Editor in Chief

Bernadette M. O'Brien is an attorney at law in California.

She is the author of the popular Lexis Nexis publication Labor and Employment in California; A guide to Employment Laws, Regulations and Practices Second Edition which has been in publication since 1992. The book covers an array of employment related issues including discrimination, sexual harassment, wage and hour, family Medical Leave Act, and Privacy in the workplace.

She is of counsel with the Law Offices of Floyd, Skeren & Kelly, LLP in the firm's Sacramento office.

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Rene Thomas Folse, JD, Ph.D. is an attorney at law and licensed psychologist in California.

He has practiced workers' compensation law for 35 years. His focus of practice involves claims of mental health injury where forensic psychology is involved in the evaluation of the claim. He has been an instructor and lecturer for many organizations and educational institutions and teches continuing education courses for attorneys, physicians and psychologists.

The EmploymentLawAcademy is pleased to offer our users FREE access to California Unemployment Insurance and Disability Compensation Programs - Online Version by David W. O'Brien, California Unemployment Insurance Administrative Law Judge (Retired). The paper version of this text contains nearly 1000 pages of information and law covering the California unemployment and disability Insurance claim. The online version may be searched by keywords, or you may navigate from chapter to chapter.

Recent Employment Law News for Oct 25, 2014

OSHA Issues Fact Sheet for Employers on EBOLA
Thu, 23 Oct 2014 17:27:32 - Pacific Time

OSHA has issued a fact sheet on providing guidance on protecting workers in non-healthcare/non-laboratory settings from exposure to Ebola virus, and from harmful levels of chemicals used for cleaning and disinfection. Read more here.

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CalChamber Releases Fact Sheet On New Law Creating Liability for Employers Who Contract for Labor
Thu, 23 Oct 2014 17:11:46 - Pacific Time

The California Chamber of Commerce has released a fact sheet on AB 1897 (Hernandez-D-West Covina) which is a new law that will impose liability on employers who contract for labor and services. The law creates new liability for employers who contract out for labor and services for the wage and hour violations or workers’ compensation violations of subcontractors. Read more here.

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Wal-Mart Stores East Will Pay to $72,500 for Alleged Failure to Accommodate Applicant with End-Stage Renal Disease
Thu, 23 Oct 2014 16:46:40 - Pacific Time

Wal-Mart Stores East, L.P., will pay $72,500 and provide significant equitable relief to settle a federal disability discrimination lawsuit, according to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). According to the EEOC's suit, an assistant store manager at the Walmart store in Cockeysville, Md., offered Laura Jones a job as an evening sales associate, contingent on Jones passing a urinalysis test for illegal drugs. After Jones advised that she cannot produce urine because she has end-stage renal disease, the assistant store manager told her to ask the designated drug testing company about alternate tests, the EEOC said. According to the complaint, Jones went to the drug testing facility the same day and learned that the facility could do other drug tests if the employer requested it. Jones relayed this information to the Walmart assistant store manager, but management refused to order an alternative drug test. Jones's application was closed for failing to take a urinalysis within 24 hours. Read more here.

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California’s DIR Sets New Computer Professional Exemption Rates
Tue, 21 Oct 2014 17:40:13 - Pacific Time

California’s Department of Industrial Relations (DIR) has set the new exemption rates for 2015. Labor Code Section 515.5 provides that certain computer software employees are exempt from the overtime requirements stipulated in Labor Code Section 510 if certain criteria are met. One of the criteria is that the employee's hourly rate of pay is not less than the statutorily specified rate, which the department is responsible for adjusting October 1st of each year to be effective on January 1st of the following year by an amount equal to the percentage increase in the California Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers. Effective January 1, 2015, the rates are as follows: the computer software employee's minimum hourly rate of pay exemption has been increased from $40.38 to $41.27; the minimum monthly salary exemption has been increased from $7,010.88 to $7,165.12; and, the minimum annual salary exemption has been increased from $84,130.53 to $85,981.40. Read more here.

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Employer to Pay $82,500 for Alleged Sexual Harassment
Tue, 21 Oct 2014 17:09:40 - Pacific Time

California based Braun Electric Company will pay $82,500 and furnish other relief to settle a sexual harassment lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). Braun Electric provides industrial electrical services for the oil and gas industry throughout California's San Joaquin Valley. According to the EEOC's suit, a male manager at Braun's Belridge, California, location continually subjected female workers to a hostile work environment since 2010. According to the EEOC, the manager made daily grotesque remarks of a sexual nature to female subordinates and made explicit sexual propositions on a continual basis. Braun's management failed to adequately address reports of harassment, and supervisors failed to report incidents of harassment they witnessed.  One female employee was forced to quit as a result of the ongoing hostile work environment, according to the EEOC. Read more here.

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EEOC to Hold Live Twitter Chat On Disability Employment in the Federal Sector
Tue, 21 Oct 2014 17:01:03 - Pacific Time

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) will hold a live Twitter chat on Tuesday, Oct. 28, from 2:00 to 3:00 pm (EDT). In commemoration of National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM), the interactive online forum will focus on the federal government as a model employer of people with disabilities. EEOC Chair Jenny Yang and Commissioner Chai Feldblum will answer questions during the hour-long chat. Members of the public are encouraged to participate by submitting questions using the hashtag #EEOC4NDEAM. The EEOC invites queries regarding the hiring, promotion and retention of people with disabilities in the federal government and suggestions on how agencies can increase the number of people with disabilities in the federal workforce. Read more here.

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EEOC Sues FedEx for Alleged Nationwide Disability Discrimination
Fri, 10 Oct 2014 18:29:58 - Pacific Time

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has filed a lawsuit against FedEx Ground Package System, Inc., (FedEx Ground) alleging that the company discriminated against a large class of deaf and hard-of-hearing package handlers and job applicants for years. According to the EEOC, FedEx Ground failed to provide needed accommodations such as American Sign Language (ASL) interpretation and closed-captioned training videos during the mandatory initial tour of the facilities and new-hire orientation for deaf and hard-of-hearing applicants.  The company also allegedly failed to provide such accommodations during staff, performance, and safety meetings.  Package handlers physically load and unload packages from delivery vehicles, place and reposition packages in FedEx Ground's conveyor systems, and scan, sort and route packages.

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Court Holds Arbitration Agreement Did Not Authorize Class Arbitration
Fri, 10 Oct 2014 17:32:23 - Pacific Time

The California Court of Appeal, 4th District has held that an arbitration agreement did not provide for class arbitration because it did not demonstrate a clear intent to arbitrate such claims. The case involved Network Capital Funding Corporation (Network Capital) (the employer) who filed a declaratory relief action alleging its arbitration agreement with Erik Papke (the employee) required Papke to arbitrate his wage and hour claims on an individual basis rather than the classwide basis as he sought in his pending arbitration proceeding.  Papke petitioned the trial court for an order compelling the employer to submit its claims to arbitration, arguing that the broad language in the parties’ arbitration agreement required the arbitrator, not the court, to decide whether the agreement authorized class arbitration. The trial court disagreed, holding it must decide the issue of  class arbitration. The trial court then held the agreement did not allow class arbitration.  .