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Sexual Harassment: You Can Be Liable When A Client Harasses Your Employee; 4-Point Protection Plan

Many employers don’t know that they can be hit with a lawsuit if a customer or vendor sexually harasses their employee and they don’t adequately remedy the problem. A new decision from the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, which covers California, demonstrates the serious liability you can face if you mishandle these tricky situations.

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Cutting Workers’ Comp Expenses: Employer Wins $6.3 Million From Insurer For Unfair Claims Practices; How To Monitor Reserves

How your workers’ compensation insurer manages your claims can have a big impact on your premiums. In a recent case, an employer whose premiums skyrocketed and dividends dropped for several years sued its insurer for overestimating the amounts needed to be held in reserve to pay claims—and won. This case underscores that keeping an eye […]

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Disciplining Employees: Sprewell Defamation Claims Are Back In Play; 3 Ways For Employers To Avoid Backlash From Firings

When you fire an employee for misconduct, even if it’s for an egregious incident that occurred in public, you still need to be careful who you talk to about it both inside and outside your company. The case of former Golden State Warriors basketball player Latrell Sprewell illustrates how an employer whose termination of an […]

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Workplace Roughhousing: Co-Workers Can Be Sued Only If They Intended To Cause An Injury; Take Steps To Avoid Problems

Manuel Torres installed tires for Parkhouse Tire Service in San Diego. One day while he was working on his knees, Parkhouse sales representative Roy Naas sneaked up behind Torres, grabbed his back-support belt, lifted him off the ground and dropped him back on his knees. Torres suffered a serious back injury and couldn’t return to […]

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News Notes: Employers Not Liable For Union’s Inadequate Notice

Nonunion public school teachers are required to pay “fair share” union fees in return for benefits they receive from collective bargaining. In return, the union must give these teachers a written explanation concerning the basis for the fee. Eight nonunion teachers who did not receive an adequate fee notice sued school district superintendents, claiming that […]

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Affirmative Action: Employer Hit With $5.4 Million Verdict After Firing Recruiter Who Disputed Minority-Hiring Report

Karen Yarborough, a recruiting manager for Pleasanton-based PeopleSoft, complained to her supervisors that the company’s affirmative action hiring data was false. Then, just two days before an on-site audit of the software maker’s employment data by the Office of Federal Contracts Compliance Programs, Yarborough was fired. Now an Alameda County jury’s multimillion-dollar verdict for Yarborough […]

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News Notes: Domestic Partner Ordinance Upheld as to Air Carriers

  The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has upheld San Francisco’s groundbreaking domestic partner ordinance, which requires certain businesses to offer the same benefits to heterosexual and gay partners of unmarried employees as they offer to married spouses. The court rejected an argument by United Air Lines, FedEx and an airline association that the ordinance, […]

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News Notes: Courts Adopt Internet Policy but Won’t Monitor E-Mail

Employer monitoring of employee Internet access is a hot issue. Federal Ninth Circuit judges recently jumped into the fray by shutting off surveillance software that monitored court employees’ Internet use, stating that such monitoring without prior notice to employees could be illegal. Now the body that governs the federal court system is requiring federal courts […]

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News Notes: Court Says Reporter Who Couldn’t Type Was Not Disabled

Jacalyn Thornton, a part-time reporter for the Fresno Bee newspaper, spent about one-third of her time working at a computer keyboard. After she developed a repetitive stress disorder and became unable to use a keyboard, the paper terminated her. She sued, contending that her discharge violated the Americans with Disabilities Act. The Ninth Circuit Court […]

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