In a recent opinion affirming an arbitrator’s judgment in favor of an employer on various employment law claims, the California Court of Appeal held that an employee agreed to arbitrate all claims against her former employee when she signed an arbitration policy contained in an easy-to-read document distinct from any other document the she signed at the time of her hiring.  In doing so, the Court clarified important aspects of the test for enforcing an arbitration agreement signed by a company’s employees. 
Continue Reading California Appeals Court Affirms that Employee Signature Acknowledging Clear Arbitration Policy Makes Policy Binding

An employer cannot be held liable for failure to prevent sexual harassment under the California Fair Employment and Housing Act (“FEHA”) if there is no actionable sexual harassment, the California Court of Appeal has ruled. Dickson v. Burke Williams, Inc., No. B253154 (Cal. Ct. App. Mar. 6, 2015). Likewise, a jury’s finding that an employer is not liable for sex discrimination precludes liability for failure to prevent discrimination.

Background

Domaniqueca Dickson, a massage therapist at a spa, sued her employer, Burke Williams, Inc. (“BWI”), for alleged sexual harassment by two customers. She asserted claims for sexual harassment, sexual discrimination, and the failure to prevent sexual harassment and sexual discrimination under the FEHA, among other things.


Continue Reading No Employer Liability If There is No Actionable Harassment or Discrimination, California Court Rules

Affirming summary judgment in favor of an employer on an employee’s disability discrimination claims under the California Fair Employment and Housing Act (“FEHA”), the California Court of Appeal has ruled that the employer was not required to eliminate essential functions of a position as a reasonable accommodation. Nealy v. City of Santa Monica, No. B246634 (Cal. Ct. App. Feb. 13, 2015). The Court further held that reassigning the employee to a position for which he was not qualified and granting him an indefinite leave of absence until a suitable position became available also were not reasonable accommodations. As to the employee’s retaliation claim, the Court held that a request for a reasonable accommodation alone was insufficient to establish the employee engaged in protected activity.
Continue Reading Removing Essential Job Functions Not Reasonable Disability Accommodation Under California Law, Court Rules

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.  
Continue Reading Reasonable Accommodation’s Mandate in Employment Statute Does Not Require Employer to Cut Essential Job Functions

California has become the third state in the country, after New York and Oregon, to ban sexual harassment and discrimination in the workplace directed toward unpaid interns.

The new law (AB 1443) extends workplace harassment and discrimination protections under the California Fair Employment and Housing Act (“FEHA”) to unpaid interns, volunteers, and individuals in apprenticeship training programs. It will go into effect January 1, 2015.
Continue Reading California Law Protects Unpaid Interns and Volunteers from Harassment and Discrimination

In Salas v. Sierra Chemical Co., No. S196568 (Cal. June 26, 2014), the California Supreme Court has ruled that federal immigration law did not preempt California law extending employee protections and remedies “regardless of immigration status,” except to the extent it authorized damages for any period after the employer’s discovery of an employee’s ineligibility

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 May 15, 2014, the California Assembly passed a proposed amendment to California’s statute governing sexual harassment training.

Currently, the statute requires employers with 50 or more employees to ensure workplaces are free of sexual harassment by providing training to their supervisory employees at least once every two years.  Such training must include information regarding

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So you’re a startup. You’ve decided to take your world-changing idea and move it out of your dorm room/garage/favorite-table-at-Starbucks and start a legitimate business. So what next?

If you plan on

On April 30, 2014, the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit reinstated a lawsuit filed by Plaintiff Ronald El-Malik Curtis against the City of Oakland, and several individual city officials on the ground that facially-neutral conduct could support a finding of racial animus sufficient to sustain a hostile work environment claim when