Catching Up (Again)

I realize that my recent life circumstances have put me way behind on recent CA HR news. Here we go:

Remember that Living Wage Case I wrote about here and here? Well, as it turns out, about a month ago, the California Court of Appeals upheld the trial court’s ruling which awarded the employees over $1.5 million for back wages and attorneys’ fees.

From the San Francisco Business Times:

Cintas Corp. will pay more than $1.65 million in back wages, interest and penalties related to violating the city of Hayward’s living-wage ordinance after the California Supreme Court rejected the company’s appeal on Wednesday.

The 219 workers, including current and former workers of Cintas’ San Leandro and Union City laundries, originally filed suit against the Cincinnati company in 2003.

Cintas appealed Alameda County Superior Court Judge Steven Brick’s 2006 award, but a three-appellate justice panel in San Francisco upheld the lower court’s ruling.

The award includes $805,243 in back wages plus $375,000 in pre-judgment interest. Cintas now owes another $250,000 in estimated post-judgment interest and must pay $258,900 in civil penalties to be divided between the state and the workers under California’s Private Attorney General’s Act, also know as the “Sue Your Boss Law.”

I’m glad that this one is finally over.

In other news, the Governor vetoed a number of employment law bills. Shaw Valenza does a good job of listing them and I don’t want to steal their thunder. Storm’s California Employment Law blog also does a great job.

California computer professionals were given a yet another new set of exemption rules.

From the Griego Law blog:

On September 30, 2008, Governor Schwarzenegger signed AB 10 which modifies Labor Code Section 515.5 – the statute that exempts computer software field employees from the overtime requirements of California law. Last year the “Governator” signed SB 929 which reduced the hourly rate computer workers must earn in order to be exempt from the overtime regulations of California law from $49.77 per hour to $36.00 per hour. Prior to passing AB 10, employers could pay computer software workers $36.00 per hour or the salary equivalent: $74,880.00. The new law, which is effective immediately, requires employers to either pay the $36.00 per hour rate or a salary of $75,000.00 per year, in no less than monthly payments of $6,250.00 per month.

It seems that the proverbial “they” just can’t make up their proverbial minds as to what to do with those pesky computer professionals.

In regard to Brinker, the Wage Law blog informs us that the Supreme Court granted review of the case.

Finally, SHRM reports that California Workers’ Compensation premiums may rise in the upcoming year:

The Workers’ Compensation Insurance Rating Bureau (WCIRB) has recommended to California Insurance Commissioner Steve Poizner that workers’ comp insurance pure premium rates increase by 16 percent for new and renewing policies, effective Jan. 1, 2009. According to the WCIRB (which is a nonprofit association of workers’ compensation insurers and the designated statistical agent of the California Insurance Commissioner), its proposal is based largely on data indicating a steep rise in medical costs related to comp claims. The WCIRB has also indicated that if the governor signs legislation to increase workers’ comp disability payment levels, it will recommend an additional increase of 3.7 percent.

Even though the increase could come as a shock for some employers, rates will still be far below where they stood before the reforms. In particular, the average pure premium rate in 2009 would be $1.95 per $100 of payroll, compared to an average rate of $4.81 just before the reforms took effect.

Whew. While I’m sure that I’m not completely caught up in the world of California HR, at least I’ve given myself a good start.

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