Employers in California Should Take Precaution When Using Rounding Methods for Paying Their Employees || It is customary for many employers to use a timekeeping system to track the hours worked by their employees. Such systems may include a computer, a “punch-machine,” or sometimes the employees will even write their hours and submit it to their supervisors at the end of the workweek. Employers in California sometimes will round their employees’ time when computing their time for their time worked, even if their “time system” will record the actual minute when they started or ended their work.
An employee has a cause of action for wrongful termination against his or her employer, if the termination breaches one or more terms of the contract of employment, a statute or a provision in employment law. The employee may claim wrongful termination, if the termination was based on discrimination, retaliation, an employee’s refusal to commit an illegal act, or if the employer is not following its own termination procedures. A wrongful termination claim can lead to two main remedies: reinstatement of the dismissed employee, and/or monetary compensation for the wrongfully terminated employee.
New Law Gives Employees Greater Access to Their Personnel Files || Prior to 2013, the California Labor Code section 1198.5 only required employers to permit employees to inspect their personnel records relating to the employee’s performance or to any grievance concerning the employee within a “reasonable time” after a request. The existing law also limited the rights of former employees to inspect their personnel files subject to conflicting interpretations.
Obese Employees Are Less Likely To Prevail Against An Employer For Discrimination Based On Disability In California || Private employers are generally free to deny or terminate employment, unless the employer somehow discriminates on the basis of race, national origin, alienage, age, sex, or disability. The Fair Employment and Housing Act (“FEHA”) prohibits such employment discrimination. In regards to disability, FEHA also prohibits employment discrimination on the basis of medical conditions, mental disabilities, and physical disabilities. Many courts have held that physical disabilities include severe eyesight problems, back conditions, polio, wrist injuries, high blood pressure and hypertension, hypersensitivity to tobacco smoke, HIV and AIDS, hepatitis, epilepsy or seizure disorder, clinical depression, multiple sclerosis, and heart disease.
Pregnant Employees, Pregnancy Discrimination, Pregnancy Disability Leave || Under California Government Code section 12945, it is unlawful for an employer to refuse to allow a female disabled by pregnancy, childbirth, or a related medical condition to take a leave for a “reasonable period” of time not to exceed four months and thereafter return to work. This is also known as the Pregnancy Disability Leave Law (PDLL). The regulations implementing the PDLL provide, in pertinent part, that “all employers must provide a leave of up to four months, as needed, for the period(s) of time an employee is actually disabled because of pregnancy, even if an employer has a policy or practice that provides less than four months of leave for other similarly situated temporarily disabled employees.”
A Hiring Party May Be Liable For The Contractor’s Torts If The Hirer Had The Right To Terminate The Relationship || As a general rule, an employee of an independent contractor cannot sue the party that hired the contractor to do the work. This is also known as the Privette Doctrine, which arose after the case of Privette v. Superior Court. In the Privette case, the Court held that owners and general contractors are not liable for injuries to the employees of subcontractors unless they have affirmatively done something by an act or omission that causes the injury.
California State Courts Are More Likely To Enforce An Employer’s Non-Compete Agreement When Trade Secrets Are Involved || Under Business and Professions Code §16600, every contract where one is restrained from engaging in a lawful profession, trade, or business of any kind, is to that extent void. Some employers assume that this code section is a rule that non-competition employment agreements are not unenforceable. That is an incorrect assumption. The purpose behind Business and Professions Code §16600 is to ensure that every citizen retains the right to pursue any lawful employment and enterprise of their choice, and protects the important legal right of persons to engage in businesses and occupations of their choosing.