As employment law is constantly evolving, employers need to keep informed about developments in the area.  Following are some changes in employment law for 2009. 

  • Text Messaging and Emailing While Driving.  The prohibition on using cell phones while driving has been extended to include a ban on writing, reading or sending text messages, including IM’s and email.  The new statute clarifies that is not a violation for a driver to enter a phone number into a phone for the purpose of making or receiving a call, provided, of course, that the call is made on a hands-free device.
  • Overtime for Computer Professionals.  California’s overtime exemption for certain professionals in the computer field has been extended to those employees who earn at least $75,000 per year for full-time employment, which is paid at least once a month and in a monthly amount of not less than six thousand two hundred fifty dollars ($6,250). Effective January 1, 2009, the minimum salary is $79,050, reflecting the 5.4% increase in the California Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers.
  • Wages for Temporary Workers.   Employees of temporary agencies must be paid weekly or daily, unless the worker is assigned to a client for more than 90 consecutive days.  Workers must be paid at least weekly.  Some workers must be paid daily, including those non-professional employees who work for a client on a day-to-day basis where the employee reports to the office of the temp agency or other location and is dispatched to the client’s worksite and returns to the office at the end of the assignment.  Civil and criminal penalties may be imposed for violations. 
  • Falsified Timesheets.  It is a misdemeanor for an employer to require an employee, as a condition of being paid, to execute a release which includes a statement of the hours he or she worked during a pay period which the employer knows to be false.  Such a release is null and void. 
  • California Overtime Laws and Non-resident Workers.  In Sullivan v. Oracle Corp., 547 F.3d 1177 (9th Cir. 2008), the Ninth Circuit held that the overtime provisions of California’s Labor Code apply to work performed in California by residents of Colorado and Arizona for a California employer.  However, the Ninth Circuit has since withdrawn that opinion, and certified the question for the California Supreme Court.  As such, it is presently unclear whether California’s law would apply in such situations.  Employers with non-resident employees working in California should consult the law of both California and the resident state.    

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