Monthly Archives: May 2008

CONTINUED LIMITATIONS ON ARBITRATION

The recent United States Supreme Court case of Preston v. Ferrer 552 U.S. ___, 128 S. Ct. 978 (decided February 20th, 2008) reaffirmed that challenges to the validity of a contract calling for arbitration ordinarily “should … be considered by an arbitrator, not a court.” In addition, the high court ruled that “When parties agree… Read more »

THE RISK OF FILING A WEAK DISCRIMINATION CLAIM

In the recently published case of Villanueva v. City of Colton a California Superior Court judge awarded summary judgment against the plaintiff’s discrimination claims, which was then upheld on appeal. The court also required Villanueva to pay the $40,000 in attorneys’ fees and costs incurred by the City. In requesting the payment of fees and… Read more »

HOURS WORKED — AND HOURS PAID

One of the trickier parts of wage and hour law involves figuring out when you have to pay employees for certain activities. A listing of the issues should help you to realize your potential exposures: Changing uniforms or clothes De minimis time Different rates of pay Independent training Meal periods Meetings On-call time Standby time… Read more »

THE ADMINISTRATIVE EXEMPTION

A California case, Combs v. SkyRiver Communications, denied a director of network operations his overtime claim. Under both California and Federal law, a person is employed in an administrative capacity when their primary duties are: 1) The performance of office or non-manual work directly related to the management policies with general business operations of the… Read more »

SHOULD YOU BE PAYING TO ORIENT NEW HIRES?

According to the DOL’s Fact Sheet on Hours Worked, orientation and meetings for new hires must be paid if they’re held within normal work hours, are mandatory, related to their employment, and generate some work product. Click here for more information.

WORKPLACE VIOLENCE: REALITY CHECK

According to Bureau of Justice statistics, an estimated 1.7 million workers are injured each year in workplace assaults (that’s an average of 33,000 per week). During the 13-year period from 1992 to 2005, there was an average of 807 workplace homicides a year (15 per week). Workplace violence arises from a variety of circumstances. Some… Read more »

WHEN OSHA COMES CALLING

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration is carrying out Swept Up in Safety Weeks, a series of unannounced workplace inspections that focus on what it calls the four leading causes of accidents: falls, struck by/crushing events, electrocutions, and caught-in-between events. An OSHA “intervention” can be frightening for any business. The agency can fine you or… Read more »

WORKPLACE ELECTRICAL SAFETY: SHOCKING MYTHS

Because electricity is so familiar a force, your employees may think they know all its mysteries. Not so! What they don’t know can hurt – or kill — them. Not long ago, much of the state of Florida went dark. Lights went out. Traffic signals quit, causing huge backups. People were trapped in elevators. It… Read more »