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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Co-Editor

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 Mar 02, 2015

DHS Extends Eligibility for Employment Authorization to Certain H-4 Dependent Spouses
Thu, 26 Feb 2015 06:47:32 - Pacific Time

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) Director León Rodríguez announced today that, effective May 26, 2015, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is extending eligibility for employment authorization to certain H-4 dependent spouses of H-1B nonimmigrants who are seeking employment-based lawful permanent resident (LPR) status. DHS amended the regulations to allow these H-4 dependent spouses to accept employment in the United States. Read more here.

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U.S. Supreme Court Hears Oral Argument in Religious Discrimination Case
Thu, 26 Feb 2015 06:12:20 - Pacific Time

The U.S. Supreme Court recently heard oral argument in EEOC v. Abercrombie, a lawsuit involving an employee’s right to wear a hijab in the workplace. The case involves Samantha Elauf, a practicing Muslim who applied for a position as a model at the Abercrombie Kids store in Tulsa, Okla., in 2008. She was denied employment because she was wearing a black headscarf, known as hijab, which violated the company’s “look policy.” The EEOC argues that Abercrombie violated Title VII of the Civil Rights Act by failing to accommodate Elauf’s religious beliefs. Abercrombie claims Elauf never informed hiring managers of the conflict and that allowing her to wear a headscarf would have imposed an undue hardship on the company. The company’s position was upheld by the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals after a federal district court sided with the EEOC. Read more here.

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LA Times Reports "Women Are Leaving the Tech Industry in Droves"
Tue, 24 Feb 2015 07:22:46 - Pacific Time

According to a recent LA Times article, “Women are leaving the Tech industry in droves.” As noted in the article, industry group Code.org, predicts that computing jobs will more than double by 2020, to 1.4 million. However, if women continue to leave the field, an already significant shortage of qualified tech workers will worsen. During the summer of 2014, Google, Facebook, Apple and other big tech companies released figures showing that men outnumbered women 4 to 1 or more in their technical sectors. It's why the industry is so eager to hire women and minorities. For decades tech companies have relied on a workforce of whites and Asians, most of them men. Although numerous educational programs now encourage girls and minorities to pursue technology at a young age, qualified women are still leaving the tech industry in significant numbers. Read more here.

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Family and Medical Leave Rights Extended to Eligible Workers in Same-Sex Marriages
Tue, 24 Feb 2015 07:11:13 - Pacific Time

The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) has announced that workers in legal, same-sex marriages, regardless of where they live, will now have the same rights as those in opposite-sex marriages to federal job-protected leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) to care for a spouse with a serious health condition. The DOL announced a rule change to the FMLA in keeping with the U.S. Supreme Court ruling in United States v. Windsor. That ruling struck down the federal Defense of Marriage Act provision that interpreted "marriage" and "spouse" to be limited to opposite-sex marriage for the purposes of federal law. The rule change updates the FMLA definition of "spouse" so that an eligible employee in a legal same-sex marriage will be able to take FMLA leave for his or her spouse regardless of the state in which the employee resides. Read more here.

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Silicon Valley Venture Capital Firm Accused of Sexual Harassment
Mon, 23 Feb 2015 21:44:24 - Pacific Time

A jury will soon hear claims by the now-interim chief executive of the news and social-networking site Reddit that a Silicon Valley venture capital firm subjected her to sexism while she worked for the company. Ellen Pao’s lawsuit alleges that Kleiner Perkins Caulfield & Byers allowed her to be sexually harassed by male managers, and then punished and eventually terminated her when she complained. Ms. Pao also alleges that the company excluded her and other women from business meetings, dinners and promotions. However, the Menlo Park company says it hired an outside investigator who conducted a thorough investigation and found that Pao’s claims were without merit. Pao was eventually terminated from her position as a junior partner because “she could not demonstrate the skills necessary for success as an investing venture capitalist” and because she had “conflicts with most of her colleagues, men and women.” Her lawsuit may rattle Silicon Valley companies, where gender and racial diversity have been a recurring problem for financial and technology companies. Kleiner Perkins’ lawyers said in a court filing that Pao is seeking $16 million, a figure her lawyers have not confirmed. After jury selection Monday, the trial is scheduled to last four weeks. Read more here.

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DOL Investigation results in $39.8 Million Judgment
Thu, 19 Feb 2015 15:53:54 - Pacific Time

After nearly six years of litigation, a federal district court in Philadelphia entered a $39.8 million judgment in favor of workers who participated in more than 400 death benefit plans that were allegedly mismanaged, in violation of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA). The defendants in that case are permanently barred from serving as fiduciaries to any employee benefit plan and, with the exception of one defendant, must make restitution to the plans. Read more here.

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Hospital Allegedly Failed to Accommodate Employee with Cognitive Disabilities
Thu, 19 Feb 2015 15:37:09 - Pacific Time

St. Alexius Medical Center of Hoffman Estates will pay $125,000 to a former employee to resolve a lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). The EEOC charged that the hospital violated the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) by allegedly failing to accommodate a disabled employee, who worked as a greeter. The former employee suffers from cognitive disabilities, and, according to the EEOC, she asked for simple accommodations, such as written job instructions, which would have allowed her to do her job. Allegedly, rather than provide the accommodation, the hospital eventually terminated the employee. In addition to the monetary settlement amount, the hospital must also train its managers and other employees about the ADA, implement policies against disability discrimination, and adhere to certain record-keeping and reporting requirements. Read more here.

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Anthem Offers Identity Theft Protection To Customers After Massive Data Hack
Fri, 13 Feb 2015 20:52:06 - Pacific Time

Anthem Inc. is offering free identity theft protection to current and former customers dating back more than a decade. The health insurer continues to investigate how hackers broke into a database storing information for about 80 million people. Anthem Inc., will provide credit monitoring and identity theft repair assistance for those who experience fraud. The company discovered the breach of its system when a computer system administrator determined that outsiders were using his credentials to log into the system. The hackers gained access to customer names, birthdates, email addresses, employment details, social security numbers, incomes and street addresses. It does not appear that medical information was breached. Read more here.

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