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 31, 2014

California Issues Quarantine Policy for Ebola Exposure
Thu, 30 Oct 2014 20:16:24 - Pacific Time

California’s public health director has ordered that anyone arriving in California from an Ebola-affected area and who has had personal contact with a person infected with the deadly virus will be quarantined for 21 days. The order applies to people returning from areas afflicted by an Ebola outbreak, which is currently Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea. County health officials will be able to passengers arriving from those areas to determine if they are at risk for the disease and should be quarantined for Ebola’s three-week incubation period. Failure to comply with a quarantine order could result in misdemeanor criminal charges. Read more here.


Employer to Pay $215,000 For Allegedly Treating Female Construction Workers Unfairly
Thu, 30 Oct 2014 20:01:29 - Pacific Time

Construction contractor Vamco Sheet Metals, Inc., will pay $215,000 as part of the settlement of a sex discrimination lawsuit brought by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity. According to the lawsuit, female sheet metal workers were treated unfairly on the massive John Jay College of Criminal Justice expansion in Manhattan from 2009 through 2011. The unfair treatment allegedly included terminating female sheet metal workers for pretextual reasons, some after just a few days of work, assigning female workers menial tasks like fetching coffee, and monitoring their breaks. The women had decades of experience as skilled sheet metal workers. Read more here.


Employer Training: A Key to Success For Workers With Disabilities And Employers
Wed, 29 Oct 2014 16:42:42 - Pacific Time

From the U.S. Department of Justice: “Too often, qualified Americans with disabilities face barriers to employment, preventing them from participating as full members of our society.  The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) prohibits discrimination by employers on the basis of disability, and requires reasonable accommodations in the workplace when necessary to enable employees with disabilities to do their jobs.  Often, a reasonable accommodation is easy and inexpensive for the employer and makes all the difference for a person with a disability to be able to perform his or her job.  However, managers often remain unaware of their obligation to accommodate workers with disabilities under the ADA.  The story of what happened to Mr. D. illustrates how gaps in ADA training can result in significant harm.


The IRS Has Announced New Cost of Living Adjustments for 401(k) Pension Plans
Wed, 29 Oct 2014 16:10:25 - Pacific Time

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has announced the cost of living adjustments affecting 401(k) pension plans for employees who participate in such plans as follows: (1) The contribution limit for employees participating in 401(k) plans has increased from $17,500 to $18,000; (2) Employees who are aged 50 and over may make an increased catch-up contribution from $5,500 to $6,000; (3) The annual contributions for individuals remains at $5,500. Read more here.


Jury Awards $499,000 Against Employer in Sexual Harassment Case
Wed, 29 Oct 2014 15:37:17 - Pacific Time

A Dallas federal court jury returned a verdict awarding almost half a million dollars to three former employees in a sexual harassment and retaliation lawsuit by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) against EmCare, a provider of physician services. The jury of two women and four men awarded former Executive Assistant Gloria Stokes $250,000 in punitive damages based on the claim that she was sexually harassed by her supervisor, the division CEO, Jim McKinney. The EEOC also sought relief for Bonnie Shaw, an EmCare credentialer, and Luke Trahan, a recruiter, based on retaliatory discharge. The jury awarded Shaw and Trahan $82,000 and $167,000, respectively. Stokes, Shaw and Trahan all testified about the alleged lack of an appropriate response by Human Resources to their complaints about the misconduct. Shaw and Trahan were both allegedly fired, within an hour of each other, just six weeks later for reasons the company alleged were performance issues. Read more here.


California Governor Brown Signs Bill Extending Time to Appeal Award or Denial of Unemployment Benefits
Mon, 27 Oct 2014 17:43:54 - Pacific Time

California Governor Jerry Brown has signed Senate Bill 1314, which extends the time period for appealing an award of denial of unemployment insurance benefits by the Employment Development Department (EDD). The legislation takes effect July 15, 2015. Prior to the enactment of SB 1314, an employer or employee had 20 days from the notice of a decision, to seek an appeal or reconsideration of an EED denial or award of unemployment insurance benefits. SB 1314 extends the time period for seeking reconsideration or appeal of a benefits ruling from 20 to 30 days. The new legislation applies to appeals of an EDD benefits determination and to appeals to the California Unemployment Insurance Appeals Board of an administrative law judge’s ruling. Read more here.


DFEH to Hold Public Hearing on Proposed Amendments to CFRA
Mon, 27 Oct 2014 17:23:25 - Pacific Time

The Fair Employment and Housing Council (Council) proposes to amend sections 11005.1 to 11141 of Title 2 of the California Code of Regulations (pertains to the California Family Rights Act (CFRA)) after considering all comments, objections, and recommendations regarding the proposed action. The Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) will hold a public hearing at 10:00 a.m. on December 8, 2014, at the University of California, Davis School of Law, 400 Mrak Hall Drive, Room 1303, Davis, California 95616. The hearing room is wheelchair accessible. At the hearing, any person may present statements or arguments orally or in writing relevant to the proposed action described in the attached Notice/Informative Digest. The Council requests but does not require that persons who make oral comments at the hearing also submit a written copy of their testimony at the hearing. Read more here.


Employer Will Pay Almost $2M For Back Wages
Mon, 27 Oct 2014 17:07:09 - Pacific Time

The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) has recovered $1,914,681.50 in back wages and fringe benefits for 147 workers at Proimtu Mmi-Nv LLC, a Henderson-based subcontractor providing construction services at the federally funded Crescent Dunes Solar Energy Project in Tonopah. According to the DOL investigation, Proimtu Mmi-Nv violated the prevailing wage and fringe benefits requirements of the Davis-Bacon and Related Acts for the majority of their employees working at the Tonopah desert solar energy project. DOL Investigators established that from June 2013 through April 2014, the company allegedly failed to pay workers the correct prevailing wage rates and fringe benefits for their particular job duties. The contractor paid "general laborers" rates to workers that routinely performed duties in skilled trades, such as ironworking, electrical work, painting or bridge crane operation, that should have commanded fringe benefits and prevailing wages of up to two times more than they were paid. Read more here.