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 Nov 27, 2015

Employer Gets Jail Time For Overtime Violations
Wed, 18 Nov 2015 22:02:16 - Pacific Time

New York’s Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman announced the conviction and sentencing of Abdul Jamil Khokhar and BMY Foods, Inc., which together owned and operated nine Papa John’s franchises throughout the Bronx. Khokhar pled guilty to failure to pay wages under the New York Labor Law, a misdemeanor, and BMY Foods pled guilty to falsifying business records in the first degree, an E felony. Khokhar was sentenced to spend 60 days in jail and to pay $230,000 in restitution to underpaid workers at his Papa John’s franchises. “Wage theft is a crime and a Papa John’s franchisee is now going to jail for cheating his employees and trying to cover it up,” said Attorney General Schneiderman.  “My office will do everything in its power to protect the rights of New York’s workers and make sure that all employers – including fast food restaurants – follow the law.” Read more here.


OSHA Seeks Public Comment On Update To Safety And Health Program Management Guidelines
Wed, 18 Nov 2015 21:37:19 - Pacific Time

The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration is seeking public comment on an updated version of its voluntary Safety and Health Program Management Guidelines. First published in 1989, the guidelines are being updated to reflect modern technology and practices. These guidelines are intended to help employers establish health and safety management plans at their workplaces. Key principles include finding and fixing hazards before they cause injury or illness, and making sure that workers have a voice in safety and health. The updated guidelines should be particularly helpful to small-and medium-sized businesses. They also address ways in which multiple employers at the same worksite can coordinate efforts to make sure all workers are protected. Read more here.


Employer To Pay $45K For Alleged Pregnancy Discrimination
Wed, 18 Nov 2015 21:32:29 - Pacific Time

D&S Shipley Donuts, dba Shipley's Donuts, a Katy, Texas-area franchise, will pay $45,000 and furnish other relief to settle a pregnancy discrimination lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). In its lawsuit, the EEOC charged that Shipley's violated anti-discrimination laws when it forced Brooke S. Foley to take unpaid leave after Shipley's owner/general manager received information that Foley might be pregnant. According to the EEOC, Shipley's would not allow Foley to continue working unless she provided a doctor's release indicating that her pregnancy was not "high-risk." The lawsuit further alleged that when Foley failed to provide such a release, and after she and her mother complained that Shipley's could not require her to do so, she was fired. Under the Pregnancy Discrimination Act, an employer cannot force a pregnant employee, or one the employer suspects of being pregnant, to provide medical documentation proving that the employee can continue working, unless the employee requests some pregnancy-related accommodation. Further, if an employee complains about pregnancy discrimination, the employer must investigate that complaint and must not take any retaliatory employment action against her. Read more here.


Staffing Company Sued For Rejecting Women For Trash Collector Positions
Tue, 10 Nov 2015 23:40:59 - Pacific Time

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has sued Workplace Staffing Solutions, L.L.C., a Louisiana company operating an office in Gulfport, Miss., for allegedly violating federal law by failing to hire at least 34 qualified women for temporary residential trashcan collector (RTCC) positions in Harrison County, Miss., because of their sex. According to EEOC's lawsuit, in September 2012, a qualified female, responding to an advertisement, contacted Workplace Staffing and attempted to apply for an open temporary position as an RTCC in Harrison County. She was told that the position was a "male only" job, and was prevented from applying. The agency charges that at least 33 other qualified women applied for RTCC positions, or any available position, but were never hired or offered a position. EEOC said that Workplace Staffing hired up to 130 men for these positions, and no women. Read more here.


Pactiv To Pay $1.7 Million To Settle Disability Discrimination Case
Sat, 07 Nov 2015 01:49:34 - Pacific Time

Pactiv LLC, an Illinois-based provider of advanced packing solutions to customers around the world, will pay $1,700,000 to settle a disability discrimination charge filed with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). The agreement results from an EEOC investigation which found reasonable cause to believe that Pactiv discriminated against individuals with disabilities by disciplining and discharging them according to its company-wide policies of issuing attendance points for medical-related absences; not allowing intermittent leave as a reasonable accommodation; and not allowing leave or an extension of leave as a reasonable accommodation. Read more here. 


Supreme Court To Hear Challenges To Obamacare Birth Control Mandate
Sat, 07 Nov 2015 00:52:46 - Pacific Time

The U.S. Supreme Court has agreed to hear lawsuits from religious nonprofits who say the Obama administration did not go far enough when it tried to carve them out of its birth-control mandate on employers. The justices agreed to take on seven cases brought by faith-based colleges and ministries from across the country, marking the fourth time that a dispute over Obamacare has made it to the Supreme Court. As part of the Affordable Care Act, most employers have to include birth-control coverage in their health insurance plans, with no out-of-pocket costs for employees. The law fully exempted institutions like churches, but not religiously affiliated nonprofit employers such as Catholic universities or hospitals. The high court ruled in June 2014 that the Obama administration had gone too far in also applying the requirement to the owners of for-profit companies, such as arts-and-crafts chain Hobby Lobby, which believe certain kinds of contraception to be immoral. But the court did not say what, if anything, federal officials could do to extend birth control coverage to employees. Read more here.


Sacramento Passes Ordinance Increasing Minimum Wage
Thu, 05 Nov 2015 20:56:57 - Pacific Time

The Sacramento City Council has approved increasing the city's minimum wage to $12.50 per hour by 2020 during its meeting Tuesday night. The ordinance, based on recommendations by the 2015 Task Force on Income Inequality, passed 6 to 3. In California, the current minimum wage is $9 per hour and will increase to $10 per hour by Jan. 1, 2016. With the ordinance, the minimum wage in Sacramento will increase as follows:

- $10.50 by 2017

- $11 by 2018

- $11.75 by 2019

- $12.50 by 2020

Minimum wage for subsequent years will be adjusted for inflation according to the Consumer Price Index (CPI). Read more here.


Amazon’s New Courier Service Sued For Misclassifying Drivers
Thu, 05 Nov 2015 20:39:16 - Pacific Time

Drivers of Amazon’s new courier service, Prime Now, have sued alleging they are misclassified as independent contractors. According to one of the drivers, Taree Truong, who wore a uniform bearing Amazon's logo, signed into an Amazon tracking device and was told by Amazon dispatchers to make deliveries for its new Prime Now courier service across far-flung parts of Orange County, she was expected to drive from Amazon's Irvine warehouse to Lake Forest, then Mission Viejo, back to Irvine and on to Newport Beach, within two hours. "Everything we did was under their control," said Truong, of Garden Grove. "They're telling us where we need to go, how to deliver these packages to customers and how to interact with those customers when we're there." Truong is one of four former Prime Now drivers who have sued the company and its contractor, alleging that Amazon is achieving speed and affordability only by misclassifying workers. Amazon aims to reduce its traditional two-day delivery to less than two hours, and has expanded its Prime Now delivery service to more than 15 major U.S. cities in less than a year. Read more here.