What to Do When DHS or ICE Comes Knocking at Your Door

By Anthony Mance, Esq. and Jennifer A. Grady, Esq.

ICE 2The Trump Administration has repeatedly indicated that it will take an aggressive and proactive approach to enforcing immigration laws. While it is not yet clear how and when this will translate into developed policy, it is prudent for employers to be prepared for increased oversight and enforcement. One issue that demands particular attention is how employers should handle on-site visits by Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and/or Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents. These visits can range from basic inspections and audits to large-scale immigration raids and arrests. While such visits can be confusing and intimidating, developing a coherent plan for dealing with immigration visits and effectively communicating that plan to relevant employees will reduce the risk of making costly mistakes.

The following is a brief overview of immigration-related site visits, and what employers can do to properly prepare for, and react to, such visits. Continue reading

City of San Francisco Announces its 2016 Increased Employer Healthcare Spending Rates

San Francisco increases healthcare spending law Photo © Jennifer Grady

San Francisco increases employer healthcare spending law rates. Photo © Jennifer Grady

The City of San Francisco has announced the 2016 rates for its employer health care spending law, under which employers must either contribute a specified amount toward their employees’ health care costs on a regular basis, or pay into a city health care fund for San Francisco residents.  Employers with workers in San Francisco will have to pay more next year to comply with the city’s health care spending law.

Beginning January 1, 2016, the health care expenditure rate for employers with 100 or more employees will be $2.53 per hour, and the rate for medium-sized businesses with 20-99 employees will be $1.68 per hour.
The health care expenditures must be made on behalf of employees employed for more than 90 days and who regularly work at least eight hours per week in San Francisco. Businesses with 19 or fewer employees and nonprofits with 49 or fewer employees are exempt.

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

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 Top Six I-9 Compliance Issues to Avoid

ImageTo many employers and HR professionals, an I-9 form may appear to be a simple one-page piece of hiring paperwork. However, the one page I-9 form comes with enough rules and regulations to fill a 69-page how-to manual, the M-274 Handbook for Employers.

There are many common mistakes and human errors that can be made while completing and maintaining I-9 records. If an employer fails to complete or maintain I-9 documentation correctly, that employer may fall out of compliance with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) rules and suffer harsh financial penalties.

Continue Reading.

For additional information, visit: http://www.uscis.gov/i-9 and

http://www.irs.gov/Businesses/Small-Businesses-&-Self-Employed/Employment-Tax-Forms

Is Your Employment and Labor Law Poster Up to Date?

by Jennifer A. Grady, Esq.

In California, all employers must meet workplace posting obligations.  Fortunately, workplace postings are usually available at no cost from the requiring agency.  The Department of Industrial Relations requires employers to post information related to wages, hours and working conditions in an area frequented by employees where it may be easily read during the workday. Additional posting requirements apply to some workplaces.

To ensure that your Employment and Labor Law Posters reflect changes in the law effective January 1, 2014, you may want to order the latest version of the poster from the requiring agency, or a company that specializes in all-in-one posters. 

The following changes took place in 2013:

  • Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA)- updated February 2013;
  • California Franchise Tax Board (FTB) Notice to Employees- updated May 2013;
  • Whistleblower Protection- updated July 2013;
  • Cal OSHA- updated July 2013;
  • Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) Discrimination & Harassment- updated November 2013;
  • Employment Development Department (EDD) Unemployment Compensation- updated November 2013;
  • Effective July 1, 2014, California’s minimum wage increased to $9.00 an hour.

For a list of available safety and health postings, visit the Cal/OSHA publications page.

Employers May Only Recover Attorney’s Fees and Costs in Certain Actions If They Can Demonstrate that the Plaintiff Brought the Action in Bad Faith (SB 462)

Employers May Only Recover Attorney's Fees and Costs in Certain Actions if They Can Show the Employee Acted in Bad Faith

Employers May Only Recover Attorney’s Fees and Costs in Certain Actions if They Can Show the Employee Acted in Bad Faith

by Jennifer A. Grady, Esq.

After January 1, 2014, employers will only be able to recover reasonable attorney’s fees and costs if they are the prevailing party in a court action brought by current or former employees for the nonpayment of wages, fringe benefits, or health and welfare or pension fund contributions if  they can demonstrate that the employee brought the action in bad faith.  In order to make this recovery, either party must have requested attorney’s fees and costs at the initiation of the action.

Senate Bill 462, which amends Labor Code § 218.5, does not permit employers to recover attorney’s fees and costs on cases for failure to pay minimum wage or overtime.  In such cases, California Labor Code § 1194(a) provides that in a civil action, an employee, but not the employer, is entitled to recover the unpaid balance of the full amount of the unpaid minimum wage or overtime compensation, including interest thereon, reasonable attorney’s fees, and costs of suit.

Senate Bill 462 was signed into law by California Governor Jerry Brown on August 26, 2013.  The new provisions of this law will take effect on January 1, 2014. Continue reading