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Category: Employment Law

Is it Legal to Work Through Lunch In California?

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California meal period laws can be confusing to many, especially when they are changing every year. Employees used to take meal breaks after 6 hours, but that has since changed to 5 hours after Labor Code Section 512 passed. In addition to Labor Code Section 512, California cities also have their own regulations. With multiple laws in place, it’s incredibly important that employers speak with their local labor boards. This will help ensure that employees are following meal break laws correctly. If employers don’t comply with laws, they may receive penalties and might have to pay employees back in the future.

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Salary History Bans in Ohio, New York, and New Jersey- Effective 2020

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A common question asked during interviews is, “What is your current salary?” Although this sounds like a harmless question, this can lead employers to legal trouble. Of course, this can only lead to trouble if your state or city enforces salary history ban laws. Many states prohibit employers from asking applicants about their past or present salaries or benefits. The salary ban is said to decrease the salary disparities among different genders. Additionally, salary history bans prevent employers from decreasing salary offers based on the applicant’s past income. As a result of these bans, employees feel as though they are getting a fair shot in earning compensation.

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Is it Legal to Track Employees Using GPS?

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Managing employees has never been easier with the introduction of online time tracking. Managers no longer have to wonder where employees are or what they are doing– all information is available in real-time. Tracking location using GPS is one of the most significant features of employee tracking that employers take advantage of. This data can tell an employer exactly where an employee is working and when they are working. For instance, an employer can determine if an employee clocked in at the office, from the local Starbucks, or even from home. Employers also use GPS tracking to capture miles driven in company-owned or personal vehicles. The data collected is easy to obtain and gives employers transparency, but is it legal? 

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CA Sexual Harassment Law Changing January 1, 2020

employees in an office, training for sexual harassment and abusive conduct.

The California Fair Employment and Housing Act protects employees from unlawful practices and harassment. Since 2005, the act required employers with at least 50 employees to provide at least 2 hours of training and education regarding sexual harassment and abusive conduct. With the rise of the #MeToo movement in 2018, Senator Holly Mitchell proposed bill 1343, requiring that all employers with 5 or more employees provide training and education. This bill’s purpose was to prevent harassment and abusive behavior in any size business altogether. Since bill 1343’s passing, employers are required to provide sexual harassment and abusive conduct training by January 1, 2020. Here’s everything you need to know:

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Changes Coming to the New Jersey Family Leave Insurance Program & Family Leave Act in 2019/2020

The Federal Family and Medical Leave Act provides protection for employees to take unpaid leave for family and medical reasons. Although this is the norm for many businesses, states often have their own leave regulations. New Jersey, for instance, has its own similar leave laws called the New Jersey Family Leave Act. The state of New Jersey Department of Children & Families’ purpose of this policy is to promote economic security. This act lets employees to take up to 12 weeks of family leave in a 24-month period without losing their jobs. Additionally, New Jersey provides cash benefits through the Family Leave Insurance Program.

There are some changes ahead in regards to New Jersey Law. The New Jersey Governor, Phil Murphy, signed a new bill into law on Feb 19, 2019. This law modifies the New Jersey Family Leave Act (FLA) and the New Jersey Paid Family Leave Insurance Program (FLI). To ensure that you understand the new changes, check with New Jersey’s  department of labor. All of the information provided below is a guide for you to use, but is not intended to be legal advice.

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Are You Underpaying Your Employees?

Let’s face it: there are a lot of regulations to follow when it comes to owning a business. Following all the applicable laws can be tough. Although it can be time consuming, you should make sure that you are always following the latest legal protocol. The best way to avoid these pitfalls is to hire an HR consultant to keep you on the right path. However, not every business can afford someone like that, so you should know where to go if you’re the self-help type of business owner. A good place to start is the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) website. The FLSA establishes standards for minimum wages, overtime pay, record keeping, and child labor. So, what are some common pitfalls employers run into that lead to underpaying employees?

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The ABC Test for Independent Contractors Is Not a Federal Rule

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The California Supreme Court recently ruled on a change to the test that a hiring entity must use in order to determine if a worker is an independent contractor or not. It’s a much stricter and, as a result, clearer test than what existed before or which exists now with the Department of Labor. Worker classification is notoriously nebulous. Now in California, with the independent contractors ABC test, the definition is much easier to interpret.

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DOL Opinion Letter On Travel Time Compensability

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The FLSA is a set of federal laws regarding minimum wage, overtime, and other important workplace practices. The rules aren’t always easy to understand, however, and sometimes they get misinterpreted by business owners and even by the courts. (As an example, the supreme court recently had to step in and give the final word on a type of overtime exemption.) This is why the Department of Labor has provided opinion letters to help clarify some of the more confusing scenarios.

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Supreme Court Ruling Rejects Narrow Construction in Overtime Exemption Cases

Narrow construction overtime exception

While the April 2nd Supreme Court ruling may only apply to a very small segment of workers and probably only affects a single wage and hour lawsuit currently, this departure from the longstanding approach at interpreting overtime exemption will likely have broader implications and affect more workers in the future.

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DOL’s Wage & Hour Violation Self Reporting Program

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On March 6, 2018 the Department of Labor launched a pilot program allowing employers to audit their own pay practices and catch and report their own wage and hour mistakes. It’s called the Payroll Audit Independent Determination (PAID) Program and will operate for six months as a pilot program.

Prior to now, wage and hour mistakes would land employers in court where they would have to pay court and lawyer fees, back wages, and liquidated damages. With the PAID program, if mistakes are caught independently and in good faith, employers can avoid the extra costs and simply pay employees back for the mistakes made.

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