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News Notes: Wrongful Termination Law Reform Proposed

Governor Wilson has introduced legislation to reform California’s wrongful termination laws. If passed, the measure would put an end to court cases that have allowed employees to sue on the ground that the employer’s actions or practices created a promise-though not in writing-that the person could only be fired for good cause. For example, employees […]

Hostile Workplace: When Does Vulgarity Cross The Line?

It’s not always easy to know when inappropriate behavior becomes illegal harassment. While a single offensive comment alone may not be enough to justify a claim, there isn’t always a clearcut test for harassment. In the accompanying story beginning on page 1, the jury found that racial harassment had occurred, but the results in similar […]

Medical Marijuana: Fired Employee Files First Challenge To New Law

In January, we reported on the impact California’s Proposition 215, the Medical Marijuana Initiative, will have on the workplace. Prop. 215 allows marijuana use if it is recommended, orally or in writing, by a physician. But there are many unanswered questions, including when the use of medical marijuana can be grounds for termination and how […]

Racial Harassment: Employer Ordered To Pay $1.9 Million; Why Teasing Even Among “Friends” Can Land You In Court

Good-natured banter is part of the normal work environment. But when the teasing takes on racial or sexual overtones, you can be sued for millions of dollars-even if everyone laughingly participates in the give-and-take. That’s what happened to a Los Angeles employer who failed to intervene when kidding crossed the line and became illegal workplace […]

News Notes: Court To Review Microsoft Independent Contractor Case

Late last year, software giant Microsoft Corp. was ordered by a federal Court of Appeal to extend retroactive pension and stock purchase benefits-potentially worth millions of dollars-to employees improperly classified as independent contractors. (See CEA November 1996.) But now, the court says it will reconsider its decision-a potentially positive signal for Microsoft. A change in […]