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Jennifer Rubin focuses her bicoastal C-suite executive compensation practice on meeting the increasingly complex employment needs of executives of public and private corporations. When she isn’t negotiating employment, equity, and severance arrangements, Jen leverages her 25 years of experience as a trial lawyer to help clients craft business solutions to legal problems.

Welcome (almost) to the New Year: a time of renewal, a fresh start, a clean slate, and a time to make and hopefully keep resolutions. A “New Year’s Resolution” is, of course, a commitment in the coming year to change an undesired trait or behavior, to accomplish a goal or otherwise make a material improvement.

Toward this end, we thought it appropriate to launch a mini-series of some compliance-related resolutions employers might consider for 2018. In fact, we can’t think of a better way to close out 2017 than with a series devoted to a collective resolution to make 2018 a year devoted to cleaning out the cobwebs and achieving (better) employment law compliance.

We recognize, given the complexity of our legal landscape and the challenges of managing human relationships in the workplace, complete employment compliance is a worthy but perhaps unattainable goal. But that doesn’t mean 2018 can’t begin on the right foot.

We thought it appropriate to start our resolutions mini-series with this headline: Don’t let your workplace BE the next headline.

Continue Reading An Employer’s Resolutions for the New Year – A Mini-Series from the Employment Matters Blog. Resolution #1: Don’t let your Workplace be the Next Headline: Review and Refresh your Non-Harassment Policies and Training.

California has joined a growing list of jurisdictions, including New York City, Massachusetts, Delaware and Oregon, among others, banning salary history inquiries from job applicants. Governor Brown signed the law into effect last week and it becomes effective on January 1, 2018.

Continue Reading California Bans Salary History Inquiries

The recent controversy involving the Google employee fired for challenging his employer’s diversity policies highlights some misconceptions concerning free speech rights in the workplace.

That controversy also adds an interesting dimension to the spate of reported terminations of individuals who were internet-shamed for participating in alt-right demonstrations (such as the employee who reportedly resigned from Top Dog Café in Berkeley). Ironically enough from a timing perspective, those job actions also implicate another fundamental right – the right to freedom of assembly (and derivatively, of association).

Continue Reading What Can You Say in the Workplace? Whatever Your Employer Allows You to Say ….

Summertime is vacation time. And vacation time means headaches for employers who engage in vacation float. Vacation “float” is the practice of advancing vacation to employees before they actually accrue it under an employer’s vacation policy. So the question becomes, if you allow an employee to take vacation time the employee hasn’t actually earned, how do you get the value of that time back if the employee leaves before “repaying” it?

Continue Reading Vacation Float: Managing (and Recouping) Unearned Vacation Time

California’s new Ban the Box regulation became effective last week. Effective July 1, 2017, questions by public employers concerning an applicant or employee’s criminal convictions will now be subject to the new regulation that employers can locate here. That regulation raises the bar employers must clear in order to pose criminal conviction-related questions to applicants and employees.  And it raises it significantly.  We discuss the new regulation below.

Continue Reading California Joins the Ban-the-Box Bandwagon

Blended families may be more common than organic ones these days and perhaps the same can be said about employees in corporate America.

The trend may emanate in part from the “acqui-hire” approach to building a business.  An “acqui-hire” happens when one business acquires another for its workforce, not for its products or services.  This is a particularly popular approach in the technology sector where buying a team of tech-savvy individuals who have a track record of creating value is a better business bet than money spent on beta testing a product or service that may or may not succeed in the marketplace.  In other words, don’t buy the product — buy the brains that make the product.

Continue Reading Corporate Divorce Series: Acqui-Hires: A Corporate Blended Family?

The trend toward local regulation of employment laws continues in California with three new local wage and hour enactments.

San Diego

On June 7, 2016, San Diego voters passed a ballot initiative containing two provisions for hourly workers. First, San Diego’s new minimum wage will be $10.50 per hour once the ballot results are confirmed, which is expected to be in mid-July.  Second, San Diego will have its own paid sick leave policy of five days (40 hours) – which is in excess of the state law that allows employers to limit use of accrued paid sick leave to three days (24 hours).

Like the state law, San Diego’s paid sick leave will accrue at one hour for every 30 hours worked and cannot be used until after 90 days of employment. Also like the state law, San Diego’s sick leave initiative allows accrued leave to be front loaded or accrued, and it must be carried over year to year.

Continue Reading Three California Municipalities Enact New Minimum Wage and Paid Sick Leave Laws

If you follow my corporate divorce series, you are familiar with my affinity for the employment-as-marriage metaphor.  I’ve already examined how employment relationships end or should end.  But I have yet to address an employment metaphor relevant to annulments.

Unlike divorce, which is the judicial dissolution of a legal marriage, an annulment is actually a judicial (and sometimes also religious) decree that the marriage was never valid in the first place.  Typically an annulment is based on a fundamental legal flaw, such as fraud or marrying close kin or some other core defect that goes to the heart of the marriage contract.  An annulment declares that the “marriage” is treated as if it never existed, provided a core reason exists to nullify it.

So what, if anything, annuls an employment contract?

Continue Reading Corporate Divorce Series: Do Fraudulent Credentials Annul Employment Contracts?