Articles Posted in New Laws

In U.S.C. 1030.

He, in turn, filed a motion for dismissal, saying that law was only applicable to computer hackers – not someone who had access to company files and misused them. At first, the district court rejected this claim, saying that when someone access that information with the intent to defraud, they could be found in violation.

But had this ruling held, it would have meant essentially that the courts were turning a violation of company policy into computer crimes – a big leap from the intent of the law.

This is where the Facebook issue comes into play. If you access your Facebook account on company time – even though it’s a violation of company policy, you might rightly face some form of sanction from your employer. However, by no means should such an action be considered criminal.

This doesn’t necessarily mean that what the former employee did was right – or that it was not a crime- but not under this statute.

The chief judge in his opinion noted that computers have become an integral part of our daily lives that are used for both work and play. In some instances, he noted, computers are used for play at work. To curb abuse of this during work hours, most companies have adopted some policy that forbids using work computers for non-work purposes. But does a worker who violates this policy also break federal law? Or, what about someone who violates the service terms of a social networking site, such as Facebook? Both of these questions would depend on how broadly the court would interpret the Computer Fraud Abuse Act.

And thankfully, the court has decided not to expand the scope of the law, which would have made criminal prosecutions for these actions a real possibility.
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Beginning January 1, 2009, California’s Senate Bill 940 creates new requirements for employers in the temporary service field. Although current laws require employers to pay employees at least twice a month, new law mandates that temporary service employers pay employees on a week to week assignments weekly and those working day to day daily. This bill would not apply to employees who are assigned to an employer for more than 90 days. This new law will be codified under Labor Code section 201.3. Those employers who use the services of temporary agencies should be very careful in making sure that their vendors are in compliance with this new law.

In the case of McDonald v . Antelope Valley Community College Dist. 45 Cal.4th 88, California Supreme Court held that employees may now have more than one year to file their claim and request a “Right to Sue” letter from the Department of Fair Housing as required by the FEHA Act. The Act applies to cases involving sexual harassment, sexual, racial, or disability discrimination and cases involving failure to accommodate a disability or retaliation. According to the court the doctrine of “equitable tolling” may apply to FEHAs one year statute of limitations and toll the limitations period while the employee is pursuing other available remedies such as an internal investigation by the employer or agency.

It generally takes months and years before a piece of legislation such as the Federal Medical Leave Act (FMLA) can become law. However, apparently in the last 60 days of an administration, the outgoing president can get new rules onto the books without input from congress. This is sometimes called “midnight rule-making” – even if 60 days (or the 30-day waiting period for lesser rules) make for a long midnight.

FMLA was passed during the Clinton administration, to address issues related to leaves requested by employees who needed to attend to their own medical conditions or conditions of a family member. FMLA lets workers take unpaid leave to tend to medical and family needs. To learn more about FMLA and its California counterpart visit our site at Draft regulations put forth by the Department of Labor have now become official through the 60 day rule. Although there are aspects of the law that are welcomed by most ( help provided to military families) there are changes implemented than can severely affect an employee’s rights. For a detailed review of new changes visit DOL’s site at The new changes put in place will take effect on January 19, 2009.

Among the most controversial new requirements is the requirement that workers must warn their bosses that they are planning to miss work “absent unusual circumstances.” This could severely affect the rights of those workers who may suffer a sudden illness or be faced with an immediate need to care for a loved one. Another rule change that will negatively impact the workforce is that the employers will be allowed to consider FMLA absences in determining bonuses and other rewards. Employers will be able to disqualify employees from bonuses or other payments based on achievement of a specified job-related performance goal (such as attendance) when the employee has not met the goal due to FMLA leave, so long as this is done in a nondiscriminatory manner.

The U.S House of Representatives has passed the Paycheck Fairness Act of 2008 by a 247-178 vote. The bill will now head to Senate under a threat of veto by President Bush. The measure (HR1338) which was supported by the AFL-CIO, women’s groups and the ACLU, while many employer and business groups voiced their concern over the measure’s impact on the economy. The bill will most notably lift any cap on the amount of damages that can be awarded to female employees who sue and prevail alleging wage discrimination. Furthermore, the bill makes it easier for women who feel that they are being discriminated against by being paid less than male co-workers. The measure also would prohibit employers from retaliating against employees who share salary information with their co-workers. Proponents of the bill claim that the Act would strengthen the Equal Pay Act of 1963 and expand available damages. They specially point to study by the Census Bureau in 2006 which stated that women make about 77 percent as much as men do and that minority women are even worse off. According to the study African American women make 66 cents on the dollar compared to the highest earners (white men), while Hispanic women make only 55 cents. Opponents claim that the Act would oblige the government to adopt “junk science” by requiring use of flawed surveys and studies and that the only winners would be trial lawyers who can now demand high punitive damages. Obviously if this bill becomes law it will be applied as a federal law. This Act was in part in response to Lilly Ledbetter’s case against Goodyear. Lilly who had worked for Goodyear for 19 years sued when she discovered she was being paid much less than every single one doing the same work she was. Although she was awarded $3,000,000 in punitive damages, the judge had cut the award to $300,000 citing 1991 law that limited a company’s liability for damages.

Welcome to Employment Law Team’s blog. Our hope is that in these pages we can expose the general public and our clients to the latest developments in the labor and employment filed. Our office regularly represents individuals and sometimes companies in cases involving age discrimination, sexual harassment, disability, racial discrimination, denial of FMLA leave, non-payment of wages and failure to comply with other state and federal laws. Our website, addresses issues of concern to employees and employers and we routinely update sections dealing with cases that we handle and note worthy news stories. We have offices in Orange county, Los Angeles, San Bernardino and service Riverside and San Diego as well. We hope that our blog will be a forum for those interested in making sure justice in the workplace is served and that we can address topics of concern to you. This week we would like to highlight the passage of ADA Amendment Act of 2008. The Bill passed the House 402 to 17 and if enacted into law it would help restore protection to those with physical or mental disability that materially impairs a major life activity. The bill will now go to the senate for consideration. According to the bill, when deciding as to whether a person is disabled courts should not consider the effects of “mitigating measures” like prescription drugs. The bill also adds that “an impairment that is episodic or in remission is a disability if it would substantially limit a major life activity when active.” The passage of this bill is considered a big win for the employees all over the United States.

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