News & Analysis

No attorneys' fees for employer unless FEHA claims are frivolous

To obtain an award of attorneys' fees in a case brought under California's Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA), a prevailing employer must prove that the case was "frivolous, unreasonable, or groundless when brought, or the [employee] continued to litigate after it clearly became so." That is a very difficult standard to meet. However, other statutes allow a prevailing defendant to recover an award of costs in certain situations without a finding that the action was frivolous. In the following case, the court had to decide whether an employer that prevailed at trial was entitled to even a small award of costs, even though the employee's case wasn't frivolous.

Optional home dispatch program does not trigger paid travel time

A class of cable service technicians sued their employer to collect payment for the commuting time they spent transporting equipment in company cars under a voluntary program. The trial court granted summary judgment in favor of the company, dismissing the case without a trial after it found the time was not compensable. The court of appeal affirmed, concluding that (1) because the program was optional, the technicians' time was not subject to the company's control and (2) merely transporting equipment during a commute does not warrant compensation when no significant extra time or effort is required.

More new California employment and labor laws will take effect January 1

In the last several months, the California Legislature has sent Governor Jerry Brown 1,217 bills for his consideration before he leaves office at the end of 2018. The governor has signed 1,016 of those bills into law. The following article offers a summary of some of the most important bills Governor Brown recently signed. All of the new laws will take effect January 1, 2019, unless otherwise indicated.

Holiday parties: microaggressions, recreational marijuana, and #MeToo

Welcome to the end of the year. Your company has done well. You are proud of your workforce and their accomplishments. So you're having a holiday party—what better way to build camaraderie and incentivize your employees to work hard again next year? But in an era of microaggressions, legalized marijuana, #MeToo, and wage and hour class actions, is hosting a party worth the potential legal risks? Don't allow fears of potential liability to call off the celebration, but take precautions to avoid any party pitfalls.

Wrap up 2018 with new or revised handbook

This year has brought an unusual number of changes in employment law. Various federal agencies got into the groove of aggressively undoing a lot of requirements their predecessors in the Obama administration had put into place. In addition, there has been an increasing number of employment-related requirements from state and local governments.

Wellness programs are about more than health insurance costs

When attorneys talk or write about wellness programs, it's almost always from a highly legal perspective. We could talk all day about the convoluted and overlapping requirements of the various laws that apply to such programs. But this month, we want to take a different approach and look at wellness programs from more of a business perspective.

Happy holidays, with a helping of the flu bug

The 2017-18 flu season was unusually bad, and many employers found themselves stuck between meeting their staffing needs and avoiding the spread of a virulent flu strain. Although the 2018-19 cold and flu season is forecast to be less brutal, you should take this opportunity to revisit your pandemic preparedness. Here are some thoughts on preventing and preparing for the next big outbreak.

Happy holidays, with a helping of the flu bug

The 2017-18 flu season was unusually bad, and many employers found themselves stuck between meeting their staffing needs and avoiding the spread of a virulent flu strain. Although the 2018-19 cold and flu season is forecast to be less brutal, you should take this opportunity to revisit your pandemic preparedness. Here are some thoughts on preventing and preparing for the next big outbreak.

Wellness programs are about more than health insurance costs

When attorneys talk or write about wellness programs, it's almost always from a highly legal perspective. We could talk all day about the convoluted and overlapping requirements of the various laws that apply to such programs. But this month, we want to take a different approach and look at wellness programs from more of a business perspective.

Wrap up 2018 with new or revised handbook

This year has brought an unusual number of changes in employment law. Various federal agencies got into the groove of aggressively undoing a lot of requirements their predecessors in the Obama administration had put into place. In addition, there has been an increasing number of employment-related requirements from state and local governments.