A New Era of Salary Transparency Could Lead to Headaches for Employers

There has been a major culture shift in this country in the way we discuss pay; once a subject rarely discussed will become easily accessible on the internet at least with respect to larger companies. California’s Gender Pay Transparency Act, Assembly Bill (AB) 1209, if signed by Governor Brown this October would require private employers with 500 or more employees to compute the wage differences by gender for exempt employees and board members located in California and file a report with the California Secretary of State who would then publish the information on a public website.  AB 1209 has passed both houses and is on its way to Governor Jerry Brown’s desk to be signed or vetoed. If signed, the Act would require employers to collect and compute the difference between wages of male and female exempt employees in California using the mean and median wages in each job classification or title; the difference between the mean and median wages of male board members and female board members located in California, and the number of employees used for these determinations and report this information every two years beginning January 1, 2020. The proponents of AB 1209 argue that transparency requirements increase awareness of pay gaps and result in shrinking the gaps. Opponents including the California…

A Brightside for Employers

Is the tide turning for Employers? There seems to be some good news on the horizon. The United States Department of Labor (DOL) appears to be contemplating changes that may help employers in the future on a few different topics including the salary requirement for employees who classify for federal overtime.  The DOL requested information on July 27, 2017 related to the exemption for employee minimum wage and overtime pay.  The request for information is an opportunity for the public to provide information that will help the DOL in formulating a proposal to revise related regulations. The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) requires employers who do more than $500,000 in annual sales and are engaged in interstate commerce to pay their employees at least the federal minimum wage which is currently $7.25 per hour for all hours worked.  In general, interstate commerce refers to the sale, purchase or exchange of goods or money, or transportation of people or navigation of water between different states.  If the state where the employee resides has a minimum wage higher than $7.25 per hour, then that state’s minimum wage will apply with a few exceptions not discussed here. The FLSA also requires employers to pay their employees premium pay of time and a half for hours worked over forty…

California Appellate Court Holds Supervisor-Induced Stress Is Not a Disability

Employers in California with five or more employees must be concerned with both mental and physical disability discrimination allegations under the Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA).  The definition of mental disability is expanding.  Offering some hope to employers, however, California’s Third District Court of Appeal in Higgins-Williams v. Sutter Medical Foundation, 2015 Cal. App. Lexis 455 (May 26, 2015) found no disability where the plaintiff was diagnosed by her treating physician as having an adjustment disorder with anxiety resulting from dealing with Human Resources and her manager.  Sutter granted Plaintiff Michaelin Higgins-Williams leave under the California Family Rights Act (CFRA) and the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) based on this diagnosis, but she exhausted the maximum amount of leave she could take under these laws. Ms. Higgins-Williams then returned to work briefly.  She received a negative performance evaluation by her supervisor and alleged she was singled out and given an inappropriate amount of work.  Ms. Higgins-Williams claimed her manager grabbed her arm and yelled at her, after which she suffered a panic attack and left work, never to return. Sutter allowed Ms. Higgins-Williams five months leave of absence based on a variety of doctor’s notes and as an accommodation for her disability.  The doctor’s notes first stated that Ms. Higgins-Williams could come back to…

Murphy, Campbell, Alliston & Quinn a Sacramento law firm

Whose Email Is It Anyway?

Whose Email Is It Anyway? A Recent Decision By The National Labor Relations Board Creates A Presumption Allowing Employees To Use The Employer’s Email System On Non-Working Time To Communicate With Other Employees About The Terms And Conditions Of Their Employment             In a decision issued on December 11, 2014, the National Labor Relations Board overruled an earlier decision and held that where an employer has chosen to give its employees access to the employer’s email system, employees can use the employer’s email on non-working time to engage in communications that are protected by Section 7 of the National Labor Relations Act, including communicating about union organizing.  Prior to this ruling, employees did not have a right to use their employer’s email system for Section 7 purposes, as held by the Board in its 2007 decision, Register Guard, 351 NLRB 1110 (2007). In this most recent decision, Purple Communications, Inc. and Communications Workers of America, AFL-CIO, Case Nos. 21-CA-095151 and 22-RC-091584, the Board found that its decision in Register Guard was incorrect.  The Board noted that “[t]here is little dispute that email has become a critical means of communication, about both work-related and other issues, in a wide range of employment settings.”  The Board found that the employee’s right under Section 7 of the National Labor…

Employers and leave laws Murphy, Campbell, Alliston & Quinn a Sacramento law firm

Employers and Leave Laws

The amount of leave or accommodation employers must provide to pregnant employees is rapidly expanding as legislatures and courts at the federal, state and local level wrestle with how to accommodate working families. For example, the United States Supreme Court will hear Peggy Young v. United Parcel Service this session; a case involving theissue of whether an employer must provide a less strenuous job to a pregnant employee, when other workers with disabilities receive accommodations, instead of unpaid leave under the Pregnancy Discrimination Act.  This article provides a sampling of some of the laws in this arena. California is leading the way in expanding laws surrounding employees expecting children.  The state provides two types of pregnancy related leave both of which may be added together and used cumulatively.  Under California’s Pregnancy Disability Leave Law (“PDLL”), which is part of the Fair Employment and Housing Act (“FEHA”), an employee has unpaid pregnancy disability leave up to four months at any time during pregnancy, or after the child is born if the employee cannot work due to pregnancy, childbirth, or a related medical condition.  This leave includes time needed for prenatal care, morning sickness, doctor-ordered bed rest, childbirth, recovery from childbirth, or a related medical condition.  Pregnancy disability leave may be taken intermittently or on a reduced…