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 Dec 19, 2014

Federal Judge Rejects Proposed $75 Million Settlement with NCAA
Thu, 18 Dec 2014 19:09:40 - Pacific Time

A federal judge in Chicago rejected a proposed $75 million class-action head injury settlement with the NCAA asserting that it is too unwieldy and potentially underfunded. The judge urged both sides to continue negotiations. Pursuant to the settlement, the NCAA would toughen return-to-play rules for players with concussions and create a $70-million fund to test current and former athletes in contact and non-contact sports for brain trauma. It also would set aside $5 million for research. The proposal was intended to settle a number of class-action lawsuits alleging that the NCAA failed to protect athletes against head trauma. Read more here.

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Former Sony Employees File Class Action Alleging Failure to Protect Employee Data
Thu, 18 Dec 2014 18:55:19 - Pacific Time

Two former employees of Sony Pictures Entertainment filed a class-action lawsuit alleging the company failed to properly secure sensitive employee data. The recent hacking of Sony’s information system has allegedly resulted in the release of employee data including Social Security numbers, salary history, birth dates, and medical information. The former employees assert that Sony had a duty to protect their data and to secure medical information under California law. According to the lawsuit, the breach is an “epic nightmare, much better suited to a cinematic thriller than real life… Put simply, Sony knew about the risks it took with its past and current employees’ data…Sony gambled, and its employees—past and current—lost.” The two former employees in the lawsuit, Michael Corona and Christina Mathis, allege that their Social Security numbers were released, and Corona says his salary history and reason for resigning were also exposed. Read more here.

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NLRB Rules Employees May Use Work Email to Unionize
Thu, 18 Dec 2014 18:37:29 - Pacific Time

In a recent case, Purple Communications, Inc., et al., the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) considered the right of employees, pursuant to section 7 of the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA), to communicate with one another at work regarding union organization, using the employer's email system. According to the NLRB, the workplace is ‘“uniquely appropriate’ and the ‘natural gathering place’ for such communications and the use of email as a common form of workplace communication has expanded dramatically in recent years.” Thus, the NLRB ruled that employers who have chosen to provide employees with access to their email systems must permit those employees to use email for “statutorily protected communications,” specifically unionization efforts. Read more here.

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NLRB Issues Final Rule on Representation-Case Procedures
Mon, 15 Dec 2014 15:49:02 - Pacific Time

The National Labor Relations Board has issued a final rule amending its representation–case procedures resolving representation disputes. The new rule is intended to “modernize and streamline” procedures, and will be published in the Federal Register on December 15, and take effect on April 14, 2015. The final rule:

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Employer to Pay $418,000 For Alleged Disability Discrimination
Mon, 15 Dec 2014 15:30:10 - Pacific Time

Justrite Manufacturing Company, a Mattoon, Ill.-based manufacturer of storage, handling and security products, has agreed to pay $418,000 to settle disability discrimination complaints filed with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). According to the EEOC’s lawsuit, Justrite discriminated against disabled employees in that it refused to engage in an interactive dialogue with employees to find reasonable accommodations, denied reasonable accommodations outright, and/or retaliated against those who requested accommodations or complained about discrimination.John P. Rowe, Director of the EEOC’s Chicago District office, commented that "The reasonable accommodation process works best when both the worker and the employer engage in a good-faith, collaborative discussion to find a mutually beneficial way for the disabled employee to perform the job." Justrite denied any wrongdoing, but agreed to conciliate the matter with the EEOC. Read more here.

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U.S. Supreme Court Rules Workers Waiting to go Through Security Screening Do Not Have to be Paid
Wed, 10 Dec 2014 16:36:21 - Pacific Time

The Supreme Court has ruled unanimously that a temp agency was not required to pay workers at Amazon warehouses for the time they spent waiting to go through a security screening at the end of the work day. The workers say the process, meant to prevent theft, can take as long as 25 minutes. The case involved Jesse Busk, who worked in an Amazon warehouse in Las Vegas, and Laurie Castro, who worked at one in Fenley, Nevada. They sued Integrity Staffing Solutions, the temp agency, seeking to represent a class of workers and to be paid for the time it took to remove their wallets, keys and belts and to pass through metal detectors, which they alleged could take as long as 25 minutes. According to the plaintiffs, the screenings would not have taken long had the agency added more security screeners or staggered the ends of work shifts. They alleged that in practice, the waits approached half an hour. Justice Clarence, writing for the court, said the screenings were not “integral and indispensable” to the workers’ jobs, which involved retrieving products from warehouse shelves and packaging them for delivery to Amazon’s customers. That meant, he said, that no extra pay was required. The decision was a significant loss for workers challenging the security checks, which are common among retailers. Read more here.

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DOL Publishes Final Rule Prohibiting Discrimination on the Basis of Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity
Tue, 09 Dec 2014 00:15:26 - Pacific Time

On July 21, 2014, President Obama signed Executive Order 13672 extending workplace protections to employees in the federal contracting workplace on the bases of sexual orientation and gender identity. This Executive Order amended Executive Order 11246 and directed the Secretary of Labor to prepare regulations implementing the new protections. As a result, on December 3, 2014, the Department of Labor (DOL) announced a Final Rule changing OFCCP’s regulations so that they prohibit discrimination based on, and require treatment of applicants and employees without regard to, sexual orientation or gender identity. The regulations, which are effective 120 days from date of publication in the Federal Register, apply to federal contractors who hold contracts. California law already prohibits discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity pursuant to the Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA), which applies to employers with five or more employees. Read more here.

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California’s Labor Commissioner Releases New FAQs on Paid Sick Leave
Thu, 04 Dec 2014 20:19:58 - Pacific Time

Many employers and employees have questions about California’s new paid sick law, which is in effective as January 1, 2015, although the right to accrue and take paid sick leave pursuant to the new law is not in effect until July 1, 2015. In response to these questions, California’s Labor Commissioner has released new FAQs, which are located here.

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