California Labor and Employment Updates for 2018

CapitolThe California Legislature has passed the following labor and employment bills, which will become law effective January 2018.

PRIOR SALARY AND PRIOR CONVICTIONS

Salary History Information

AB 168 prohibits employers from asking job applicants for “salary history information,” which includes both compensation and benefits.  But where an applicant “voluntarily and without prompting” discloses salary history information, the employer may rely upon the information in setting the applicant’s starting salary.  As a result, questions about prior salary may not be asked in job applications or interviews by an employer or an agent of the employer.

Additionally, AB 168 requires employers to provide the pay scale for a position if the applicant requests it.  This bill makes California the first jurisdiction in the country to require that employers provide applicants with the pay scale for a position, upon “reasonable request.”

This bill applies to employers, both private and public, and will become effective January 1, 2018. Continue reading

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California Minimum Wage Increases on January 1, 2018

minimum wageCalifornia Minimum Wage Rate Increase

Beginning on January 1, 2018, the minimum wage in California will increase to the following:

  • Employers with 25 employees or less must pay employees at least $10.50 per hour, and
  • Employers with 26 employees or more must pay employees at least $11.00 per hour.

Ten cities and counties across California will increase their minimum wages again on July 1, 2018. For the most comprehensive and up-to-date chart of minimum wage rates by city and county across California, see our article.

Keep in mind that some California counties and cities have higher minimum wages with which employers must comply.  Cities and counties are allowed to establish minimum wage rates that are higher than state and federal minimum wage laws.  When there are conflicting requirements in the laws, the employer must follow the stricter standard – the one that is the most generous to the employee.

Prior to 2012, only five localities had their own minimum wage laws.  In the last five years, the trend towards more expansive local minimum wage amounts has caught on in cities and counties across the state.  Currently, 39 counties and cities have enacted their own minimum wage laws.  For information on the latest minimum wage laws in U.S. cities and counties, click here.

The following are minimum wage rates for some major California counties and cities: Continue reading

“It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like… Terminations This Holiday Season”

holiday partyGiven the recent tidal wave of allegations of sexual harassment in politics, the entertainment industry, and social media, employers may want consider the following guidelines in preparation for their company holiday events where alcohol and off-site events may create a combustible mix of unwanted behavior by one employee to another.

Holiday parties may be an excellent opportunity for employees to socialize outside of the confines of the office, and to reward employees for their service, but they can also give rise to employer liability in the absence of appropriate precautions. Before planning your next holiday soiree, review the potential pitfalls and solutions below so that your event can be full of cheer, rather than unpleasant lawsuits.

  1. Serving Alcohol at Company Functions

wine glassesWhile having alcohol available may make typical water cooler conversations less awkward, and can be a way for people to let off steam and celebrate, it can lead to liability for employers in the form of vicarious liability, sexual harassment, social host liability, and other potential issues. Continue reading

Immigration As Usual? Moving Forward in Times of Uncertainty

by Anthony Mance, Esq. and Jennifer Grady, Esq.

Recent announcements by the Trump Administration declaring enhanced vetting of current immigration cases; talks in Congress about major proposed changes to the immigration laws; and constant media discourse regarding the future of DACA, the Travel Ban, employment-based visas, and increased waiting times, may have the effect of chilling immigration applications.  However, with the right information, and a plan that takes these changes into account, it is still possible to submit a successful immigration application.  We discuss the latest updates, and our recommended responses, below.

I. “Enhanced Vetting”

TRUMPOne of the major elements of President Trump’s Presidential Campaign was the promise that he would take a hard line on immigration.  Since he has become President of the United States, this promise has materialized into a policy that enforces existing immigration laws by applying stricter review of immigration applications. Commonly referred to as “enhanced” or “extreme” vetting, the practice requires that the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) spend more time reviewing immigration applications, conducting additional background security checks, adding in-person interviews. Continue reading

The Grady Firm, P.C. Adds Global Expansion and Relocation Advising Department to Support Multi-National Corporations

globeIn response to multi-national corporations’ growing need to move personnel across borders, The Grady Firm has emerged as an outsourced Global Mobility Department that provides expansion and relocation services to innovative companies.  The Grady Firm helps companies relocate their employees from abroad to the United States, while assisting companies with their expansion to several countries around the world.

 

Domestically, The Grady Firm provides to companies seeking to bring employees to the United States, and/or open a U.S. subsidiary:

US Flag

  1. Immigration Strategy and Analysis for companies seeking long-term and short-term solutions.  We develop a plan to assist owners, employees, and their dependents with visa, Green Card, and Citizenship applications;
  2. Employment law counseling and support for Human Resources Departments, including assistance with hiring, disciplining, and terminating employees; creating and monitoring E-Verify accounts; I-9 compliance; medical leave advising; on-site sexual harassment training in English and Spanish; on-site company investigations; and ongoing counsel for employment law concerns as companies grow and expand;
  3. Drafting contracts, such as employment agreements, severance agreements, independent contractor agreements, and client services agreements;
  4. Corporate advising and creation of US subsidiaries;
  5. Facilitate preparation of a comprehensive tax strategy for the company and its employees by working closely with our network of licensed tax advisors; and
  6. Provide referrals to our network of CPAs; real estate brokers; and payroll, insurance, employee benefits, recruiting, marketing, and credit card processing companies.

Continue reading

Jennifer Grady, Esq. to Provide Guest Lecture at UCLA’s International Trade and Commerce Program

uclaOn November 30, 2017, Jennifer Grady, Esq. will provide a guest lecture to students at the University of California, Los Angeles, International Trade and Commerce Program as part of their course entitled, “Doing Business in the U.S.”  Ms. Grady will discuss corporate formation options for California entrepreneurs, and immigration visa options, including the Specialty Occupation H-1B visa; J-1 Trainee visa;  TN visa for professionals from Mexico and Canada; the E-2 Investor Visa for new and existing US businesses; and the and L-1A option for executives, managers, and entrepreneurs opening an office of an existing foreign business in the United States.

View More: http://elyanaphotography.pass.us/jennifer

Jennifer A. Grady, Esq.

“Doing Business in the U.S.” is a course offered through UCLA Extension.  It provides entrepreneurs, business managers, and international trade professionals with key business and cultural insights to do business within the mainstream U.S. market. Topics include an overview of the U.S. economy, regional and national demographics and cultural dynamics, business customs, framework of the U.S. legal system, marketing strategies, and negotiating tactics. Continue reading

The Grady Firm, P.C. Expands to Orange County with Irvine, CA Office

Irvine officeThe Grady Firm, P.C. is pleased to announce the opening of its new office in Irvine, California, to better serve the needs of its clientele in Orange County.  The Grady Firm, P.C. offers services in Business, Immigration, Employment, and Intellectual Property law.  The Irvine location supports the growing economy in technology, life sciences, professional services, and healthcare in Orange County, and is conveniently located with easy access to John Wayne Airport and the 405, 55, and 73 freeways.

The firm’s managing partner, Jennifer Grady, Esq. is a former Irvine resident and graduate of University High School.

See our firm’s Yelp page for reviews of the Irvine office and our Beverly Hills headquarters.

The Irvine Office is located at:

19800 MacArthur Blvd.
Suite 300
Irvine, CA 92612
+1 (949) 354-3201 Continue reading

The Grady Firm joins MAPLE Canadian-US Business Council Delegation to Toronto; Partners with Canadian Immigration Firm to Offer Cross-Border Services

maple-jg-with-sign-e1507223473277.jpgOn September 21-22, 2017, Jennifer Grady, Esq. participated in a delegation of the MAPLE® Canadian-U.S. Business Council of Southern California on a cross-border networking event in Toronto, Ontario.  The delegation visited nine leading innovation, enterprise, and government organizations and hosted a sold-out cross-border networking reception to connect with Toronto-area business leaders.  A panel presentation called “Doing Business with Southern California” featured speakers from Economic Development & Tourism, Business and International Development at Greater Irvine Chamber in Orange County, and the World Trade Center Los Angeles.

Maple JG

Outside MaRS Discovery District

The following organizations provided the delegation with insight into their work and shared opportunities for cross-border collaboration:

  • EY Canada
  • JLabs Toronto
  • MaRS Discovery District
  • Royal Bank of Canada
  • Ryerson University Digital Media Zone
  • Toronto Board of Trade
  • Toronto Global
  • Toronto Rehabilitation Institute
  • U.S. Department of Commerce

Continue reading

Visa Options for Fashion Models (O-1B, H-1B3, and P-3 Visas)

NYFW 2Do you dream of walking down the runway at New York Fashion Week?  Are you interested in becoming a brand ambassador for a prestigious luxury brand?  Whether you’ve mastered the catwalk or discovered your niche in commercial modelling, several visa options are available depending on your level of achievement and reason for coming to the U.S.

Fashion models typically enter the U.S. in one of two ways— the O-1B visa (for Individuals with Extraordinary Ability or Achievement) or the H-1B visa (for Specialty Occupations, Department of Defense Cooperative Research and Development Project Workers, and Fashion Models).  The majority of fashion models will apply for the H-1B3 Fashion Model visa, while a third option for models is the P-3 visa (for Artists and Entertainers who are Participating in a Culturally Unique Program).

H-1B3 Visa for Fashion Models

Melbourne-Model-Casting-Call-3-EditTo qualify for the H-1B3 Fashion Model visa, you must be a fashion model of “prominence” and the model must possess distinguished merit or ability. Continue reading

Plaintiffs Given Broad Access to Discovery in PAGA Suits by California Supreme Court

1200px-Earl_Warren_Building_(San_Francisco)

by Grace Lim-Ayres, Esq.

On July 13, 2017, the California Supreme Court in Williams v. Superior Court (Marshalls of CA, LLC) issued an opinion addressing the scope of discovery in representative actions brought under PAGA (Private Attorneys General Act of 2004, codified in Cal. Lab. Code § 2698 et seq.).  The Labor Code Private Attorneys General Act (PAGA) authorizes aggrieved employees to file lawsuits to recover civil penalties on behalf of themselves, other employees, and the State of California for Labor Code violations.

The Williams Court unanimously reversed the trial court’s discovery order denying plaintiff access to statewide contact information for fellow employees of other Marshalls stores.  It held that plaintiffs in PAGA actions have access to a broad scope of discovery similar to discoverable information in a class action.  The plaintiff is entitled to statewide contact information at the onset of the case to determine which cause of action to plead, and whether a broader representative action is warranted.

In what could be considered another blow to employers in an already employee-friendly state, given the relatively low threshold for pleading, employees may now bring more PAGA claims that are in fact “fishing expeditions”, which will in turn require employers to spend more time defending against them.  In addition, it is clear that statewide contact information is relevant and discoverable in a PAGA claim at the outset of the case. Continue reading

The Grady Firm, P.C. Assists with Visas for Members of the Entertainment and Arts Industries

HollywoodLocated in the entertainment capital of the world, The Grady Firm, P.C. now offers immigration legal services for entertainers, artists, and athletes seeking employment in the United States. Whether you are a hip hop dancer, actor, graphic designer, model, photographer, filmmaker, or professional athlete, the Grady Firm, P.C. can assist you in obtaining your dream of working and living in the U.S.  In addition, if you are an artist interested in participating in a cultural exchange program or an individual who wants to share your home country’s culture with the American public, a visa exists as well.

The following are U.S. visa options available for members of the entertainment and arts industry:

filmmakerO-1B:  For individuals with an extraordinary ability in the arts or extraordinary achievement in motion picture or television industry coming to the U.S. to perform in an event or project associated with this ability. Maximum stay: Initial period of up to 3 years. May extend for time necessary to accomplish the initial event in increments of up to 1 year.  No cap. Should be filed at least 45 days before employment. For more information, click hereContinue reading

Jennifer Grady, Esq. Speaks as Expert Practitioner Panelist at SelectUSA, the Top FDI Event in the Country

panel

Jean-Christophe Le Feuvre and Jennifer Grady speaking on issues to consider when hiring US employees

On June 18, Jennifer Grady, Esq., spoke as a panelist at SelectUSA Investment Academy held during the SelectUSA Investment Summit in Washington, D.C., a top foreign direct investment (FDI) event in the U.S.

The Summit, hosted by Secretary of Commerce, Wilbur Ross, connects global businesses with U.S. economic development teams to facilitate investment in the U.S.  The theme of the Summit was “Grow with US” which focused on the innovative business climate in the U.S. and opportunities for investment across the country.

2017-06-19 13.09.13

(c) Jennifer Grady

This year’s Summit had a tremendous turnout with more than 2,800 international business investors, U.S. economic developers, service providers, members of the press and other key stakeholders.  Economic development organizations (EDOs) from 51 states and territories and investors from over 60 international markets were in attendance.  CEOs from BMW, Oracle, ABB, Siemens USA, GE, General Motors, and other leading global

SelectUSA exhibit hall

Economic Development Organization Exhibit Hall (Photo Courtesy of SelectUSA: https://www.selectusa.gov/2017-investment-summit)

companies were in attendance.  Senior government speakers included Secretary of the Treasury Steven Mnuchin, Secretary of Energy Rick Perry, and Secretary of Labor Alexander Acosta.    Continue reading

O-1B Visa for Artists or Actors with Extraordinary Ability or Achievement in the Arts or Motion Pictures

filmmakerCalling all talented artists and actors!  Are you an actor trying to make a breakthrough in Hollywood?  Or perhaps you are a renowned violinist, famous choreographer, or an award-winning pastry chef?  If you excel in your field of arts or the motion picture industry, you may be eligible for the O-1B visa.  The O-1B visa is for individuals with an extraordinary ability in the arts or extraordinary achievement in motion picture or television industry who will perform in the U.S. in an event or project associated with this ability.

The O-1 visa can be an alternative to the highly competitive H-1B visa (for skilled workers in specialty fields), which in recent years has reached its annual cap of 65,000 visas within days after opening the program.  Unlike the H-1B visa, the O-1 visa has no annual limit on the number of visas available, it can be filed year-round, and the length of stay can be extended indefinitely based on the time required to complete a project or event.

Individuals who are essential to the O-1 applicant’s successful performance in the U.S. may apply for an O-2 visa in conjunction with the O-1 visa application. Continue reading

Q-1 Visa is an Opportunity to Share Your Culture through an Employer’s International Exchange Program

Q-1 visa

Photo courtesy of http://bit.ly/2ur8zu2

Are you interested in sharing your home country’s cultures and traditions while working in the U.S.?  Are you an employer interested in obtaining approval for an exchange program in your company so that you can hire international employees on a Q-1 visa?

If so, the Q-1 visa may be available to meet your company’s specific needs for international employees.  Known as the “Disney visa” because it was originally designed by Disney to meet their need for “cultural representatives” to work in Epcot World Showcase, the Q-1 visa is for individuals wishing to participate in an international exchange program administered by an employer.  It is most popularly utilized to obtain short-term employment with Disney and used by some hotel chains to temporarily employ chefs. Continue reading

Professional Athletes, Gamers, and Entertainers who are Internationally Recognized are Eligible for the P-1 Visa

gamers

Photo courtesy of http://lat.ms/2vEE8z5

The P-1 visa is a viable alternative for athletes and entertainers who may not meet the “extraordinary ability or achievement” requirement of the O-1 visas.  If you are an internationally recognized athlete coming to the U.S. to perform individually or as part of a team, you may be eligible for the P-1A visa. Professional athletes from a wide range of sports including soccer, taekwondo, and online gamers receive P-1A visas.

If you are an entertainer who is part of an internationally recognized entertainment group coming to the U.S. to perform with the group or are joining an internationally recognized entertainment group in the U.S., you may be eligible for the P-1B visa. Examples of a P-1B visa recipient are foreign artists who perform at a SXSW festival, a group of stage actors, and circus performers.

Continue reading