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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 Jan 30, 2015

Employer Settles Religious Discrimination Lawsuit Based on Alleged Refusal to Accommodate Rastafarian’s Long Hair
Mon, 26 Jan 2015 19:18:24 - Pacific Time

Mims Distributing Company, Inc., will pay $50,ooo to resolve a religious discrimination lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). Mims operates a beer distribution business. According to the EEOC's complaint, Christopher Alston is a practicing Rastafarian.  As a Rastafarian, he cannot cut his hair and, in accordance with these religious beliefs, has not cut his hair since at least 2009.  Alston applied for a job as a delivery driver with Mims in May 2014.  At that time, the company allegedly informed Alston that he would have to cut his hair if he wanted the position.  Alston told Mims he could not cut his hair because of his religious beliefs.  The company allegedly refused to hire Alston because he would not comply. Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, requires employers to reasonably accommodate an employee's religious beliefs as long as doing so does not pose an undue hardship.  Read more here.

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HR Practice Note: Employers Must Provide Form W-2 to Employees by January 31, 2015
Mon, 26 Jan 2015 18:32:43 - Pacific Time

Employers must provide Copies B, C and 2 of Form W-2 to the employee by January 31. If an employee stops working for the employer before the end of the year, the employer may give the former employee Form W-2 anytime prior to January 31, but no later than January 31. If the employee asks for the Form W-2, the employer must give Copies B, C and 2 to the employee within 30 days of the request or within 30 days of the final wage payment, whichever is later. Read more here.

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Johns Hopkins Settles Race Discrimination Case with U.S. Labor Department
Fri, 23 Jan 2015 18:24:50 - Pacific Time

The Applied Physics Laboratory (APL) at Johns Hopkins University will pay $359,253 to settle allegations of discrimination made by two Africa American women who were employed at its Laurel, Md. facility. An investigation by the U.S. Department of Labor's Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs determined that the lab violated Executive Order 11246, which prohibits federal contractors from discriminating in employment on the basis of race or sex. OFCCP's investigation began in June 2010, after an African American woman filed a complaint alleging that she had been subjected to a hostile work environment at the APL. When she tried to pursue a complaint through the lab's own equal employment opportunity process, allegedly she was subjected to harassment and retaliation, and ultimately terminated. During its investigation, OFCCP received a second complaint from another African American woman alleging that she had been subjected to pay discrimination and a hostile work environment at the APL. OFCCP compliance officers found that the lab had allegedly discriminated against the two former employees on the basis of race. Read more here. 

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Former McDonald’s Workers Sue for Race and Sex Discrimination
Fri, 23 Jan 2015 17:42:58 - Pacific Time

Ten former McDonald's workers are suing the company and one of its franchisees, alleging that race and sex discrimination occurred at three franchised restaurants in Virginia. The lawsuit includes claims that supervisors at the restaurants made statements such as "there are too many black people in the store" and used racial and ethnic slurs. The lawsuit also includes four defendants: McDonald's Corp., McDonald's USA LLC, franchise Soweva Co. and the franchise's owner. According to the lawsuit, about 15 black workers were terminated, including nine of the plaintiffs. "When they asked why they were being terminated, they were allegedly told by the owner that they were good workers, but they 'didn't fit the profile' of his organization." Further, according to the lawsuit, when some of the workers complained to McDonald's corporate offices, the company did not take action.The lawsuit comes a month after the National Labor Relations Board — in an unrelated matter — determined McDonald's and it franchisees could be considered jointly responsible for employment issues. Read more here.

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EEOC Sues Ruby Tuesday for Alleged Sex Discrimination Against Men
Fri, 23 Jan 2015 00:56:11 - Pacific Time

International restaurant chain Ruby Tuesday, Inc., allegedly discriminated against male employees for temporary assignments to a Utah resort, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has charged in a lawsuit. According to the EEOC's lawsuit, in the spring of 2013 Ruby Tuesday posted an internal announcement within a 10-state region for temporary summer positions in Park City, Utah, with company-provided housing for those selected.  Andrew Herrera, a Ruby Tuesday employee since 2005 in Corvallis, Oregon, wanted to apply because of the chance to earn more money in the resort town.  However, the announcement stated that only females would be considered and Ruby Tuesday in fact selected only women for those summer jobs, supposedly due to fears about housing employees of both genders together. Read more here.

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Company Will Pay $119,612 For Allegedly Firing Delivery Driver Who Self-Reported Alcohol Abuse
Thu, 22 Jan 2015 19:45:06 - Pacific Time

A federal jury has found that Old Dominion Freight Line, Inc., a trucking company, committed disability discrimination for allegedly failing to accommodate a truck driver who self-reported alcohol abuse, and then terminating him. According to the EEOC's suit, the former driver self-reported an alcohol problem under the company's "Open Door Policy" seeking assistance from Old Dominion.  The driver and local management were unaware that the company had an unwritten policy of not allowing drivers who self-report alcohol abuse to return to driving. Although Old Dominion would not return the driver to a driving position, the company asserted that it accommodated the driver by offering him a part-time dock position at half the pay and no health benefits. Old Dominion later charged the driver with job abandonment and terminated him in June 2009. According to the EEOC, “To maintain a blanket policy that any driver who self-reports alcohol abuse could never return to driving -- with no individualized assessment to determine if the driver could safely be returned to driving -- violates the ADA." Read more here.

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U.S. Supreme Court Rules in Favor of Government Whistleblower
Wed, 21 Jan 2015 20:37:10 - Pacific Time

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled that a former air marshal was not "specifically prohibited by law" from exposing information about the Transportation Security Administration’s (TSA) decision to reduce overnight flights for air marshals in 2003. The 7-2 decision, written by Chief Justice John Roberts, represents a rare court victory for government whistle-blowers. The case involves Robert MacLean, an air marshal who flew undercover and armed, as part of the U.S. government’s anti-terrorism efforts. When the TSA decided to reduce overnight flights for air marshals in 2003, MacLean leaked the news to MSNBC, which prompted congressional criticism before TSA reversed itself. When his identity was revealed three years later, MacLean was terminated for disclosing "sensitive security information," which violated TSA rules. A federal appeals court ultimately ruled that his disclosure did not violate a federal law, only an agency regulation, and the government appealed. Read more here.

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Rare Protest Occurs During Supreme Court Session
Wed, 21 Jan 2015 20:17:39 - Pacific Time

A rare protest broke out in the Supreme Court as several protestors stood up and shouted what appeared to be comments criticizing the court's controversial 2010 Citizens United campaign finance decision. As court opened, Chief Justice John Roberts was preparing to announce the day's opinions when he was cut off by the first protestor who shouted "we are the 99 percent." Roberts then tried to joke "our second order of business today" until he was cut off by a second protestor. Read more here.

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