Over the past year, the use of police body cameras have become a high-profile issue for police and government leaders. Should they be worn? How to pay for it? When should they be activated? Who controls the footage? Who can see the footage? These questions have spurred a national debate and legislation at the local, state, and federal levels. Over the next few weeks, AGHW will publish a series of articles regarding the body camera issue. This week’s posting addresses a threshold question: how to pay for them? At a time when many (if not most) public entities are still feeling the after-effects of the Great Recession and funding is scarce, this is a fundamental inquiry. (more…)
On July 3, 2015 the San Francisco city ordinances known as the “Retail Workers Bill of Rights,” which were passed in November 2014, go into effect in the City of San Francisco. These ordinances require covered employers to ensure that the following five requirements are complied with:
Who is Covered?
As it is defined, the Retail Workers Bill of Rights applies to “Formula Retail Establishments” with at least 20 retail sales establishments worldwide and 20 or more employees in San Francisco. The term “Formula Retail Establishment” means establishments that are in business for the purpose of conducting retail sales or service, and maintain at least two of the following features: (1) a standardized array of merchandise; (2) a standardized façade; (3) a standardized décor and color scheme; (4) uniform apparel; (5) standardized signage; and (6) a trademark or service mark. (more…)
On June 1, 2015, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in a near unanimous decision for the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission in the case of EEOC v. Abercrombie & Fitch Stores, Inc., a religious discrimination case. To give you some background, Title VII prohibits a prospective employer from refusing to hire an applicant in order to avoid accommodating a religious practice that could be accommodated without undue hardship. The issue before the Court was “whether this prohibition applies only where an applicant has informed the employer of his need for an accommodation.” (more…)
Despite how it may read on its face, the Supreme Court’s decision in Young v. United Parcel Service is not as far-reaching in some jurisdictions, such as California, as one may expect. In fact, a solid argument can be made that the Supreme Court decision mirrors California law requiring employers to give pregnant women on the job accommodations (such a light duty assignments) just as for other workers injured on the job. (more…)
On February 6, 2015, the California Court of Appeal, in Allen v. City of Sacramento, held that Plaintiffs, consisting of 22 homeless individuals and two people providing services to the homeless, had adequately stated a cause of action for declaratory relief based on allegations of selective enforcement of the City of Sacramento’s camping ordinance as applied to them. (more…)
With the new paid sick leave rule preoccupying the minds of most California employers, another set of rules is scheduled to also go into effect on July 1, 2015. Recently enacted on March 10, 2015, these rules are amendments to the California Family Rights Act (CFRA) regulations. The rules are intended to more closely align the CFRA regulations with the federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) regulations. These changes have long been sought by employers, who have grappled with the overlay of the FMLA regulations (amended in 2008) and the pre-2008 CFRA regulations (which did not incorporate the FMLA’s 2008 amended regulations). (more…)
You may recall our discussion of the ambiguous Cochran v. Schwan’s Home Services, Inc., the class action cell phone reimbursement case (you can read about it here). In Cochran, Colin Cochran filed a class action against his employer on behalf of himself and 1,500 customer service managers who sought reimbursement for expenses relating to the use of their personal cell phones for work. Among other alleged statutory violations, Mr. Cochran claimed that his employer, Schwan’s Home Service, violated Labor Code section 2802. The appellate court held that employees who are required to use their personal cell phones for work are entitled to reimbursement for “some reasonable percentage” of their personal cell phone bill. (more…)
California may be known as an employee-friendly state, but every once in a while the California Supreme Court will render a decision favorable to employers. In 2014, the Supreme Court’s ruling in Duran v. U.S. Bank indicated that certifying wage and hour claims had become far too easy for plaintiffs to obtain. The Duran decision now requires trial courts to consider whether the trial of a certified claim can be one that is manageable – an issue that has been largely neglected until this decision. In another (somewhat) employer-friendly case, Iskanian v. CLS Transportation Los Angeles, LLC, the California Supreme Court followed the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in AT&T Mobility LLC v. Concepcion in ruling that an class action waivers contained in arbitration agreements are enforceable. At the same time, Iskanian also held that a claim under the Private Attorneys General Act of 2004 (“PAGA”) is not subject to mandatory arbitration and therefore, an employee’s right to file a PAGA claim cannot be waived by arbitration.
2015 promises to bring further changes in the following areas of employment law: (more…)
Recently, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) focused on a wide range of employer policies and procedures. For example, recently in December 2014, the NLRB held that if an employer allows its employees to use its email system at work, the employer must presumptively allow use of that employer-provided email system for “statutorily protected communications on non-working time.” Back in January 2014, the NLRB also struck down hospital rules that prohibited employees from making “negative comments about coworkers and from engaging in or listening to negativity or gossip.” (more…)
An agreement to provide benefits for today does not insure that benefits will be provided next year. (more…)