On January 21, 2015, a California Appeals Court affirmed the trial court’s ruling in Nealy v. City of Santa Monica, 2015 Cal. App. LEXIS 139 (February 13, 2015) granting summary judgment for the City of Santa Monica (“City”) on claims of disability discrimination, failure to provide reasonable accommodation, failure to engage in the interactive process, and retaliation by a City employee.  
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The California Legislature has returned from its summer recess, with a fairly large number of employment bills to consider before the August 31st deadline.  Although the majority of bills introduced in 2014 remain pending, the Legislature hit the ground running passing several bills on to California Governor Jerry Brown who has either vetoed or signed them into law.

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Last month, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) issued new Enforcement Guidance (“Guidance”) on pregnancy discrimination in the workplace and related issues.  In its first update in over thirty (30) years, the Commission clarified how Title VII and the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”) interact to protect pregnant employees.  If you are an employer in California, you may be thinking, “Great. Another change in the law and now I am stuck with trying to figure out how these changes apply to my business. Now what do I need to do to make sure the policies and procedures in our handbook are up to date?”

The new guidelines prohibit employers from forcing pregnant workers to take leave and acknowledge that “employers may have to provide light duty for pregnant workers.” After childbirth, lactation is now covered as a pregnancy-related medical condition.

Also, it’s not just women who will benefit.  The guidelines say that when it comes to parental leave, “similarly situated” men and women must be treated on the same terms.

Here are some tips to consider when reviewing and updating your handbooks:


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On May 22, 2014, a California District Court conditionally certified a nationwide collective action covering about 1,500 female employees of Daiichi Sankyo Inc. (“DSI”) who allege the drug company paid them less than their male peers, ruling that the plaintiffs had met the low evidentiary burden to move forward collectively.

In SARA WELLENS, et al.,

On April 21, 2014, a California Appellate Court held that an arbitration agreement is unconscionable and an employer cannot compel arbitration when the employer failed to translate the entirety of an English-language employment agreement containing an arbitration agreement, confidentiality clause, and enforceability provision for its Spanish-speaking employees.

In Esteban H. Carmona et al. v. Lincoln