Employment Blog

Employment Blog

Welcome to Cummins & White’s employment blog.  The head of our Labor and Employment practice, Erick Becker, will be contributing frequently, along with our business transaction and litigation attorneys, on matters that impact employers.  We will be posting updates on important court decisions, legislative updates, and regulatory developments on both the federal and state level.  We will also focus on best practices for human resources and employee relations, and important tips for managing the risk of employment related claims and lawsuits.

We intend this blog to be an important source of information for your business, so check back frequently and feel free to provide us feedback on topics and content.

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The information and materials on this blog are provided for general informational purposes only and are not intended to be legal advice. The law changes frequently and varies from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. Being general in nature, the information and materials provided may not apply to any specific factual and/or legal set of circumstances.  No attorney-client relationship is formed nor should any such relationship be implied. Nothing on this blog is intended to substitute for the advice of an attorney, especially an attorney licensed in your jurisdiction. If you require legal advice, please consult with a competent attorney licensed to practice in your jurisdiction.

Federal Overtime Changes Delayed by Court Ruling

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November 23, 2016

Federal regulations changing the minimum salary for exemption from overtime that were scheduled to go into effect December 1 have been put on hold by a federal judge.  The regulations were challenged by a number of states on the grounds the Department of Labor exceeded its authority, and the judge issued a temporary restraining order […]

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California Set to Raise Minimum Wage to $15 Per Hour

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July 29, 2016

California will soon have the highest minimum wage in the nation. In April 2016, Governor Jerry Brown signed Senate Bill 3, which will annually increase California’s minimum wage currently set at $10 per hour. As a result, the new law will take effect on January 1, 2017. The proponents for the legislation argued that nearly […]

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New Harassment Policy Regulations Require Action by April 1

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March 22, 2016

Earlier this March, the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing issued new regulations on workplace discrimination and harassment that go into effect April 1, 2016.  To comply with these regulations, employers must have a written policy prohibiting harassment in the workplace.  Most employee handbooks contain such a policy, but the new regulations add specific […]

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Paid Sick Leave Notice Required to be Posted January 1

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December 18, 2014

The California Labor Commissioner recently issued the required posting notifying employees of the new mandatory paid sick leave requirements. A copy of the poster is available here. The notice must be posted on January 1, even though the accrual of sick leave will not begin under the statute until July 1, 2015. An additional requirement […]

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Mandatory sick days means more headaches for employers

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September 8, 2014

Warning: if you’re a business owner or Human Resources professional, you might be tempted after reading this post to call in sick.   Come next July, all California employers will be required to provide paid sick leave to all employees – exempt and non-exempt, full time, part time and temporary. Here are the key provisions of […]

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California waiting period for health benefits flips back to 90 days

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August 28, 2014

California adopted a rule in 2014 that waiting periods for new employees to be eligible for health benefits could not exceed 60 days. The rule was recently rescinded, meaning California will now be in line with the federal rule established under Obamacare, which is a 90 day maximum waiting period. There’s a catch, however. The […]

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Are your commissioned salespeople still exempt?

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August 11, 2014

The California Supreme Court just made it harder to treat commissioned salespeople as exempt from overtime and other wage and hour requirements, at least those that are not outside salespersons. In order to meet the standard for exemption as an inside salesperson, employees must receive at least 50% of their compensation from commissions and earn […]

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Employers Finally Get Protection from the Wage and Hour Class Action Monster

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June 25, 2014

Godzilla, Frankenstein, the Mummy…scary monsters are a staple of Hollywood. For California employers, one of the scariest monsters to roam the state in recent years has been…cue the suspenseful music…the wage and hour class action lawsuit. The losses caused by this monster due to legal fees, lost time and lost focus on the business, and […]

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How will Obama’s new overtime regulations affect CA employers?

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March 14, 2014

The short answer – they probably won’t, because California already significantly limits who can be considered exempt for overtime purposes. There are two major regulations under the federal Fair Labor Standards Act which will be changed by order of the President.  First, the minimum salary for exempt status, which is currently $455 a week, will […]

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Countdown of New California Employment Laws for 2014

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January 3, 2014

#4  Expansion of protections for victims of domestic violence, sexual assault and stalking California previously enacted protections for victims of domestic violence and sexual assault, primarily the right to take a leave of absence to appear for legal proceedings, or to take leave for medical or psychological treatment or for safety planning (only if the […]

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Countdown of New California Employment Laws for 2014

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December 12, 2013

#5  Unfair Immigration Practices In the remaining weeks of 2013, we will be counting down the most important changes to California employment law for 2014.  The first change we are highlighting is an entirely new addition to the Labor Code prohibiting employers from committing “unfair immigration related practices,” creating another potential cause of action for […]

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New Law Turns Up the Heat for California Businesses with Outside Employees

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October 18, 2013

California’s state legislature and governor continue to go overboard in creating new rights for workers at the expense of employers. On October 10, 2013, Governor Jerry Brown signed into law SB 435, a pro-employee measure that provides for one hour of premium pay for missed “recovery periods” or cool-down periods provided to employees to prevent […]

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Who should issue disciplinary actions?

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October 10, 2013

I hear from many human resources professionals that the often stressful and unenjoyable task of administering corrective discipline, including terminations, falls to them.  It is counterproductive for a company’s HR staff to be viewed as the “Grim Reaper” by employees, when one of the primary roles of a human resources generalist is to maintain open […]

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Minimum Wage Set To Rise To $10/Hour

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September 13, 2013

Governor Brown will be signing legislation that raises the California minimum wage in two steps to $10 an hour, which will be highest in the nation.  The first increase will occur on July 1, 2014, when the minimum wage will increase by one dollar to $9 an hour.  The second one dollar increase is slated […]

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October 1st Deadline for Obamacare Notice to Employees Approaching

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September 11, 2013

While the administration has postponed the implementation of the employer insurance mandate until 2015, an important Obamacare deadline for employers was not delayed.  On or before October 1, 2013, all employers with at least one employee and $500,000 annual gross revenues must provide a written notice to its current employees outlining their enrollment options under […]

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Top Five Missing or Incomplete Handbook Policies

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September 5, 2013

Most employers have realized the important role an employee handbook plays as an evidentiary tool in defending any type of employment claim.  Even small businesses with few employees need written policies to protect against liability.  Unfortunately, many employers put together a handbook from bits and pieces collected from the internet, templates, and old manuals handed […]

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An Early Holiday Gift From the Court of Appeal

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August 21, 2013

While there are still more than 100 shopping days until Christmas, the California Court of Appeal has put the holiday season and company parties front and center for employers across the state. In its recent decision, Purton v. Marriott International, Inc., the court substantially increased liability exposure for all California employers who host company parties […]

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The Fuzzy Resignation – How to Make it Stick

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August 13, 2013

“I don’t think I want to work here anymore.”  “I’m going to find another job.”  “Maybe I’ll just have to quit.”  The “fuzzy resignation” is not a summertime cocktail, but a common problem for employers when such statements are made verbally or in emails.  Often, employers miss the opportunity to sever a problem employee by […]

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Apple Store Employees File Class Action Over Bag Searches

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July 30, 2013

Anyone who has visited an Apple retail store knows how much high value product is on the floor and in inventory.  Apple believed the temptation for employees to leave at the end of their shift with an iPhone or two stashed in their purse or backpack was overwhelming, so the company instituted an anti-theft program […]

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When is a harasser considered a “Supervisor?”

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July 19, 2013

The question of supervisory status is a critical issue that cuts across all areas of employment law.  One area where it has critical importance is discrimination cases, particularly sexual harassment, because the employer is “strictly liable” for any harassment committed by a supervisor.  In other words, if the harasser is a supervisor, the employer is […]

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Obamacare Employer Mandate Delayed to 2015

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July 3, 2013

Employers have been struggling to understand the parameters of the employer mandate for health care coverage that was scheduled to go into effect January 1, 2014.  In an attempt to avoid political fallout from the business community in advance of the 2014 mid-term elections, the administration has announced a one year delay in implementation.  This […]

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Huge Minimum Wage Increase Closer to Becoming Reality

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July 1, 2013

At the end of May, the California Assembly passed AB 10, which raises the hourly minimum wage.  Originally, the bill would have increased the minimum wage from $8 to $9.25 by January 2016, with automatic increases every year thereafter tied to the Consumer Price Index (CPI).  After passage in the Assembly, the bill was amended […]

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Recent Rulings May Mean the End for Alternatives to Hourly Pay

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June 11, 2013

California has long allowed employers to pay non-exempt employees either by the hour or by other alternatives – piece rate, commissions, job rate, etc.  Two recent decisions by the California Court of Appeals may make such alternatives extremely difficult to utilize without incurring potential liability. In Gonzalez v. Downtown L.A. Motors, the court ruled that […]

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Court Says Companies Can Be Liable for the Labor Violations of its Contractors

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May 28, 2013

Many companies seek to avoid the costs of direct employment by contracting with outsource providers to perform work, sometimes alongside regular employees, at company facilities.  One advantage of using outsourced labor is insulating the company from employment related claims – but a recent California District Court decision may signal that companies are no longer insulated […]

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NLRB Posting Rule Overturned (For Now)

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May 17, 2013

Way back in 2011, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) used its rule making authority to require all employers, union and non-union, to post a notice to employees describing their rights – including the right to unionize.  Employers were rightly alarmed that this notice requirement was burdensome and could result in an unfair labor practice […]

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Labor Commission Cracking Down on California Labor Violations

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The California Labor Commission is taking a hard stance on what it calls “wage theft” by general contractors working on public projects. In some of the cases noted by the Commission, the violations were egregious and intended; however, we know that many well-meaning employers often mis-classify employees by sheer misunderstanding of the law.  With this […]

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