This month, Sutton Hague Law Corporation held webinars discussing key developments in employment law affecting California and Nevada employers for 2015.
The National Labor Relations Board:
The webinars discussed recent developments with the National Labor Relations Board such as the new “Ambush Rules” amending NLRB Election Procedures. Effective April 14, 2015, the union election timeline will be shortened from approximately 40 days to 21 days (or fewer). Non-union employers who wish to remain union free are advised to conduct regular educational efforts to remind employees of the advantages of a union free workplace. Employers should have a program in place in the event that employees petition for a representation election. Non-Union employers are invited to attend a special webinar on February 25, 2015 featuring Guest Speaker Jim Trivisonno from IRI Consultants for more information about union organization. Jim is a 30-veteran of union elections and related issues and a true expert. For more information, visit this link: https://suttonhague.com/events/?event_id1=29
Other NLRB Developments Discussed:
- Employees May Use Work e-mail for Union Organizing or Discuss Wages and Working Conditions (Purple Communications, Inc.)
- Unions May “Micro-Organize” in Small Groups of Workers
- Employer Policies Banning Negativity or Profanity May Violate the NLRA (Hills and Dales General Hospital & Starbucks Corporation and Local 660)
- The NLRB is Taking a More Aggressive Approach Toward Possible Joint Employer Situations (McDonalds)
Developments in Nevada Law:
In December, the Supreme Court held that the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”) does not require employers to pay workers for time spent going through security screenings. The case involved employees of Integrity Staffing Solutions who worked at Amazon.com warehouses in Nevada who were often required to wait in line after clocking out. The Supreme Court held that a federal law called the Portal-to-Portal Act specifically excluded “preliminary” and “postliminary” activities as compensable time. However, whether or not Nevada law requires employees to be compensated for time spent going through security screenings is still an open question. The case was remanded to the trial court to determine what “work” means under Nevada law.
The Nevada Supreme Court held that dancers at Sapphire Gentlemen’s Club were improperly classified as independent contractors. The dancers determined their own work schedules and controlled the artistic aspects of their own performances. However, in deciding that the dancers were not independent contractors but rather employees, the Court focused on the employer’s right to control the workers. This case is part of a trend nationally of applying closer scrutiny to widespread use of independent contractors in the workplace.
Developments in California Law:
California AB 1522: California passed the Mandatory Paid Sick Leave: Healthy Workplace, Healthy Families Act of 2014. Effective July 1, 2015, employers must provide employees with paid sick leave that meets the requirements of the law. The law has very technical requirements. Just because an employer already provides sick leave or PTO does not mean that it has complied with the requirements of the law. For example:
Case Study: Hypothetical Policy
“Employees are entitled to 1 hour of paid sick leave per week (6.5 days per year) to care for the employee’s own illness, or illness of the employee’s spouse or child. Paid sick leave must be used in full-day (8 hour) or half-day (4 hour) increments.”
Does this policy meet the Paid Sick Leave law requirements? NO!
Accrual Rate: Paid Sick Leave must accrue at least 1 hour for every 30 hours worked unless the “lump sum” method is used. Employees that work 40 hours per week must accrue at least 1.33 hours of paid sick leave. More hours worked means more sick leave hours accrued. (Ex. 60 hours/week = 2 hours accrued).
- Minimum Amount: Cannot exceed 2 hours.
- Purpose: Must cover care for family (including parents, grandparents, grandchildren, and siblings) and employees that are domestic violence, sexual assault or stalking victims.
Carry-over: Policy should clearly provide for carry-over of unused leave from year to year unless the “lump sum” method is used.
For more information, please read our recent Blog Post: https://suttonhague.com/new-california-law-employers-must-provide-paid-sick-leave/
California AB 60: California residents who are unable to submit satisfactory proof of authorization to be in the United States under federal law will be eligible for a California driver’s license. The law specifically prohibits employers from denying employment or terminating employees because they have a license under this new law. However, employers are still required to take action required by the federal immigration laws. As such, employers should verify employees’ authorization to work in the United States by requiring Proof of Identity and Work Authorization as required by the Form I-9.
Other California Law Topics Covered Included:
- Mandatory Anti-Bullying Training
- Arbitration Agreement Developments
- Labor Code Penalties
- Cool Down Breaks
- New Calif. Law Creating Automatic Liability for Labor Code Violations by Labor Contractors