Thursday, February 11, 2010
- Compared with whites, African Americans have half the chance of obtaining a lawyer, and other people of color fare only slightly better.
- Women are 20 percent less likely than men to obtain a lawyer.
- Employees in lower-wage occupations and particular industries have a much lower chance of obtaining a lawyer. For example, workers in the construction and wholesale trade industries have one-sixth the chance of obtaining a lawyer of those in the government sector.
- In the civil litigation system, most cases settle. Of those that go to trial, plaintiffs win 50 percent of the time, receiving a median jury award of $205,000 (in 2007–08).
- In the administrative enforcement system, cases begin with the filing of a complaint with the DFEH and can conclude with a settlement or a decision by the FEHC. Of those cases closed from 2004 to 2008:
- One in 14 obtained a monetary benefit, the median value of which was $4,000.
- One in 69 resulted in an accusation being filed with the FEHC, which has in recent years issued an average of only five published decisions per year.
- Of the cases settled after filing an accusation with the FEHC, the median settlement was $14,842.
For a copy of the Report go to California Employment Discrimination Law and Its Enforcement
Wednesday, February 10, 2010
2010 Employment Law Updates, by Jerry Bloch
Here are the most significant legislative changes applicable to California employers:
A. FMLA (included in the 2010 National Defense Authorization Act):
1. Military Caregiver Leave –Time off to care for injured or ill or active service members has been expanded to include injured or ill veterans (honorably discharged former members of the armed services) if they were discharged within the past 5 years.
2. Qualifying Exigency Leave – provides time off to care for a parent, child or spouse, including registered domestic partners (“Close Relative”) of a member of the military reserve force or National Guard called to service or on active duty has been expanded to include time off to care for a Close Relative of a member of the armed services deployed to a foreign country.
Applies to employers with 50 or more employees.
Recommended Action: Change FLMA policy in handbook to comply.
Reference: 29 USC 2601, 29 CFR 825.100
B. Civil Air Patrol Leaves –the employer must provide up to 10 days a year of leave to employees who are members of the California Wing of the Civil Air Patrol if;
- they are called away in response to an emergency, and
- have completed at least 90 days of employment.
The employee may use accrued leave benefits but cannot be made to do so.
Applies to employers with 15 or more employees.
Recommended Action: Change leave policies and handbook to include.
Reference: AB 485, Labor Code Sections 1500 – 1507)
C. Alternative Work Week
Under existing California law, an employer is required to conduct a secret vote with at least 2/3rds of the affected employees voting in favor of adopting an alternative work week (other than 8 hrs/day – 40 hrs/wk). The vote was difficult to achieve because it would have eliminated every employees’ ability to continue working the standard shift. A recently adopted amendment to the law allows for the standard shift to be included in a menu of work schedule options that is voted on, increasing the likelihood that the 2/3rd vote will be achieved. Employees may, with the employer’s consent, shift between different work schedules from week to week, providing even greater flexibility to both employees and the employer.
Reference: CA Labor Code Section 511, AB 5.
If you have any questions or concerns about any of these issues, please contact me at Out-House General Counsel.
Sunday, February 7, 2010
If you think you need to speak to a business law attorney, don't wait until its too late. Find one in your local area, explain your situation and meet with him or her. If you are in California, you can always contact me at Email Daniel J. Alexander II (The Out-House General Counsel).