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California’s Rules Regarding Mandatory Arbitration

Arbitration is when a dispute between two parties, such as an employer and employee, submit their differences to ultimately be decided in court. A mandatory arbitration refers to an arbitration agreement that an employer requires new employees to sign as a condition of employment or requires existing employees to sign as a condition to continue their employment.

California’s rules on mandatory arbitration are often referred to as the Armendariz standards, based on the name of the leading court decision. Under these standards, an arbitration agreement must be mutual, not one sided, and not impose any added costs or fees on an employee that would not have applied in litigation.

As mentioned by the Society of Human Resource Management, the California Supreme Court’s new decision states that “a provision in an arbitration agreement isn’t enforceable if it waives the right to seek public injunctive relief in any forum. Public injunctive relief is meant to prohibit activities that “threaten future injury to the general public” and allows a plaintiff to ask the court to prevent a defendant from engaging in allegedly unlawful practice in the future.”

Dr. Phil Sued for False Imprisonment and Wrongful Termination

Bullying On The Job MeetingDr. Phil ex-employee, Leah Rothman claims TV icon, Dr. Phil McGraw locked 300 employees in a room staffed by security guards as he made accusations that one of them had leaked information to the media.

Rothman’s lawsuit against Dr. Phil McGraw, his production company and CBS claims she was forced to quit the show in April 2015 due to a hostile work environment. She had worked on the show since 2003.

“If you f— with me, I’ll f— with you,” McGraw told the staff, according to the lawsuit.

As described by NY Daily News, to make matters worse, Rothman claims McGraw already knew which employee had leaked the information — and that the harrowing meeting was nothing more than a twisted scare tactic.

Rothman, quit her job last April, claiming the emotional stress caused by McGraw’s frightening confrontation became too much to bear.

She is now suing the TV icon for false imprisonment and emotional distress — as well as wrongful constructive termination and whistle blower retaliation.

 

New Changes to California Whistleblower Retaliation Laws

Whistle BlowerWhistleblower laws protects an employee from being retaliated against after reporting an employer that has violated the law or breached the public trust. Under the California Labor Code Section 1102.5, employers cannot create or enforce any rules preventing employees from whistleblowing. If an employer retaliates against a whistleblower, the employer may be required to reinstate the employee’s employment and work benefits, pay lost wages, and take other steps necessary to comply with the law.

The recent law changes now extends this protection to employees who make internal reports about suspected violations of the federal securities laws and other anti-fraud statutes, even if they never report the suspected violations to the Securities and Exchange Commission.

As stated by the California Department of Industrial Relations (DIR), the law protects an employee who discloses information to “a government or law enforcement agency, person with authority over the employee, or to another employee with authority to investigate, discover, or correct the violation or noncompliance, or who provides information to or testifies before a public body conducting an investigation, hearing or inquiry, where the employee has reasonable cause to believe that the information discloses.”

 

San Jose’s Opportunity to Work Ordinance

San JoseUnder the new ordinance, that became effective on March 13, employers with 36 or more employees must offer additional work hours to existing qualified part-time workers before hiring new employees including subcontractors or the use of temporary staffing services. The San Jose Opportunity to Work Ordinance was initiated in November 2016 in the general election ballot, which was approved by 63% of San Jose voters.

The ordinance was created in an effort to promote full-time jobs in the city of San Jose and deter companies from hiring more part-time employees to avoid health insurance and other related costs. The new law will affect about 1,200 nonprofit and for-profit employers, and about 64,00 part-time workers.

As stated by the National Law Review, the ordinance requires employers to maintain the following records for four years:

  • Work schedules and employment and payroll records pertaining to current and former Employees;

  • Copies of written offers to current and former part-time employees for additional work hours (the Ordinance does not appear to require the offer be written, but this provision suggests employers ought to ensure all offers are, in fact, made in writing); and

  • Any other records the Office of Equality Assurance may require that Employers maintain to demonstrate compliance.

A violation of the ordinance is subject to a warning by the San Jose Office of Equality Assurance. Any subsequent violation may expose an employer to substantial civil penalties, and even civil litigation.