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News Notes: Communications With EAP Counselors Are Privileged

Oksana Oleszko sued her employer, State Compensation Insurance Fund, for sexual harassment, racial and national-origin discrimination and retaliation. To help prove her claims, Oleszko asked the court to force State Fund to reveal communications between co-workers and unlicensed counselors in its employee assistance program. State Fund balked, saying disclosure would discourage employees from seeking needed […]

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Nonsolicitation Agreements: Employer Who Sued To Enforce Agreement Ordered To Pay $1.3 Million To Former Employees

Flair Communications Agency in San Francisco asked for an injunction against three former employees, claiming they violated a nonsolicitation and trade secrets agreement by stealing the agency’s clients and setting up a rival promotional agency. Flair also sought $1.3 million in damages. But the tables were turned when the court denied the injunction—and instead awarded […]

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News Notes: Supreme Court Rules On Damages Attorneys’ Fees

In a series of recent rulings, the U.S. Supreme Court has clarified limits on the damages claimants can recover in employment discrimination cases and other lawsuits. The court paved the way for bigger verdicts by ruling that “front pay”—which compensates a victim of workplace harassment or bias until they find another comparable job—isn’t subject to […]

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News Notes: Court Upholds San Francisco Domestic Partner Law

The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has upheld San Francisco’s landmark domestic partner benefits ordinance, which requires that companies doing business with the city must offer equal benefits to domestic partners and married spouses of employees. The court rejected a constitutional challenge by an Ohio company whose bid for a contract with the city was […]

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News Notes: New Disability Bias Law Is Not Retroactive

Changes to California’s disability bias laws, which took effect Jan. 1, 2001, broadened the class of disabled persons to include those with conditions that make a major life activity “difficult.” This new definition of a disability is a more lenient standard than the “substantial limitation” of a major life activity that was previously required under […]

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News Notes: Largest Ever Gender Bias Suit Files Against Wal-Mart

Wal-Mart is facing what could be the largest discrimination lawsuit ever brought against a private U.S. employer. Six female employees of Wal-Mart have filed a lawsuit in federal court in San Francisco charging the retailing giant with widespread discrimination against women. They are asking that the case be certified as a class action on behalf […]

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News Notes: Court Considers Empoyee Eligibility For Calipers Benefits

A California Court of Appeal is currently reviewing an important ruling by a lower court affecting eligibility of state contract workers to receive CalPERS benefits. Employees of the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California brought a class action lawsuit contending that agencies bound by the Public Employees’ Retirement Law must enroll all employees for CalPERS […]

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Exempt Employees: Labor Commissioner Won’t Follow Federal Docking Rules, Issues Strict New California Standard

Under federal wage and hour law, employees must be paid a predetermined salary to qualify as exempt from overtime. And there are strict guidelines on when salary docking can jeopardize exempt status. When overhauling state wage and hour laws in 2000 with the passage of A.B. 60, California for the first time adopted similar salary […]

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Employer Fraud: Big Verdict For Employee Who Was Enticed Into Relocating And Then Terminated For Complaining About Alleged Unfair Business Practices

It’s illegal in California to induce someone to relocate to take a job based on misrepresentations about the position. This situation typically arises when an applicant moves to a new city for a job that doesn’t work out and then claims the employer made false promises about the opportunity. Now, in a new twist, an […]

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Americans With Disabilities Act: Court Upholds $237,000 Verdict For Employee Who Was Forced To Resign; Why You Can’t Require Full Medical Releases

State and federal courts have made it clear that when an employee is disabled but wants to work, you must go the extra mile to determine whether you can offer a reasonable accommodation. This point was driven home again recently when the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a large verdict for an injured employee […]

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