California News & Analysis

  • CA's new standard for determining independent contractor classifications

    On April 30, 2018, the California Supreme Court issued a groundbreaking decision implementing a new legal standard that makes it significantly more difficult to classify workers as independent contractors.

  • $723,746 awarded to employee fired while on medical leave

    A trial court awarded a probationary employee $723,746 following a school district's termination of her employment during an approved temporary disability leave. The trial court found the district failed to provide reasonable accommodations or engage in the interactive process as required by the California Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA).

  • No double-dipping: Court denies temp workers' attempt to sue

    Last month, we noted that temporary staffing agencies are increasingly targeted by plaintiffs' attorneys, who push the envelope in arguing that such agencies are "joint employers." (See "Court finds staffing agency not liable for meal period violations" on pg. 4 of our April 9 issue.)

  • Manager sues employer, but did she sue right company?

    The law is clear that only a worker's employer is liable for failure to pay wages. But it isn't always clear who the employer is. In some situations, a person might be legally employed by more than one entity, referred to as joint employers. In this case, the issue for the court was whether a Shell service station manager was jointly employed by Shell and the company that entered into a lease and operating agreement with Shell.

  • New tax credit rewards companies that offer paid FMLA leave

    Employers that offer paid family and medical leave may get an unexpected tax benefit next year at tax time. The tax reform law that passed earlier this year contains a little-noticed tax credit for employers that provide qualifying types of paid leave to their fulland part-time employees. The credit is available to any employer, regardless of size, if:

    • It provides at least two weeks of qualifying leave annually for employees who have been with the company for at least 12 months; and
    • The paid leave is at least 50% of the wages normally paid to the employee.
  • WHD issues more opinion letters

    In a follow-up to its recent reissuance of 17 opinion letters that had been issued (by the Bush administration) and withdrawn (by the Obama administration) in early 2009, the U.S. Department of Labor's (DOL) Wage and Hour Division (WHD) has already issued two more opinion letters. As you may recall, the agency had stopped providing such letters during the Obama administration, but the Trump DOL has revived the practice.

  • The gig is up: Supreme court ruling not good for gig economy

    For the past 10 years, analysts have sounded the death knell of traditional employment in favor of more casual work, free from traditional concepts of regularity and commitment. Instead, a casual workforce would arise, working when they want and trading security for flexibility. Workers were hired as independent contractors, consultants, franchisees—anything but employees. Gig work seemed like the path from the throes of the 2008 recession.

  • Workplace Trends

    Women more likely to see pay disparity, survey finds. Nearly a third of women (32%) participating in CareerBuilders Equal Pay Day survey in April said they dont think they are making the same pay as men in their organization who have similar experience and qualifications. That compares to 12% of men who think that way. The survey also found that men are more likely to expect higher job levels during their career, with 29% of men saying they think they will reach a director level or higher, compared to 22% of women. The survey also found that 25% of women never expect to reach above an entry-level role, compared to 9% of men. Almost a third of the women in the survey (31%) said they think theyve hit a glass ceiling within their organizations, and 35% dont expect to reach a salary over $50,000 during their career, compared to 17% of men who expect that salary.

  • Agency Action

    DOL issues opinion letters on FLSA. The U.S. Department of Labors (DOL) Wage and Hour Division (WHD) in April announced three new opinion letters related to the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and other laws. The letters released on April 12 concern (1) what counts as work time under the FLSA when employees travel for work, (2) whether 15-minute rest breaks required every hour by an employees serious health condition must be paid or may be uncompensated, and (3) whether certain lump-sum payments from employers to employees are considered earnings for garnishment purposes under Title III of the Consumer Credit Protection Act. An opinion letter is an official document authored by the WHD on how a particular law applies in specific circumstances presented by the person or entity requesting the letter. Opinion letters represent official statements of agency policy. (For more on these opinion letters, see WHD issues more opinion letters on pg. 10.)

  • Union Activity

    Teamsters president slams threat to publicsector unions. Teamsters General President James P. Hoffa spoke out against the U.S. Supreme Court case Janus v. AFSCME during an April conference, saying the case is about politics and people who hate unions. The case could remove the requirement that nonunion members pay certain union fees to cover costs of collective bargaining. In March, Hoffa also met with Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont) to discuss the threat the Janus case poses to public-sector unions.