California Employment Law Report

California Employment Law Report

The latest litigation trends, court decisions, & issues on California Employment Law

Archives: Technology & Law

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Labor Commissioner’s ruling against Uber widely misunderstood by media

Posted in Best Practices For California Employers, Exempt Employees, Expense Reimbursement, New Cases, Technology & Law, Wage & Hour Law
Earlier this week Uber appealed a California Labor Commissioner ruling against it holding that a driver was misclassified as an independent contractor.  In this video, I briefly discuss the ruling and the lesson it holds for employers. Misclassification of employees as independent contractors can carry many damages and penalties.  For example, Sections 226.8 and 2753… Continue Reading

Five things employers must understand about LinkedIn’s job reference lawsuit

Posted in Best Practices For California Employers, Class Actions, Employee Handbooks, New Cases, Technology & Law
Recently, the issue raised in Sweet v. LinkedIn is whether the Reference Searches functionality offered by LinkedIn is governed by the regulations set forth in the FCRA.  The Reference Search feature allows users who pay a fee to search for references that have worked with any other LinkedIn member.  The results list common employers and… Continue Reading

Five statutes that can shift attorney’s fees to employers

Posted in Best Practices For California Employers, California Legislation Update, Exempt Employees, Resources, Technology & Law, Uncategorized, Wage & Hour Law, Wrongful Termination
You may recall from your college business law class of the “American rule” regarding attorney’s fees: generally in the United States each side is responsible to their own attorney’s fees, and unlike other countries, the loser does not have to pay the other party’s attorney’s fees. Employers can basically ignore this general rule in employment… Continue Reading

Five things every employer with IT workers must understand about the computer professional exemption under California law

Posted in California Legislation Update, Employee Handbooks, Technology & Law, Uncategorized, Wage & Hour Law
Recently I published a list of common exemptions under California law. This list of exemptions did not delve into the details of each exemption in detail, so I will be returning to a few of the exemptions to add more explanation about each exempt classification. I’m currently reading Paul Graham’s Hackers and Painters, Big Ideas… Continue Reading

Friday’s Five: Uber and Lyft class actions show the difficulties of classifying independent contractors in new “sharing economy”

Posted in Best Practices For California Employers, Class Actions, New Cases, Technology & Law, Wage & Hour Law
Uber and Lyft have been sued in separate class action lawsuits in California by drivers challenging the two companies’ classification of the drivers as independent contractors. The plaintiffs in the two cases argue that the drivers should be classified and paid as employees, which triggers many additional Labor Code provisions for the drivers than if… Continue Reading

Personal cell phones at work: Five lessons employers should take away about expense reimbursement set forth in Cochran v. Schwan’s Home Services

Posted in Best Practices For California Employers, Class Actions, Employee Handbooks, Expense Reimbursement, New Cases, Technology & Law, Wage & Hour Law
Colin Cochran brought a putative class action against his employers, Schwan’s Home Service, on behalf of 1,500 customer service managers who were not reimbursed for expenses pertaining to the work-related use of their personal cell phones. He alleged causes of action for violation of Labor Code section 2802; unfair business practices under Business and Professions… Continue Reading

Top five employment law class action claims for California employers in 2014

Posted in Best Practices For California Employers, California Legislation Update, Class Actions, Employee Handbooks, Meal and Rest Breaks, New Cases, Technology & Law, Wage & Hour Law
Let me start with the lawyer’s disclaimer up-front: this Friday’s Five list has no scientific or statistical backing whatsoever, I generated it based on the cases I’ve been litigating in 2014. My experience may be (and probably is) skewed a bit, but nevertheless California employers should pay attention to the following areas of potential litigation.… Continue Reading

Are you ready for the increase in minimum wage? Join us for a mid-year update on employment and corporate issues.

Posted in Best Practices For California Employers, California Legislation Update, Class Actions, Employee Handbooks, Exempt Employees, Expense Reimbursement, New Cases, Technology & Law, Wage & Hour Law, Wrongful Termination
My firm is conducting a webinar on Thursday June 19, 2014 at 10:00 a.m. for a mid-year update on emerging employment law issues and the newly enacted LLC statute effecting most California Limited Liability Companies.  For more information and to register, please complete the form below:  … Continue Reading

Five legally required items often overlooked by California employers

Posted in Best Practices For California Employers, Class Actions, Employee Handbooks, Technology & Law, Wage & Hour Law
Welcome to Friday’s 5, a series of posts each Friday of lists of five items in various aspect of California employment law. I hope to keep it informative and interesting, and provide a checklist of sorts for California employers to review various practices and policies. Starting off, here is a list of five items not… Continue Reading

Are electronic signatures valid in the employment setting?

Posted in Best Practices For California Employers, Employee Handbooks, Technology & Law
Generally, yes, and surprisingly this is one area that legislation is well ahead of the general adoption of the technical capabilities available in the marketplace. For example, in 1999 the California Legislature enacted the Uniform Electronic Transactions Act (the “UETA”), Civ. Code, §§ 1633.1 et seq., which provides that when a law requires a record… Continue Reading

Interviewed for KTLA news story about employers’ use of social media in the workplace

Posted in About the California Employment Law Report, Employee Handbooks, Technology & Law, Wrongful Termination
I was interviewed for a news story that aired on KTLA here in Los Angeles about employer’s use of social media in evaluating applicants and employees. I’ve been writing and speaking about this topic for at least five years now, but given the pervasiveness of social media, the topic is only becoming more relevant with… Continue Reading

Can employers use employee’s posts to social media as basis for employment decisions or would this violate an employee’s right to privacy?

Posted in Best Practices For California Employers, Employee Handbooks, Technology & Law, Wrongful Termination
Generally, employees have a privacy expectation in their personnel files, contact information, and work related information. However, this expectation of privacy is not limitless, especially when the employee publically airs his or her work experiences on social media sites for the public to see. Courts have held that employees can waive this right to privacy… Continue Reading

Reminder: Webinar On Social Media Under California Law Tomorrow

Posted in About the California Employment Law Report, Best Practices For California Employers, New Cases, Technology & Law
This will be one of our most attended webinars, and there is still time to sign up. The webinar will cover legal issues facing California employers under the new Labor Code section prohibiting employers from asking applicants and employees for social media passwords, privacy issues when conducting background checks, alternatives to social media policies, and… Continue Reading

Can California employers monitor employees’ internet usage under new Labor Code section 980?

Posted in Best Practices For California Employers, Employee Handbooks, New Cases, Technology & Law
California passed a new law taking effect January 1, 2013 that prohibits employers from “requiring or requesting” employees and applicants to provide their passwords to social media accounts. This law was passed after a few cases made the news where employers were actually asking for this information. As I argued before, this law was probably… Continue Reading

Zuckerberg’s lesson in online privacy – does it exist?

Posted in Best Practices For California Employers, Employee Handbooks, New Cases, Technology & Law
There was a good reminder to everyone over Christmas about online “privacy.” Randi Zuckerberg, the sister of Facebook co-founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg posted a picture of her and her family on FB, and it was shared by another person on twitter. The photo was one of the Zuckerberg family using Facebook’s new Poke functionality… Continue Reading

Everything Employers Need To Know About Social Media In the Workplace In 2013

Posted in Best Practices For California Employers, Employee Handbooks, Technology & Law
I will be conducting a webinar on January 15, 2013 on legal issues of social media in the workplace. The presentation will cover everything a California employer needs to know about social media in the modern workplace of 2013: Discussion on the new law (Labor Code section 960) that prohibits employers from asking applicants and… Continue Reading

Surprise – Employers Face New Employee Personnel Records Obligations in 2013, But The Term “Personnel Records” Is Not Defined

Posted in Best Practices For California Employers, Employee Handbooks, New Cases, Technology & Law, Wage & Hour Law
California employers face a law (AB 2674) taking effect on January 1, 2013 (click here for a list of other new employment laws effective in 2013), which changes their duties to maintain and provide personnel records to current and former employees.  The law amends Labor Code section 1198.5 pertaining to "personnel records".  When discussing this… Continue Reading

Proposed Bill Gives NLRB And OSHA Right To Review Emails And Other Electronic Information Without Search Warrant

Posted in Best Practices For California Employers, New Cases, Technology & Law
There is concern about a bill making its way through the Senate that would drastically change individuals’ privacy interest in their internet communications and “cloud” information. The bill, named the Electronic Communications Privacy Act Amendments Act of 2011, originally started out as offering more protection to individuals, but after law enforcement expressed its concerns about… Continue Reading

NLRB Issues New Memo On Validity of Social Media Policies

Posted in Best Practices For California Employers, Employee Handbooks, New Cases, Technology & Law
In October 2012 the National Labor Relations Board issued an advice memorandum regarding whether an employer’s social media policy violated the National Labor Relations Act (“NLRA”). This memorandum is of importance because the NLRB has issued findings recently that employer’s seemingly neutral social media policies violated employees’ rights under the NLRA. Section 7 of the… Continue Reading

Inside Litigation Over Social Media Accounts – Why Employers Should Have Social Media Policies – Part I

Posted in Best Practices For California Employers, Technology & Law
As previously written about on this blog, the case PhoneDog v. Kravtiz is one of the first cases in the country to deal with substantive ownership issues arising out of social media accounts used in the workplace. As companies are moving more and more away from traditional marketing and advertising towards the use of social… Continue Reading

Does the Company or the Employee Own a Twitter Account?

Posted in Best Practices For California Employers, New Cases, Technology & Law
Imagine you are an employer and your employee in charge of your social media accounts leaves, keeps the accounts, and begins using the accounts while working for a competitor. Conversely, imagine you are an employee, leave employment to work for a competitor and your former employer sues you for $350,000 because you refuse to stop… Continue Reading

Everyone Needs To Calm Down About Social Media And The Law

Posted in Best Practices For California Employers, New Cases, Technology & Law, Wrongful Termination
I would love to be able to tell my clients that the Internet and social media has created a very complex set of legal issues that requires them to hire me in order to help develop all new handbook policies, change the way they conduct background checks on applicants, and monitor their employees. However, unfortunately,… Continue Reading
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