Employment Law

California Steps Up To The Plate: The Country's Strongest Wage Equality Bill Signed

On Tuesday October 6, 2015, Governor Jerry Brown signed the country's toughest wage equality bill into law. Effective January 1, 2016, California's Fair Pay Act is amended to add more teeth to the problem of wage equality.   

Here are the most important highlights from the Fair Pay Act: 

1. The new standard requires that employers must pay workers equal pay for substantially similar work. No longer is the comparable employee's title or even work location a factor. 

2. The burden is now on the employer to show that the wage differential is based one of more of the following factors:

a. A seniority system.

b. A merit system

c. A system that measures earnings by quantity or quality or production. 

d. A bona fide factor other than sex, such as education, training, or experience. This factor shall apply only if the employer demonstrates that the factor is not based on or derived from a sex-based differential in compensation, is job related with respect to the position in question, and is consistent with a business necessity. For purposes of this subparagraph, “business necessity” means an overriding legitimate business purpose such that the factor relied upon effectively fulfills the business purpose it is supposed to serve. This defense shall not apply if the employee demonstrates that an alternative business practice exists that would serve the same business purpose without producing the wage differential.

2. Employees can complain to the Labor Board if they believe they have been paid less than employees for substantially similar work. The Labor Board will investigate the matter, keeping the employee's name confidential.

3. Employees can not be discharged or retaliated against for seeking to enforce this law.

4. An employer can not prohibit employees from disclosing their own wages, inquiring into another employee's wages and encouraging employee's from exercising their rights under the law.

If you have questions about the new changes to the Fair Pay Act call The Rad Firm, APC at 310-461-3766. 

An Employee By Any Other Name, is Still an Employee

Classifying employees properly is imperative to avoid liability.  Ensuring employees are classified and thus paid properly should be of chief importance when starting any business.  American Homes 4 Rent, a company that owns and rents out 37,000 single family homes across the U.S., learned this lesson when it was slammed with having to pay over $400,000 due to misclassification of their employees, the LA Times reports.  The U.S. Labor Department held that American Homes misclassified employees by changing their titles in order to avoid having to pay said employees overtime.  

If you are building your business and are planning to take on employees or if you are already running a business with employees, it is advised that you contact a lawyer to ensure that you are properly classifying and paying those employees.  The attorneys at The Rad Firm, APC can make sure your employment relationships run smoothly, in accordance with both state and federal laws.   Contact us at (310) 461-3766 to determine whether you are properly classifying and paying your employees.

 

LAX to Allow Uber and Lyft

As the less-expensive alternative to taxis, Uber and Lyft have taken over immediate transportation industry yet still are not allowed to pick up passengers from LAX.  All this could change though, as early as next month. Click here, to find out more about what this could mean for Uber and Lyft.

Are you in the Uber or Lyft industry and need advice about anything employment related? Feel free to give us a call.

New Wage and Hour Legislation Proposed for NFL Cheerleaders

Keith Allison /Flickr

The Super Bowl may be over but there is a new battle brewing in the NFL, this time in Sacramento. Everyone knows NFL players make plenty of money. What people may not be so aware of is that the cheerleaders are often paid less than minimum wage to cheer those teams on. In an effort to change that, on Friday January 30, 2015, Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez introduced legislation to ensure that professional cheerleaders are paid at least minimum wage in the state of California. This proposed legislation would apply to all professional cheerleaders, not just those for the NFL but the NBA as well. You can check out Assemblywoman Gonzalez's proposal here

What do you think? 

California's New Paid Sick Leave: What Does It Really Mean?

Effective July 1, 2015 California's newest employment game changer goes into effect. AB 1522, the "Healthy Workplaces, Healthy Families Act" requires all employers, public and private, to provide paid sick leave to employees. 

Any employee who has worked 30 days or more within a year from the commencement of employment is entitled to paid sick leave. This new law applies to full-time, part-time or even temporary employees. Once an employee has worked the requisite 30 days within a year, they are entitled to 1 hour of paid sick leave per 30 hours worked. 

Employers are able to wait until the employee has worked 90 days to become fully entitled to use paid sick leave that has been accrued. Employers are also able to cap the total number of paid sick hours an employee may take consecutively to 24 hours, or 3 full days. 

"Employee" has also been defined within the bill to exclude certain employees, including:

  • Employees covered by a collective bargaining agreement providing paid sick leave, premium overtime, and hourly rates equaling not less than 30% more than the state minimum wage.
  • Employees exempt from overtime wage by statute or under the Industrial Welfare Commission.
  • An employee directly employed by the state or any political subdivision, including city, county, city and county, or special district. 

If you have any questions regarding California's new paid sick leave law give The Rad Firm, APC a call at 310-461-3766.

Leave on Me: FMLA & CFRA

Welcome back for part two of Leave On Me, our series exploring leaves of absence and the laws that surround them. Last week we discussed the basics of leave law. This week we are discussing the major players of leave law: FMLA and CFRA. The Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) is a federal law that sets out protections for employees with serious health conditions, or employees whose specific family members have serious medical conditions. The California Family Rights Act is the state equivalent to FMLA.

Which employers and employees do FMLA and CFRA apply to?

As mentioned last week, FMLA and CFRA only applies to employers with 50 or more employees within a 75 mile radius. Employees must have been employed by a covered employer for at least 12 months.  Here is where we meet our first distinction between FMLA and CFRA.  For FMLA, the employee must have worked the employer the previous 12 months prior to their leave.  CFRA, however, simply requires that the employee have worked at least 12 months for the employer.  Both CFRA and FMLA require that the employee worked at least 1,250 hours during that previous 12 months to the leave. Once it is established that an employee has satisfied those requirements, it must be determined whether the employee is entitled to FMLA or CFRA.

What is a serious health condition?

An employee, under FMLA, may only take a leave for a serious health condition. A serious health condition is defined as an illness, injury, impairment or physical or mental condition that involves inpatient care (defined as an overnight stay in a hospital, hospice or residential medical care facility; any overnight admission to such facilities is an automatic trigger for FMLA eligibility) or continuing treatment by a health care provider. Some of the examples of a serious health condition include:

  • Incapacity For Three or More Days Plus Continuing Treatment: Continuing treatment by a health care provider that results in either: 
    • An incapacity of more than three consecutive calendar days with either two or more in-person visits to the health care provider within 30 days of the date of incapacity; or 
    • One in-person visit to the health care provider with a regimen of continuing treatment. 
    • Both scenarios require that the first visit to the health care provider must occur within seven days of the first date of incapacity.
  • Incapacity Due to Chronic Serious Health Conditions: Chronic conditions that require periodic visits to a health care provider, continue over an extended period of time and may cause episodic rather than continuing periods of incapacity of more than three days. Examples of chronic conditions include asthma, diabetes and epilepsy.
  • Incapacity for pregnancy or prenatal care: Can include morning sickness and routine prenatal care doctor's visits.
  • Permanent or Long Term Incapacity: Examples are Alzheimer’s, severe stroke or terminal disease.
  • Conditions requiring multiple treatments and recovery from treatments: Examples include cancer, severe arthritis and kidney disease.
  • Inpatient Services: Wherever treatment requires an overnight stay at a hospital, hospice or residential care facility. This can include treatment for substance abuse by a health care provider or by a provider of health care services on referral by a health care provider.

  Another distinction between FMLA and CFRA is that pregnancy is not covered by CFRA. Pregnancy is considered a serious health condition under FMLA. California does however offer Pregnancy Disability Leave (a topic we will explore in a future post) which offers up to 3 months of leave for pregnancy. Leave due to the birth, adoption or placement for foster care of a child does not require medical necessity or any period of incapacity. FMLA and CFRA leave is available for bonding with the baby/child.

Who is covered for a serious health condition?

FMLA and CFRA cover the a serious health condition for an employee or the employee's spouse, parent, or child. CFRA also covered, registered domestic partners.

How much leave can an employee get? 

FMLA and CFRA allow an employee up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave.

Notice

The notice requirements discussed last week, apply to both CFRA and FMLA. Check them out 

Be sure to check back next week as we explore Reasonable Accommodations and the Interactive Process.

If you have any questions contact The Rad Firm to discuss your situation.