California employers have until March 1 to comply with new restroom law

February 21, 2017 0 COMMENTS

by Michelle Lee Flores and Brett Nicole Taylor

California employers need to be in compliance with the state’s new “all-gender” requirements for single-use restrooms by March 1.

Assembly Bill 1732 requires all single-user toilet facilities in any business establishment, place of public accommodation, or local government agency in California to be identified as an all-gender restroom. Thus, if a California business has a toilet facility with no more than one water closet and one urinal with a lock controlled by the user, signage on the restroom must indicate that it’s an all-gender facility. California’s all-gender restroom law is one of many recent state laws addressing restroom rights for members of the transgender community.

In addition, federal agencies have released guidance on the issue. Under the Obama administration, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission declared that transgender employees are protected against sex-based discrimination under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Also, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration published guidance on transgender employees’ restroom access that states that all employees, including transgender employees, should have access to restrooms that correspond to their gender identity.

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Effort to push California minimum wage to $15 reported

March 28, 2016 0 COMMENTS

Most California employers will see the state’s minimum wage reach $15 an hour by 2022 if reports of a deal in the state legislature materialize as expected.

Reports in the Los Angeles Times and The Sacramento Bee on March 27 tell of a tentative deal between state lawmakers and union leaders that would phase in the wage hike. Currently, the state’s minimum wage stands at $10 an hour. (The federal minimum wage is $7.25 an hour.) The outlets reported that businesses with fewer than 25 employees would have an extra year to reach the $15 level.

Mark I. Schickman, an attorney with Freeland Cooper & Foreman LLP in San Francisco, said the deal is extremely likely to pass the legislature and gain Governor Jerry Brown’s support. On March 28, the governor’s office issued a statement that Brown would join “a number of other leaders” to discuss the “landmark deal” to raise the state’s minimum wage. The Times reported that lawmakers could vote on the proposal within a couple of weeks.

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San Francisco Retail Workers’ Bill of Rights to be implemented July 1

June 05, 2015 0 COMMENTS

by Mark I. Schickman

San Francisco’s new Retail Workers’ Bill of Rights is set to be implemented July 1, meaning many retail employers will have new obligations that go beyond areas that have previously been regulated.

The new law covers any retail establishment with 20 or more workers that shares a “formula” with at least 20 locations. A “formula” means the establishments have common signage or merchandise or design or trademark. Coverage goes beyond retail goods and includes banks, hotels, theaters, restaurants, and bars, which combine for an estimated 1,250 locations in San Francisco.

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San Francisco ‘ban the box’ ordinance starts August 13

August 11, 2014 0 COMMENTS

by Andrew J. Sommer and Alka Ramchandani

San Francisco’s new “ban the box” law, titled the Fair Chance Ordinance, will limit the timing and scope of inquiries into an applicant’s or employee’s criminal history when it takes effect August 13.

In addition to banning inquiries into criminal history on job applications, the ordinance also places significant restrictions on an employer’s ability to obtain and use that information in the hiring process.

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New California law grants domestic workers overtime pay

December 19, 2013 0 COMMENTS

by Cathleen S. Yonahara

A new California law taking effect January 1, 2014, grants overtime pay for at least the next three years to domestic workers who are personal attendants.

Under old state law, “personal attendants” are exempt from statutory overtime and meal and rest break provisions, but they are not exempt from minimum wage requirements.

A personal attendant is defined as any person employed by a private householder or any third-party employer recognized in the healthcare industry to work in a private household to supervise, feed, or dress a child or a person who by reason of advanced age, physical disability, or mental deficiency needs supervision. To have personal attendant status, the employee may not spend more than 20 percent of his or her weekly work time engaged in other duties.

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

July 06, 2011 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 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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Supreme Court Rules Public Employee’s Text Messages Not Private

June 17, 2010 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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