News Notes: Incomplete Summary Plan Descriptions Can Be Costly

Auto parts manufacturer Kelsey-Hayes Co. gave employees a summary plan description of their employee benefits plan stating that health insurance would continue at no cost when they retired. The summary didn’t mention the company had the right to modify or terminate benefits, even though the master health care plan paperwork did. Later, when Kelsey-Hayes informed […]

News Notes: New Ergonomics Rules Close To Adoption

Revised workplace ergonomics rules may be adopted as early as the April 17, 1997 meeting of the California Occupational Safety and Health Standards Board. We reported in February that California’s ergonomics rules had to be scrapped and rewritten to be less confusing. The reworded regulations have now been prepared. They aim to clarify these main […]

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 […]