answer depends on a situation that’s increasingly familiar in today’s world: employers will have to balance the pros and cons inherent in following the regulatory status quo against responding to changing societal views. Continue reading

When a Start-Up Needs an Employee Handbook

Once a company grows to 20 employees or more, it may be time to create an employee handbook. Here are some common objections to this formality and how to overcome them. Continue reading

Employers: 9 Provisions You Need in a Whistleblower Policy

ThinkstockPhotos-497691905A potential whistleblower need only run a quick Internet search to find many attorneys ready to take his or her case. Knowing this, employers need to be proactive: Any employer handbook or policy and procedures manual should include provisions aimed at educating all workers about the rights and obligations of whistleblowers. Continue reading

You Don’t Own Me—Is it Employer or Employee Social Media Content?

187962221The following is a guest blog post by Olga Savage of Hartnett, Smith & Paetkau in Redwood City. Olga primarily represents employers in labor and employment law matters.

Many employers have implemented employment contracts and policies that specifically provide that the employer owns all developments, technological or otherwise, by employees during their employment. But what happens when employees have pre-employment social media accounts that they use to develop business during their employment? And what happens when an employee uses his or her pre-existing social media account to market, advertise, and/or develop business for his or her employer? Continue reading

Get Your Vacation Policy Right, and Then Relax!

455144299Enjoying vacation time this summer? We all need a vacation at some point, and thankfully many employers provide for paid vacation leave. But as with many wage and hour issues, employers get themselves into legal trouble by improperly handling paid vacation. Here’s an overview of pitfalls and a checklist for employers to get their vacation policy right. Continue reading

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