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News Notes: Insurance Commissioner Seizes Workers’ Comp Insurer

The state Insurance Commissioner has taken over control of Golden Eagle Insurance Co., California’s third largest workers’ compensation carrier. The action grew out of concerns about Golden Eagle’s financial solvency. The Insurance Commissioner is optimistic that several insurers will join together to operate Golden Eagle’s business through a new company, San Diego Casualty Insurance Co. […]

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Violent Employees: Failing to Adequately Investigate and Supervise Can Spell Trouble

Much has been said in recent years about the phenomenon of postal service workers and other employees who go berserk and harm co-workers or innocent bystanders. Now, in a new case, the post office was sued for more than $500,000 when an employee with a violent background attacked a tow truck driver. This lawsuit is […]

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Electronic Surveillance Update: When and How to Use Workplace Monitoring Devices Without Getting Sued

Employers are increasingly using surveillance devices to combat theft and drug abuse and improve overall security at work. But you could find yourself in serious trouble under federal and state laws if you’re not careful. We’ll look at two recent cases that focus on some complex issues involved in workplace surveillance.

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Reductions in Force: How to Do It the Right Way Without Getting Sued

Sales are down. Expenses are up. You’ve tried everything and it looks as if your only alternative is to eliminate jobs. These not uncommon circumstances can turn into a high-stakes gamble, particularly because the graying of the American workforce puts you at risk for expensive age bias claims. So when you’re facing a restructuring, it’s […]

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Drug Testing: Why Worker Who Tested Positive Won $380,000; Plus a Checklist for Avoiding Trouble

At first glance, this case might seem hard to believe. An employer is ordered to pay big damages to a worker who was fired for testing positive for drug use following a workplace accident. Why? Because of poor documentation and alleged race discrimination, both of which could have been avoided. With this case and the […]

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Workers’ Comp Fraud: Why Employer Was Ordered to Pay Insurer $3 Million

When you hear about workers’ compensation fraud, it’s usually by employees. But there are cases where employers are charged with cheating the workers’ comp system. In one of the biggest verdicts of this kind, State Compen- sation Insurance Fund-the state’s largest workers’ compensation insurer-recently won a $3.2 million judgment against a network of Southern California […]

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Terminating Employees: New Case Points Out Important Strategy

It’s a familiar scenario: The new employee you hired just isn’t working out. Her performance is poor, and she repeatedly falls short on assignments. You’ve warned her that she isn’t meeting your company’s standards, yet she still fails to improve. You decide to fire her. Before you act, you should know about a recent court […]

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Employment References: New Supreme Court Ruling Increases Your Risk; 3 Self-Defense Tips

In a blow to employers, the California Supreme Court has ruled that three school districts can be sued for giving enthusiastic job references that left out a vice-principal’s history of alleged sexual misconduct with students. This decision highlights the risks of giving reference letters, even when everything you say is positive.

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News Notes: SF Tells United Airlines To Offer Domestic Partner Benefits

If United wants to fly to San Francisco, it may have to comply with the City’s controversial new domestic partners ordinance, warned a Board of Supervisors committee. In December, the Board voted to do business only with contractors who provide their employees with domestic partner benefits. (See CEA December 1996.) United does not currently do […]

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News Notes: Controversy Over Arbitration Rages On

Finding the right language to ensure that arbitration agreements will stand up to legal scrutiny can be tricky. And a new decision by the California Court of Appeal adds to the confusion. When executive William Stirlen sued Northern California-based Supercuts for wrongful discharge, Supercuts tried to enforce an arbitration clause in Stirlen’s employment agreement. But […]

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