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 Nov 29, 2014

California’s Labor Commissioner Releases New Poster and Notice Related to Paid Sick Leave
Tue, 25 Nov 2014 18:37:48 - Pacific Time

California’s Labor Commissioner has released a new poster template for the recently passed paid sick leave law, the Health Workplaces, Healthy Families Act of 2014. The template is available here. The Labor Commissioner has also released an updated wage notice as required by Labor Code section 2810.5,  which contains information about the accrual of paid sick leave under the new law. The updated notice is available here.

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OSHA Urges Retailers to Keep Workers Safe During Major Sales Events
Tue, 25 Nov 2014 18:23:15 - Pacific Time

As the holiday season approaches, the U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration is encouraging retail employers to implement safety measures to prevent workplace injuries during major sales events. In 2008, a retail worker was trampled to death when shoppers rushed through the store to take advantage of holiday sales. OSHA sent letters to major retailers to remind employers about the potential hazards involved with managing large crowds at retail stores during the holiday season when sales events attract a higher number of shoppers. Retailers are encouraged to use the safety guidelines, Crowd Management Safety Guidelines for Retailers, provided in the OSHA fact sheet they received. Crowd management plans should, at least, include: On-site trained security personnel or police officers; barricades or rope lines for pedestrians that do not start right in front of the store's entrance; the implementation of crowd control measures well in advance of customers arriving at the store; emergency procedures in place to address potential dangers; methods for explaining approach and entrance procedures to the arriving public; not allowing additional customers to enter the store when it reaches its maximum occupancy level; and, not blocking or locking exit doors. OSHA’s letter to retailers is available here.

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Employer Allegedly Improperly Screened Job Applicants for Carpel Tunnel Syndrome
Tue, 25 Nov 2014 18:15:44 - Pacific Time

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has charged that Amsted Industries, Inc. and Amsted Rail Co. Inc., a leader in the manufacture of steel castings for the rail industry, improperly used physical tests and applicants' health histories in the hiring process at their Granite City, Ill., facility. As a result of these practices, according to the EEOC, a class of people who had a history of carpal tunnel syndrome or who Amsted believed might develop that condition, were denied employment. The EEOC has charged that during Amsted's hiring process, the company asks applicants if they have a history of carpal tunnel syndrome and gives them a nerve conduction test, even though the most current relevant published medical literature does not support the use of such tests alone, or the use of prior medical history alone, to predict the development of carpal tunnel. Based on the results, Amsted allegedly refused to hire Montrell Ingram and at least fifty other applicants because they had a history of carpal tunnel syndrome, tested positive on the nerve conduction test, or both. Read more here.

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President Obama’s Immigration Move Could Impact Job Market
Fri, 21 Nov 2014 07:49:03 - Pacific Time

President Obama’s executive order on immigration may impact the U.S. economy, in particular the job market. According to economists, by offering legal-worker status to several million undocumented immigrants, the executive order may prompt many to seek higher-paying jobs, thereby heightening competition for positions in a number of sectors since employers will have a larger supply of workers to choose from. Some job sectors may experience more job competition than others. For example, undocumented workers have recently steered away from manufacturing jobs fearing raids from immigration officials. The executive order will likely impact such sectors more than others. Read more here.

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California’s Fair Employment and Housing Council Considers Changes to FEHA Regulations
Fri, 21 Nov 2014 07:12:33 - Pacific Time

California’s Fair Employment and Housing Council is considering significant changes to California’s Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) regulations. The FEHA covers discrimination and harassment in the workplace. The proposed regulations, which are intended to further implement and interpret the FEHA, include: adding a definition of unpaid interns and volunteers; adding that an employee who harasses a co-employee may be personally liable for the harassment, regardless of whether the employer knew or should have known of the conduct and/or failed to take appropriate corrective action; adding a new section detailing: (a) employers’ duty to prevent and correct harassment and discrimination; (b) the required contents of harassment and discrimination policies; and (c) the dissemination and translation of such polices; expounding upon rules about trainers’ maintenance of records, employers’ maintenance of records, the meaning of “effective interactive training,” examples of materials that ensure “supervisors remain engaged in the training,” who may qualify as a trainer, and course content; and, for pregnancy disability leave, simplifying the definition of “four months” and elaborating upon situations when “four months” compels more complicated calculations. Read more here.

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EEOC Issues FY 2014 Performance Report
Wed, 19 Nov 2014 19:48:29 - Pacific Time

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has released its 2014 Fiscal Year Performance Report, which ended September 30. According to that report, in FY 2014, the EEOC “continued to implement its Strategic Plan for FY 2012-2016, as well as its Strategic Enforcement Plan (SEP).  The agency met, partially met, or exceeded target results in all 14 measures in the Strategic Plan.” More specifically, the EEOC obtained $296.1 million in monetary relief for employment discrimination through mediation, conciliation and other administrative enforcement. The EEOC also secured $22.5 million in monetary relief for charging parties through litigation, and $74 million in monetary relief for federal employees and applicants. The agency received 88,778 private sector charges in FY 2014, a decrease of about 5,000 charges from FY 2013.  In addition, a total of 87,442 charges were resolved, 9,810 fewer than in FY 2013. Read more here.

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EEOC Releases Information on Enforcement Protections for LGBT Workers
Wed, 19 Nov 2014 19:03:58 - Pacific Time

Recent events have triggered increased interest about protections for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) individuals under federal employment-discrimination laws. In light of this, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has released information highlighting the agency’s enforcement efforts in this area, and addressing questions raised by employers and employees about discrimination related to LGBT status. The EEOC's Strategic Enforcement Plan (SEP), adopted by a bipartisan vote in December of 2012, lists "coverage of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender individuals under Title VII's sex discrimination provisions, as they may apply" as an enforcement priority for FY2013-2016.  This enforcement priority is consistent with positions the EEOC has taken in recent years regarding the intersection of LGBT-related discrimination and Title VII's prohibition on sex discrimination. Read more here.

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Jury Awards Woman $185 Million for Alleged Gender Discrimination
Wed, 19 Nov 2014 01:11:45 - Pacific Time

A San Diego federal jury awarded $185 million in punitive damages against AutoZone Stores after finding that the company allegedly retaliated against a pregnant manager, Rosario Juarez, eventually demoting and then terminating her. The three-woman, five-man jury also awarded Rosario Juarez $872,000 in compensatory damages, for lost wages and emotional stress. It is believed to be the largest employment law verdict for an individual in U.S. history. The lawsuit, initially filed in San Diego Superior Court in 2008, outlined a corporate structure that allegedly resisted promoting women into management positions and made light of anyone who complained about it. AutoZone operates about 4,000 stores across the U.S. and abroad, with about 400 of them in California. Read more here.

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