Category Archives: Newsletter Archives

SO GOES CALIFORNIA…

2014 Ushers in a Multitude of Laws Affecting Employers Don’t be caught unaware by the 2014 changes to employment laws that could directly affect your Company! Knowledge about these new laws and those that are on the horizon are the key to minimizing and attempting to prevent workplace claims. What is new: Expanded protection for […]

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BEWARE, YOU MAY BE A FEDERAL CONTRACTOR AND NOT KNOW IT

Recently, in a discrimination case that spanned over 20 years against Bank of America, the Department of Labor expanded the definition of a federal contractor to include any entity that is federally insured. Bank of America had argued the traditional view of who is a federal contractor, claiming that it wasn’t a federal contractor because […]

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BROWN TURNS FOREST GREEN

The USDA Forest Service names Brown Law Group as One of Only Three Firms in the Nation to Provide Legal Services for its Employment Litigation The US Department of Agriculture, Forest Service has named Brown Law Group as one of only three firms in the nation to provide legal services for its employment litigation. The […]

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THE CALIFORNIA SUPREME COURT FINDS THE MIXED MOTIVE DEFENSE BARS EMPLOYEES FROM DAMAGES, BACK PAY, OR AN ORDER OF REINSTATEMENT

No longer can plaintiffs collect damages simply by showing discrimination was a factor in an employer’s decision to fire them. Even if evidence of discriminatory motive exists, an employer can prevent plaintiff from recovering damages, back pay, or an order of reinstatement if the employer proves that it would have terminated plaintiff for a legitimate non-discriminatory reason. Importantly however, this “mixed motive” defense is not a complete bar to liability because a plaintiff can still obtain declaratory or injunctive relief, and in certain situations, attorneys’ fees. Therefore, rather than fall back on the mixed motive defense, employers should ensure workplace procedures comply with California law, that management is properly trained in the implementation of such procedures, and that employment decisions are consistent with these policies.

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NEW YEAR – NEW LAWS

December 21, 2012 has come and gone, and with it the belief that the Mayan’s “end of the world” prediction would obviate the need for employers to comply with the multitude of new California employment legislation.  The following are just a few of the changes to the law that employers can expect for 2013: Changes […]

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NOT SO HAPPY HOLIDAYS

Employer-Sponsored Holiday Parties – Tips for Ensuring a Happy Holiday Season

It is estimated that over two-thirds of employers will host some form of holiday party for their employees in 2012, with many of these parties serving some extra holiday cheer in the form of beer, wine, and other alcoholic beverages. While holiday parties can be a great way to build morale and/or demonstrate appreciation for employees’ hard work, employers need to ensure that this holiday fun does not turn into a New Year’s liability. With the holiday season nearly upon us, now is the time to assess your company’s upcoming holiday party.

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FLEXIBLE WORKSPACE MEETS INFLEXIBLE LAW

Computers, Wi-Fi, smartphones, Skype, and computer-based meetings all allow an employee to contribute fully while working outside of the traditional office.  These technological advances have also meant that employees can perform their work from home, while on vacation, and while traveling on business.  Many employees have embraced flexible work arrangements, and they have modified their […]

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OBAMACARE IS CONSTITUTIONAL. WHAT DOES THAT MEAN TO ME AS AN EMPLOYER?

The U.S. Supreme Court’s landmark decision regarding the constitutionality of President Obama’s controversial Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (“ACA”) makes for much political fodder. But what does it mean to employers? Despite the political uncertainty the nation faces in the upcoming months, many provisions of the ACA are applicable to employers now. This includes providing affordable health care plans to employees. However, what is considered “affordable?” Does the requirement apply to all employers regardless of size? Employers must educate themselves regarding these issues and be in compliance or face stiff penalties.

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MEDICAL MARIJUANA USE: Though Permitted by California Doctors, Not Permitted in Workplace or Protected by ADA

California law allows physicians to prescribe marijuana for medicinal purposes; however, its general use and possession is still illegal under both federal and state law. Recently, in response to a move by several California cities to close marijuana clinics within their boundaries, plaintiffs filed suit in federal court challenging the cities’ actions under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

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IT’S OFFICIAL – EMPLOYERS ARE NO LONGER THE POLICE!

On April 12, 2012, the California Supreme Court finally issued it’s much anticipated ruling in Brinker Restaurant Corporation v. Superior Court, holding that employers need not act as surrogate police to their employees. The Court explained that while employers have a duty to provide meal and rest periods to their employees, they have no duty to hover over them to “ensure” that they abstain from working during those breaks. This relieves a huge, impossible burden, which exposed employers to countless class action claims.

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