California News & Analysis

  • 9-day delay in paying final paycheck costs employer more than $88K

    California law requires that when an employee resigns without providing at least 72 hours' notice, the employer must provide a final paycheck within 72 hours of her resignation. If the employer willfully fails to pay the final paycheck, the employee's wages continue as a "waiting time" penalty from the due date until the wages are paid, for up to 30 days. In the following case, the California Court of Appeal reviewed a trial court's award of waiting time penalties and attorneys' fees to an employee for her employer's unsuccessful appeal.

  • Ice Cube, Dr. Dre, NBC Universal skirt liability for Straight Outta Compton death

    Terry Carter was killed by well-known record producer Marion "Suge" Knight during production of the film Straight Outta Compton. Knight had a dispute with Cle "Bone" Sloan, who worked for one of the film's producers, NBC Universal LLC. Carter was asked to mediate the dispute. After the parties' meeting, Knight ran over Carter with his truck, inflicting fatal injuries. Carter's wife and children sued NBC Universal and other entities involved in the film's production (collectively, the producers) for wrongful death/negligence and for negligently hiring Sloan. The trial court dismissed the case, finding NBC Universal owed no duty to Carter and it was not vicariously liable for Sloan's actions. The Carter family appealed.

  • Racetrack workers not amused by appeals court's rejection of joint-employer liability

    Plaintiffs' attorneys in California routinely test the limits of wage and hour laws in hopes of identifying new sources of potential liability for employers. One such scenario is the "joint-employer" relationship, in which workers are viewed as potential employees of more than one company, either because they are paid by a separate entity or they perform work for a separate entity. In a recent case involving a California state agency, the court of appeal rejected the workers' joint-employer argument because state agencies are exempt from overtime requirements.

  • Is your company website ADA-compliant? Plaintiffs' attorneys want to know

    A wave of lawsuits and demand letters alleging violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) has continued to hit businesses across the United States. Their target: company websites. Last year, litigants filed more than 800 federal lawsuits—many as class actions—alleging businesses were violating the ADA by not providing websites that are accessible to disabled individuals (in particular, those with visual or hearing impairments). The filings have continued into 2018 along with letters from law firms and advocacy groups informing companies that their websites aren't ADA-compliant and demanding that they be fixed immediately or else face a lawsuit.

  • Exit interviews—some do's and don'ts

    Why? That's usually the first question that comes to mind for managers and employees alike when news gets around the office that an employee has resigned. (Unless, of course, the resignation catches everyone by complete surprise and they first ask, "What?!") While you may never understand all the reasons an employee decides to move on, you can learn a great deal if you make proper use of an exit interview.

  • America's most watched investigation? CBS addresses Moonves allegations

    CBS Corporation has more than 12,500 employees across the world. Its employment policies are reasonable and professional, with robust complaint procedures and strong verbal commitments to diversity and the elimination of harassment. In addition to the usual employment issues that arise in such a large workplace, the company has stars and divas to contend with. Consequently, it comes as no surprise that there are discrimination and harassment issues in the organization.

  • Workplace Trends

    Research finds people of color less likely to get requested pay raises. Research from compensation data and software provider PayScale, Inc., shows that people of color were less likely than white men to have received a raise when they asked for one. The research, announced in June, found women of color were 19% less likely to have received a raise and men of color were 25% less likely. The research also notes that no single gender or racial/ethnic group was more likely to have asked for a raise than any other group. The most common justification for denying a raise was budgetary constraints (49%). Just 22% of employees who heard that rationale actually believed it. Of those who said they didnt ask for a raise, 30% reported their reason for not asking was that they received a raise before they felt the need to ask for one.

  • Appellate court upholds $500,000 jury verdict for disability harassment

    A jury awarded an employee with a speech impediment $500,000 because he was harassed by a supervisor who mimicked his stutter. The central issue on appeal was whether the supervisor's conduct was sufficiently severe or pervasive to constitute disability harassment. When does a joking atmosphere become a hostile work environment?

  • The devastating result of a single word

    A car wash company provided its employees with a handbook setting forth its employment policies. The handbook was written in both English and Spanish, it required arbitration of employment disputes, and it denied an employee's right to bring an action under the California Private Attorneys General Act (PAGA). The English version stated that the denial of the right to bring a PAGA action was severable if a court found the denial unenforceable. The Spanish version provided that the PAGA denial was not severable.

  • Judge's moonlighting creates conflict and grounds for termination

    No one is above the law. The law has zero tolerance for alleged unethical conduct by administrative law judges (ALJs), as was the case for Richard Paul Fisher. While serving as an ALJ, Fisher had a side job as a lawyer. That side job created conflicts of interest and called into question his ability to make unbiased and impartial decisions. Because an ALJ must be free from bias and impartial and because Fisher's side job interfered with that duty, he was properly terminated as an ALJ.