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 Apr 23, 2014

Sixth Circuit Holds EEOC Case Regarding Ford Motor’s Alleged Denial of Teleworking as an Accommodation May Move Forward
Wed, 23 Apr 2014 22:23:11 - Pacific Time

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit has decided that the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has created issues sufficient for trial in its disability discrimination lawsuit against the Ford Motor Company. The EEOC has charged that Ford violated the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) by allegedly denying a former employee the opportunity to telework and by allegedly firing her after she filed an EEOC charge. Harris had requested to work from home up to four days a week as an accommodation for her irritable bowel syndrome. Harris was a resale steel buyer whose job primarily required telephone and computer contact with coworkers and suppliers. The Sixth Circuit majority noted that "the law must respond to the advance of technology in the employment context . . . and recognize that the 'workplace' is anywhere that an employee can perform her job duties." The court also held that the "highly fact-specific" question was thus whether presence at the Ford facilities was truly essential, and that a jury should decide that issue.

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Employer Allegedly Refused to Hire Applicant Because of Prostate Cancer
Wed, 23 Apr 2014 18:03:38 - Pacific Time

A federal district court has entered a consent decree requiring Professional Freezing Services, LLC, a Southwest Side Chicago provider of logistical services to the refrigerated and frozen food markets, to pay $80,000 and provide other relief in order to resolve a disability discrimination lawsuit brought by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). The EEOC charged that Professional Freezing refused to hire William Harvel because he had prostate cancer, in violation of the ADA. A former employee later testified that he had heard company owner Edward Gryzwacz state that he could not hire Harvel because he had cancer, and, "in a best-case scenario, would end up wearing diapers."

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U.S. Supreme Court Upholds Michigan Initiative Banning Racial Preferences in Admissions
Tue, 22 Apr 2014 19:34:00 - Pacific Time

The U.S. Supreme Court has upheld a Michigan voter initiative that banned racial preferences in admissions to the state's public universities. Justice Anthony M. Kennedy authored the majority decision, holding that, "This case is not about how the debate about racial preferences should be resolved...It is about who may resolve it. There is no authority in the Constitution of the United States or in this court's precedents for the judiciary to set aside Michigan laws that commit this policy determination to the voters."

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Court Rules Employer Unlawfully Used Results of Post-Offer Medical Exam to Deny Employment to New Hire With Back Injury
Tue, 22 Apr 2014 17:21:08 - Pacific Time

A federal judge has ruled in favor of the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) holding that American Tool & Mold, Inc. (ATM), violated federal disability discrimination law by withdrawing a job offer because of the applicant's prior back injury. According to the EEOC's suit, ATM made a provisional job offer to Michael Matanic as a process engineer pending a post-offer medical examination. However, the exam revealed that Matanic had a successful back surgery six years prior for which he could not provide a medical release indicating he had no restrictions. After ATM's post-offer medical examination provider learned this, it refused to perform a back screen and complete Matanic's physical examination. The EEOC has charged that ATM, subsequently withdrew the job offer because the company regarded Matanic as disabled. Matanic had actually performed the job at ATM for two months while he attempted to obtain the requested medical release.

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HR Practice Pointer: Workday and Workweek Defined Under California Law
Mon, 21 Apr 2014 16:41:46 - Pacific Time

Employers should ensure that their workday and workweek is specifically defined in the employee handbook. An employer may change the workday/and or the workweek as long as the change is intended to be permanent. It is not necessary for all employees to have the same workday or workweek.  Pursuant to California law, a workday is defined as any consecutive 24-hour period beginning at the same time each calendar day. The 24-hour period may begin at any hour of the day, but thereafter must be consistent and unchanged. Overtime pay is based upon the total number of hours worked in excess of eight (8) hours within a 24-hour period or in excess of an established alternative workweek. A workweek is any seven (7) consecutive days starting with the same calendar day each week. A workweek is a fixed and regularly recurring period of 168 hours, seven consecutive 24-hour periods.

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Employer to Pay $100,000 for Allegedly Firing Bookkeeper Due to Vision Impairment
Fri, 18 Apr 2014 16:42:55 - Pacific Time

A San Jose-based business has agreed to pay $100,000 to a former employee, who was allegedly fired because of his vision impairment, according to a disability discrimination lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). The EEOC charged that Farhang Dahmubed was hired, and soon after, terminated as a senior bookkeeper at Riviera Consulting & Management Consulting, LLC within one month because of his retinitis pigmentosa. The EEOC also charged that the employer failed to conduct an interactive process to find a reasonable accommodation for newly created job duties related to driving.

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IRS Issues New Guidance on Treatment of Same-Sex Marriages for Retirement Plan Purposes
Fri, 18 Apr 2014 16:13:48 - Pacific Time

The IRS has issued new guidance, Notice 2014-19, which provides information on how qualified retirement plans should treat same-sex marriages in light of the Supreme Court's decision in United States v. Windsor. The Windsor decision invalidated Section 3 of the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) that barred married same-sex couples from being treated as married under federal law. The notice gives examples of Code requirements under which the marital status of the participants is relevant to the payment of benefits; provides guidance on how to satisfy those requirements in light of Windsor; and, describes when retirement plans must be amended to comply with Windsor, Revenue Ruling 2013-17, and Notice 2014-19.

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Employer Must Reinstate Before Seeking its Own Evaluation of the Employee’s Fitness for Duty in FMLA Matter
Wed, 16 Apr 2014 16:14:27 - Pacific Time

When an employee takes leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) the employee is entitled to reinstatement as long as medical certification is received from the employee's health care provider indicating that the employee is able to resume work. However, the employer is not permitted to seek a second opinion regarding the employee's fitness for work prior to restoring the employee to employment. According to a recent appellate court decision, if the employer is not satisfied with the employee's health care provider's certification, the employer may seek its own evaluation of the employee's fitness for duty at its own expense, but the employer must first restore the employee to work.

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