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December 2005



Meal and Rest Period Penalties

A California appeals court has issued the first opinion holding that the one hour of pay for meal and rest period violations is a penalty, not wages. By issuing this decision, the court ruled that these claims have a one-year, rather than three-year statute of limitations. Class action claims for meal and rest period violations have been on the rise because they have the potential for substantial liability arising from per-day, per-employee penalties.


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【ベネフィット】2006 Mileage Rate

2006 Mileage Rate

Beginning January 1, 2006, the amount employers may deduct for the reimbursement of
employees who use their own cars for company business, will be 44.5 cents per business
mile driven. This is the standard mileage rate approved by the Internal Revenue Service
(IRS) to calculate the deductible costs of operating an automobile for business.



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Employee Must Provide Care to Qualify for Leave

The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) allows an employee up to twelve weeks of leave during a twelve month period to care for the employee's own serious illness or that of a parent, spouse or child. A recent decision of the federal Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals makes it clear that, during the leave, the employee must actually provide care to a covered family member to claim protection of the law.


What Should You Do?
・Include a description of family medical leave in your employee handbook if your company has more than fifty employees.
・Train your managers and supervisors to recognize when an employee's request for time off involves family medical leave.
・Provide timely notification to an employee whose absence is covered by family medical leave.


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Disability Protections in California

In an important recent decision, the federal Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has again reminded us that the California Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) goes farther than federal law in protecting employees and applicants with disabilities. The decision points out two important differences. First, FEHA says a medical condition is disabling if it merely "limits a major life activity," while the federal Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requires a "substantial" limitation. Second, when considering the major life activity of working, the court said an individual is disabled under California law if he or she is prevented from working a particular kind of employment, something less than a substantial class or broad range of jobs as under federal law.


What Should You Do?
・Prohibit discrimination on account of disability or perceived disability in your equal employment opportunity policy and employee handbook.
・Train hiring managers on both federal and state protections for disabled applicants, including the obligation to provide reasonable accommodation during the hiring process.
・Train all managers to recognize when a disability may require reasonable accommodation for an employee or applicant, including one returning from a work-related injury.


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