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Read the latest news from The Scali Law Firm, including legal alerts and event listings.

The Scali Law Firm revises CNCDA’s Advertising Law Manual

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The Scali Law Firm is pleased to announce that it has been chosen by the California New Car Dealers Association (CNCDA) to revise its 2015 Advertising Law Manual, published and available to California auto dealers who are members of the CNCDA. In 2015, the Scali Law Firm was asked to do a substantial re-write and re-working of the CNCDA’s first Advertising Law Manual, originally published in 2006, before the proliferation of digital and Internet vehicle advertising. The 2015 re-work focused on advertising in electronic media and via digital platforms.

Individual PAGA claims can be arbitrated, says the Ninth Circuit

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In an unpublished decision in March, the Ninth Circuit (the federal circuit court governing California, Oregon, Washington, Nevada, Arizona, Hawaii, Alaska, Montana and Idaho) permitted arbitration of a worker's Private Attorneys General Act (PAGA) claim, holding that an individual employee contract can bind government parties. The California Supreme Court's Iskanian v. CLS Transportation Los Angeles decision "does not require that a PAGA claim be pursued in a judicial forum," the court said, and "clearly contemplate[d] that an individual employee can pursue a PAGA claim in arbitration, and thus that individual employees can bind the state to an arbitral forum."

Complying with California wage and hour law for commissioned employees in the aftermath of Vaquero v. Stoneledge Furniture LLC

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Dealerships are taking another look at their commission pay plans in light of the recent California Court of Appeal case of Vaquero v. Stoneledge Furniture, LLC., which we featured in our March 1, 2017 Alert article. The Vaquero Court held that commission pay plans providing base pay covering time spent on rest breaks that could be “clawed-back” subject to future earnings was invalid under California law. Specifically, the Court held that employees who earn only commissions must be paid separately for rest breaks (since the commissions do not cover time spent resting), and that employers who pay employees both hourly wages and some form of incentive pay, including commissions, violate the rest period pay requirement if they claw back any part of the employees’ base hourly pay as a draw or advance against commissions.

Complying with the New Buyer’s Guide

Dealers continue to have questions on implementation

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As you have probably read, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC)’s new version of the Buyers Guide took effect on January 27, 2017. We recommend upgrading to the new version and here are a few main issues to consider regarding its use.

Dealers continue to successfully fight terminations

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On March 15, 2017, the California New Motor Vehicle Board unanimously adopted a proposed decision sustaining the consolidated protests by Dependable Dodge to notices of termination of its franchises. The administrative law judge found, among other findings, that FCA’s use of a generic Minimum Sales Responsibility was not “tailored and nuanced enough to measure how well a dealer is performing given those unique aspects of the environment and market that are outside its control.” (Proposed Decision ¶ 142.) This is the second of two recent cases challenging OEM’s reliance on statewide standards to terminate California franchises, and part of what could be a bigger trend nationally.

DMV to adopt new proposed regulations for highly autonomous vehicles

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On April 25, 2017 the Department of Motor Vehicles will hold a public hearing in Sacramento for comments on its new proposed regulations for testing and deployment of highly autonomous vehicles (“HAV”) on California roadways. The hearing will happen just one month before the National Highway Safety Administration holds its workshop on June 28, 2017, in Washington D.C., to examine the consumer privacy and security issues posed by automated and “connected” vehicles. The DMV’s new proposed regulations include a requirement that HAVs without a driver be monitored remotely by a person able to take control of the car in case of an emergency. NHTSA’s June workshop should provide insight on the extent to which California’s proposal for “remote” control capabilities of HAV test vehicles lines up with the NHTSA’s vision for the driverless car future.

Workplace investigations

Important tips for planning and implementing them

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When you become aware of a potential violation of law or Company policy, as a conscientious Human Resources professional or Company manager you want to promptly and appropriately address the situation and more forward. However, managers often jump to focus on the corrective measures they think will appropriately address the situation before stopping to consider that there may be other sides to the story of which they are not aware. Moreover, should your corrective action result in some adverse employment action, such as discipline, demotion or termination, your process of determining the appropriate corrective action will be subject to second-guessing and scrutiny should the employee later challenge the action. While your corrective process may be correct and may have been the fair and appropriate response, you can save your employer the time and expense of proving that point in court or before an arbitrator if you focus on conducting a fair and effective investigation instead of worrying about the result.

What’s in your FCRA disclosure form?

A recent court case serves as a warning to employers

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Under the federal Fair Credit Reporting Act (“FCRA”) employers who use background checks (such as criminal history or credit reports) of applicants or employees are required to provide clear and conspicuous written disclosure of the applicant/employee’s rights under the FCRA. The written disclosure must be provided in a document that consists solely of the disclosure. The third-parties doing the background checks often provide employers their own disclosure forms to give to applicants, and the employers might assume that these forms are legally compliant.

The FTC Sage settlement

What we can learn from the misfortune of others

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As many of you have read, last month The Sage Automotive Group, a California dealer group, reached a settlement agreement with the Federal Trade Commission for charges that the dealership group used deceptive and unfair sales and financing practices, deceptive advertising, and deceptive online reviews. The FTC described the charges as the first in the nation brought by the FTC for so-called “yo-yo financing.” Now that the dust has settled, this brief article looks at the allegations and discusses some best practices to avoid suffering a similar fate.

Clarification of wage statement obligations

Coffee Break: HR Minute

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In Coffee Break episode 25, Chris and Jennifer discuss California's wage statement requirements and explain recent clarifications to the labor code.