New Employment Laws for California Employers

New Employment Laws for California Employers

How will the new employment laws affect your business?

For 2014, there are a few important new, or changed, employment laws that go into effect that California employers and employees should be aware of. In December 2013, I notified folks on my email distribution list about 12 of the more significant changes in the law. Now, I am happy to post a PDF version of my summary of the laws, and the practical implications of them.

As always, please do not hesitate to contact me to discuss these laws, or any other employment/HR issue.

Happy New Year!

Why Having Too Many Facebook “Friends” Is a Bad Idea

Why Having Too Many Facebook “Friends” Is a Bad Idea

Read my posts on Social Media and Employment Law on Maximize Social Business.

If you have been following my posts and my firm, you know that I have been a monthly contributor regarding Social Media and Employment Law to the widely recognized social media community at Windmill Networking. In June 2013, Windmill Networking became Maximize Social Business and one of the primary focuses remains to become your virtual boardroom for every social media problem, issue or question that you might have. I encourage you to subscribe to Maximize Social Business and read the daily posts regarding almost any issue having to do with social media. And, please let me know if there is particular “social media and the workplace” issue that you would like me to blog about in an upcoming month.

In my July 2013 post tiled “Social Media in the Workplace: 5 Reasons To Not Friend Coworkers” I address some of the questions and issues I receive regarding the “to friend or not to friend” question that employees, supervisors, and co-workers face, and I offer five reasons against becoming Facebook “friends” with work colleagues. Let me know if you have strong arguments to the contrary.

Employers and HR Professionals: Invitation to Attend Webinar By DFEH Director Phyllis Cheng

As you may know, I am one of the Board Members of the Northern California Employer Roundtable (NCERT), revived by the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing. I want to extend an invitation to you for our next webinar presented by the Director of the DFEH, Phyllis Cheng. She will be discussing workplace retaliation, protections under the Fair Employment and Housing Act, potential defenses and limits to liability, recent trends and case law, and best practices for employers. Director Cheng will also provide a 2012 updated on the DFEH.

The webinar is set for Wednesday, June 13, 2012 from Noon-1:00p.m. You can participate from the comfort of your own home or office. The nominal fee is $25.00 and MCLE and HRCI credit is provided. Please see this flyer for more information. Follow this link to register (powered by the technology at Littler Mendelson).

Some of the services NCERT provides include the following:

  • Seminars (live and webinars) and conferences regarding discrimination, harassment and retaliation in employment
  • Information on DFEH activities and new policies/procedures
  • Counseling and other assistance to employers
  • Special projects in response to public educational needs
  • Technical advice and input to DFEH on its procedures.

Please feel free to contact me should you like to learn more about NCERT, and/or to get involved.

Small Firm Advantages – A Slam Dunk!

Small Firm Advantages – A Slam Dunk!

Small firm advantages are numerous.

Recently, former VP/Global Head of Legal at eHarmony, Antone Johnson, tackled the question: “Why Are Lawyers So Expensive Even With The Excess Supply Of Lawyers?” Mr. Johnson’s focus was on why large law firms charge their very high rates. Significantly, and not surprisingly, top-notch work quality, dedication, and responsiveness (three important aspects of my practice) were not listed.

Classic lose-lose situation. Mr. Johnson dissected how most large law firms are obsessed with rankings, have huge overhead, and grapple with other aspects of the legal industry that cause their fees to skyrocket. He also reflected that many companies are “fed up with large firms’ endlessly escalating billing rates and cost insensitivity.” As he pointed out, the result is that the legal services industry now has overpriced lawyers sitting around doing nothing, and clients not getting served because they can’t afford those rates. Classic “lose-lose” situation.”

Obvious win-win or slam dunk. Importantly, Mr. Johnson acknowledged that there are alternatives. He noted that “many talented, experienced lawyers hav[e] left big firms [], and technology mak[es] it easier than ever to set up shop as a new solo practice or small firm…” Indeed, business models like mine provide a better alternative for clients who no longer want to (or can no longer afford to) pay large firms for everything except top-notch work quality, dedication, and responsiveness. Mr. Johnson calls such business models “such an obvious win-win — or slam dunk.”

  • If your company still depends on large law firms for employment/HR related issues, I personally invite you to discuss with me how large law firm “escapees,” like me, are able to provide top-notch service without worrying about firm overhead, rankings on the AmLaw100, or carrying the dead-weight of an under-performing practice area.
  • If your company still believes great lawyers are too expensive, and thus, unaffordable, I personally invite you discuss with me how I can help your company at rates much lower than you might think.

Whatever situation your company is in, do not overpay for, or put-off getting, the legal services your company needs. For example, there is usually no good reason to pay (or to delay in fear of) large firm rates to have your company’s Handbooks, policies and employment/severance/confidentiality agreements updated and compliant. Do not overpay for, or put-off, getting advice on tricky employment/HR issues, getting and keeping your company in compliance with wage and hour laws, dealing with social media in employment issues, and getting mandated training done for your employees. And certainly, do not overpay, or go unrepresented, when your company must defend against claims brought before administrative agencies and courts. Indeed, I will be the first one to tell you if your matter would be better served by having a large law firm on your side (perhaps, for example, in defending class actions).

Mr. Johnson’s article in Forbes can be found here.


US Dept of Labor Publishes Two New Fact Sheets

US Dept of Labor Publishes Two New Fact Sheets

2 new fact sheets written by the US Dept of Labor

For several years, employee claims of retaliation have been on the rise. As a result, awareness and case law have blossomed in this area. In December 2011, the US Dept of Labor took notice and published two new fact sheets regarding unlawful retaliation under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA).

  • The fact sheet regarding the FLSA can be found here. It provides information regarding the FLSA’s prohibition of retaliating against any employee who has filed a complaint and/or cooperated in an investigation.
  • The fact sheet regarding the FMLA can be found here. This fact sheet describes the general prohibitions against retaliating against an individual for exercising rights under the FMLA.

Both employers and employees should be sure to understand what is and what is not considered prohibited harassment under the FLSA, FMLA and other federal and state employment laws.