Ten New California Employment Laws For 2004

By Daniel Croley Labor and Employment & Litigation, Futterman & Dupree | February 13, 2010

Wage and Hour Lawsuits (Private Attorney General)

While employee rights under the Labor Code abound, an employee may not bring a lawsuit against his employer for a wide variety of violations. Under SB 796, however, they will have a private-right-of-action and the possibility of collecting attorneys' fees for any Labor Code violation for which the Labor Commissioner could impose monetary sanctions. Any damages recovered shall be allocated: 50% to the state; 25% to the employee and 25% to a state educational agency. SB 796 also provides that any misdemeanor violation of the Labor Code shall also be subject to monetary penalties. In the case of employers who have employees at the time of the violation, the penalty will be $100 per employee per pay period for the first infraction up to three years and $200 per employee per pay cycle for each following violation up to three years. For more information, see http://info.sen.ca.gov/pub/bill/asm/ab_0251-0300/ab_276_bill_20030908_chaptered.pdf

Careful employers should audit their wage and hour practices in conjunction with labor counsel to assure that they miss the next wave of wage and hour class actions.

Paid Family Leave

Who's Covered and What's the Benefit?

The same employers covered by State Disability Insurance (SDI) will be covered by "Family Temporary Disability Insurance" (FTDI) and this includes most employees of private employers, regardless of size. Eligible employees will get the greater of 55% of their base pay or $728 weekly for 2004 and $840 for 2005, up to six weeks of leave in any rolling 12 month period. Unlike FMLA and CFRA leave, there is no length of service period, though there is a one week waiting period.

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Social Media: Engagement is Key

There are currently 2.3 billion active users of social media networks and savvy hotel operators have incorporated social media into their marketing mix. There are a few Goliath channels on which one must have a presence (Facebook & Twitter) but there are also several newer upstart channels (Instagram, Snapchat &WeChat, for example) that merit consideration. With its 1.86 billion users, Facebook is a dominant platform where operators can drive brand awareness, facilitate bookings, offer incentives and collect sought-after reviews. Twitter's 284 million users generate 500 million tweets per day, and operators can use its platform for lead generation, building loyalty, and guest interaction. Instagram was originally a small photo-sharing site but it has blown up into a massive photo and video channel. The site can be used to post photos of the hotel property, as well as creating Instagram Stories - personal videos that disappear from the channel after 24 hours. In this regard, Instagram and Snapchat are now in direct competition. WeChat is a Chinese company whose aim is to be the App for Everything - instant messaging, social media, shopping and payment services - all in a single platform. In addition to these channels, blogging continues to be a popular method to establish leadership, enhance reputations, and engage with customers in a direct and personal way. The key to effective use of all social media is to find out where your customers are and then, to the fullest extent possible, engage with them on a personal level. This engagement is what creates a personal connection and sustains brand loyalty. The February Hotel Business Review will explore these issues and examine how some hotels are successfully integrating social media into their operations.