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Workplace Rights

Employment Law Essentials  /   Discrimination Law  /   Wage and Hour Rights

Employment Law Essentials

Photo of Melissa Johnson speakingA Short Summary of California At-will Employment

California employment is most often at-will, per Labor Code section 2922. “At-will” employment allows an employer to do almost anything it wants with respect to employment. It can rearrange, modify, change, eliminate, and add jobs, hours, compensation, benefits, schedules, duties, titles. It can hire, fire, transfer, demote, promote, train, and not train employees...

An Overview of At-Will Employment (all states)

Nearly every state in the United States has a legal doctrine called “at-will employment.” At-will employment allows an employer to do almost anything it wants with respect to employment. It can rearrange, modify, change, eliminate, and add jobs, hours, compensation, benefits, schedules, duties, titles. It can hire, fire, transfer, demote, promote, train, and not train employees...

Independent Contractor or Employee? Federal and California Law

Who controls your work? The general rule is that a person is an independent contractor if the employer has the right to control or direct the RESULTS of the work but not HOW the work is done or even WHAT work is done...

"No Talking" Rules at Work

Some employers are quick to impose rules or policies that make the work day miserable for employees. There is nothing illegal about this. In general, an employer has the legal right to establish formal or informal rules that are unfair, obnoxious, harsh, or make no sense...

Whistleblowers and Their Rights

What is a whistleblower? Whistleblowers are employees who report wrongdoing by the federal, state or local government, or by a private entity, when that wrongdoing harms the public. Usually, but not always, the wrongdoing will benefit the government or private entity that engages in the wrongdoing. The purpose of whistleblower protection laws is to allow employees to report, stop or testify about this kind of wrongdoing...

Summary of the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA)

California law and federal law both protect employees from discrimination due to their need to take a leave of absence from work due to s serious medical condition that the employee has, or that an immediate family member has. The two laws are nearly identical, but there are a few important differences, which are noted below. The most significant difference relates to pregnancy leave, and is discussed below...

The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) and Intermittent Leave

An eligible employee is entitled to leave up to a total of 12 weeks “Because of a serious health condition that makes the employee unable to perform the functions of the position of such employee.” 29 U.S.C. section 2612(a)(1)(D). “FMLA leave may be taken ”intermittently or on a reduced leave schedule“ under certain circumstances. Intermittent leave is FMLA leave taken in separate blocks...

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Discrimination Law

What Is Unlawful Employment Discrimination under CALIFORNIA LAW

Employment discrimination is against the public policy of California and the United States. Many people misunderstand the meaning of employment discrimination. “Discrimination” does not mean an employer has to be fair, respectful or has to make good decisions. Workplace discrimination means the employer treats one person or group differently from others who are not in the same group, but are similarly situated...

What Is Unlawful Employment Discrimination under FEDERAL LAW?

Employment discrimination is against the public policy of the United States. Many people misunderstand the meaning of employment discrimination. “Discrimination” does not mean an employer has to be fair, respectful or has to make good decisions. Workplace discrimination means the employer treats one person or group differently from others who are not in the same group, but are similarly situated...

Summary of Federal Employees' EEO Discrimination Complaint Process

Federal government employers must follow the same non-discriminationemployment laws that private sector and other public entities must follow. But the entire process is different – so different that there is a need for a guide like this to get you started on the process.

Disability Discrimination in Employment

The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, 42 U.S.C. sections 12101 et seq. (ADA) is broad legislation designed to integrate people with disabilities into the mainstream of all aspects of society. The ADA is divided into five sections, called “titles.” Title I covers employment. Titles II, III, IV and V cover public services, public accommodations, telecommunications, and miscellaneous provisions...

Disability Discrimination: Important Differences between the California Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) and the federal Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)

This guide summarizes some important differences between the employment-related disability laws in the California Fair Employment and Housing Act, Government Code sections 12900, et seq. (FEHA) and the federal Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, 42 U.S.C. sections 12101 et seq. (ADA), as of November 2011...

Medical Information and the ADA: Inquiries and Confidentiality

Under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), an employer or potential employer is limited in what questions it can ask related to disability. This includes limiting an employer's ability to conduct medical examinations. The ADA also requires an employer to protect the medical confidentiality of job applicants and employees...

Reasonable Accommodation for People with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requires covered employers to make reasonable accommodation to the known physical or mental limitations of qualified individuals with disabilities, unless it results in undue hardship. Undue hardship is defined as something requiring significant difficulty or expense with respect to the employer's size, financial resources, and the nature of its operations...

What Is Sexual Harassment?

Most everyone knows that workplace sexual harassment is against the law. But what exactly is sexual harassment?...

Pregnancy discrimination is unlawful under California and federal law

FEDERAL RIGHTS: In 1978, Congress amended the Civil Right Act of 1964, Title VII 42 U.S.C. §§ 2000e to 2000e–17, by passing the Pregnancy Discrimination Act. Under the Pregnancy Discrimination Act, "discrimination" means to treat a pregnant employee differently from non-pregnant employees, and adversely...

Do I need an attorney for an EEOC mediation?

In nearly every case, yes, you need your own attorney. The EEOC is not your representative. A mediator for the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) www.eeoc.gov has one client – the United States of America. Some EEOC mediators are great and will do their best to protect you rights even though they are not your advocate....

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Wage and Hour Rights

Pay Dates for California Employees

California law requires employers to pay employees according to a pre-determined schedule. These requirements are described in this document.

Should I Be Paid for Standby Time? (California Law)

Whether an employer must pay an employee for standby time depends onwhether the time is "controlled standby" or "uncontrolled standby." In simple terms, this means that if the employee cannot use his or her time for personal reasons, the time is controlled and considered time worked. However, as with most areas of the law, applying the rule to each situation requires analysis.

California’s Flat Rate Auto Workers Still Get Minimum Wage, Overtime, Breaks, and All the Stuff Other Workers Get!

Auto mechanics and technicians, like all other non-exempt employees, are entitled to minimum wage, overtime, rest breaks and meal breaks. California’s Industrial Welfare Commission (IWC) establishes wage orders that cover wages, hours and working conditions for all California employees, including employees paid a flat rate, piece rate, or a “per job” rate...

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Suite 140
San Diego, CA 92108
Phone: (619) 233-1313

Spencer Johnson McCammon Weekly

Spencer Johnson McCammon Weekly

Topic of the Week

Social Networking & Computer Privacy

Generally, employers have the right to monitor their employees use of the Internet (including visiting social networking sites, checking e-mails, and instant messaging) on computers owned by the employer, during employees on-duty hours. Although federal l

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Blog of the Week

Major campaign to organize tech and video game industries launches, this week in the war on workers

There are increasing signs that workers in the tech industry are starting to see themselves as … workers. Maybe it's the 100-hour workweeks as video game companies get products ready for launch, or maybe it’s the layoffs that come after a big release.

Thought for the Week

"Employers are increasingly monitoring their employees’ social media activity. A key consideration is to avoid infringing the rights of employees under the Personal Data (Privacy) Ordinance. The Privacy Commissioner’s Guidelines on monitoring and personal data privacy at work are a helpful first port of call. They first stress the “3As” of undertaking a systematic assessment process to ensure that monitoring would be appropriate, ensuring that there are no less intrusive alternatives and ensuring that there is proper accountability for the collection of employees’ personal data. They then stress the “3Cs” of ensuring the clarity of an employer’s policy, ensuring that it’s communicated to employees and the safeguarding of data through proper controls. Employers should ensure that they clearly document and communicate their approach to monitoring."

–Kathryn Weaver, partner at Lewis Silkin

List of the Week

from Digital Information World

Social Media Use During Work Hours By Employees

  • 36% of employers block social media at work.
  • 51% of businesses have a social media policy,
  • 56% of the employees who use social media for work still find social media as a distraction during their work.

Top Five News Headlines

  1. To Achieve Big Goals, Start with Small Habits
  2. When workplace knows you’re looking to leave
  3. An increasingly older workforce brings opportunities, challenges for small employers
  4. 6 Effective Tools for Reporting Harassment in the Workplace in 2020
  5. Discrimination Without Discriminating?