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Mandatory AB 1825 Sexual Harassment Prevention Training and Supervisor Best Practices and Legal Compliance Training

Posted in Discrimination, Employee Privacy Rights, Harassment, Labor Law, New Legislation and Regulations, Uncategorized

Mandatory AB 1825 Sexual Harassment Prevention Training

The regulations regarding California’s Mandatory Sexual Harassment Prevention Training for supervisors require that certain employers provide training to their supervisors every two years.

The Labor and Employment Group at Weintraub Tobin Chediak Coleman Grodin is offering a two hour in-person training session that will comply with all the requirements outlined in the regulations including things like:

  • An overview of sexual harassment laws
  • Examples of conduct that constitute sexual harassment
  • Strategies to prevent harassment in the workplace
  • Lawful supervisory responses to complaints of harassment in the workplace
  • Training on prevention of “abusive conduct” in the workplace
  • Training on policies that prohibit harassment based on gender identity, gender expression, and sexual orientation (Senate Bill 396)
  • Practical and inter-active hypotheticals and examples to help illustrate what bullying, sexual harassment, discrimination, and retaliation can look like.

If you are an employer with 50 or more employees, and have supervisors who have not yet been trained, this training is a must. We look forward to hearing from you and helping you comply with your continuing sexual harassment training obligations.

*Approved for two (2) hours MCLE (Elimination of Bias).

Supervisor Best Practices and Legal Compliance Training

Most employers know that it is crucial to have well trained supervisors to help ensure that rank and file employees perform their jobs effectively and efficiently.  However, many employers don’t realize how important it is that supervisors be trained to understand the many employment laws that govern the workplace.  Untrained supervisors can take actions (or fail to take actions) that result in significant legal consequences for an employer.

This one-hour training will cover topics like:

  • Legal do’s and don’ts when hiring and firing
  • Tips for effective communication between supervisors and employees, including how to give constructive performance feedback
  • The importance of consistent, objective, and timely discipline
  • Important wage and hour laws
  • Workplace safety rules
  • Accommodating disabilities and understanding the many leaves of absence laws
  • The in’s and out’s of employee privacy rights

Date 

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Training Program 

AB 1825 Training: 10:00 am – 12:00 pm

Supervisor Best Practices: 1:00 pm – 2:00 pm

Location

Weintraub Tobin Office

400 Capitol Mall, 11th Floor

Sacramento, CA

Cost

AB 1825 Training: $95/person

Supervisor Best Practices and Legal Compliance Training: $60/person

For questions or to register for this training, please contact Ramona Carrillo (rcarrillo@weintraub.com).

Which California Employment-Related Bills Were Signed Into Law And Which Ones Did Not Make The Cut?

Posted in Disability Discrimination, Discrimination, Employee Privacy Rights, Employment Contracts and Agreements, Harassment, Labor Law, New Legislation and Regulations, Retaliation and Wrongful Termination, Wage & Hour

Well September 30, 2018 has come and gone.  As my September 19, 2018 article indicated, that was the deadline for Governor Brown to either sign or veto a large number of employment-related bills passed by the California Legislature during the 2017-2018 Term.  Out of the 21 employment-related bills I summarized in my September 19th article, 12 were signed into law, and 9 were vetoed.  Below is a list of the new laws California employers must comply with, as well as a list of vetoed bills where employers dodged the bullet.   To read the full article, please click here.

Bills Signed into Law.

  1. SB820. Prohibition on Non-Disclosure Provisions re: Sexual Misconduct & Harassment.
  2. AB3109. Right to Testify re: Sexual Misconduct.
  3. SB1300. Significant Revisions and Additions to FEHA; Prohibiting Certain Release and Non-Disparagement Provisions re: FEHA Claims; Expanding Employer’s Liability for Harassment by Third-Parties; Authorizing Bystander Training; and Outlining Legislative Declarations re: Litigating Sexual Harassment Claims.
  4. SB1343. Expansion of Training Requirements re: Sexual Harassment.
  5. AB2338. Sexual Harassment Training Requirements for Talent Agencies.
  6. AB1976. Acceptable Lactation Locations for Employees.
  7. SB970. Required Training of Hotel and Motel Employees re: Human Trafficking.
  8. AB2034. Required Training of Mass Transit Employees re: Human Trafficking.
  9. SB224. Sexual Harassment in the Professional Relationship.
  10. SB1123. Expansion of PFL Wage Replacement Benefits.
  11. SB1412. Clarifications on “Ban the Box” Law re: Criminal History Inquiries of Particular Convictions.
  12. SB826. Females on Board of Directors of Publicly Held Corporations.

Vetoed Bills.

  1. AB3080. [Prohibition on Non-Disclosures re: Sexual Harassment & Prohibition on Mandatory Arbitration Agreements re: FEHA claims].
  2. AB1867. [Records of Sexual Harassment Complaints].
  3. AB1870. [Extension of FEHA Statute of Limitations].
  4. AB3081. [Rebuttable Presumption of Retaliation against Sexual Harassment Complainant].
  5. AB2079. [Sexual Harassment Trainer Qualifications for Janitorial Workers].
  6. SB937. [Acceptable Lactation Locations for Employees].
  7. SB1223. [Harassment & Discrimination Prevention Policy & Training in Construction Industry].
  8. AB2496. [Rebuttable Presumption of Employment Status for Janitorial Workers].
  9. AB2732. [Immigration Documents & “Workers Bill of Rights

Takeaway:  California employers should evaluate the new employment laws discussed above as well as others that were passed, and take necessary steps to ensure compliance. The employment attorneys at Weintraub Tobin are happy to discuss the new laws and assist employers in complying with their legal obligations.

 

Beth West Presenting at the Fall Family Forum for the Capital Region Business Center

Posted in Harassment, Labor Law, New Legislation and Regulations

Beth West presenting at the Fall Family Business Forum for the Capital Region Family Business Center on October 10, 2018.  Beth will be discussing the “Me Too” Topic and how it impacts family business.

For more information on this event, please visit:  https://capfamilybus.org/events/fall-2018-family-business-forum/ 

 

To Be or Not to Be [a New Law]? Countdown on Governor Brown’s Review of California Employment-Related Bills

Posted in Disability Discrimination, Discrimination, Employee Privacy Rights, Employment Contracts and Agreements, Harassment, Labor Law, New Legislation and Regulations, Retaliation and Wrongful Termination

The September 30th deadline for Governor Brown to act on numerous employment-related bills passed by the California Legislature during the 2017-2018 Legislative Term is fast approaching. This Blog summarizes only 21 of the more than 40 employment-related bills currently on the Governor’s desk. Employers are encouraged to stay tuned to see which bills become law and which ones don’t make the cut.  NOTE: employment laws are constantly changing and employers must ensure that they make the necessary changes to policies and practices so that they are in compliance with current legal requirements.

  1. SB820. [Prohibition on Non-Disclosure Provisions re: Sexual Misconduct & Harassment].
  2. AB3080. [Prohibition on Non-Disclosures re: Sexual Harassment & Prohibition on Mandatory Arbitration Agreements re: FEHA claims].
  3. AB3109. [Right to Testify re: Sexual Misconduct].
  4. AB1867. [Records of Sexual Harassment Complaints].
  5. AB1870. [Extension of FEHA Statute of Limitations].
  6. SB1300. [Prohibition re: Release of Claims & Non-Disparagements re: Sexual Harassment].
  7. SB1343. [Expansion of Training Requirements re: Sexual Harassment].
  8. AB3081. [Rebuttable Presumption of Retaliation against Sexual Harassment Complainant].
  9. AB2079. [Sexual Harassment Trainer Qualifications for Janitorial Workers].
  10. AB2338. [Sexual Harassment Training Requirements for Talent Agencies].
  11. AB1976. [Acceptable Lactation Locations for Employees].
  12. SB937. [Acceptable Lactation Locations for Employees].
  13. SB970. [Required Training of Hotel and Motel Employees re: Human Trafficking].
  14. AB2034. [Required Training of Mass Transit Employees re: Human Trafficking].
  15. SB224. [Sexual Harassment in the Professional Relationship].
  16. SB1223. [Harassment & Discrimination Prevention Policy & Training in Construction Industry].
  17. AB2496. [Rebuttable Presumption of Employment Status for Janitorial Workers].
  18. AB2732. [Immigration Documents & “Workers Bill of Rights”].
  19. SB1123. [Expansion of PFL Wage Replacement Benefits].
  20. SB1412. [Clarifications on “Ban the Box” Law re: Criminal History Inquiries of Particular Convictions].
  21. SB826. [Females on Board of Directors of Publicly Held Corporations].

To read the full article and summaries of each bill, please click here.

Pay Correctly Now or Pay More Later: All You Need to Know About Wage and Hour Laws

Posted in Labor Law, New Legislation and Regulations, Wage & Hour

Summary of Program:

Wage and hour lawsuits and claims filed with the Department of Labor and the California Labor Commissioner continue to plague California employers. Often employers are sued because of technical violations that occur simply because the employer is unaware of its legal obligations. Other times, employers make the mistake of treating an employee as exempt from Wage Orders and Labor Code laws, when in fact the employee does not qualify.

This seminar will help employers understand and comply with wage and hour laws in California.  In addition, this seminar will help employers, HR professionals, supervisors, and payroll managers gain a more thorough understanding of the various exemptions available under California law and learn how to conduct a legally strong exemption analysis.

Program Highlights:

  • “Actual hours worked” and problems with “off the clock” work
  • Overtime: What is and is not included in the “regular rate” of pay?
  • Reporting time pay/split shift premiums
  • Meal periods and rest breaks
  • Travel time and compensatory time off
  • “Flex-time” and “alternative work” schedules
  • PAGA Claims/Class Claims
  • What actually needs to be on the pay stub
  • Employee Classifications
    • A discussion of the exemptions available
    • Checklists for determining if your employees are properly classified as exempt
    • How to conduct a self-audit
    • What to do if your employees may have been misclassified
  • What are the courts saying? – Highlights of recent decisions regarding wage and hour laws

Date:

September 12, 2018

Seminar Program:

8:30 am – 9:00 am – Registration & Breakfast

9:00 am – 12:00 pm – Seminar

Location:

Weintraub Tobin Office

400 Capitol Mall, 11th Floor | Sacramento, CA 95814

Parking Validation provided. Please park in the Wells Fargo parking garage, entrances on 4th and 5th Street. Please bring your ticket with you to the 11th floor for validation.

Cost:

There is no charge for this seminar.

Webinar:

This seminar is also available via webinar. Please indicate in your RSVP if you will be attending via webinar.

Approved for three (3) hours MCLE.  This program will be submitted to the HR Certification Institute for review.  Certificates will be provided upon verification of attendance for the entirety of the webcast. 

*This seminar will be limited to 75 in-person attendees.  

To register for this event, please email Ramona Carrillo at rcarrillo@weintraub.com.

Good News Employers – There are Now Some Answers to Your Questions About the Recent Law Prohibiting Use of Prior Salary History

Posted in Employee Privacy Rights, Employment Contracts and Agreements, Labor Law, New Legislation and Regulations, Wage & Hour

On July 18, 2018, Governor Brown signed Assembly Bill (AB) 2282 which provides answers and clarifications to a number of questions employers had about the new law that went into effect in January 2018 (Assembly Bill 168 – codified in Labor Code section 432.3).  Section 432.3 prohibits employers from relying on the salary history information of an applicant for employment as a factor in determining whether to offer an applicant employment or what salary to offer an applicant, and also requires an employer, upon reasonable request, to provide the pay scale for a position to an applicant applying for employment.

Since its enactment, employers were questioning the scope of the restrictions contained in Section 432.3, and their obligations in connection with disclosing pay scale information upon request.  In order to answer some of those questions, AB 2282 does the following:

  1. It clarifies that the prohibitions under Section 432.3 do not apply when evaluating the salary of a current employee (e.g. if internal applications or employee promotions are being considered). Specifically, AB 2282 provides that: “For purposes of this section, the term “applicant” or “applicant for employment” means an individual who is seeking employment with the employer and is not currently employed with that employer in any capacity or position.”
  2. In connection with an applicant’s right to seek the pay scale for a position upon reasonable request, AB 2282 defines the two terms as follows:

– “For purposes of this section, “pay scale” means a salary or hourly wage range.”

-“For purposes of this section “reasonable request” means a request made after an applicant has completed an initial interview with the employer.

Based on these definitions, employers now only have to provide a range of what the salary or hourly wage would be for a position rather than some fixed or guaranteed pay scale.  Further, employers only have to provide this information to an applicant once he or she has completed an initial interview with the employer.

  1. Finally, Section 432.3 already provides that nothing in the section prohibits an applicant from voluntarily and without prompting disclosing salary history information to a prospective employer. However, the law was silent on whether an employer could ask an applicant about his or her salary expectations.

AB 2282 clarified that the law does not prohibit an employer from asking an applicant for his or her salary expectations. Specifically, AB 2282 states: “Nothing in this section shall prohibit an employer from asking an applicant about his or her salary expectation for the position being applied for.

Takeaway:  While AB 2282 provided some much needed clarification to the new law, employers must still be sure that anyone involved in the hiring process is aware of the restrictions contained in Section 432.3 in connection with an applicant’s prior salary history.  The employment attorneys at Weintraub Tobin regularly counsel employers in all areas of employment law compliance, including wage and hour and equal pay issues.  Feel free to contact us if we can be of assistance.

California Law Now Provides an Express Statutory Privilege Against Defamation Claims by Those Accused of Sexual Harassment

Posted in Harassment, Labor Law, New Legislation and Regulations, Retaliation and Wrongful Termination

Under California law, an aggrieved person can bring a claim for defamation if the person is the subject of a false and unprivileged statement that is injurious to his/her reputation.  Defamation can take the form of libel or slander.  (Ca. Civ. Code Sec. 44.) Specifically “libel” is defined as a false and unprivileged publication by writing, printing, picture, effigy, or other fixed representation to the eye, which exposes any person to hatred, contempt, ridicule, or obloquy, or which causes him to be shunned or avoided, or which has a tendency to injure him in his occupation. (Ca. Civ. Code Sec. 45.).  Whereas, “slander” is defined as a false and unprivileged publication, orally uttered, and also communications by radio or any mechanical or other means which: (a) charges any person with crime, or with having been indicted, convicted, or punished for crime; (b) imputes in him the present existence of an infectious, contagious, or loathsome disease; (c) tends directly to injure him in respect to his office, profession, trade or business, either by imputing to him general disqualification in those respects which the office or other occupation peculiarly requires, or by imputing something with reference to his office, profession, trade, or business that has a natural tendency to lessen its profits; (d) imputes to him impotence or a want of chastity; or (e) which, by  natural consequence, causes actual damage. (Ca. Civ. Code Sec. 46.) 

In recent years, a number of defamation lawsuits have been filed by individuals who have been accused of sexual harassment in the workplace in which the individuals claim that the accusations are false and injurious to their reputations.  The concern of the California Legislature was that these defamation claims were having a chilling effect on victims of sexual harassment who may be afraid to come forward with their complaints.  In response to the #MeToo and #WeSaidEnough movements demanding action to address the ongoing prevalence of sexual harassment, the California Senate Judiciary Committee, in conjunction with the Senate Select Committee on Women, Work and Families, held informational hearings in early 2018. In addition to reexamining the legal standards for sexual harassment in California, the hearings also addressed the issue of defamation claims being filed against victims of sexual harassment, and/or against employers and other witnesses involved in a sexual harassment investigation.  As a result, legislation was introduced to modify defamation laws to help mitigate against this chilling effect.

On July 9, 2018, Governor Brown signed Assembly Bill (AB) 2770 which amends California Civil Code section 47 (re: privileged communications). The Senate Judiciary Committee’s June 16, 2018 analysis of the bill explains that AB 2770 codifies California defamation case law as it relates to allegations of workplace sexual harassment.  Thus, the bill amends Civil Code section 47 to expressly provide that: (1) employees who report sexual harassment to their employer are not liable for any resulting injury to the alleged harasser’s reputation, so long as the communication is made based on credible evidence and without malice; (2) communications between employers and anyone with an interest in a sexual harassment complaint, such as victims and witnesses, are not liable for any resulting damage to the alleged harassers reputation, as long as the communication is made without malice; and (3) former employers are not liable for any resulting injury to a former employee’s reputation if, in response to inquiries from prospective employers, the former employers indicate that they would not rehire the former employee based on a determination that the former employee engaged in sexual harassment, so long as the statement is made without malice.

For purposes of defamation law, “malice” is defined as a defamatory publication that is either motivated by hatred or ill will towards the plaintiff, or where the defendant lacked reasonable grounds for believing the truth of the publication and therefore acted in reckless disregard of the plaintiff’s rights. (Schep v. Capitol One N.A. (2017) 12 Cal.App.5th 1331; Taus v. Loftus (2007) 40 Cal 4th 683; see also California Civil Instructions (CACI) 1723).)

This change in the law will become effective January 1, 2019.

NLRB Provides Guidance Regarding Permissible Policies – Are Your Policies Compliant?

Posted in Employee Privacy Rights, Employment Contracts and Agreements, Labor Law, New Legislation and Regulations, Retaliation and Wrongful Termination

Back in December, Beth West informed our readers that the NLRB had issued new (and more realistic) guidelines for evaluating whether employment policies and rules violate the National Labor Relations Act (“NLRA”). As a reminder, the NLRB issued a new two-prong test for determining if facially neutral employment policies could interfere with the exercise of NLRA rights, evaluating: (1) the nature and extent of the potential impact on NLRA rights, and (2) the legitimate justifications associated with the rule. A full analysis of the case can be found here.

The National Labor Relations Board’s General Counsel recently issued a memorandum (the “Memo”) providing guidance as to how the NLRB will enforce workplace policies, in light of that decision. The Memo evaluates common workplace rules to assess whether or not such rules may be permissible, evaluating the rules under three main categories: (1) lawful to maintain; (2) warrant individualized scrutiny; and (3) unlawful to maintain.

Category 1: Rules that are Generally Lawful to Maintain.

According to the Memo, the “types of rules in this category are generally lawful, either because the rule, when reasonably interpreted, does not prohibit or interfere with the exercise of rights guaranteed by the Act, or because the potential adverse impact on protected rights is outweighed by the business justifications associated with the rule.” The following rules were identified as being “generally lawful to maintain”:

  • Civility Rules
  • No-photography/No-recording Rules
  • Rules against insubordination, non-competition, or on-the-job conduct that adversely affects operations
  • Disruptive Behavior Rules
  • Rules protecting confidential, proprietary, and customer information or documents
  • Rules against defamation or misrepresentation
  • Rules against using employer logos or intellectual property
  • Rules requiring authorization to speak on the employer’s behalf
  • Rules banning disloyalty, nepotism, or self-enrichment

Category 2: Rules that Warrant Individualized Scrutiny.

Category 2 rules are explained as rules that “are not obviously lawful or unlawful, and must be evaluated on a case-by-case basis to determine whether the rule would interfere with rights guaranteed by the NLRA, and if so, whether any adverse impact on those rights is outweighed by legitimate justifications.” It lists possible examples of Category 2 rules to be:

  • Broad conflict of interest rules that do not specifically target fraud and self-enrichment and do not restrict membership in, or voting for, a union
  • Confidentiality rules referring to “employer business” or “employer information” (as opposed to prohibiting use of customer or proprietary information
  • Rules relating to an employee’s use of the employer’s name (as opposed to use of the employer’s logo/trademark)
  • Rules generally restricting an employee’s ability to generally speak to the media or third parties (as opposed to prohibiting speaking on behalf of the employer)
  • Rules banning off-duty conduct that might harm the employer (as opposed to activity that causes a disruption in the workplace)
  • Rules against making false or inaccurate statements (as opposed to defamatory statements)

Category 3: Rules that are Unlawful to Maintain.

The Memo states that “Rules in this category are generally unlawful because they would prohibit or limit NLRA-protected conduct, and the adverse impact on the rights guaranteed by the NLRA outweighs any justifications associated with the rule.” It specifically notes that (1) confidentiality rules specifically regarding wages, benefits, or working conditions; or (2) rules against joining outside organizations or voting on matters concerning the employer are prohibited.

Employers should review their employment policies to ensure compliance with this updated guidance. Weintraub’s Labor & Employment attorneys have extensive experience counseling and auditing employee handbooks. Please contact any member of our team for assistance in updating your policies.

Do You Own a Hotel? – New Regulations Going Into Effect

Posted in Labor Law, New Legislation and Regulations

In January, the Cal/OSHA Standards Board (OSHSB) adopted new regulations intended to prevent and reduce workplace injuries suffered by housekeepers in the hotel and hospitality industry. The new regulations, which go into effect on July 1st, require California hotel (and other lodging) employers to adopt a Musculoskeletal Injury Prevention Program (MIPP) to complement the Injury and Illness Prevention Plan (IIPP), which should already be in place. The MIPP must include:

  • Procedures to identify and evaluate housekeeping hazards through worksite evaluations.
  • Procedures to investigate musculoskeletal injuries.
  • Methods to correct identified hazards.
  • Training of employees and supervisors on safe practices and controls (both, upon hire and annually thereafter).
  • Record retention and a process for reporting injuries to the employer.

If you need help drafting a compliant MIPP, the attorneys in Weintraub Tobin’s Labor and Employment Group are happy to assist you. Contact any one of us for help.

New California Regulations on National Origin Going Into Effect

Posted in Discrimination, Harassment, Labor Law, New Legislation and Regulations, Retaliation and Wrongful Termination

As any reader of our blog knows, California employers are prohibited from discriminating on the basis of national origin (among other classifications). The Fair Employment and Housing Commission (“FEHC”) recently issued new regulations, which go into effect on July 1, 2018, expanding the definition of “national origin” to include an individual’s or ancestors’ actual or perceived (1) physical, cultural, or linguistic characteristics associated with a national origin group; (2) marriage to persons of a national origin group; (3) tribal affiliation; (4) membership in an organization identified with or seeking to promote the interests of a national origin group; (5) attendance in schools or religious institutions typically used by persons of a national origin group; and (6) name associated with a national origin group. The regulations also provide that “national origin groups” include “ethnic groups, geographic places of origin, and countries that are not presently in existence.”

These new regulations further specify the following:

  1. Employers may not have an “English-only rule” unless they are able to demonstrate the following three elements: (1) that the rule is a business necessity; (2) that the rule is narrowly tailored; and (3) that the rule was effectively explained to employees. In order to be considered a “business necessity,” the employer must establish: (1) that the language restriction is necessary to the safe and efficient operation of the business; (2) that the language restriction effectively fulfills the business purpose it is supposed to serve; and (3) that there is no alternative practice to the language restriction that would accomplish the business purpose equally well with a lesser discriminatory impact. Further, while the FEHC clearly establishes that some English-only rules may be permissible, it clarifies that such rules “are never lawful during an employee’s non-work time.” This means that English-only rules are never permissible during meal or rest breaks, or other unpaid employer-sponsored events.
  2. Employers may not question an employee’s immigration status “unless the person seeking discovery or making the inquiry has shown by clear and convincing evidence that such inquiry is necessary to comply with federal immigration law.”
  3. Employers may not have height and weight requirements that disparately impact a certain national origin group. Where an employee is able to show that a height and/or weight requirement does adversely impact a particular national origin, the requirement will be considered unlawful unless the employer can establish the requirement is job related and justified by business necessity, and its purpose cannot be achieved through other means.

If you employ more than five employees in California, you should review your employment policies to ensure compliance with these new regulations. Specifically, employers should ensure that any English-only language restrictions, and or height and weight requirements, comply with these new regulations, and are supported by legitimate business needs.

Still have questions? The attorneys in Weintraub Tobin’s Labor and Employment Group assist employers in all areas of employment law compliance.  Contact any one of us if we can be of assistance.