• Senate legislation passes important changes to employment laws in California

    Posted January 2, 2013 By in Recent News With | No Comments

    In the last quarter of 2012 California Assembly and Senate legislation was passed that make several important changes to employment laws in California. These changes will go into effect no later than January 1, 2013. As an extra value service to our friends, colleagues and clients, BDG provides to you a summary of those bills that may impact you and your business. BDG has an exceptional strong labor and employment practice representing private and public entity clients, and should you require, BDG can evaluate your existing handbook and ascertain what revisions are necessary in light of these changes.

    Have a very happy and healthy New Year.

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    AB 1744—Hiring notice and wage statement obligations for temporary services employers

    This bill amends Labor Code sections 226 and 2810.5, and adds new Labor Code section 226.1. Under the existing Wage Theft Prevention Act of 2011, employers must provide their non-exempt employees a written notice at the time of hiring that contains specified information, such as the rate and basis of the employee’s wages, and the employer’s name, address, and telephone number.

    This bill provides that, for temporary services employers (defined in Labor Code section 201.3), such notices also must include the name, physical and/or mailing address, and telephone number of the legal entity for whom the employee will perform work. Starting July 1, 2013, this bill further provides that temporary services employers must include on itemized wage statements (in addition to the other information required by existing Labor Code section 226(a)), the employee’s rate of pay and total hours worked for each temporary assignment. This requirement does not apply to licensed security services companies.

    AB 1844—E-mail and social media account passwords

    This bill adds new Labor Code section 980, and prohibits an employer from requiring or requesting an employee or applicant to: (1) disclose a username or password for the purpose of accessing personal social media, (2) access personal social media in the presence of the employer, or (3) divulge any personal social media to the employer.

    The bill also prohibits an employer from discharging, disciplining, threatening to discharge or discipline, or otherwise retaliating against an employee or applicant for not complying with a prohibited request. Employers may, however, continue to request or require passwords to access an employer-provided electronic device. Also, this law does not affect an employer’s existing right to request access to social media when relevant to investigate suspected violations of the law or employee misconduct. California is the third state to enact a social media policy law.

    AB 1964—Religious dress and grooming practices protected By FEHA

    This bill amends the California Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA), Government Code sections 12926 and 12940, to specify the scope of the statute’s protections against potential religious discrimination. The FEHA prohibits an employer from discriminating against an applicant or employee based on his or her religious creed, including all aspects of religious belief, observance, or practice.

    This bill specifies that these protections extend to: (1) “religious dress practices,” which include wearing or carrying religious clothing, head or face coverings, jewelry, artifacts, and any other item that is part of the person’s religious observance; and (2) “religious grooming practices,” which include all forms of head, facial, and body hair that are part of the person’s religious observance.

    The bill further provides that an accommodation of a person’s religious dress or grooming is not reasonable if it would: (a) require segregating the person from other employees or the public, or (b) result in a violation of the FEHA or other civil rights laws.

    Therefore, the employer must consider addressing this bill (1) by amending handbook provisions that make flat prohibitions regarding dress and grooming practices, and (2) addressing accommodation issues as they arise, similar to addressing accommodations for disabilities.

    AB 2103—Overtime rate for non-exempt, full-time salaried employees

    This bill amends Labor Code section 515 to prohibit private agreements that contravene the overtime regular rate calculation required for non-exempt full-time salaried employees. Under existing Labor Code section 515(d), to calculate overtime wages earned by such employees, the regular hourly rate used must be 1/40th of the employee’s weekly salary. This bill specifies that payment of a fixed salary to a non-exempt employee must be deemed compensation only for regular, non-overtime hours worked, “notwithstanding any private agreement to the contrary.”

    AB 2343 – DOJ Criminal History Reports

    This bill requires agencies, organizations, and individuals, that received criminal history information from the California Department of Justice to give notice to an applicant or employee who is the subject of an adverse employment, licensing, or certification decision based on the information obtained. This new reporting requirement models those already found in the Fair Credit Reporting Act and the California Investigative Consumer Reporting Agencies Act.

    AB 2386—Breastfeeding protected under FEHA

    This bill amends the definition of “sex” under the FEHA, Government Code section 12926. Existing law prohibits employment discrimination on the basis of “sex,” defined to include gender; gender identity and expression; and pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions. This bill clarifies that for all purposes under the FEHA, “sex” also includes breastfeeding and related medical conditions. The bill provides this amendment is declaratory of existing law; thus it may be applied retroactively and takes effect immediately.

    AB 2396 – Employment of infants in the entertainment industry

    This bill extends the current law which restricts the employment of infants in the entertainment industry, by requiring the completion and submission of a medical certification and approval before a temporary permit for the employment of the infant may be issued.

    AB 2674—Employees’ right to inspect personnel records; wage statement retention

    This bill amends Labor Code section 1198.5, which gives employees the right to inspect their personnel records at reasonable intervals and times. AB 2674 provides the employer must make the records available for inspection by any current or former employee or his/her representative, and provide a copy of the records, within 30 calendar days from receipt of a written request, or if the parties agree in writing, within no more than 35 calendar days. Employers must make available to the current or former employee or representative a form that can be used for the inspection request. The bill further specifies other time, place, and method obligations for inspection and delivery of the records.

    The bill requires employers to keep a copy of the employee’s personnel records for at least three years after termination of employment. The bill provides that if a current or former employee files a lawsuit against the employer regarding a personnel matter, his or her right to inspect or copy personnel records ceases during the pendency of the lawsuit. The bill further provides that an employer may: (1) designate the person to whom records requests are made, (2) take reasonable steps to verify the identity of the employee or representative making the request, and (3) redact the names of nonsupervisory employees contained in the records.

    AB 2674 also amends Labor Code section 226 with respect to the obligation for employer retention of wage statements. Existing law requires employers to keep copies of wage statements for at least three years, either at the employment site or a central location within the state. This bill clarifies that “copies” may include duplicates of the statements provided to the employee, or computer-generated records that accurately show all information required to be included on the wage statement.

    AB 2675—Written contracts for commission pay: exceptions

    This bill amends Labor Code section 2751, which requires a written contract of employment for services rendered in the state and paid for by commissions. The current statute excludes from its obligations two types of compensation: (1) short-term productivity bonuses such as are paid to retail clerks; and (2) bonus and profit-sharing plans, unless the employer offers to pay a fixed percentage of sales or profits as compensation for work to be performed. This bill adds a third exclusion category for “temporary, variable incentive payments that increase, but do not decrease, payment under the written contract.”

    It is advised that an employer set forth in writing to employees the material terms of all types of compensation paid, including the rates and methods of computation.

    SB 1193 – Human Trafficking

    This bill will require specified employers to post a notice that contains information related to slavery and human trafficking in a conspicuous area, readily visible to employees and the public.

    SB 1255—Remedies for failure to provide accurate itemized wage statements

    This bill amends Labor Code section 226(e) to specify the circumstances when employees may recover penalties under that statute for failure to receive accurate itemized wage statements. Section 226 generally requires employers to provide employees with accurate wage statements showing nine specific categories of information, e.g., gross and net wages earned, deductions, and inclusive pay period dates.

    If an employee suffers “injury” as a result of an employer’s “knowing and intentional” failure to comply with these requirements, the employee can recover certain penalties for each violation, plus costs and attorney’s fees.

    SB 1255 specifies that, for purposes of entitlement to these penalties, an employee is “deemed to suffer injury” in two instances: (1) if the employer fails to provide a wage statement; or (2) if the employer fails to provide accurate and complete information for any of the nine items required, and the employee cannot promptly and easily determine the information from the wage statement alone.

  • Brian J. Bergman has become a shareholder

    Posted By in Recent News With | No Comments

    It is with great pleasure that Bergman Dacey Goldsmith announces that as of January 1, 2013, Brian J. Bergman has become a shareholder. Brian’s practice focuses primarily on environmental, land use, construction, and business litigation. Brian has a broad range of experience in environmental and land use litigation, including matters under CEQA, CERCLA, CWA, OPA, and CAA, eminent domain actions, and nuisance/trespass actions. He has represented clients on matters before the South Coast Air Quality Management District, the California Air Resources Board, Regional Water Quality Control Boards, the State Water Resources Control Board, and the Department of Toxic Substances Control. He is a co-author of California’s Coalition for Adequate School Housing’s 2009 Environmental Mitigation Handbook and has published several articles and given multiple presentations on environmental and land use topics. Brian regularly represents public and private entities in multi-million dollar construction disputes. He has specific expertise in the prosecution and defense of construction claims involving delay, disruption, acceleration, stop notices, performance bonds, and claims under the California Public Contract Code.

    Brian was recognized as a 2010, 2011, and 2012 Southern California Rising Star in environmental and construction litigation and was accepted by the Litigation Counsel of America as an Associate Member. He is a co-founder of the LCA’s International Institute of Natural Resources, Energy, and Environmental Law. He is member of several bar associations.

    Brian was admitted to the State Bar of California in 2005. He received his Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of California, Berkeley, and his Juris Doctor degree from the University of Southern California Gould School of Law. While in law school, he was the Chair of the U.S.C. Hale Moot Court Honors Program and was an extern for the Central District Federal District Magistrate Stephen Hillman.

  • BDG – “Public Construction Projects – How to Get it Right”: ACWA Fall 2012

    Posted November 26, 2012 By in Recent News With | No Comments

    Senior Shareholder Gregory M. Bergman will be moderating a panel, “Public Construction Projects – How to Get It Right,” at the Association of California Water Agencies (“ACWA”) at its Fall 2012 Conference, “California Water … The Next Generation.” The panel is scheduled for 1:30 PM – 2:30 PM on December 5, 2012. The Conference is being held at the Manchester Grand Hyatt in San Diego.

    Greg was named a 2012 California Super Lawyer, was named one of the “Top 10 Environmental Lawyers” in the country by United States Lawyer magazine (2007-2012), and is a member of the ABOTA (American Board of Trial Advocates), a Fellow of the Litigation Counsel of America (only one-half of 1% of American lawyers are accepted), and on the American Inns of Court. Greg’s membership in these elite trial lawyer groups allows us to maximize an early evaluation of opposing attorneys and experts.

    Senior Shareholder John P. Dacey will be the first panelist. His presentation is on “R.I.S.C. – Risks in Public Construction.” John has been recognized as a California Super Lawyer for the past 6 years in Construction Law and has successfully resolved over 500 public and private works disputes. He was the chief outside attorney behind Los Angeles Unified School District’s $29 billion construction program, and recently served as Chairman of a Citizen’s Independent Oversight Panel that made recommendations for improvements to Los Angeles Community College District’s $6 billion building program. The Panel’s Recommendations received high praise and are now being implemented by the District.

    The panel also includes distinguished speakers Eileen Diepenbrock, Mark Budwig, and Mark Parsons. They will be presenting on a wide range of topics including claims, indemnity, contract documents, and construction project experiences at the Metropolitan Water District.

    Please do not hesitate to contact Greg at gbergman@bdgfirm.com or John at jdacey@bdgfirm.com to learn more about this panel. Let us know how we may assist with your public construction needs.

  • BDG Honored by the Black Women Lawyers Association of Los Angeles

    Posted October 3, 2012 By in Recent News With | No Comments

    Bergman Dacey Goldsmith was honored on September 28, 2012, by the Black Women Lawyers Association of Los Angeles with a Special Recognition Award. This Award was given in acknowledgement of Bergman Dacey Goldsmith’s ongoing commitment to the organization’s causes, including scholarships to well-deserving law students. We are exceptionally proud and humbled to have received this Award.

    As a firm, Bergman Dacey Goldsmith has a long and strong commitment to charitable organizations, pro bono work, and cost-effectively handling client matters. We wish the Black Women Lawyers Association of Los Angeles much continued success.

  • Mackrell Environmental Practice Group – 8/22/12 Webinar

    Posted September 13, 2012 By in Recent News With | No Comments

    On August 22, 2012, the Mackrell Environmental Practice Group presented its inaugural webinar. The webinar on current environmental issues across the United States was the result of the joint efforts of Mackrell International members Bergman Dacey Goldsmith, Mehaffy Weber, Kraemer Burns, and Keller and Heckman. The webinar was well-attended. We are pleased to send you copies of the materials prepared by the speakers, with their permission, on the specific topics presented during the webinar. Please contact Greg Bergman with any questions you may have about this webinar.

    Mackrell Hydraulic Fracturing

    Mackrell Hydraulic Fracturing Webinar One-Pager

    Mackrell Vapor Intrusion Green Gas

  • California Covered: Transactional Practice Areas

    Posted July 17, 2012 By in Recent News With | No Comments

    Through a diverse caseload, we offer specialty counseling in several areas of transactional practice. Experience gained through handling thousands of transactional matters prepares the handling attorneys to assist clients in achieving their goals, even in these times. Bergman Dacey Goldsmith and MBV Law LLP each has the capabilities, experience, focus, and legal expertise in varied transactional practice areas and will provide exceptional value for the client’s legal dollars.

    Bergman Dacey Goldsmith is a full-service law firm with offices in Los Angeles and Orange Counties conveniently located to our clients’ places of business in Southern California. We serve international business entities, Fortune 500 corporations and their officers, entrepreneurs, and individual clients. Through a diverse caseload, we offer specialty counseling in a broad range of transactional areas including Business, Corporate, Estate Planning, Probate and Trusts, Real Estate Transactions, Real Property Law, Tax, and Technology. We have the proven ability to work cost-effectively to handle transactional matters with the involvement of our veteran attorneys who have in-depth experience across a broad range of legal fields. Each of our Shareholders and Of Counsel attorneys have at least 16 years of experience. We know how to carefully craft or review legal documents; develop effective, practical strategies to achieve clients’ goals; and generate realistic budgets upfront. The unique combination of our experience, expertise, and value-added focus will provide you with exceptional value for your legal dollars. We provide personalized service and exceptional communication and responsiveness by being available to you 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and have earned our reputation as a ‘no surprises’ law firm.

    MBV Law LLP is a results-oriented law firm which has served as trusted business and litigation counsel to companies and entrepreneurs in the San Francisco Bay Area for over 25 years. The firm has a diverse corporate transactional and counseling practice, including entity formation, start-up and venture finance, M&A, real estate, employment, lending transactions and ownership transition. We staff transactions with efficient teams that deliver cost-effective results. In its M&A practice, MBV represents target and acquiring companies in small and larger mergers and acquisitions transactions. We have handled transactions ranging in size from $1 million to $250 million in enterprise value. Our M&A group is highly experienced; most of our highly credentialed attorneys have more than twenty years of professional experience in their designated areas of legal expertise. The Founding Partner of our transactional practice is a also a Certified Public Accountant, having worked on the audit staff of Ernst and Young, and in the tax department of Deloitte and Touche prior to becoming an attorney. Our M&A services include: deal structuring and planning; Letter of Intent negotiation; due diligence; securities compliance; merger and acquisition agreements; earn-outs, and post-transaction resolution. With deep expertise in transactional matters, MBV is dedicated to understanding our clients’ businesses and providing them with strategic and cost-effective legal advice.

    MBV Law LLP and Bergman Dacey Goldsmith are dedicated to understanding clients’ objectives to assess issues and provide targeted, cost-effective strategic legal services. Our firms’ depth and breadth of experience create exceptional legal value.

    When strength and experience matter, you can have confidence that Bergman Dacey Goldsmith and MBV Law LLP have your transactional needs in California fully covered.

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