hr lawyer in san francisco ca

Significant Changes To the California Fair Employment And Housing Act in 2013


Significant Changes To the California Fair Employment And Housing Act in 2013

California Department of Fair Employment and Housing

In a compromise to deal with California’ budget issues, Governor Brown signed a budget trailer bill (S.B. 1038) that significantly changes the way the employment (and housing) complaints will be handled by the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH). Recently, Bloomberg BNA asked me to write about and analyze some of these changes. The most significant include:

  • The elimination of the Fair Employment and Housing Commission
  • The creation of the Fair Employment and Housing Council (whose primary role is rulemaking)
  • The authorization for the DFEH to file cases directly in court, and to recover reasonable attorney’s fees and costs when it prevails in court, and
  • The establishment of mandatory dispute resolution before the DFEH proceeds to court.

My attached White Paper provides a more complete description of these changes, and analysis of what it means for California employers. This White Paper was distributed to to subscribers of Bloomberg BNA’s “HR Library” and “HR Decision Support Network,” but I have attached it to this email free of charge for clients, colleagues and friends.

White Paper: New for 2013: Significant Enforcement Changes to California’s FEHA. Please do not hesitate to contact me should you have questions about how to defend your company within the new DFEH framework.


Employers and Employees Should Be Careful About Personal Mobile Devices In The Workplace


Employers and Employees Should Be Careful About Personal Mobile Devices In The Workplace

What are your policies about using personal mobile devices in the workplace?

Have you, or someone you know, recently bought a personal mobile device (iPad, iPod, Smartphone, Android Tablet, etc.)? Do you plan on giving (or hope to receive) such devices during the upcoming holidays? If so, you are like millions of others in the country.

Employers: are you prepared for the continued increase of employees with personal social media devices?

Employees: are you planning to use your personal mobile devices in the workplace, or to bring your devices to work, and if you so, what issues do you face?

Employers should take steps now to implement new, or revisit old, policies to address the continuing influx of personal mobile social media devices. Some of the issues focus on data/security breaches, wage and hour issues, and ensuring policies are as state-of-the-art as the technology the policies deal with. Employees should thoughtfully consider if they wish to use personal devices for work purposes, or to even use such devices at the workplace. In my article titled “More Employees With Personal Mobile Devices Means More Problems In The Workplace” I examine a few of these important issues.

Continue to stay updated on these, and similar, important issues by reading my monthly contributions on Social Media and Employment Law at Windmill Networking, and by following my posts here as well.

Surprising Facebook Firing Decision By The National Labor Relations Board


Surprising Facebook Firing Decision By The National Labor Relations Board

This Facebook firing decision may surprise you.

Employee takes pictures of events at work. Employee posts pictures of those events on his Facebook page. Employee also makes sarcastic comments about the pictures and events. Employee is fired for these activities.

This chain of events is becoming more and more common. Discharged employees have typically gone to Court to pursue their claims. Lately, though, the National Labor Relations Board (“NLRB”) has become very active regarding issues concerning social media use in the workplace. In October 2012, the NLRB issued its first Facebook Firing decision. In my article, I examine the case and explain the decision reached by the NLRB; a decision that may surprise you.

Continue to stay updated on these, and similar, important issues by reading my monthly contributions on Social Media and Employment Law at Windmill Networking, and by following my posts here as well.

California Law Regarding Voting Time Off


California Law Regarding Voting Time Off

What does California law mandate as voting time off?

The debates between President Obama and Governor Romney are done, and last minute campaigning is in high gear. Both parties want as many voters as possible on election day – November 6, 2012. I’ve been receiving questions from California employers and employees about employee time off to vote, so I’m happy to provide a summary of the California law (California Elections Code 14000-14003), and a link to the required employer notice.

What do employers need to provide (what are employees entitled to) regarding time off to vote?

In California, the polls on election days are open from 7:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. If an employee is scheduled to be at work during that time, and thus, does not have sufficient time outside of working hours to vote, then the employee is allowed to take time off to vote. Unless the employer and employee agree, the time off for voting can only be used at the beginning or end of the employee’s regular work shift (whichever provides the most free time for voting and the least time off from work).

Is the time off to vote paid or unpaid?

California employees are entitled to take as much time off as needed to vote. Only up to two hours of that time off, however, must be paid. The employer can, but is not required to, pay for any time off to vote beyond two hours.

What notice to employees must an employer provide?

Every California employer must post an elections notice not less than 10 days before election day (this year, by Saturday, October 27). Here is a copy of the required “Time Off To Vote” notice from the California Secretary of State. It is also a common practice to include this information in an Employee Handbook.

What notice to employers must an employee provide?

If an employee believes time off to vote will be needed, the employee must notify the employer at least two working days before the election.

Note: These requirements are for California employers and employees. If you have employees (or are employed) in a different state, the law may be different.

Image courtesy of Yahoo News

Inspiring Stories From Local High School Students


Inspiring Stories From Local High School Students

Costa County Bar Association works with high school students who participate (thrive) in their High School Law Academies.

Contra Costa

Last night, I was lucky enough to hear the personal stories of three high school students who participate (thrive) in their respective High School Law Academies here in Contra Costa County. They come from economically hard-hit areas of our county (Richmond and Antioch), yet they have blossomed into excellent, articulate students and the future leaders of our community.

I’m proud that the Contra Costa County Bar Association has supported and worked with these law academies for so long, and last night, honored them by focusing its annual Gala Reception to raise funds for the law academies at Richmond High School, DeAnza High School, and Deer Valley High School. Click on the links above to learn more about each law academy and how lawyers, judges, court personnel, law enforcement, teachers and many others are helping our community.