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Back-to-School Primer for California Employers

It is that time of year again—the proverbial back to school season. In that spirit, there are a number of recent legal updates, and more on the way with the coming start of the new year. This article briefly surveys a selection of these laws.

ELIMINATING ON-CALL SYSTEMS, AND PAYING TO THE PUNCH.

  • Prudent employers may want to consider eliminating systems that require employees to be on-call before a shift, whether or not they actually get scheduled. The California Court of Appeals favors employees in its decision in Ward v. Tilly’s, Inc., requiring employers to compensate employees with reporting time pay for calling in.

    • Best Practices Tip: Eliminate (or at minimum, revise) on-call systems to comport with this decision, and seek counsel to assess any potential liabilities.

  • Payment systems that are rounded to the nearest dollar are increasingly becoming heavily litigated against.

    • Best Practices Tip: Eliminate payment systems that round, and pay to the punch.

EMPLOYEES CAN BE BOUND TO ARBITRATION PROVISION AGREEMENTS WITHOUT SIGNING.

  • “At-will” employees can demonstrate consent to arbitration provisions delineated in employment agreements even if they do not sign the agreement. This consent is obtained from their continued employment after being properly notified of an agreement including a new dispute resolution program.

    • Best Practices Tip: Keep a record of properly notifying employees, and ensure that all practices and agreements are fair.

EMPLOYERS CAN REQUIRE NON-SLIP SHOES.

  • Non-slip shoes are so common, especially in the food industry, that they are no longer considered a business expense eligible for reimbursement by the employer.

    • Best Practices Tip: Ensure that other reimbursable expenses are being properly noted. Do you require your employees to buy steel toed shoes in order to properly do their job? Don’t forget to reimburse them for that expense!

HELLO EMPLOYEES, GOODBYE INDEPENDENT CONTRACTORS.

  • Classifying individuals as employees or independent contractors is trickier under the newly implemented “ABC Test.” In sum, most workers must now be classified as employees. However, this is a very fact-sensitive analysis to be done by an attorney.

    • Best Practices Tip: Consult with an attorney!

#METOO.

  • By January 1, 2020, every employer with more than five employees must provide sexual harassment training. Every employee must receive the training, regardless of their status at the company.

    • Best Practices Tip: Do you employ more than five employees? If they have not received sexual harassment training yet, they must.

EVERY EMPLOYER’S FAVORITE TOPIC: PRIVATE ATTORNEYS GENERAL ACT of 2004 (PAGA).

  • Claims for inaccurate payment of wages and other violations under PAGA are increasing every day.

    • Best Practices Tip: Consult with your attorney and have them review your payment practices. They know what to look for, and can provide you with a solid foundation for calculating wages for your employees.

    • Best Practices Tip: Consult with your attorney to ensure that your policies regarding rest breaks are in line with what the law requires.

    • Best Practices Tip: Consult with your attorney to ensure you are calculating the correct rate of pay in every possible instance.

In conclusion, you should consult with an attorney if you have any questions or concerns about the above. Being an employer in California is a huge responsibility, and an experienced attorney can help mitigate that responsibility. Save yourself time in the future by reducing the amount of labor and employment claims your employees can stake against you. Feel free to contact the Parkman Law Firm for a FREE consultation today. It doesn’t hurt to be prepared.

This article is purely for educational purposes, and nothing herein is intended to form an attorney-client relationship. Only a signed retainer and/or engagement agreement with us will form such a relationship. However, for questions or concerns regarding the contents of this article, feel free to schedule a free consultation.