Prop 8 Unconstitutional, For Now

February 08, 2012 - by: HR Hero 0 COMMENTS

By Mark I. Schickman

The legal status of gay marriage in California has been a rollercoaster ride. First, the California Supreme Court held that a ban on gay marriage was unconstitutional. Then California passed Proposition 8, writing a ban on gay marriage into the California Constitution — and the California Supreme Court bowed to that new statement of California’s popular will, declaring Proposition 8 constitutional.

The issue then was put to the federal court, and Chief District Court Judge Vaughn Walker struck Proposition 8 down as unconstitutional. Prop 8 supporters then attacked the ruling as legally flawed and challenged Judge Walker, who is gay, for not recusing himself.

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Categories: California

California Public-Sector Employers Facing Challenging New Laws

January 18, 2012 - by: Tammy Binford 0 COMMENTS

Public-sector employers in California are facing an array of challenges in 2012 — declining revenues, out-of-control costs, fading reserves, and “a slew of bills further hobbling public agencies’ ability to control costs,” according to Jonathan Holtzman, a partner with Renne Sloan Holtzman Sakai LLP in San Francisco. Here’s a look at some new laws affecting California public employers:

  • AB 646: This law mandates fact-finding under the Meyers-Milias-Brown Act, a requirement Holtzman says will make it harder for strapped public agencies to address their fiscal problems.
  • AB 506: This law requires local public entities to either engage in mediation with all interested parties or declare a fiscal emergency before filing for bankruptcy. Holtzman points out that mediation under AB 506 will add time and expense to the bankruptcy process.
  • SB 857: This law abolishes the Public Employee Relations Board’s authority to award damages for an unlawful strike. Holtzman says this law removes a deterrent to public-employee strikes since courts generally also lack the power to award damages for an illegal strike.
  • SB 922: This law authorizes public agencies to require project labor agreements (PLAs) for publicly funded construction and forbidding the use of state funding for public construction in jurisdictions that ban PLAs.

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Categories: California

Employers Whose Employees Work in California Are Subject to State Overtime Laws

July 06, 2011 - by: HR Hero Alerts 0 COMMENTS

By Chris McFadden

CaliforniaEmployers that require workers to travel to and work within California may be subject to the state’s overtime laws even though their employees are nonresidents. The California Supreme Court decided last week that the California Labor Code applies to the overtime claims of three nonresident instructors who performed work within the state. The employees, who worked for Oracle, worked mainly in their home states (Arizona and Colorado) but were required to travel to California as part of their positions. The instructors alleged that Oracle’s failure to pay overtime for work performed in California was a violation of the state’s Labor Code as well as an unlawful business act under the state’s unfair competition law.

The court determined that California’s overtime law applies to all work performed in the state in excess of eight hours in one workday and 40 hours in one workweek regardless of the employee’s place of residence. The court noted that the state’s overtime laws were designed to serve important public-policy goals such as protecting the health and safety of employees from “the evils associated with overwork” and providing an incentive to spread employment to a greater number of individuals. These policies would not be served by excluding nonresidents from the state’s overtime laws. In addition, any extra burden on employers as a result of complying with California’s overtime laws would be incidental. The court held that the state’s overtime laws don’t apply to work performed outside California.

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California Employers Required to Provide Paid Organ, Marrow Donor Leave

January 05, 2011 - by: HR Hero 1 COMMENTS

As of Saturday, January 1, 2011, private employers with 15 or more employees in California are required to provide paid leaves of absence for organ and bone marrow donations. The law, Public Chapter 646, is similar to a leave provision already in place for public employees and ensures up to 30 days of paid leave in a one-year period for organ donation. (The law provides five days of leave in a one-year period for marrow donation.)

To take the leave, the employee must provide written verification that she is an organ or bone marrow donor and that there is a medical necessity for the donation. Retaliation against those who take the leave is prohibited, and the leave may not be treated as a break in continuous service for the purpose of seniority, salary adjustments, and so on.

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California: Marijuana Referendum Goes Down in Ashes

November 04, 2010 - by: HR Hero Alerts 0 COMMENTS

by Mark Schickman, Freeland Cooper & Foreman LLP

Politically, California bucked the national move to the right, reelecting House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senator Barbara Boxer — two poster children for the perceived overreaches of the Obama administration.

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Supreme Court Rules Public Employee’s Text Messages Not Private

June 17, 2010 - by: HR Hero 0 COMMENTS

Today, the U.S. Supreme Court held that a public employer did not violate an employee’s constitutional privacy rights by searching his personal (and often sexually explicit) text messages that were sent and received on his employer-issued pager.

The Backstory
The City of Ontario, California, issued pagers that could send and receive text messages to Ontario Police Department (OPD) SWAT Team members, including Jeff Quon. When the OPD was charged with overage text message fees, it looked at the transcripts of text messages sent during a two-month period by Quon and another employee who had exceeded the text allowance. Much to the OPD’s surprise, it discovered a plethora of messages on Quon’s pager that were not work-related, including some that were sexually explicit. The matter was referred to OPD’s internal affairs division, and Quon was allegedly disciplined.

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“Day Without a Gay” Nationwide Protest May Result in Work Shortage

December 09, 2008 - by: HR Hero 0 COMMENTS

Some gay rights advocates are calling for “A Day Without a Gay” protest and boycott across the United States on Wednesday, December 10, to show opposition to California’s Proposition 8 and to show the power of the gay and lesbian community. Organizers are encouraging people to strike by “calling in gay” to work, taking the day off, or shutting down their business. Instead of working, they’re urging supporters to spend the day participating in volunteer activities. They’re also encouraging people not to buy anything or spend any money.

So what should you do if employees “call in gay” tomorrow? Can you tell them they’re fired if they don’t show up? You should think twice before doing that. Remember that many state laws, including California’s, prohibit employers from discriminating against employees because of their actual or perceived sexual orientation or their association with a homosexual person. Thus, you need to treat employees who call in gay the same as all other employees. If you decide to enforce your attendance policy, make sure you do so in a fair and consistent manner, regardless of the employee’s sexual orientation (or other protected status).

Categories: California

California Supreme Court to Look at Same-Sex Marriage

November 20, 2008 - by: HR Hero 0 COMMENTS

Despite the passage of Proposition 8 earlier this month, the issue of same-sex marriage is still very much alive in California. The California Supreme Court announced yesterday that it will address the issues raised by the initiative at the request of advocates on both sides:

(1) Was Proposition 8 legally valid, or must it be stricken? The court agreed November 19 to review whether the measure illegally allows a majority to restrict a minority group’s rights and whether it unconstitutionally limits judicial authority.

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Categories: California

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