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Entries in retaliation and termination (3)

Tuesday
Jun072016

Los Angeles Employers: Administer This New Policy, Stat!

Lawyer for EmployersEmployment Compliance

by Tal Burnovski Yeyni

818-907-3224

 

In April, we wrote that Los Angeles City Council voted to enact a sick leave ordinance in Los Angeles, which will provide six days of paid sick leave to employees in the city. Last week, the City Council adopted the ordinance and made L.A.’s sick leave policy official

Operative Date and Coverage 

Pursuant to the new Ordinance, every employee who, on or after July 1, 2016, works in the City for the same employer for 30 days or more within a year of employment, is entitled to paid sick leave. Accrual of paid sick leave under the Ordinance must start on July 1, 2016 or on the first date of employment, whichever is later. 

An “employee is defined as any individual who performs at least two (2) hours of work in a particular week within the City (and qualifies as an employee under California Law). 

An “employer is defined as any person, including a corporate officer or executive who directly or indirectly, or through an agent or another person including through the services of a temporary service or staffing agency, employs or exercises control over the wages, hours or working conditions or any employee. 

Thus, per the new Sick Leave Ordinance, the duty to comply is determined by the location of the employee. Further, the Ordinance may place individual liability on officers of the company and creates joint liability for client-employers. In that respect, the ordinance mirrors Labor Code 2810.3.   

Use of Paid Sick Leave

While the California Paid Sick Leave Law requires employers to provide, at minimum, three days or 24 hours (the greater) of paid sick leave per year, Los Angeles Sick Leave Ordinance sets a minimum of 48 hours of paid sick leave per year of employment. Employers may either “front-load” the days or allow employees to accrue one (1) hour of paid sick leave per every 30 hours worked. 

If accrued, employers may place a cap at 72 hours (or higher). Further, the LA Ordinance clarifies that if an employer has a paid leave or paid time off policy that is equal to or no less than 48 hours, no additional time is required. 

The Ordinance is not only more generous in the amount of paid sick leave, but it also defines the permitted use more broadly. Thus, under the ordinance employees may use paid sick leave for themselves or a family member as defined by Labor Code 246.5(a) and 245.5(C), or for “any individual related by blood or affinity whose close association with the employee is the equivalent of a family relationship.”   

Practical Implications for Employers

Review sick leave/paid time off policies to verify they comply with Los Angeles’s new requirements. As with state Paid Sick Leave Law any retaliation against employees for requesting to use paid sick leave or actually using paid sick leave, etc. is prohibited.

Further, while the new Ordinance allows employers to require reasonable documentation for absence from work for sick leave, note it is unclear whether this is permitted under California law.

Labor Code 247.5(b) states an employer is not obligated to inquire into or record the purpose for which an employee uses paid leave or paid time off. And in the FAQ regarding the state’s Sick Leave Law, the Department of Industrial Relations stated that if employees are subject to local sick leave ordinances, the employer must provide the provision or benefit that is most generous to the employee. As it is unclear whether “not obligated” is more generous than “may require” employers should consider consulting an employment attorney before asking employees to provide reasonable documentation.

Tal Burnovski Yeyni is an attorney in our Employment Practice Group

Disclaimer:
This Blog/Web Site is made available by the lawyer or law firm publisher for educational purposes only, to provide general information and a general understanding of the law, not to provide specific legal advice. By using this blog site you understand there is no attorney client relationship between you and the Blog/Web Site publisher. The Blog/Web Site should not be used as a substitute for obtaining legal advice from a licensed professional attorney in your state.

Monday
Sep282015

Yes We CAN (talk about politics in the workplace)

Lawyer for EmployersEmployment Defense

 

by Tal Burnovski Yeyni

818-907-3224

 

As election times draw near, news about debates, political faux pas, and myriad guarantees are becoming more and more entrenched in our lives. Which, coincidentally, brings about the oh so common political discussions among friends, families and even co-workers.

As an avid political junkie I enjoy the occasional, lively debate. I have also witnessed several political discussions gone sour. While disagreement over politics can generate a healthy exchange of thoughts and ideas it can also cause a great deal of frustration and anger.

Which begs the question: Can employers limit their employees' political speech in furtherance of a drama-free work environment?  

The short answer is no. Political discussions can be problematic at times, but prohibiting them altogether is against California's public policy. California Labor Code prohibits employers from making, adopting or enforcing any rule, regulation or policy that:

(a) forbids or prevents employees from engaging or participating in politics or from becoming candidates for public office, and

(b) controls or directs, or tends to control or direct the political activates or affiliation of employees. (Labor Code §1101).

There’s more. Labor Code §1102 provides:

No employer shall coerce or influence or attempt to coerce or influence his employees through or by means of threat of discharge or loss of employment to adopt or follow or refrain from adopting or following any particular course or line of political action or political activity.

Meaning, Labor Code §§ 1101-1102 reinforce the substantial public interest in protecting the “fundamental right” of employees to engage in political activity without interference or threat of retaliation from employers. (Ali v. L.A. Focus Publication (2003) 112 Cal.App.4th 1477, 1487). 

Therefore, in California, employers should be very careful in prohibiting political discussion and even more so dismissing an employee for voicing his or her political opinions.

However, employers are not left to navigate through the rough seas of politics without an anchor. There are a few steps employers can take to promote a pleasant work environment during the upcoming election season: 

  • Employers may draft or revise their employee conduct policies to direct employees to observe professional behavior at work and avoid using rude and abusive language or outbursts toward management, employees or others.

  • Employers are further encouraged to remind employees about acceptable conduct in the workplace. 

  • If you are struggling with a similar issue, please consult a legal advisor  

In the meanwhile, don't get upset about politics. Take the example of Will Rogers, who once famously said: I don't make jokes. I just watch the government and report the facts.

Tal Burnovski Yeyni is an Employer Defense Attorney at our firm. Contact her via email: tyeyni@lewitthackman.com; or by phone: 818-907-3224.

Disclaimer:
This Blog/Web Site is made available by the lawyer or law firm publisher for educational purposes only, to provide general information and a general understanding of the law, not to provide specific legal advice. By using this blog site you understand there is no attorney client relationship between you and the Blog/Web Site publisher. The Blog/Web Site should not be used as a substitute for obtaining legal advice from a licensed professional attorney in your state.

Tuesday
Dec022014

California's New Sick Leave Law: New Posting & Notice Requirements Effective January 1

Lawyer for EmployerEmployment Defense Attorney

 

 

by Nicole Kamm

818.907.3235

 

 

Big changes await employers in 2015, but even before the New Year begins, employers should add this item to their lists:

Download the new Division of Labor Standards Enforcement (DLSE) poster regarding California’s new sick leave law and Notice to Employee (links below), which now includes required information about paid sick leave. 

 

Employer Compliance

 

The new poster notifies employees of their rights under Assembly Bill 1522, or the Healthy Workplaces, Healthy Families Act of 2014 – which obligates employers to provide most California employees at least one hour of paid sick leave for every 30 hours of work, or no less than 24 hours (three days) per year.

Employers must display the poster in a conspicuous location, i.e. in the break room, near the time clock, etc. Employers may use the template poster or create their own, however self-made posters should make sure to comply with the requirements of the new Labor Code §247.

While an employee’s entitlement to paid sick leave does not go into effect until July 1, 2015, according to the DLSE website, the posting requirement is effective January 1, 2015. Click here to download the new DLSE Paid Sick Leave Poster.

The DLSE also issued a revised "Notice to Employee," which must be given to all non-exempt employees. As required by the amended Labor Code §2810.5, the notice must include information regarding how sick time is accrued and state that an employer may not retaliate against or terminate an employee for using paid sick leave.

In addition to the previous required  information such as name, address, pay, etc., the employer will now need to choose one of four options on page two of the form, indicating:

□ Accrues paid sick leave only pursuant to the minimum requirements stated in Labor Code §245 et seq. with no  other employer policy providing additional or different terms for accrual and use of paid sick leave.

□ Accrues paid sick leave pursuant to the employer’s policy which satisfies or exceeds the accrual, carryover, and  use requirements of Labor Code §246.

□ Employer provides no less than 24 hours (or 3 days) of paid sick leave at the beginning of each 12-month period.

□ The employee is exempt from paid sick leave protection by Labor Code §245.5. (State exemption and specific subsection for exemption):______________.

As with the poster, the revised Notice to Employee must be used for all new hires starting January 1, 2015. Employers who already provide paid sick time will need to review their policies to ensure compliance with the new law. 

Nicole Kamm is an attorney in our Employment Practice Group. Call her direct line: 818.907.3235, or email: nkamm@lewitthackman.com for more information.

Disclaimer:
This Blog/Web Site is made available by the lawyer or law firm publisher for educational purposes only, to provide general information and a general understanding of the law, not to provide specific legal advice. By using this blog site you understand there is no attorney client relationship between you and the Blog/Web Site publisher. The Blog/Web Site should not be used as a substitute for obtaining legal advice from a licensed professional attorney in your state.

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