“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

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Sexual Harassment in the Workplace: Very Real and Very Costly for Employers

150212-sexualharassment-stockWhile sexual harassment has been in everyone’s vocabulary since Dolly Parton’s Nine to Five graced screens in 1980, it has become a topic of increased importance and media coverage as more and more sexual harassment claims are brought against celebrities such as Bill Cosby, President-Elect Donald Trump, and former President Bill Clinton.  While you or your employees may not identify with these over-the-top personalities in positions of power, sexual harassment claims are very real and very expensive.

For example, a recent claim against the popular P.F. Chang’s China Bistro chain cost the company $1 million in response to two employees’ claims that they were repeatedly sexually harassed and were subjected to a hostile work environment. According to the arbitrator’s written order, both women said they were subjected to offensive comments and conduct from the male kitchen staff at the restaurants, including jokes about sex, remarks about female workers’ bodies, and kissing and whistling noises aimed at female employees as they walked by. In addition, one of the women said she saw a group of male kitchen employees watching a pornographic video on a smartphone, and she frequently heard the cooks singing sexually explicit songs in the rear of the restaurant in University City.  The reality is that these activities occur more often than you might think.

To continue reading about the risks of sexual harassment in the workplace and how to protect yourself as an employer, continue reading our article in the December issue of the California Employer’s Report. Continue reading

DOL Rule Increasing Minimum Salary Requirements for Exempt Employees Now on Hold Per Court Order

gavelLast month, we discussed how the Department of Labor (DOL) was scheduled to implement a new rule that would increase the minimum salary requirements for exempt employees.  The new rule published by the DOL would have doubled the minimum salary requirements for employees from $455/week to $913/week. This rule was supposed to take effect on December 1, 2016; however, employers can breathe easy for a bit longer.

On November 22, 2016 a federal judge from the United States District Court in Texas temporarily blocked implementation of the rule, in response to a request by 21 states and business groups.  This delay is temporary, while litigation continues and the court makes a determination as to whether the DOL has the authority to implement such a rule. Continue reading

Paid Time Off To Vote? California Law Provides Employees With Up To 2 Hours on Election Day

election-dayCalifornia Elections Code section 14000 mandates that if employees do not have sufficient time outside of working hours to vote in a statewide election, then they may take up to 2 hours of paid time off to vote in-person.  An employee may choose to take more than two hours off, if his or her employer allows it, but only 2 hours will be paid.

California polls will be open from 7 a.m. – 8 p.m. on election day.  However, be sure to check with your local polling place for their hours of operation, as some locations may have extended hours. Continue reading

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

Although 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, 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

holiday-bar1

While having alcohol available may make typical water cooler conversations less awkward, it can lead to liability for employers in the form of vicarious liability, sexual harassment, social host liability, and other potential issues.

Even though refraining from serving alcohol altogether is the safest option, in the event that your company plans to serve alcohol at you next function, keep the following tips in mind: Continue reading

URGENT: Employers MUST Post New Federal Minimum Wage and Polygraph Posters By August 1, 2016

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ATTENTION all Employers:

The Department of Labor recently revised the federal mandatory minimum wage and polygraph posters that employers must post in the workplace.

Although the federal minimum wage did not change, the new minimum wage poster now contains information regarding the consequences of incorrectly classifying workers as independent contractors, in addition to a new section on the rights of nursing mothers.

The new federal polygraph poster now contains updated contact information for the Department of Labor, and no longer contains a reference to the penalty amount of up to $10,000 for violation of the law.

employment posterEmployers are required to post the updated posters in a conspicuous area of the workplace by no later than August 1, 2016. Continue reading

Santa Monica, CA Minimum Wage Increase to Take Effect on July 1, 2016

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On April 28, 2016, the Santa Monica City Council adopted a mandatory minimum wage increase to $10.50 per hour, which will take effect on July 1, 2016.

Santa Monica’s new ordinance mirrors the minimum wage laws adopted by Los Angeles earlier this year. Continue reading

Los Angeles Employers May Soon Be Required to Provide 6 Days of Paid Sick Leave Per Year

sick leaveOn April 19, 2016, the Los Angeles City Council approved a measure that would require employers in the City of Los Angeles to provide their employees with six days, or 48 hours, of paid sick leave.  Pending an approved ordinance drafted by the City Attorney, the requirement will become effective on July 1, 2016.  This would be three days more per year than the State of California’s paid sick leave requirements which took effect on July 1, 2015.

The ordinance would apply to employees who who work for the same employer in the City of Los Angeles for thirty days or more per year , and would begin on the first day of employment, or July 1, 2016, whichever is later. Employers who contract with the city of Los Angeles will still be required to give their employees twelve days, or 96 hours, of paid sick leave. Workers in Los Angeles would not be paid for unused sick days, but accrued time could be carried over to the next year. Businesses could cap that accrued time at 72 hours, or set a higher cap or none at all.

Continue reading

Changes to California Employment Laws in 2015 that Every Employer Should Know

By Jennifer A. Grady, Esq. and Gayane Khechoomian, Esq.

California-State-Capitol1The California Legislature was quite active in 2014, resulting in several substantial changes to the law for 2015 that are employee-friendly.  Employers should take note of the changes to the law described below.

I. CHANGES TO WAGE AND LABOR LAWS

1. Minimum Wage Increases

The minimum wage increased statewide, with even higher increases in particular cities:

  • California’s minimum wage of $9.00 will increase again to $10.00 on January 1, 2016;
  • San Francisco wages will increase to $11.05 on January 1, 2015; then to $12.25 in May; wages will increase every year thereafter until the minimum wage reaches $15.00 in 2018;
  • Oakland will increase to $12.25 on March 2, 2015;
  • San Diego will increase to $9.75 on January 1, 2015;
  • Note: exempt employees must meet new minimum wage laws

Continue reading

Can’t I Just Hire an Intern? What Employers Need to Know to Stay Compliant With California Law

By Jennifer A. Grady, Esq. and Gayane Khechoomian, Esq.

Photo Credit Buzzghana.com

Photo Credit Buzzghana.com

Internship programs provide great benefits to businesses and interns alike, but employers must comply with both California and Federal laws in order to avoid potential lawsuits and fines.

To clarify, a person hired as an unpaid intern must (1) be a student enrolled in an accredited academic program and receive academic credit for the internship, or (2) be enrolled in a program that provides training and is approved by a public agency.  If the intern is not part of an accredited program, the employer must pay the intern at least minimum wage for all hours worked. Continue reading

New Laws for California Employers in 2015

by Jennifer A. Grady, Esq. and Gayane Khechoomian, Esq.

Photo gcazzo.blogspot.com

Photo gcazzo.blogspot.com

The California legislature has passed numerous laws that will take effect January 1, or July 1, 2015.  Employers must revise their policies to reflect the new laws.  We have provided a summary of these new laws below.   Continue reading

The Grady Firm Now Offers Customized Record-Keeping Forms for Employers

by Jennifer A. Grady, Esq. and Gayane Khechoomian, Esq.

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California enacted numerous new laws in 2014 that continue to make it more challenging for employers to comply with California employment law.

To take out some of the guesswork that employers and Human Resources managers face as they try to run their businesses, The Grady Firm, P.C. has created a package of over fifteen (15) customized forms and checklists to ensure that employers are properly documenting their procedures before hiring, at the time of hire, during employment, and at termination. Continue reading

San Francisco Board of Supervisors Passes Fair Chance Ordinance, Creating New Requirements for Employers During the Hiring Process

San Francisco City Hall. Justin Sullivan/Getty images.

San Francisco City Hall. Justin Sullivan/Getty images.

by Gayane Khechoomian

As of August 13, 2014, San Francisco businesses with 20 or more employees are required to review an individual’s qualifications before inquiring about that person’s arrest and conviction record(s) and related information.

The San Francisco Board of Supervisors passed the Fair Chance Ordinance (“FCO”) requiring that employers limit the use of criminal history information and follow certain procedures and restrictions when inquiring about and using conviction history information.

Specifically, the ordinance outlines (1) which criminal arrest and conviction records cannot be used during the hiring process, (2) when employers can ask about criminal arrests and convictions, and (3) what interactive process the employer must engage in with regard to the individual’s arrest and conviction record.

In addition, employers covered by the FCO must include in all job ads or solicitations a statement that the employer will consider qualified applicants with criminal histories in a manner consistent with the requirements of the FCO.

The ordinance covers all jobs temporary, seasonal, part-time, contract, contingent, and commission-based. It also covers those who do work through a temporary or employment agency, and educational or vocational training.

Read more here.

The Grady Firm. P.C. attorneys provide employment document drafting and legal counsel for business owners and Human Resources Managers.  To learn how we may be able to assist you, schedule a complimentary 15-minute consultation with our attorneys here, or call (323) 450-9010.

The Grady Firm, P.C. Expands to San Francisco and San Diego, California

The San Francisco Office is conveniently located at 555 California Street, San Francisco, CA  94104

The San Francisco Office is conveniently located at 555 California Street, San Francisco, CA 94104

The Grady Firm, P.C. is pleased to announce that it has opened offices in San Francisco and San Diego, California to better serve the needs of its clientele throughout the state. These offices are exciting additions to the current Los Angeles headquarters in the Miracle Mile/Museum District of Los Angeles, which is located across the street from the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) on Wilshire Boulevard in the heart of Los Angeles.

At the San Francisco location, The Grady Firm, P.C. offers Startup/business advising, employment law, criminal law, family law, immigration, and Intellectual Property services.

The San Francisco office building is centrally located in the downtown Financial District on 555 California Street.  As the fifth tallest building on the west coast of the United States, it is a monument to San Francisco’s bold natural landscape and one of the most recognized buildings in the country.  Also known as the “Triple 5,” the building has starred in several classic movies, including Dirty Harry (1971), The Towering Inferno (1974), and in the Chuck Norris film, An Eye for an Eye (1981).  The building has easy access to public transportation, including BART and the Muni Metro.

The San Diego office is located at 964 Fifth Avenue, San Diego, CA 92101

The Granger Building at 964 Fifth Avenue, San Diego, CA 92101

At the San Diego location, The Grady Firm, P.C. offers services in immigration law, business law, and employment law.  The San Diego office is located in the Romanesque-style, turn of the century Granger Building at the corner of Fifth Avenue and Broadway, the gateway to the world-famous Gaslamp Quarter and Core/Civic District.  Throughout its hundred year history, the Granger building served San Diego as a bank, office space, and even hosted animals for the San Diego Zoo.  The building is close to public transportation.

The Grady Firm, P.C.’s Los Angeles Headquarters at 5900 Wilshire Blvd, 26th Floor, Los Angeles, CA 90036.

At the Los Angeles, California headquarters, The Grady Firm, P.C. continues to offer services in Startup/business advising, employment advising, business litigation, employment litigation, immigration, estate planning, and Intellectual Property.

The Grady Firm attorneys are able to serve clients throughout California and the globe through in-person meetings, phone calls, and Skype calls.   To best serve its international clientele, The Grady Firm attorneys are fluent in Spanish, Chinese, French, Hindi, Punjabi, Armenian, Swedish, Hungarian, Korean, and Russian.

Schedule a complimentary 15-minute consultation today with The Grady Firm attorneys by calling (323) 450-9010, or submitting a contact request form.