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 04, 2015

UPS Settles Pregnancy Disability Case
Fri, 02 Oct 2015 14:39:30 - Pacific Time

Peggy Young and United Parcel Service (UPS) have settled their pregnancy discrimination/accommodation case that went to the U.S. Supreme Court, resulting in this decision from last March. The Supreme Court found in Ms. Young’s favor, but remanded the case so that the lower court could make findings applying the Supreme Court legal standard. UPS had already changed its pregnancy accommodation policy before oral argument, which took place in December of 2014. Although the amount of the settlement was not disclosed, Ms. Young’s attorney said that the change in policy at UPS was an important factor in the resolution of the case. Read more here.


Arbitrary Time Limits For Providing A Reasonable Accommodation Are Unlawful
Fri, 02 Oct 2015 14:35:08 - Pacific Time

According to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), Safeway, Inc., a leading grocery store chain, violated federal law when it refused to accommodate a clerk and terminated her because of her disability. According to a recently filed lawsuit by the EEOC, Patricia Bonds worked as a food clerk at Safeway's Westminster, Md. store, when she sustained a work-related injury that caused adhesive capsulitis and a torn rotator cuff in her right shoulder. As a result, she was substantially limited in her musculoskeletal functioning and lifting ability. Safeway initially accommodated Bonds' disability by reassigning her to work at the customer service desk. Despite her satisfactory performance, Safeway placed Bonds on unpaid, indefinite leave, claiming she had exhausted her time limit for modified duty. Safeway refused to grant Bonds' request for a reasonable accommodation by allowing her to continue working at the customer service desk and, instead, terminated her. The ADA also requires employers to provide a reasonable accommodation, including reassignment to a vacant position, unless it would cause a significant expense or difficulty to the employer. "No one wins when an employer imposes an arbitrary limit on how long it will provide a reasonable accommodation-not the employee who suddenly is out of work and not the employer who must face an EEOC enforcement action." Read more here.


Employer Will Pay $37 Million For Alleged Age Discrimination
Fri, 02 Oct 2015 14:24:16 - Pacific Time

A federal security research facility in Northern California will pay $37.25 million to settle a lawsuit brought by 129 older workers who say they were fired because of their ages. Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory about 45 miles east of San Francisco announced the settlement but denied any wrongdoing. The workers who sued were among 430 laid off in 2007 as the Livermore lab restructured, shifting its focus away from nuclear weapon development and toward other scientific research. Read more here.


Employer Sued For Alleged Failure to Accommodate Lifting Restrictions of Pregnant Employee
Thu, 24 Sep 2015 15:38:29 - Pacific Time

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has filed a lawsuit against Nursing home Landis Homes Retirement Community, and its managing entity, Landis Communities, charging that the company violated federal law when they allegedly failed to accommodate a pregnant nursing supervisor, terminated her because of her pregnancy and in retaliation for her reasonable accommodation request, and later refused to rehire her because of her pregnancy and disability. Amy Potts had worked as a RN/Charge Nurse and Campus Supervisor for the nursing home for eight years at its facility in Litz, Pa., when she requested to lift no more than 25 pounds following a surgical procedure relating to her disability. The nursing home accommodated lifting restrictions for non-pregnant employees but refused to accommodate Potts and instead placed her on indefinite leave because of her pregnancy and disability, according to the suit. The EEOC charges that the nursing home told Potts she could reapply for employment after she had her baby and no longer had any restrictions. When Potts reapplied for nursing positions for which she was qualified, the nursing home told her she had been terminated, asked her to provide medical documentation regarding her lifting restrictions, and then refused to rehire her. Read more here.


Employers May Have to Grant Leave Beyond FMLA’s 12-Week Maximum
Wed, 23 Sep 2015 16:11:26 - Pacific Time

As a recent case demonstrates, employers may need to grant leave as an accommodation under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) beyond the 12-week maximum required by the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). Failure to do so could expose the employer to a disability discrimination lawsuit. The case involves CTI, Inc., a Tucson-area regional trucking company, which has agreed to pay $300,000 and furnish other relief to settle a disability discrimination lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). According to EEOC's suit, CTI denied requests for unpaid leave beyond 12 weeks and transfers into open positions for which the disabled employees were qualified. For example, the EEOC charged that CTI discriminated against Elizabeth Barr because of her disability. CTI employed Barr as a payroll and billing clerk from November 2002 until August 2010. Barr suffered from a rare eye disease that substantially limited her eyesight, and she needed multiple surgeries to correct her eyesight. Barr took leave under the FMLA. Prior to the expiration of her FMLA leave, CTI wrote her a letter informing her that if her doctor did not release her to "full, unrestricted duty" by the time her FMLA leave expired, her employment and benefits might be terminated.


Halliburton To Pay Nearly $18.3 Million In Overtime
Wed, 23 Sep 2015 14:34:21 - Pacific Time

In one of the largest recoveries of overtime wages in recent years for the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL), oil and gas service provider, Halliburton, has agreed to pay $18,293,557 to 1,016 employees nationwide. The DOL's Wage and Hour Division investigated Halliburton as part of an ongoing, multi-year compliance initiative in the oil and gas industry in the Southwest and Northeast. Investigators found Halliburton incorrectly categorized employees in 28 job positions as exempt from overtime. The company did not pay overtime to these salaried employees — working as field service representatives, pipe recovery specialists, drilling tech advisors, perforating specialists and reliability tech specialists — when they worked more than 40 hours in a workweek, in violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act. The company also failed to keep accurate records of hours worked by these employees. Simply paying an employee a salary does not necessarily mean the employee is not eligible for overtime. The FLSA provides an exemption from both minimum wage and overtime pay requirements for individuals employed in bona fide executive, administrative, professional and outside sales positions, as well as certain computer employees. Read more here. 


California’s Lawsuit Climate Rank Ties All-Time Low
Tue, 22 Sep 2015 16:39:11 - Pacific Time

CalChamber is reporting that “California’s lawsuit climate is among the worst in the country at number 47 out of 50, tying its all-time low ranking in 2012, according to a recent national survey. In fact, both Los Angeles and San Francisco made the list of cities or counties with the least fair and reasonable litigation environment,  according to the U.S. Chamber Institute for Legal Reform (ILR). California is in the bottom five of eight of the 10 elements evaluated in the survey, sitting at the absolute bottom in treatment of class action suits and mass consolidation suits, and damages.” 


Deadline for Filing EEO-1 Report is Extended
Tue, 22 Sep 2015 16:29:48 - Pacific Time

The EEO-1 Joint Reporting Committee has extended the deadline for all EEO-1 Report Filers from September 30, 2015 to October 30, 2015. The Employer Information Report EEO-1, otherwise known as the EEO-1 Report, is required to be filed with the U.S. Equal Employment must be submitted and certified annually by September 30, 2015. There are some important changes for the 2015 EEO-1 Survey as follows:

The preferred method for completing the EEO-1 report is the web-based online filing system. Data is transferred over the Internet using encryption, assuring your company's privacy. Online filing requires employers to log into the company's database with a Login ID contained in the annual Notification Letter. All companies that filed the EEO-1 report for the 2014 reporting period should receive the 2015 EEO-1 notification letter by mail no later than the end of August 2015. Read more here.