Service To Our Country And To Your Business

Serviceman and Business

As the year winds down, November is always an eventful month – elections occur, the weather continues to cool down, preparation for Thanksgiving celebration and we celebrate our military veterans. United States service men and women are honored every Veteran’s Day for their contribution to the American dream – to live peacefully, free from oppression while upholding the values of our constitution against foreign and domestic enemies. However, honoring our veterans exceeds just one day. As an employer, it is essential to understand the many laws that protect the employment rights of service men and women to ensure that their time away from work (while on active duty) does not detrimentally effect their return to work. The most notable law concerning military service people and employment is the federal Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act or USERRA. Here are a few highlights regarding the law:

 

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It’s On the Governor’s Desk

Upcoming Legislation

Since our last update, California Governor Jerry Brown has hundreds of legislative bills to review and sign or veto. Here is information about a few of those bills as referenced on leginfo.legislature.ca.gov.

AB 1209. Gender Pay Gap. This bill would require employers with 500 or more employees in California to collect certain information on gender wage differentials and file that information with the Secretary of State.

AB 1710. Discrimination Against Military Service Members. This bill would change the existing Military and Veterans code to expand upon prohibited discrimination against members or veterans of the U.S. Military with respect to his or her terms, conditions or privileges of employment. Also, review pending SB 266.

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From the Workplace to the Prison Landscape: Criminal Penalty for Supervisors

Businessman in Prison

Under the rigorous guidelines and oversight of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (“OSHA”) (and the state equivalent), employers have long had a roadmap for protecting workers from the many dangers of unsafe work practices and hazardous environments. All employers and employees are accustomed to slogans such as Safety First, Safety is No Accident, Safety is Everyone’s Responsibility and so on. However, the role of supervisors in ensuring a safe work environment far surpasses the gravity of any slogan or catch phrase, especially as it pertains to a supervisor’s direct exposure for personal liability when his or her supervision is found to be criminally negligent.

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Hello | Bonjour | Hola | Hallo

World Languages

We live, work and play in a diverse society that introduces us to many new people and new languages. Familiar to the west coast of the United States are languages such as Armenian, Hindi and Spanish. The diversity of our social population carries over into the workplace and can present challenges for employers and employees when a communication barrier occurs or a misunderstanding based on a lack of complete translation of thought (based on language differences). Diversity training which focuses on inclusion and understanding and promoting cultural difference is essential to a well-functioning work team. Equally as important is understanding or acknowledging how language impacts the work environment.

 

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It’s All In The Name

 Hello Name Tag

Harassment and discrimination policies are standard in most business settings to ensure that employers and employees are aware of what constitutes harassment and discrimination and how to prevent such situations from occurring. It is customary for most people to equate harassment to only circumstances that are of a sexual nature; however, harassment takes on many forms, most of which have nothing to do with sex or sexually-explicit actions or language. Harassment may take on the form of other abusive conduct that may be perceived as hostile or malicious. When this type of conduct is targeted at a person who may qualify in a protected group, based on race, gender, religion, etc., it can also constitute unlawful discrimination if the conduct results in an adverse action against the protected person.

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Money is Not the Only Thing That is Green

Marijuana

The general election has come and gone and while many of us are looking to move forward with the passing of 12 state ballot measures, many have questions on the impact of these measures. One of the most notable measures is Proposition 64 which passed with 56.1% of the votes now legalizing marijuana in the state of California. A “yes” vote for proposition 64 means adults 21 years of age or older can legally grow, possess, and use marijuana for nonmedical purposes, with certain restrictions. Many employers and employees are wondering how this will impact workplace drug policies, such as a drug-free workplace or safe operating practices.

 

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What An Alternative

Lawsuit

What is arbitration? Arbitration is a form of dispute resolution that takes place between two or more parties outside of a courtroom, judge and jury. The arbitration session[s] are facilitated by an arbitrator who acts in a similar capacity as a judge – he or she reviews the case file, listens to witness testimony and rules on the outcome. Arbitration is becoming increasingly more popular as a form of resolution of job-related claims between employers and employees as it typically results in lower administrative and legal fees and the proceedings are less formal and usually shorter in duration than litigation. Arbitration generally results in a binding decision, known as an award.

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