San Francisco to Require Fully Paid Parental Leave

Paid Parental LeaveThe San Francisco Board of Supervisors has approved a new paid parental leave law that will allow employees to take up to six weeks of fully paid time off from work to be with a new child. The new paid parental leave legislation is the broadest of its kind in the United States.

What the Fully Paid Parental Leave Law Entails

Some of the most important features of the legislation are as follows:

Covered employees will be able to take the six weeks of fully paid leave to spend time with a newborn child, a newly adopted child, or a new foster child.

The law is intended to supplement the benefits that employees receive through California Paid Family Leave. California Paid Family Leave allows covered employees to receive 55% of their pay for as much as six weeks of family leave. The new legislation compensates employees with the remaining 45% of their salaries during that period.

Employees will not be covered unless they began working for their employers at least 180 days before the beginning of their leave periods, and they work at least 8 hours per week within the city of San Francisco, and they are eligible for California Paid Family Leave for the purpose of “bonding with a new child.” (If an employee’s work hours fluctuate from week to week, a determination will be made based on the average number of hours he or she has worked per week throughout the past three months.)

If an employee works for more than one employer, the employer’s share of that employee’s benefits under the new parental leave law will be based on how much of the employee’s salary is paid by each employer. (This means that if a covered employee earns 60% of his or her salary from a particular employer, that employer will be required to pay 60% of the employee’s supplemental benefits.)

If an employee voluntarily quits a position less than 90 days after the end of his or her leave period, the employee must reimburse the employer for the full amount of the benefits that the employee received under the new law. In addition, before receiving these benefits, an employee must sign a form agreeing to pay back the full amount of the benefits if he or she quits within 90 days of the end of the leave period.

The law will go into effect on January 1, 2017 for employers with 50 or more employees. It will go into effect on July 1, 2017 for employers with 35-49 employees, and on January 1, 2018 for employers with 20-34 employees.

Covered employers will be required to post a notice explaining the law’s provisions. The notice must be written in English, Spanish, Chinese, and any other language that is spoken by at least 5% of the employees at the location. [Read more…]

Employment Lawsuit VS FEHA 1 Year Statute of Limitations

Employment LawsuitCan I file an employment lawsuit even after the one year Fair Employment and housing act one year statute of limitations? Let’s say you are an employee working for a business in California, and you develop a physical disability. Your employment is terminated shortly thereafter. 15 months go by, and then you decide you want to file a wrongful firing claim.

You plan on arguing that your termination amounted to illegal discrimination based on your disability and that your employer’s action violated California’s Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA). As it happens, however, FEHA has a one year limitations period, and your firing took place over a year ago. Can you still file a valid claim?

If you guessed that filing a valid claim would be impossible, a California Court of Appeal would beg to differ. In the case of Prue v. Brady Company/San Diego Inc., it ruled that a plaintiff’s lawsuit could proceed, despite the expiration of FEHA’s statute of limitations, because it was a common law tort claim alleging violation of the public policy laid out in FEHA.

The Facts of the Employment Lawsuit Case

Adam Prue worked for Brady Company/San Diego Inc., and was injured on the job. His employer was informed about the nature of his injuries, and he was later terminated. He filed a claim over a year later, arguing that his termination was a violation of California public policy. Prue alleged that his manager told him that the hernia he suffered was the reason for his firing.

At trial, Brady Company filed a motion for summary judgment. The motion argued that Prue’s claim was barred by a one-year statute of limitations, which had expired. The trial court granted the motion, and dismissed Prue’s case.

On appeal, the Court of Appeal reversed the trial court’s decision, and allowed Prue’s claim to proceed. The Court held that Prue was permitted to a file his claim, because he was not actually filing a claim under FEHA, but rather a common law tort claim arguing that his termination violated California public policy, with FEHA being the statute that set forth the fundamental public policy in question.

The ruling stated that the relevant statute of limitations was the two-year statute of limitations under section 335 of the California Code of Civil Procedure. Prue’s claim was filed in April 2013, less than two years after his termination in July 2011, so the Court concluded that his filing was timely. [Read more…]

Training on Prevention of Abusive Conduct – New Rules for California Employers

prevention of abusive conduct, labor lawAssembly Bill (AB) No. 2053, “prevention of abusive conduct”, signed into law by California Governor Jerry Brown has added new requirements for employers regarding their harassment policies. AB 2053 amended Section 12950.1 of the California Government Code, which lays out necessary elements in the employee training programs that are required for employers with more than 50 employees. As a result of the new bill, these employers will be required to include training for supervisors on “prevention of abusive conduct.”

What Does “Abusive Conduct” Mean?

AB 2053 contains a definition of abusive conduct. It reads:

“For purposes of this section, ‘abusive conduct’ means conduct of an employer or employee in the workplace, with malice, that a reasonable person would find hostile, offensive, and unrelated to an employer’s legitimate business interests. Abusive conduct may include repeated infliction of verbal abuse, such as the use of derogatory remarks, insults and epithets, verbal or physical conduct that a reasonable person would find threatening, intimidating, or humiliating, or the gratuitous sabotage or undermining of a person’s work performance. A single act shall not constitute abusive conduct, unless especially severe and egregious.”

While the law requires employers with more than 50 employees to provide training to avoid abusive conduct, it does not actually ban abusive conduct in the workplace. This is to say, it does not create a cause of action for employees who have been subjected to abusive workplace conduct. (However, many forms of abusive conduct were already illegal under other statutes, such as sexual harassment laws.)

Other Requirements of Section 12950.1, Prevention of Abusive Conduct

Under the previously existing requirements of Section 12950.1, California employers with more than 50 employees must provide their supervisory employees with at least two hours of “classroom or other effective interactive training and education regarding sexual harassment.” The training must occur within 6 months of when the employees assume their supervisory positions.

The training must be offered to supervisory employees at least once every two years, and it must include “practical examples aimed at instructing supervisors in the prevention of harassment, discrimination and retaliation.” It must also be presented by trainers or educators with knowledge and expertise in the prevention of harassment, discrimination and retaliation.

12950.1 contains language making it clear that if any particular individual at a workplace does not receive the training, that will not in and of itself cause their employer to become vulnerable to an action alleging sexual harassment. It also states, however, that simply providing the training will not insulate an employer from liability in an action alleging sexual harassment.

(In other words, a sexual harassment suit will not be automatically successful just because a supervisor wasn’t given the proper training. But at the same time, an employer cannot claim that a supervisor cannot be guilty of sexual harassment just because he or she received the training.)

Advice on Meeting the Requirements of 12950.1

AB 2053 went into effect on January 1, 2015 – so if you are a California employer with more than 50 employees, and you have not yet updated the trainings that are given to your supervisors, it’s time to make some changes. If you have any questions about how to comply with the requirements of the new legislation, you can call or email the employment and labor law attorneys at Beck Law P.C., in Santa Rosa Labor Lawyer, to schedule a consultation.


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