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Monday, August 29, 2011

Does your company need employee manuals?

Most companies have employee handbooks, but are they necessary? There are definite advantages to having a handbook, such as promoting equal and standardized treatment of all employees. Once rules and procedures are written down, it makes training new employees a breeze. Below are some suggestions for handbooks that can greatly assist an employer in maintaining a safe, legally compliant and enjoyable business.
In California every business is required to provide their employees with certain written policies, such as an at-will policy, sexual harassment policy, anti-harassment policy, safety policy, paid family leave policy, as well as the required information that must be provided with respect to the Earned Income Tax Credit Information Act, state disability insurance, workers compensation benefits, and unemployment compensation.
The "At Will" Policy Despite that California law presumes that all employment is at will, there are exceptions. The employee handbook should address the "implied contract" exception. Under a implied contract theory, if an employee has been with the company for a long time and continues to excel and is promised a future at the company, they could claim, upon termination, that the employer breached an implied contract that the employee would be terminated only for "cause." It basically becomes a "he said/she said" situation. However, if the employee has signed an acknowledgment of the employee handbook that clearly states the employment is at will, the acknowledgment supersedes any argument to the contrary. In the handbooks that are drafted by RAXTER LAW, the "at will" employment clause is placed in numerous places within the manual. Harassment Laws The employee handbook should include a detailed section incorporating the legal definition of harassment, the remedies for the victim and the consequences for the perpetrator. California employers are required to provide this information in writing. Privacy Issues It is crucial to discuss whether the company considers voice mails, emails and other electronic communications (that uses company property/equipment) to be private. By law, employees are entitled to a reasonable expectation of privacy. Safety Laws Many employers have become lax in including the required statements regarding workplace safety. All California employers must have a separate Injury and Illness Prevention Program manual. Leaves of Absences As you know, or will soon find out, the interaction of numerous laws concerning medical and other leaves of absences is daunting. Having these policies written in "plain language" is helpful for everyone. Moreover, California law requires employers to provide information on the relatively new Paid Family Leave Act, and information about pregnancy leave rights.
By having a complete but straightforward employee handbook, an employer can promote fairness and
consistency in the workplace and minimize the risk of the kind of arbitrary conduct that can easily lead to lawsuits.

For more information and a printable flyer you can click below:
RAXTER LAW 27186 Newport Rd, Suite 2
Menifee, Ca 92584 (951) 226-5294

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Landlords must install carbon monoxide detectors

Numerous deaths have occurred because of carbon monoxide poisoning.  In response, California requires every dwelling unit to have and maintain a carbon monoxide detector. But, what if you are a landlord?  California legislators have thought about that (you didn’t think they would forget landlords did you?).  California places the responsibility for installing and maintaining a CO2 detector on landlords.
In 2010, the California legislature enacted the Carbon Monoxide Poisoning Prevention Act of 2010 with the intent to prevent death and illness resulting from carbon monoxide poisoning.
In addition to the act, further legislation was added requiring that the owners of all rental units with a fossil fuel burning heater or appliance, a fireplace, or an attached garage, install and maintain carbon monoxide detection devices in the unit. This mandate is effective on July 1, 2011 for existing single-family dwelling units, and on January 1, 2013, for all other existing dwelling units.
The new law further requires that the carbon monoxide detector be operable when the tenant takes possession of the unit. Tenants are responsible for notifying the landlord of any problem with the detector, and the landlord has the responsibility to correct any reported problems.
Landlords may enter the units to install, repair, test, and maintain carbon monoxide detection devices.