More Class Action Lawsuits: Employee Cell Phone Expense


More Class Action Lawsuits: Employee Cell Phone Expense

Many business owners believe that California is a very difficult place to conduct business and to have employees. That belief may soon gain more advocates as a result of a recent California court decision that employers must consider. The Court determined that employers must reimburse employee cell phone expense when employees use their personal phones/mobile devices for work related purposes. The Court focused on California Labor Code Section 2802, among others. The Court reasoned that employers should not benefit from a “windfall” by relying on employees to pay for their own cell phone plans while using such devices for the benefit of employers. This is true, the Court decided, even if the employee does not suffer any additional out of pocket expenses for having their own cell phone plan (for example, employees who have an unlimited plan, or who do not get charged per call, really do not suffer any detriment by using periodically their own devices for work).

You can read more about Cochran v. Schwans Home Services, Inc. and some practical pointers in my October 2014 post titled “Cell Phone Expenses: Next Wave of Employee Class Action Lawsuit?” at Maximize Social Business.

Employers Will Not “Like” This!


Employers Will Not “Like” This!

These and similar questions were examined by the National Labor Relations Board and, not surprisingly, employers won’t like the decision reached. For my September 2014 post to Maximize Social Business, I explore the details of Sanzone and Spinella vs. Triple Play Sports Bar and Grille. I also provide a few insights to what this decision may mean to both employees and employers.

Does your business discipline employees for such posts? Does your company have policies regarding employee use of social media?

It’s About People: Contra Costa Lawyer Magazine


It’s About People: Contra Costa Lawyer Magazine

As many of you may know, currently I am a member of the Board of Directors of the Contra Costa County Bar Association (CCCBA). Our local bar association is one of the most vibrant and collegial associations in the state, and perhaps, the nation.

This summer I had the honor to serve as the official “Guest Editor” of the Contra Costa Lawyer magazine. Specifically, the September 2014 edition was devoted to Employment Law in its entirety. While I am an appointed member to the magazine’s Editorial Board, as Guest Editor of this edition, I had primary responsibility for lining up content for the magazine, reviewing submitted articles and writing the “Inside” column, which I titled “It’s About People”. Fortunately, I was able to rely on many amazing local employment attorneys in putting the magazine together, and I summarized their excellent work in my column.

I also had the privilege of writing only a few words (darn word count and page limits!) about our amazing Executive Director, Lisa Reep, who has devoted decades to the CCCBA and to serving our community. Lisa will be missed greatly. Thankfully, however, Theresa Hurley, who has been with the CCCBA for a few years, will take the reigns and serve as the next Executive Director, so we are in great hands.

Please feel free to contact me, or the CCCBA directly, to learn more about the CCCBA and the many programs it offers to the public and to attorneys.

September 30, 2014: NCERT Seminar On Workplace Investigations


September 30, 2014: NCERT Seminar On Workplace Investigations

How employers investigate and resolve employee complaints of discrimination, harassment, retaliation and other misconduct can have a serious impact on liability, workplace morale, productivity and culture. I am proud to announce that the Northern California Employment Round Table (NCERT) has scheduled a top-notch presentation titled “Responding to Employee Complaints: From Investigation to Resolution.” This presentation will be held on September 30, 2014 from 8:30-10:30a.m. at the County of Alameda Administration Building in Oakland, CA.

As President of NCERT, I have the honor of welcoming all attendees and introducing our distinguished panel comprised of:

Human Resources professionals, attorneys, business owners and executives should not miss this event. For further details and registration information, please refer to this flyer. I look forward to seeing you there!

Pitfalls To Avoid With Employee Advocacy


Pitfalls To Avoid With Employee Advocacy

Employee advocacy” is a hot topic among marketers and PR folks these days. This focus on using employees to spread a company’s message via social media is an exciting and seemingly perfect fit for many companies. Simply, why shouldn’t a company harness the power of a faithful workforce? Unfortunately, there are many legal issues that should be examined before any company turns employees loose on social media.

In my post titled “5 Employment Law Considerations For Employee Advocacy” for Maximize Social Business, I examine some of the legal pitfalls to be avoided regarding employee advocacy. Let me know what further pitfalls your company has faced and/or has already addressed? Does your company embrace employee advocacy?