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  • 3 Things That Can’t Wait Until Next Year

    Well, the California legislature is at it again. Governor Brown signed several laws that change how employers do business in California. Most of the new laws are effective January 1st and require immediate action, so don’t put this off!

    1. Update Your Handbook

    You must now add “gender expression” and “genetic information” to the list of protected characteristics in your EEO and Anti-Harassment policies.

    You must now maintain an employee’s health insurance benefits at the same level of benefit during an employee’s Pregnancy Disability Leave.  Handbooks must be modified to reflect the new requirement.

    2. Revise or Create Offer Letters & Commission Agreements

    All employers must now provide the terms of employment in writing prior to commencing work.  In addition to standard information regarding pay rates, the offer letter must specify overtime rates, the regular paydays, and the contact information for the company’s Workers’ Compensation Carrier.  You will also need to provide written notice when any of the designated items changes.

    12/29/11 UPDATE

    The Labor Commissioner has drafted a template employers should use to comply with new Labor Code Section 2810.5(a).  You can download the template here.

    Beginning January 1, 2013, all employees paid on a commission basis must receive written copies of the commission plan specifying “the method by which commissions shall be computed and paid.” Given the complexity of many commission plans, do not wait until the end of 2012 to contact your employment counsel to review the plan and ensure your bases are covered.

    3. Rethink Your Hiring Practices

    The penalties for willfully misclassifying employees as independent contractors just went up.  This is an extremely high-risk area; so consult with knowledgeable counsel about your workforce status.

    Stop conducting financial background checks on applicants or employees until you speak with knowledgeable counsel regarding revisions to California’s privacy laws.  A new law limits which employers can conduct financial background checks and which employees can be the subject of such background checks.

    There are many more laws coming into effect in 2012. If you would like to receive a more detailed review of the changes, please send us an email at update@griegolaw.com with the subject line: “Send me the update.”

    The Law Office of Phillip J. Griego
    95 South Market Street, Suite 520
    San Jose, CA 95113
    Tel. 408-293-6341
     
    Original article by Robert E. Nuddleman, former associate of The Law Office of Phillip J. Griego.
     
    Feel free to suggest topics for the blog. We are happy to consider topics pertaining to general points of Labor and Employment Law, but we cannot answer questions about specific situations or provide legal advice. If you desire legal advice, you should contact an attorney.
     
    Your use of this blog does not create an attorney-client relationship between you and the Law Office of Phillip J. Griego. The use of the Internet or this blog for communication with the firm or any individual member of the firm does not establish an attorney-client relationship. Confidential or time-sensitive information should not be posted in this blog and the Law Office of Phillip J. Griego cannot guarantee the confidentiality of anything posted to this blog.Phillip J. Griego represents employees and businesses throughout Silicon Valley and the greater San Francisco Bay Area including Palo Alto, Menlo Park, Mountain View, Los Altos, San Jose, the South Bay Area, Campbell, Los Gatos, Cupertino, Morgan Hill, Gilroy, Sunnyvale, Santa Cruz, Saratoga, and Alameda, San Mateo, Santa Clara, San Benito, Mendocino, and Calaveras counties.

  • Fair Employment and Housing Commission Is Being Eliminated

    Governor Jerry Brown issued the 2011/12 May Budget Revision (May Revise) in an attempt to reduce the  multi-billion dollar deficit.  As part of the revised budget the Governor eliminates and/or consolidatse many governmental programs.  Under the revised budget, the Fair Employment and Housing Commission (FEHC)—the civil rights agency with administrative adjudication and regulatory responsibility—will be eliminated effective January 1, 2012.  The Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH)—the remaining civil rights agency with intake, conciliation, mediation and prosecutorial responsibility—will continue to operate.

    What does this mean for employers and employees? While the DFEH can still receive, investigate and even prosecute claims of discrimination, the parties will no longer be able to pursue claims before the Fair Employment and Housing Commission.  Those that have litigated in both forums realize that the FEHC is oftentimes a lower-cost alternative to litigating discrimination cases.  While some feel that the FEHC was too employee-friendly, a review of published decisions indicate that the amounts awarded to successful claimants before the FEHC were oftentimes significantly lower than similar cases decided by a jury.

    Other actions put in place by the revised budget include:

    • Accelerate End of American Recovery and Reinvestment Act Task Force
    • Eliminate    the    California    Privacy    Security    Advisory    Board
    • Eliminate the Health Care Quality Improvement and Cost Containment Commission
    • Eliminate    the    Colorado    River    Board
    • Eliminate    the    Salton    Sea    Council
    • Eliminate    the    State    Mining    and    Geology    Board
    • Eliminate Nine Advisory Committees and Review Panels at the Department of Fish and Game
    • Eliminate    the    Commission    on    Emergency    Medical    Services
    • Eliminate the California Health Policy and Data Advisory Commission (CHPDAC)
    • Eliminate    the    Healthcare    Workforce    Policy    Commission
    • Eliminate    the    Rural    Health    Policy    Council
    • Eliminate    the    Public    Health    Advisory    Committee    (PHAC)
    • Eliminate the California Medical Assistance Commission (CMAC)
    • Eliminate    the    Rehabilitation    Appeals    Board    (RAB)
    • Eliminate    the    Continuing    Care    Advisory    Committee    (CCAC)
    • Eliminate the Office of the Insurance Advisor (OIA) within the State and Consumer Services Agency
    • Eliminate the Office of Gang and Youth Violence Prevention
    • Eliminate    California    Emergency    Council    (CEC)
    • Eliminate    the    California    Law    Revision    Commission
    • Eliminate    the    Commission    on    Uniform    State    Laws
    • Eliminate the Office of Privacy Protection within the State and Consumer Services Agency
    • Eliminate    the    Unemployment    Insurance    Appeals    Board
    • Eliminate the Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) Standards Board
    • Reduce the Labor and Workforce Development Agency
    • Eliminate    Child    Care    Monitoring    Support
    • Transfer Support of the Governor’s Commission on Employment of People with Disabilities to the Department of Rehabilitation
    •  The    Office    of    Secretary    of    Education    has been eliminated
    • The    Inspector    General    for    the    American    Recovery    and Reinvestment Act has been eliminated
    • No travel by state employees is permitted unless mission critical

    In total, the proposals in the revised budget are supposed to save $82.7 million ($41.5 million General Fund).

    You can download a copy of the state agencies that are slated to be eliminated or reduced

    You can also download the entire Revised Budget Plan.

    The Law Office of Phillip J. Griego
    95 South Market Street, Suite 520
    San Jose, CA 95113
    Tel. 408-293-6341
     
    Original article by Robert E. Nuddleman, former associate of The Law Office of Phillip J. Griego.
     
    Feel free to suggest topics for the blog. We are happy to consider topics pertaining to general points of Labor and Employment Law, but we cannot answer questions about specific situations or provide legal advice. If you desire legal advice, you should contact an attorney.
     
    Your use of this blog does not create an attorney-client relationship between you and the Law Office of Phillip J. Griego. The use of the Internet or this blog for communication with the firm or any individual member of the firm does not establish an attorney-client relationship. Confidential or time-sensitive information should not be posted in this blog and the Law Office of Phillip J. Griego cannot guarantee the confidentiality of anything posted to this blog.
    Phillip J. Griego represents employees and businesses throughout Silicon Valley and the greater San Francisco Bay Area including Palo Alto, Menlo Park, Mountain View, Los Altos, San Jose, the South Bay Area, Campbell, Los Gatos, Cupertino, Morgan Hill, Gilroy, Sunnyvale, Santa Cruz, Saratoga, and Alameda, San Mateo, Santa Clara, San Benito, Mendocino, and Calaveras counties.