The Blog

2016 California Minimum Wage Increase – Give Your Exempt Employees a Raise, Again!

California’s minimum wage rises to $10 per hour starting January 1, 2016. Once again, California employers must gear up for pay raises, not just for employees paid on an hourly basis at minimum wage, but also for exempt employees. We explained why this is the case two years ago when California’s minimum wage last rose. The lesson is important, so we’ll adjust the …

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“Piece Rate” Employers: Use Your New Affirmative Defense!

In California, piece rate compensation plans have been on the chopping block since 2013. That’s when two California courts ruled that piece-rate employers had to separately pay employees for rest and recovery periods and “nonproductive” time. Back then we wrote those decisions put the “nail in the coffin” for piece rate compensation in California.
Those 2013 decisions also opened the flood gates for class …

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Paystub Errors, Penalties & Claims

Win for Employers – Avoid PAGA Penalties By Curing Paystubs Errors!
On October 2, 2015, California passed a new law that helps California employers. The law (AB 1506) amends the Private Attorneys General Act (PAGA) to reduce frivolous PAGA claims. The new law took effect immediately.
Passed in 2004, PAGA allows an employee to seek civil penalties against an employer not only …

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California Mandates Paid Sick Leave Effective July 1, 2015

The Governor signed AB 1522 into law on August 30, 2014, stating: “Tonight, the Legislature took historic action to help hardworking Californians. This bill guarantees that millions of workers – from Eureka to San Diego – won’t lose their jobs or pay just because they get sick.”
In the author’s experience, there aren’t many businesses that terminate hardworking employees “just because …

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Lodging Credit Against Minimum Wage for Apartment or Hotel/Motel Employees

If you own an apartment or hotel/motel and provide free lodging to your employee(s), pay attention. Otherwise, the rest of you California employers can take a breather.
A common practice in the apartment/hotel/motel industry is to allow the manager to live in one of your apartments or hotel/motel room rent free. Also common is the belief this “free rent” is part …

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Avoid “Off The Clock” Claims Through Written Policies

An “off the clock” claim occurs when the employee claims more time worked that what appears on their daily time record. The time records show one thing but the employee claims they worked more hours. Sometimes those “off the clock” hours result in an overtime claim.

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Arbitration Delegation Clauses — Another Employer Tool To Enforce Arbititration Agreements

More good news for California employers on the employment arbitration front.
Within one month, we have two California courts of appeal ensuring employment arbitration agreements are enforced according to their terms, as they should be.

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Eliminate Employee Class Actions Through Binding Arbitration

The California Supreme Court has ruled California employers may avoid employee class action lawsuits through binding arbitration. (Iskanian v. CLS Transportation Los Angeles, LLC, 6/23/2014). This is clearly a big win for all employers, large and small.

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Prevailing Employers Are Entitled To Attorneys’ Fees

That’s what the California anti-discrimination statute says.  But California courts have interpreted “prevailing” employer to mean “but only if” the employee’s discrimination lawsuit was “unreasonable, frivolous, meritless, or vexatious.” 
So it’s not enough for the employer to win the case.  Employer still losses on attorneys’ fees if the employee’s lawsuit is deemed to be “reasonable” or have some, however slight, …

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Paying A Salary Does Not Make Someone Exempt

A common misconception is paying an employee a salary makes them “exempt” from payment of overtime.  I bet at least half of you reading this are saying, “what, you mean that’s not the case?”
That’s right, it’s not.  While paying a salary is required, there is also a duties test (and other requirements) that has to be met for each of …

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