Articles, news & events

Read the latest news from The Scali Law Firm, including legal alerts and event listings.

Pregnancy disability leave protections beyond other medical leaves

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When an employee takes time off of work for a disability related to pregnancy or childbirth, multiple protected leaves of absence are in effect. But employers should be aware that pregnancy disability leaves offer more protections to employees in some important ways.

New restrictions for choice of law provisions in employee contracts

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It is not uncommon an employer operating in multiple states to require its employees who live or work within California to litigate any employment-related disputes outside of California under the law of a different state. Now, that’s no bueno. Employers cannot require employees who live and work in California to agree, as a condition of employment, to litigate or arbitrate outside of California claims that arise in California, or to apply non-California law to a controversy arising in California.

Rest means rest

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Last week, the California Supreme Court reversed the Court of Appeal in Augustus v. ABM Sec. Srvs., Inc., holding that “on duty” and “on call” rest periods are against California law under Labor Code section 226.7 and ICW Wage Order 4. While this Wage Order is not applicable to dealership employees, they fall under Wage Order 7, which contains the same rest break provision. Therefore, this case highlights how the Supreme Court may rule on rest breaks for dealership employees. The rule is: (1) For a rest break to be proper employees must be relieved of all duties and the employer must relinquish any control over the employee (but, requiring them to remain onsite does not establish control), and (2) requiring employees to be on call (even if you are not usually called) does not relieve them of all duties.

City of Los Angeles bans the box

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The City of Los Angeles recently passed the Fair Chance Initiative, a new ordinance banning the use of any questions regarding an applicant’s criminal history in the pre-offer stage of the hiring process. Effective January 22, 2017, employers cannot ask about a job applicant’s criminal history until a conditional offer of employment (conditioned only on an assessment of the employee’s criminal history and the job duties) has been made. This rule applies to any employer located or doing business in the City of Los Angeles who employs ten or more employees. The ordinance also provides a private right of action, and imposes penalties of up to $2,000 for repeat violations.

California Supreme Court hands important victory to dealers in the Raceway Ford cases

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On December 15th, the California Supreme Court delivered its much-anticipated decision in the Raceway Ford Cases, holding that the practice of backdating second or subsequent contracts did not violate the Automobile Sales Finance Act (Cal. Civil Code §§ 2981, et seq. known as “ASFA”) and that the disclosure of inaccurate smog fees did not entitle buyers to the remedy of rescission under ASFA where the error was an accidental or bona fide error in computation. In so doing, the Supreme Court specifically overturned the Court of Appeal’s decision in the 2010 case of Nelson v. Pearson Ford, which held that the backdating of contracts violated ASFA because it resulted in an illegal finance charge, and also violated ASFA’s “single document rule.” Importantly, the Court also affirmed the large award of attorney’s fees to Raceway Ford on the backdating claims.

Company parties

Coffee Break: HR Minute

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In Coffee Break episode 17, Chris and Jennifer review important HR dos and don'ts when planning a company party.

Court of appeal’s favorable ruling on dealership’s informal hold check agreement will stand

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In August of this year, the California Court of Appeal in Nichols v. Century West, LLC. et al. held that a dealer’s informal agreement with a customer to delay depositing her down payment checks did not constitute an undisclosed deferred down payment on the sales contract, nor did it violate the single document rule. The challenges to this decision were resolved earlier this month and the remittitur issued last Monday. So, this is the law of the land. Nonetheless, Nichols leaves some unanswered questions and we strongly recommend consulting with an automotive attorney before changing your polices concerning deferred down payments.