New Employment Laws for 2014


Each year we see many new changes in Employment Law, and 2014 is no exception.  Some of the changes that employers need to be aware of include:

Leaves of Absence:

New laws:  Expansion of California Paid Family Leave for leave to care for a seriously ill grandparent, grandchild, sibling, or parent-in-law; new leave for emergency rescue personnel and reserve peace officers to take training; San Francisco’s new flexible work arrangement ordinance.

New rulings:  What counts as “leave fraud”; 5-weeks leave as religious accommodation for overseas funeral ceremonies; $21 million jury verdict for employee allegedly terminated after 3-day no call/no show due to panic attacks; FMLA leave to care for disabled adult children.

Wage & Hour:

New laws:  Increases in minimum wage requirements for exempt computer software professionals, general “white collar” exemptions, and non-exempt minimum wages.

New rulings:  Limiting when managers’ non-exempt tasks may be deemed exempt work; field technicians’ class actions for “contractor” status misclassification and break violations.

Sexual Harassment, Training & Investigations:  U.S. Supreme Court ruling on who is a “supervisor,” and a new NLRB ruling that an employer’s policy unlawfully prohibited employees from discussing HR investigations.

Alcohol at Work:  Court ruling that employer could be held liable for employee car accident after serving alcohol to the employee.

Discrimination & Retaliation:

New laws:  Employers prohibited from reporting or threatening to report a worker’s immigration status for improper reasons; military and veterans status added to list of categories protected by the California Fair Employment & Housing Act; non-discrimination and reasonable accommodation for victims of domestic violence.

New rulings:  Obligation to inform disabled employees of other jobs; retaliation claim against HR firm for discouraging employer from hiring applicant who filed discrimination lawsuit.

Competitors, Employee Loyalty, & Raiding:  New rulings that clarify employers’ rights when employees engaged in such activities as copying company data, wiping hard drives, disparaging the employer, and other disloyal behavior.  Also, recent rulings about alleged “no-poach” agreements.

The Santa Clara Chamber of Commerce & Convention-Visitors Bureau, in partnership with the law firm of Hixson Nagatani, LLP, will present an employment law update workshop on Thursday, January 30.  Attend this informative workshop to learn about all of the above changes and how to ensure your company is in compliance.  The workshop will be held at the Chamber office from 8:30 – 10:30 a.m. – Register online.

Additionally, the Santa Clara Chamber offers our members discounted HR compliance products such as the California and Federal Employment Posters.  You may order your posters through the Chamber by completing the attached form.  Avoid costly fines and purchase your compliance products today!


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