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Harassment & Discrimination

Prevailing Employer Entitled to Costs to Defend Discrimination Suit

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Loring Winn Williams sued his employer, the fire district, for disability discrimination under the California Fair Employment and Housing Act (“FEHA”).  Williams v. Chino Valley Indep. Fire Dist.(2013)218 Cal. App. 4th 73. The fire district ultimately prevailed on a summary judgment  motion against Williams. Thereafter, the court awarded $5,368.88 in costs to the fire district pursuant to Cal. Civ. Proc. Code §1032(b), which allows a prevailing party to recover costs in any action or proceeding.

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Governor Brown Signs Law Protecting Victims of Crime

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Recently, Gov. Jerry Brown has signed legislation that will prohibit an employer from discharging or in any manner discriminating or retaliating against an employee who is a victim of specified offenses for taking time off from work to appear in court to be heard at any proceeding, including any delinquency proceeding, involving a post-arrest release decision, plea, sentencing, post-conviction release decision, or any proceeding in which a right of the victim is at issue.

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Rarely Performed Duties Can be Deemed “Essential” in Disability Discrimination Cases

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Employer compliance with disability discrimination provisions of state and federal law are complex, requiring careful consideration of the interactive process and reasonable accommodations. Recently, the California Court of Appeals upheld the requirement that some employees in the public sector such as police officers must be able to perform ALL essential functions of the job even if they are rarely used. In Lui v. City of San Francisco, a police officer suffered a heart attack and could no longer perform physically strenuous activities. Obviously, police work requires a great deal of strenuous activities including chasing down criminals, physical confrontations and arresting non-compliant suspects.

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“Old Fuddy Duddy” Comments Could Lead To Jury Trial

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          The California Supreme Court issued a decision today in favor of a former Google executive who brought an age discrimination case against the company after he was terminated at the age of 54 because he was not a “cultural fit” for the company.  In Reid v. Google, the California Supreme Court did not rule that Google had actually discriminated against Reid, but rather that he presented sufficient evidence to proceed to trial on the issue and thus present his case to a jury.

 

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Supreme Court Holds Statutory Discrimination Claims Can Be Subject to Arbitration Provisions in CBAs

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In 14 Penn Plaza v. Pyett, the U.S. Supreme Court recently held that under a CBA, a union and an employer can enter into binding arbitration agreements that explicitly require statutory discrimination claims to be submitted to arbitration with appropriate law being applied. 

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Employer Avoids Violation of 132a Discrimination Claim

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A California Court of Appeals held that an employer did not violate section 132a by not allowing an employee to return to work for two months while they attempted to obtain clarification of the employee’s medical certificates.

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Plaintiff Pays the Costs after CDPA Loss

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On February 5, 2010, A California Court of Appeals in the case of Jankey v. Song Koo Lee decided that a prevailing defendant could recover attorney's fees under California Civil Code § 55 after being sued under the California Disabled Persons Act ("CDPA").  The defendant was subsequently awarded $118,458 in fees pursuant to the court's decision. 

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Title II of GINA Now in Effect

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Title II of the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA) took effect as of November 21, 2009.  GINA prohibits employers, employment agencies, insurers, and unions from discriminating on the basis of genetic information.  

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Some Minor Dilemmas: Agricultural Employers with Youthful-Appearing Employees

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Recently, many Agricultural employers have been faced with a common problem.  These employers specifically want to know whether they can ask youthful-looking employees about their age and ask those employees to provide identification to prove that they are over eighteen. 

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Hidden Video Surveillance Did Not Violate Employees’ Privacy Rights

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The California Supreme Court held in Hernandez v. Hillsides Inc., No. S147552 (August 3, 2009), that an employer who, for legitimate reasons, installed a hidden surveillance camera in an office and took effective steps to avoid videotaping employees during normal working hours did not violate employees' right to privacy. 

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