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California Workplace Law Blog

The San Francisco Bay Area Commuter Benefits Program Starts Today!

San Francisco Bay employers with 50 or more full-time employees within the Bay Area Air Quality Management District (“Air District”) were required to register and offer commuter benefits to their employees as of yesterday. Violators are subject to civil penalties for the enforcement of air pollution control laws under the California Health and Safety Code, including penalties up to $10,000 per day. Employers may register online at https://commuterbenefits.511.org/.

Commuter benefits are intended to encourage employees to take transit, vanpool, carpool, bicycle and walk, rather than drive alone to work.  Continue Reading

San Diego Enacts Earned Sick Leave and Minimum Wage Ordinance

In special session on July 14, 2014, the San Diego City Council voted 6-3 in favor of enacting the San Diego Earned Sick Leave and Minimum Wage Ordinance. The ordinance seeks to raise the San Diego minimum wage over the next three years, and mandates that employers within San Diego provide a minimum amount of earned paid sick leave, beyond that required by recently enacted California state law AB 1522 [click here for information regarding the requirements of AB 1522].

Although San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer vetoed the ordinance August 8, 2014, the San Diego City Council overrode the veto on August 18. Continue Reading

Upcoming Event: The Silicon Valley Diversity Dilemma: When the Public Demands Your Employee Data

The spotlight continues to shine on Silicon Valley, but this time it’s not the technology that’s attracting attention. Instead, headlines have shifted to employee diversity. Media outlets and civil rights activists are demanding the release of employee demographic information, and tech companies have become prime targets. Are you prepared to answer when they come knocking on your door?

Join us for an interactive workshop  where we will discuss this diversity dilemma and prepare attendees to respond to inquiries. We will explore tactics used to obtain your data, what the numbers say about your business and best practices for fielding requests.

Co-hosted by Juniper Networks and Jackson Lewis P.C., this program is a must for Silicon Valley professionals in legal, compliance, human resources, diversity, marketing and other business roles.

Questions? Please contact:

Christina Jackson jackson@juniper.net (Sunnyvale)

Rachel De Dora Rachel.DeDora@jacksonlewis.com (San Francisco)



Dates/Times: Wednesday, October 15, 2014 Registration and breakfast: 8:30 a.m. Program: 9:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.

Thursday, October 16, 2014 Registration and breakfast: 8:30 a.m. Program: 9:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.

Locations: Juniper Networks Global Headquarters (October 15) 1133 Innovation Way, Building A Sunnyvale, CA 94089 Click here to register

Offices of Jackson Lewis P.C. (October 16) 50 California St. 9th Floor San Francisco, CA 941111 Click here to register

Fee: Complimentary
Credits: Pending approval of 2.50 HRCI recertification credit hours toward PHR and SPHR recertification through the Human Resource Certification Institute and 2.50 California MCLE credits.

You’re Invited to the Innovative Global Business Strategy: Utilizing Strategic Talent Mobility to Add Value to Your Workforce Conference on October 1 in San Diego

Jackson Lewis’ Heath Havey will be speaking  on “Talent Mobility: Cross-Border Employment Law Issues + Compliance” at the October 1, 2014 Innovative Global Business Strategy: Utilizing Strategic Talent Mobility to Add Value to Your Workforce Conference in San Diego.

Whether you are the CEO, CMO, CHRO, VP of HR, HR practitioner, head of a function or department, a management consultant, in-house mobility manager, realtor relocation director, or an entrepreneur, you likely have dealt with and/or managed people or processes related to international business and going global.

We invite you to participate and join the conversation. We’re pleased to announce that Jackson Lewis has a free passes available on a first-come, firse-served basis and can extend a heavily discounted registration  to interested parties when those passes are claimed. E-mail Rachel De Dora at rachel.dedora@jacksonlewis.com to inquire about a conference pass.

Please visit the conference website for more information: http://www.globalbusinessnews.net/conf.asp?cid=312

California Court of Appeal Holds That A Holding Company With No Employees May Be Vicariously Liable For Alleged Wage and Hour Violations of a Subsidiary

While reversing summary judgment in favor of a holding company, in Castaneda v. The Ensign Group B249119 (Cal. Ct. App. Sep. 15, 2014), the California Court of Appeal held that a “corporation with no employees [that] exercises some control over [a] corporation with employees, [] may be the employer of the employees of the corporation it owns.” In doing so, the Court found that there were triable issues of material fact whether the holding company that alleged it had no employees, The Ensign Group, Inc., was the plaintiff’s employer. Continue Reading

San Francisco Associate Alison Hong Presented With the California Bar President’s Pro Bono Service Award

San Francisco Associate Alison Hong was honored with a 2014 California Bar President’s Pro Bono Service Award at a formal reception last Friday, September 12, 2014 as a part of the 87th State Bar Annual Meeting in San Diego, Calif. The award was presented to Alison by State Bar President Luis J. Rodriguez and California Supreme Court Chief Justice Tani G. Cantil-Sakauye (pictured below).


Alison was one of nine recipients honored and the only to receive recognition in the Distinguished Pro Bono Service category, which highlights effort that is innovative, collaborative and went above and beyond the call of duty. Alison’s commitment to pro bono began early in her legal career as Pro Bono Committee Co-Chair of the Korean American Bar Association of Northern California (KABANC). She has organized two pro bono legal clinics per year since 2011 for which she coordinates outreach and publicity, recruits volunteers, prescreens clients, schedules consultations, matches clients with volunteer attorneys who have the appropriate expertise, pairs English speaking attorneys with Korean speaking law students to assist non- and limited-English speaking clients and supervises the clinic overall.

Each of the two clinics held in 2013 served more than 50 participants in the areas of immigration, family law, contract disputes, personal injury, government benefits and other general civil matters. Although difficult to promote the clinic to Korean Americans who live in more rural areas or who do not have access to the Korean language newspaper, Alison was able to reach them by utilizing a network of Korean American churches. As a result of her efforts, a platform has been created on which KABANC members can engage in pro bono and serve a community that previously lacked access to legal services due to geographic and language barriers.

Jackson Lewis congratulates Alison along with all the outstanding recipients of the 2014 President’s Pro Bono Service Awards for helping to close the justice gap through their donation of time and expertise to assist those who would not otherwise have access to legal services.

•Recently Admitted: Thomas Feledy (San Carlos)

•Recently Admitted: Lindsey Martinez (Costa Mesa)

•Solo Practitioner: Keith Hiatt (Sunnyvale)

•Solo Practitioner: Ciarán O’Sullivan (San Francisco)

•Individual from a Law Firm: Charles Crompton (San Francisco)

•Individual from a Law Firm: Michael O’Halloran (San Diego)

•Law Firm Branch Office: Manatt, Phelps & Phillips LLP (Costa Mesa)

•Law Firm Branch Office: McDermott Will & Emery LLP (Los Angeles)

•Distinguished Pro Bono Service: Alison Hong (San Francisco)



Deputy Sheriff Protected by Whistleblower Retaliation Law, California Court of Appeal Rules

The California Labor Code’s Section 1102.5(b) whistleblower protections are not limited to the first employee reporting alleged misconduct, the California Court of Appeal has ruled, affirming a judgment in favor of a deputy sheriff on his whistleblower retaliation claim. Hager v. County of Los Angeles, No. B238277 (Cal. Ct. App. Aug. 19, 2014).

The Court further ruled the law applied to reports of misconduct of fellow employees. However, the Court reduced the employee’s back pay and front pay awards as unsupported by the evidence.

For further reading, visit the Jackson Lewis website here.

California Employers Must Update AB 1825 Training Programs to Include “Abusive Conduct”

AB 2053 (click for California new law) was recently signed into law which requires California employers to update their AB 1825 training programs to include “Abusive Conduct.”

For purposes of the new law, “abusive conduct” means conduct of an employer or employee in the workplace, with malice, that a reasonable person would find hostile, offensive, and unrelated to an employer’s legitimate business interests. Abusive conduct may include repeated infliction of verbal abuse, such as the use of derogatory remarks, insults, and epithets, verbal or physical conduct that a reasonable person would find threatening, intimidating, or humiliating, or the gratuitous sabotage or undermining of a person’s work performance. A single act shall not constitute abusive conduct, unless especially severe and egregious.

For further reading, visit the Jackson Lewis website here.

Cal/OSHA Issues High Heat Advisory as Heat Wave Arrives in Southern California

Cal/OSHA is reminding all employers to protect their outdoor workers from the risk of heat illness, as temperatures in parts of Southern California climb into the upper 90s today and will continue to rise through the weekend and into early next week.

“California’s heat illness standards are the strongest in the country, and we will continue to work with both labor and management to ensure that workers stay well on the job,” said Christine Baker, director of the Department of Industrial Relations (DIR). The Division of Occupational Safety and Health, commonly known as Cal/OSHA, is a division within the DIR.

“Heat illness can easily be prevented,” said Acting Chief of Cal/OSHA Juliann Sum. “It is essential that employers with outdoor workers adopt a comprehensive approach that protects against a variety of risk factors.”

California’s heat regulation requires all employers with outdoor workers take basic steps to protect outdoor workers:

  •  Train all employees and supervisors about heat illness prevention, including “acclimatization” to get used to the heat.
  • Provide plenty of cool, fresh water and encourage employees to drink water frequently.
  • Provide a shaded area for workers to take a cool down recovery break.
  • Prepare an emergency heat illness prevention plan for the worksite, with training for supervisors and workers on the steps to take if a worker shows signs or symptoms of heat illness.

Special “High Heat” procedures are also required when temperatures reach or exceed 95 degrees for construction, landscaping, agricultural, oil and gas extraction, and transportation outdoor worksites. At these times, supervisors must take extra precautions:

  • Observe workers for signs and symptoms of heat illness.
  • Remind workers to drink water frequently.
  • Provide close supervision of workers in the first 14 days of their employment (to ensure acclimatization).
  • Have effective communication systems in place to be able to summon emergency assistance if necessary.

Employers are reminded to check the National Weather Service for your local forecast.

Cal/OSHA will inspect worksites in outdoor industries such as agriculture, construction, landscaping, and others throughout the heat season. Through partnerships with various employer and worker organizations in different industries, Cal/OSHA will also provide consultation, outreach and training on heat illness prevention.

Information on the heat illness prevention requirements and training materials are available on the Cal/OSHA’s Heat Illness web page and Water. Rest. Shade. campaign site.  Additional resources include the Cal/OSHA’s Heat Illness Prevention e-tool.

Cal/OSHA’s Consultation Program provides free and voluntary assistance to employers and employee organizations to improve their health and safety programs. For assistance from the Cal/OSHA Consultation Program, employers can call (800) 963-9424.

Employees with work-related questions or complaints, including heat illness, can contact the Cal/OSHA district office in their region to file a confidential report. Recorded messages in English and Spanish detailing resources for California workers are also available toll free at 1-866-924-9757.

California Enacts Paid Sick Leave Law

With the enactment of the Healthy Workplaces, Healthy Families Act of 2014 (AB1522), California has become the second state in the nation, after Connecticut, to mandate employers provide their employees, including part-time and temporary workers, paid sick leave.

The Act, signed by Governor Jerry Brown on September 10, 2014, requires that  employers, public or private and regardless of size, permit employees to accrue paid sick time at the rate of at least one hour for every 30 hours worked. An employee is entitled to accrue sick leave if the individual works, in California, for at least 30 days within a year from the commencement of employment starting July 1, 2015. An employer is permitted to limit an employee’s use of paid sick leave to 24 hours or three days in each year. Any accrued, unused sick leave beyond the 24 hours or any unused, accrued sick leave must carry over from year to year. Employees can use accrued sick days beginning on the 90th day of employment.

To continue reading the full article on the Jackson Lewis web site, click here.