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Employee Rights Archives

Supreme Court to rule on hospital pensions

People in California who work for church-affiliated hospitals might be interested to learn that the U.S. Supreme Court is hearing arguments about whether those hospitals can be considered religious nonprofits. If so, their pension plans will continue to be exempt from Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 rules.

5 CFRA policies your boss may have skipped over

The California Family Rights Act applies to companies with 50 or more full- or part-time employees. It allows those employees to take extended leave of up to 12 weeks under certain conditions and with certain benefits. Basically, those who have been employed for 12 months and worked at least 1,250 hours during that time would be eligible for CFRA leave. While away from the workplace, they would still be entitled to coverage under the company's health insurance plan and would be able to return to the jobs they had or, if unavailable, to comparable positions. Updates to the act were made in 2015, but some companies may not have made all the adjustments. Here are five changes employers should implement:

9th Circuit rules on Dodd-Frank whistleblower protection

On March 9, it was reported that the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit affirmed a decision made by a California court involving a person who was terminated after reporting another employee's misconduct to the company. The company had argued that the person was not protected against retaliation as he had not made a report to the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Is HR really looking out for you?

As an employee, you depend upon your HR department to protect you in the event that you encounter challenges in the workplace. When you reach out to them for assistance, you trust that they will take action to address the problems and ensure that they do not happen again. Unfortunately, this is not always the case.

Uncertainty around LGBTQ rights in the workplace

California LGBTQ employees who are currently protected from workplace discrimination may wonder if that will change under the Trump administration. In 2014, an executive order signed by Barack Obama prohibited discrimination based on gender identity or sexual orientation by federal contractors. It extended protections put in place by Lyndon Johnson in 1965 that made discrimination on the basis of race, national origin, religion, sex and color illegal. However, conflicting information has come from the Trump administration as to whether it will continue to protect these rights.

Timekeeping software allows employers to edit workers' hours

Employees in California who have their work hours recorded electronically and tallied by software might have little control over the accuracy of their time sheets. University researchers studied the tutorials, promotional information, and support materials for 13 types of software in widespread use among employers. Their findings showed that managers had easy access to data and could alter work hours without the knowledge of employees. The timekeeping programs also rounded work hours and automatically deducted break times.

Understanding your rights and responsibilities when it comes to sexual harassment in the workplace

The U.S. Equal Opportunity Employment Commission (EEOC) defines sexual harassment as "unwelcome sexual advances of a sexual nature which unreasonably interferes with the performance of a person's job or creates an intimidating, hostile, or offensive work environment. It is a serious problem in California, and you have a right to be protected against sexual harassment at your place of employment. There are both state and federal guidelines that prohibit harassment.

Department of Labor highlights retaliation concerns

If you're a worker and your employer is doing something wrong, it's your right to complain or report them without retaliation. That's the law at its core: a fundamental principle to protect workers and to keep a balance of power between employers and employees.

Wells Fargo facing ERISA lawsuits over fall in stock price

California residents may have read reports about widespread misconduct and unethical sales practices at Wells Fargo & Company. Investigators discovered that low-level sales employees opened millions of accounts without permission in order to meet performance standards and earn bonuses, and it was subsequently learned that senior executives were likely aware that this was going on. The resulting backlash saw the value of Wells Fargo stock plunge by as much as 15 percent, and the San Francisco-based company is now facing several lawsuits from current and former employees over the effect that this devaluation has had on the value of its retirement plan.

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