New California Labor Law and a Justin Bieber Lawsuit


Los Angeles, CA A number of changes to California labor law for 2013 are designed to further enhance protections for workers, employees and laborers toiling in the state. To that end it’s useful for both employers and employees to be up to speed on these changes, in the event there should ever be a problem.

As for Bieber’s bodyguard, we’ll get back to that. It does prove, however, that even famous celebrities are often themselves, employers and thus are required to subscribe to the same rules and regulations as everyone else.

One update to the California labor code that came into effect the first of the month has to do with social media, and the rights employees have in that regard. An employer does not have the right to ask for user names or passwords to social media accounts or other similar accounts from either employees or job applicants, with an eye to perusing the bowels of a Facebook or twitter account--or even email--for the purposes of obtaining background information on the employee, or prospective employee.

While California and labor law provides for exceptions to that rule in the event a formal investigation into employee conduct is ever needed, user names and passwords are otherwise off limits. Any employer who requires them or even uses them to dig into an employee’s life without just cause could be faced with a California labor lawsuit.

Other updates to California labor employment law, as outlined in The San Diego Union-Tribune (1/10/13) include updated rights for ex-employees to access their personal work records--a right that has always been available to current employees. 2013 also marked the beginning of updated amendments to contracts for commissioned employees.

California state labor laws require employers to post these laws in the workplace so that employees will have access to current regulations.

As for Justin Bieber, he’s been having some trouble of late. The horrific story about the photographer who was recently run down and killed trying to snap photos of the young pop sensation notwithstanding, Bieber has been having some issues with a bodyguard, according to The Business Insider (1/11/13).

The report notes that Moshe Benabou, who was employed by Justin Bieber as a personal bodyguard starting in March 2011 before he was fired after seven months on the job, filed a California labor lawsuit against the singer, alleging the Canadian teen heartthrob was aggressive towards Benabou and punched him in the chest repeatedly while backstage during a concert in October of last year. The Business Insider cited The Hollywood Reporter as a source.

The plaintiff claims in his action that he worked between 14 and 18 hours per day, 7 days per week but was not paid overtime in accordance with California prevailing wage law. The Business Insider cited TMZ as suggesting sources from the Bieber camp had reported to TMZ that Benabou was, in the defendant’s view, disgruntled over being fired. It was suggested in the report that Benabou had uttered a number of untruths to Bieber.

The California employee labor lawsuit was filed January 10 in Superior Court of the State of California, for the County of Los Angeles, and cited nonpayment of California overtime, and assault and battery on the part of Justin Bieber. Those allegations are yet to be proven in a court of law. The case is Moshe Benabou v. Justin Bieber & BT Touring LLC of Delaware, # BC498862.

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