In Hernandez v. Pacific Bell Co., a California court held that employees who drive between their homes and a client worksite (in this case, a customer’s residence) using a company vehicle under the company’s voluntary vehicle take-home program need not be compensated for the commute time.

Continue Reading California Court Holds Commute Between Home and Client Site is Not Compensable Time Under Voluntary Company Vehicle Take-Home Program

Voters in Michigan, Utah and Missouri passed marijuana-related ballot measures in the November 2018 elections.  Michigan, which legalized medical marijuana in 2008, became the tenth state to legalize recreational use of marijuana.  Utah voters agreed to institute a formal structured medical marijuana program, greatly expanding the scope of the state’s existing medical marijuana law, and Missouri voters for the first time authorized the state to create a system of licensed marijuana dispensaries for medical purposes. Each of these measures recognizes that marijuana remains a controlled substance, and illegal, under federal law, and that authorized users, growers, physicians, and any others who properly support or participate in these programs will be shielded from liability only under state law.

Continue Reading Drug-Free Workplaces Are Not Compromised by 2018’s Newest Crop of Marijuana Laws

In the wake of the #MeToo movement, many state legislatures have begun to take action to provide greater protections for victims of sexual harassment and make it easier for them to make complaints in the workplace.  For example, in California, AB 2770 amends Civil Code Section 47 to protect alleged victims of sexual harassment by a co-worker in making complaints to the employer without the fear of being found liable for defaming the alleged harasser.  It similarly protects employers when making statements to interested parties (such as the Department of Fair Employment and Housing and/or Equal Employment Opportunity Commission) concerning the complaints of sexual harassment.  In both instances, however, the statements and/or complaints are only protected from liability for defamation if they are made without malice and based upon credible evidence.

Continue Reading California’s AB 2770 Protects Employers and Victims of Sexual Harassment from Defamation Claims

Say an employee slips $20 from the register and even admits to it when you show the camera footage.  Or, more innocently, say an employee is overpaid $20 entirely by accident.  If the employee refuses to give it back, should you deduct the $20 from the employee’s paycheck?

It depends.  Here are four questions to ask yourself.  Continue Reading Employee Theft: Can Employers Deduct Suspected or Known Theft from an Employee’s Paycheck?

In the employment law arena, plaintiffs frequently bring in federal court both federal and state law claims arising from the same nucleus of fact.  Plaintiffs can do so thanks to 28 U.S.C. § 1367, which permits federal courts to exercise supplemental jurisdiction over state claims arising from the “same case or controversy” as the federal claims.  28 U.S.C. § 1367(a).  If the federal court dismisses the federal claims, often the court will decline to retain jurisdiction over just the state law claims and, consequently, dismisses those, too.  See 28 U.S.C. § 1367(c)(3).  If that happens, how long does the plaintiff have to re-file in state court the state law claims, which have not been adjudicated on the merits?  The answer lies in 28 U.S.C. § 1367(d), which reads in relevant part:

Continue Reading Federal Court Filing Stops The Clock On State Law Claim Limitations Periods