Brinker Announcement Tomorrow 10am PST

After 3 years, the highly anticipated Brinker decision will be announced tomorrow.

http://calchamber.typepad.com/hrwatchdog/2012/04/brinker-is-coming-brinker-is-coming.html

Workplace Litigation Trends Report

This is the 7th year that Fulbright & Jaworski has surveyed senior corporate counsel regarding litigation.  I’m focusing on the responses that affect businesses – and selecting those answers.  The results are illuminating!

In which area is there the most litigation pending in the U.S.?

Contacts: 53%
Labor & Employment: 49%
Personal Injury: 27%
(participants could pick more than one type)

In which area has there been the greatest increase in multi-plaintiff cases whether they be class, collective action, or significant multiple plaintiff action?
Wage & Hour: 46%
Labor Union: 13%
Age: 11%
ERISA: 10%


[What types of cases] will see the greatest increase in 2011?
Discrimination: 39%
Wage & Hour:35%
Labor Union: 17%

ERISA: 5%

FMLA Could Become More Complicated

The Department of Labor will be conducting a comprehensive survey on how employees in the United States use their Family and Medical Leaves.  The Obama administration has made a committment to improving work-life and work-family balance, and the results of this survey are likely to influence changes in FMLA.

For now, nothing to take action on – but keep your eyes/ears open.

Here’s an article from the Chicago law firm of Franczek and Radelet.

Quarterly Newsletter and a Sage Cartoonist

I hope you’ll checkout our HR & Management Newsletter by clicking here.

Also, I note with interest David Horsey’s editorial cartoon from July 21.  Mr. Horsey is a talented cartoonist who’s published through the Hearst Newspaper chain.  (You can see all his stuff here).  After I’ve been writing and speaking so much on this topic – that businesses are finding ways of doing more with fewer employers – a client saw this in the San Francisco Chronicle and gave it to me:

David Horsey – Hearst Newspapers

Overtime Gets A Little More Complicated in California

An employee makes a false claim for overtime. He says it’s a mistake, but you believe otherwise, so you fire him.

That’s OK, right?

Uh..not so fast. A new court decision, Barbosa v. Impco Technologies, makes that a wrongful termination.

Here’s the recap and implications from Christopher W. Olmsted of Barker Olmsted & Barnier.

Social Media and the Workplace

I will be writing extensively in the upcoming weeks about Social Media and the Workplace.  Actually, not so much about social media (there are experts in that area all over the place), but the impact it has on employers and businesses.

So let’s start off with an excellent article written by Maria Greco Danaher of Ogletree Deakins on the potential liability employers have when an employee uses social media.  Here’s an important excerpt:

“…an employee who uses electronic media, including e-mail, blogs, or social networking sites, to make comments about a product made by his or her employer, and who fails to disclose his or her relationship with that manufacturer may create legal liability under the FTC guidelines.  Further, should a consumers rely on a particular comment in that posting to his or her detriment, any ensuing damage could be attributed to the manufacturer/company.”

It’s pretty apparent that social media has a place in the workplace.  Most experts (including me) agree that it’s not practical to ban social media in the workplace.  So what do you do?

More to come…

California Alternative Workweek Schedules

One of the best ways of improving morale without costs is to consider Alternative Workweek schedules.  Up until January 1, it has been most difficult to implement.  However, California law regarding alternative workweek schedules have been eased somewhat as a result of AB 5.

Alternative workweek schedules allow non-exempt employees in a “work unit” to work in excess of 8 hours per day without incurring overtime. (California law includes a daily overtime requirement.) Generally, an employer may propose AWS work schedules of up to ten hours per day (12 for healthcare workers). Hours in excess of 10 per day, or 40 per week are overtime. Typically employers propose schedules consisting of four ten hour days or a “9/80” schedule. Special procedures describe advance disclosure and a secret ballot election prior to implementation of the AWS.

The AWS can apply to a “work unit” within a company, rather than to all employees. Previously, the Labor Code did not define “work unit,” although state regulations included a definition. The new law defines a work unit as “a division, a department, a job classification, a shift, a separate physical location, or a recognized subdivision thereof.” The amendment also clarifies that even a single employee may qualify as a work unit as long as his job function meets the definition.

In setting up an AWS, an employer may propose a single work schedule, or it may propose a menu of work schedule options for workers to select. Can the “menu” include a traditional 5 day week for those employees who do not want to work longer days? The amended law clarifies that the menu options may indeed include a regular schedule of five eight-hour days in a workweek. Consequently, employees who do not wish to work an AWS schedule may still vote in favor of the AWS by choosing to work the regular 8 hour day. This change greatly increases the odds of achieving the 2/3 employee supporting vote need to implement an AWS.

Additionally, the new law specifies how often employees may move from one schedule option to another on the menu. For example, if an employee opts to work four 10 hour days, how frequently can he opt to go back to regular 8 hour days? As amended, Labor Code § 511 allows employees to move from one schedule option to another on a weekly basis.