employment

Implementing Good Employment Policies is Important

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Employers should implement good employment policies and practices. Although an employee handbook is not legally required, every employer should have a few important written policies, including an at-will employment policy, a policy prohibiting unlawful harassment, discrimination and retaliation, a policy to protect the employer’s computer and electronic systems against improper or illegal use, a proprietary information and inventions policy, policies governing leaves of absence as explained in our last blogs, and a policy reserving the company’s rights to revise its policies as it deems appropriate.

Employees should also be required to sign an acknowledgement form confirming that they have read and will abide by such company policies. Once the company adopts such policies, it should also adhere to and apply them consistently.

Employers should also implement practices that ensure that employees are treated in nondiscriminatory manner at every stage of employment. The company must hire candidates who best fit the criteria for the job, without respect to age, race, or any other protected classification.

The Law Offices of Payab & Associates is a Los Angeles based law firm with more than 17 years of experience in employment cases. Our office has successfully litigated many complex disputes including wrongful termination, sexual harassment, racial discrimination, wage and labor disputes, and retaliation cases.

Contact the Law Offices of Payab & Associates @ (800) 401-4466 or visit http://payablaw.com/ if you have any questions regarding implementing good employment policies at your workplace.

Governor Brown Signs New Employment Bills into Law

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California Governor Jerry Brown has signed into law two bills that affect California employers.

A.B. 2751 strengthens an old law, which made it unlawful for an employer to engage in an “unfair immigration-related practice” or otherwise retaliate against a person for engaging in protected conduct (please see our last post in what constitutes “protected conduct”), including making a written or oral complaint about unpaid wages.

The new law clarifies that the civil penalties are payable to the employees who suffered the violation, and that employer cannot retaliate against employee for updating his/her personal information based on a lawful change of name, Social Security number, or federal employment authorization document. The new law also expands the definition of “unfair immigration-related practice” to include an employer’s threat to file a complain with the government against an employee who attempts to exercise a right protected under employment laws.

Also, another new law clarifies that rest or recovery periods to prevent heat illness count as compensable hours worked.

The Law Offices of Payab & Associates is a Los Angeles based law firm with more than 17 years of experience in employment cases. Our office has successfully litigated many complex disputes including wrongful termination, sexual harassment, racial discrimination, wage and labor disputes, and retaliation cases.

Questions about your rights at work? Contact the Law Offices of Payab & Associates @ (800) 401-4466 or visit http://employmentlawyersla.com/

Minimum wage will be increased to $9.00 tomorrow

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Minimum wage will be increased to $9.00 tomorrow.

Certain types of employees such as outside salespersons, apprentices, and learners may be exempt from minimum wage requirements, but in general, the requirements apply regardless of whether employees are paid on an hourly, commission, or salaried basis.

Paying employees less than the applicable minimum wage is unlawful, and an agreement between an employer and an employee to do so is unenforceable. California’s Labor Code establishes penalties for minimum wage violations.

In addition to increases at the state level, some cities have passed their own minimum wages that top the state’s rate. For example, San Francisco and San Jose have set local minimum wages at $10.74 and $10.16 per hour, respectively.

Are you happy about the increase in minimum wage? Let us know!

The Law Offices of Payab & Associates is a Los Angeles based law firm with more than 17 years of experience in employment cases. Our office has successfully litigated many complex disputes including wrongful termination, sexual harassment, racial discrimination, wage and labor disputes, and retaliation cases.

Questions about your rights at the workplace? Contact the Law Offices of Payab & Associates @ (800) 401-4466 or visit http://employmentlawyersla.com/

What rights do I have pertaining to my personnel files and records at work?

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California law provides that current and former employees (or a representative) have the right to inspect and receive a copy of the personnel files and records that relate to the employee’s performance or to any grievance concerning the employee. Inspections must not be later than 30 days from the date the employer receives a written request. Upon a written request, the employer needs to provide a copy of the personal records, at a charge not more than the actual cost of reproduction.

To facilitate inspection, employer must do all of the following:
1. Maintain a copy of each employee’s personnel records for no less than 3 years.
2. Make a current/former employee’s personnel records available, and if requested, provide a copy at the place where the employee reports to work or at another location agreeable to the employer and the requester.

However, by law, the right to inspect does NOT apply to: records relating to the investigation of a possible criminal offense, letters of reference, and ratings, reports, or records that were obtained prior to employment or obtained in connection with a promotional examination.

The Law Offices of Payab & Associates is a Los Angeles based law firm with more than 17 years of experience in employment cases. Our office has successfully litigated many complex disputes including wrongful termination, sexual harassment, racial discrimination, wage and labor disputes, and retaliation cases.

Questions about your rights at the workplace? Contact the Law Offices of Payab & Associates @ (800) 401-4466 or visit http://employmentlawyersla.com/

3 Employment Law Trends Employers Need to Know

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Below are descriptions of 3 employment law trends and several suggestions on how to manage them effectively.

1. Litigation issues are on the rise. There has been a rising tide of wage and hour litigation in the United States. In 2011, the U.S. Department of Labor recovered $225 million in back wages for employees, up 28 percent from 2010. It is important that employers consistently review their company policies and procedures to avoid litigation.

2. Workers want their time off. The American with Disabilities Act, the Family Medical and Leave Act, and other state and federal laws have outlined specific rules that relate to employees taking time off for vacation, sickness, and other qualifying situations. It would be ideal for employers to be mindful of what their policies paid time off policies are, and if they are in line with federal and state law guidelines.

3. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) have been stringently enforcing its plan in: protecting immigrants, migrant and other vulnerable workers, enforcing equal pay laws, eliminating barriers in recruitment and hiring, prevent harassment in the workplace, and preserving access to the legal system. In order to avoid these situations, it is advisable for employers to review and update their employee handbook regularly and consult with legal professionals to ensure that their company policies comply with state and federal law.

Read More: http://goo.gl/bAaBRj

The Law Offices of Payab & Associates is a Los Angeles based law firm with more than 17 years of experience in employment cases. Our office has successfully litigated many complex disputes including wrongful termination, sexual harassment, racial discrimination, wage and labor disputes, and retaliation cases.

Questions? Contact the Law Offices of Payab & Associates @ (800) 401-4466 or visit http://www.payablaw.com/

All You Need to Know About Tips

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“Gratuity” is defined as a tip, gratuity, or money that has been paid or given to or left for an employee by a patron of a business over and above the actual amount due for services rendered or for goods, food, drink, articles sold or served to patrons.

The law states that gratuities are the sole property of the employee or employees to whom they are given. Labor Code Section 351 prohibits employers from sharing in or keeping any portion of a gratuity left for employees by a patron. Furthermore, it is illegal for employers to make wage deductions from gratuities, or from using gratuities as direct or indirect credits against an employee’s wages.

In California, an employer cannot use an employee’s tips as a credit towards its obligation to pay the minimum wage. California law requires that employees receive the minimum wage plus any tips left for them by patrons of the employer’s business. Labor Code Section 351.

If your employer discriminates or retaliates against you in any manner whatsoever, for example, he discharges you because you object to his crediting your tips against your wages, or because you file a claim or threaten to file a claim with the Labor Commissioner, contact the Law Offices of Payab & Associates @ (800) 401-4466 or visit http://employmentlawyersla.com/

The Law Offices of Payab & Associates is a Los Angeles based law firm with more than 17 years of experience in employment cases. Our office has successfully litigated many complex disputes including wrongful termination, sexual harassment, racial discrimination, wage and labor disputes, and retaliation cases.

Are You Entitled to Unpaid Leave?

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The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) provides eligible employees up to 12 workweeks of unpaid leave a year, and requires health benefits to be maintained during the leave. Employees are also entitled to return to their same or an equivalent job at the end of their FMLA leave.

In order to be eligible to take leave under the FMLA, an employee must:
– have worked 1,250 hours during the 12 months prior to the start of leave
– work at a location where the employer has 50 or more employees within 75 miles, and
– have worked for the employer for 12 months. The 12 months of employment are not required to be consecutive in order for the employee to qualify for FMLA leave.

A covered employer must grant an eligible employee up to a total of 12 workweeks of unpaid, job-protected leave in a 12 month period for one or more of the following reasons:
– for the birth of a son or daughter, and to bond with the newborn child,
– for the placement with the employee of a child for adoption or foster care, and to bond with that child,
– to care for an immediate family member (spouse, child, or parent – but not a parent “in-law”) with a serious health condition,
– to take medical leave when the employee is unable to work because of a serious health condition, or
– for qualifying exigencies arising out of the fact that the employee’s spouse, son, daughter, or parent is on covered active duty or call to covered active duty status as a member of the National Guard, Reserves, or Regular Armed Forces.

The FMLA also allows eligible employees to take up to 26 workweeks of unpaid, job-protected leave in a “single 12-month period” to care for a covered servicemember with a serious injury or illness.

The Law Offices of Payab & Associates is a Los Angeles based law firm with more than 17 years of experience in employment cases. Our office has successfully litigated many complex disputes including wrongful termination, sexual harassment, racial discrimination, wage and labor disputes, and retaliation cases.

Questions about your rights at the workplace? Contact the Law Offices of Payab & Associates @ (800) 401-4466 or visit http://employmentlawyersla.com/

What Does At-Will Employment Really Mean?

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An “at-will employment” means that an employer has the right to terminate an employee at any time and for any or no reason. It also means that the employee has the right to terminate his or her own employment at any time and for any or no reason. This also means the termination can be done without any prior notice. In United States, an employee is considered to be an at-will employee unless there is proof otherwise, such as an employment contract.

However, there are exceptions to “at-will employment.” Other laws may be broken if a termination is made for an otherwise illegal reason, such as discrimination. Here are some of the exceptions to the at-will employment doctrine:
• An employee cannot be fired for a discriminatory reason such as race, national origin, religion, color, or sex.
• An employee cannot be fired out of retaliation for performing a legally protected action. For example, an employer cannot fire an employee for filing a discrimination or harassment suit, or being a whisteblower regarding illegal or unsafe practices, or complaining about the working environment and overtime practices.
• An employee with a contract that outlines the terms of employment cannot be fired outside of those terms. In other words, contracts supersede at-will employment assumptions.
• An employer who provides some protections in employment policies, such as firing only for just cause, must abide by those protections.

The Law Offices of Payab & Associates is a Los Angeles based law firm with more than 17 years of experience in employment cases. Our office has successfully litigated many complex disputes including wrongful termination, sexual harassment, racial discrimination, wage and labor disputes, and retaliation cases.

Questions about your rights at the workplace? Contact the Law Offices of Payab & Associates @ (800) 401-4466 or visit http://employmentlawyersla.com/

California is among the riskiest states for employee lawsuits

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According to a new study by international specialist insurer Hiscox, California, Illinois, Alabama, Mississippi, and the District of Columbia are the top five riskiest areas in the United States for employee lawsuits. Businesses in these states face a substantially higher risk of being sued by their employees compared to the national average.

According to the study, on average, a US-based business with at least 10 employees has a 12.5% chance of having an employment liability suit filed against them. However, California has the most frequent incidences of charges in the country, with a 42% higher chance of being sued by an employee over the national average.

State laws can have a significant impact on risk. For example, the employee-friendly nature of California law in the area of disability discrimination may contribute to the high charge frequency in the state.

Read More: http://goo.gl/tqy7Ko

The Law Offices of Payab & Associates is a Los Angeles based law firm with more than 17 years of experience in employment cases. Our office has successfully litigated many complex disputes including wrongful termination, sexual harassment, racial discrimination, wage and labor disputes, and retaliation cases.

Are you or anyone you know been discriminated at work? Contact the Law Offices of Payab & Associates @ (800) 401-4466 or visit http://employmentlawyersla.com/ if you have any questions regarding your rights at the workplace.

If I get injured in an accident or wrongfully terminated, how long do I have to make a claim?

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The time you have to file a lawsuit will vary from state to state depending on statute of limitations. Statute of limitation is the time within which a lawsuit or claim must be filed.

Some common statute of limitations include:

Personal Injury cases – you have 2 years from the day of the accident to file a lawsuit.
Discrimination, Harassment, Retaliation under California’s Fair Employment and Housing Act (age, race, sex, disability, national origin discrimination, etc.) – Claims must be initially filed with the Department of Fair Employment and Housing within 1 year. Once the DFEH issues a Right to Sue Notice, the claimant has 1 year to file a case in court. Note that even if you miss the 1 year statute of limitations to file a DFEH Complaint, you can still file a claim for wrongful termination of public policy within the 2 year standard tort statute of limitations. Of course, when a potential FEHA claim is pursued as a public policy claim, you can not collect your attorneys’ fees as you could under FEHA.
Discrimination, Harassment, Retaliation under Title VII, ADEA and ADA (age, race, sex, disability, national origin discrimination, etc.) – In California, claims must be initially filed with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission with 300 days. Once the EEOC issues a Right to Sue Notice, the claimant has 90 days to file a case in federal court.
Unpaid Overtime, Minimum Wage, Meal and Rest Breaks – Claims must be filed with the Labor Commissioner or in court within 3 years of when the wages were earned.
Breach of Contract – If the contract is written, the lawsuit must be filed within 4 years of when the breach occurred. If the contract is oral or implied-in-fact, it must be filed within 2 years of the breach.
California Equal Pay Act – Actions for wage discrimination claims (ie- the opposite sex is paid a higher wage based on gender) is within 2 years for most actions, and 3 years if the violation was willful.
Family Medical Leave Act – Any action must be filed within 2 years after the violation, or within 3 years if the violation was willful.

If you’re debating whether or not to pursue a claim now or later down the road it will generally be to your benefit to file sooner than later as it’s typically easier to collect evidence and prove damages before too much time has passed.

The Law Offices of Payab & Associates is a Los Angeles based law firm with more than 17 years of experience in employment and personal injury cases. Our office has successfully litigated many complex disputes including car accidents, wrongful termination, sexual harassment, racial discrimination, wage and labor disputes, and retaliation cases.

Questions? Contact the Law Offices of Payab & Associates @ (800) 401-4466 or visit http://www.payablaw.com/