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DLSE SWEEPS IN SONOMA COUNTY!

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This is an important notice that the California Division of Labor Standards Enforcement “DLSE” is sweeping Sonoma County and other areas, specifically targeting farm labor contractors, including vineyard management companies who must also be licensed FLC’s. Among other things, the DLSE is looking for compliance with the mandatory posting of FLC signage. At this time, the sweeps seem to be advisory in nature but FLC’s are being told the DLSE will issue citations on the next non-compliant visit.

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Are You Reimbursing Employees For Cell Phones?

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The Court of Appeal has recently held  that an employer must reimburse employees when they use their personal cell phones for work-related calls.  Cochran v. Schwan’s Home Service, Inc. (B247160). The Court relied on Labor Code section 2802 which requires employers to indemnify employees for all the necessary expenditures or losses incurred by the employees in the scope of their employment. 

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President Obama Looks to Executive Action for Immigration Reform

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On Wednesday, President Obama suggested that he will use his executive power to advance immigration reform. Due to Congressional inaction, Obama has said he has no choice but to act alone. “In the face of that kind of dysfunction, what I can do is scour our authorities to try to make progress,” Obama said. “And we’re going to make sure that every time we take one of these steps that we are working within the confines of my executive power. But I promise you, the American people don’t want me just standing around twiddling my thumbs and waiting for Congress.”

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Assembly Bill 2074 to Expand Liquidated Damages for Minimum Wage Violations

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Wage and hour lawsuits are about to get even more expensive for employers. A.B. 2074 is a bill that would modify California labor law concerning minimum wage violations. The bill passed the state Senate on Monday on a 25-10 vote and now heads to Governor Jerry Brown. The new bill would allow employees to pursue liquidated damages anytime before the expiration of the statute of limitations for bringing the underlying action alleging minimum wage violations.

This legislation comes after a 2013 California court of appeals decision that held employees can recover wages for three years of minimum wage violations but only one year of liquidated damages. The new bill aims to allow employees to recover liquidated damages for the entire three year statute of limitations period.

This new bill was proposed by Assemblyman Roger Hernandez, D – West Covina. Hernandez states, “A.B. 2074 holds companies accountable for wage theft and simplifies the process for recovering illegally held wages.” Hernandez went on to state that “A.B. 2074 only targets businesses who fail to follow the law. It is crucial that we protect the rights of our lowest-paid workers, prevent abuse and curb labor law violations in California.”

A.B. 2074 has support from labor groups such as the California Labor Federation, Unite Here, and the California Federation of Teachers. There has been no formal opposition from business groups to this bill.

Counsel to Management: Contact The Saqui Law Group immediately if you believe that you are exposed to liability with respect to potential wage and hour violations. With the new legislation before Governor Brown, wage and hour lawsuits are going to cost employers even more for failure to pay appropriate wages.

Reimbursement and Compensable Travel Time Refresher

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Question: My employees meet at the designated work location. Upon arrival, their foreman tells them the location of the worksite for that day. Some of the employees do not own vehicles and carpool with their co-workers from the designated work location to the assigned worksite. Do I have to pay employees for the travel to the assigned worksite and separately reimburse the employees who use their own vehicles?

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National Labor Relations Board Determines McDonald’s is a Joint Employer with Franchise Operators

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The National Labor Relations Board ("NLRB") rules that McDonald's, USA, LLC ("McDonald's") can be liable as a joint employer with its franchise operators for labor law and wage and hour violations.

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NEW DLSE REGULATIONS EFFECTIVE JULY 1, 2014

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On July 1, 2014, new Farm Labor Contractor (“FLC”) regulations regarding the FLC license application and compliance promulgated by the Division of Labor Standards and Enforcement (“DLSE”) went into effect. A complete list of new amended and adopted regulations can be found HERE. Based on the new regulations, the DLSE also updated the corresponding application forms. The updated forms can be found HERE.

Some of the major changes and a brief summary of the amended and adopted regulations are outlined below. For more information, please click HERE to visit the DLSE website.

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States with The Strongest and Weakest Unions

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The following was written by Vince Calio, Thomas C. Frohlich and Alexander E.M. Hess and published on MSN Money

State of the Unions

The percentage of American workers in unions remained effectively unchanged last year. This marks a departure from the nation’s long-term trend: in the past 30 years, union membership has dropped from 20.1 percent of the workforce in 1983 to 11.2 percent last year.

Despite this long running decline, some states remain union strongholds, while others have almost no union presence. In several states, more than 22 percent of workers were union members last year. Conversely, in five states, less than 4 percent of all employees were union members.

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ARE YOUR EMPLOYEES RECORDING YOU?

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Here at SLG we see all types of cases yet we are often surprised at the lengths employees and former employees will go to “get even” with their employers. We have been seeing a surge in cases in which the employee has, or claims to have, an audio recording of his employer or manager saying compromising things. These employees may be driven by a sense of being wronged by their employer, a sense of entitlement, or just plain greed and they are enabled by cheap and ubiquitous technology (smart phones). You need to know what your rights are with respect to confidential recordings and how to create an employment environment where such recordings do not take place.

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Worker Centers Series Vol. 5

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Vol. 5

The following was written by Michael C. Saqui of The Saqui Law Group

CAN’T BEAT THEM OR MAKE MONEY FROM THEM?? . . .THEN JOIN THEM!!!

Nationally; Labor:The AFL-CIO reports that there are now 230 worker center groups active around the country. In 1992, Rutgers Professor, Janice Fine, quoted herein, counted only five such organizations. With these groups now formally in the AFL-CIO, the labor movement stands to gain credibility among both progressives and the wider public. For all the publicity these worker centers have generated, it is still unclear whether they will succeed in organizing the workplace. Labor unions have turned to worker centers precisely because the majority of employees, which is the number necessary for unionization under the NLRA, are not interested in unionization. It is also a telling fact that the unions are more concerned with convincing the general public of the labor movement’s continued relevancy than convincing the employees they claim to represent. The simple fact remains that in this new era of social justice and Twitter revolution, companies of all sizes, big and small, are competing in an ever changing and more highly competitive market with smaller margins than ever. The consumer base is increasingly sympathetic with social justice causes and they are bombarded with messages from these groups in real time through technology.

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