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Law Practice Management and Technology

The Bottom Line Volume 34, No. 1, February 2013

New California Employment Laws Effective on Passing in 2012 or on January 1, 2013 for all California Employers

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By Marla Merhab-RobinsonPartners, Edge International

California’s myriad of employment laws apply to all employers, with the exception of certain statutes which are applicable only if the employer has a minimum number of employees. Law firms can find themselves like the cobbler with holes in his shoes or the plumber with his own leaky faucet if they don’t take the time to learn the employment laws that others assume they know. By way of example, international law firm Greenberg Traurig LLP has recently been sued for gender and pay discrimination by a plaintiff seeking $200 million. Many will recall what was at the time one of the largest punitive awards in a sexual harassment case against law firm giant Baker & McKenzie. The point here is, to protect your firm you need to be proactive. To be proactive, you need to know employment law. This article will describe the new laws for 2013 as well as those adopted in 2012 that went into effect immediately on passage.

Breastfeeding at the Workplace Protected from Discrimination. AB 2386 (Stats 2012 ch. 701) expands the Fair Employment and Housing Act’s (“FEHA”) definition of sex set forth in California Government Code § 12926(q) for purposes of discrimination protections to include "breastfeeding" and "medical conditions related to breastfeeding". The law was determined to be “declaratory of existing law” meaning it was effective immediately on passage (September 28, 2012). Proactive employers should immediately update their employee handbooks to reflect the broadened scope of FEHA.

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