The HR Specialist: California Employment Law

When it comes to reductions in force, employers must make sure that they develop a fair, reasonable and explainable selection process. Be prepared to show that the selection was based on sound business decisions and that the layoff wasn’t an excuse to terminate employees who might otherwise have a legal discrimination claim.

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OSHA has ruled that Union Pacific Railroad violated federal whistle-blower provisions when it suspended a machinist who recorded a safety inspection and then forwarded it to the Federal Railroad Administration.

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There are compelling reasons to outsource or at least get legal help with a sexual harassment complaint. First and foremost, the investigation must be quick, thorough and reasonable. Employers that drop the ball and don’t punish what looks like a clear case of sexual harassment face a long, uphill battle in court.

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A federal appeals court has concluded that California employees are entitled to protection from retaliation for reporting safety hazards, even if it’s part of their jobs.

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The California Court of Appeal has upheld a jury’s verdict finding the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) liable for failure to provide a reasonable accommodation and failure to engage in the interactive process.

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Same-sex harassment claims are tough to prove under Title VII. It’s especially hard if the harassment seems more for the purpose of annoying the harassed worker. But that’s not how the California Fair Employment and Housing Act handles same sex harassment, as an employer recently found out.

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An appeals court has reversed a quarter-million-dollar punitive-damages award for sexual harassment. The problem: The employee couldn’t prove the alleged harassment was pervasive or frequent enough to constitute a hostile environment.

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Bumble Bee Tuna and two employees face felony OSHA violations after a maintenance worker was cooked alive inside a 35-foot oven at the company’s Santa Fe Springs facility.

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The Children’s Hospital and Research Center in Oakland has reached a settlement with an employee who had cancer and was fired for taking too much medical leave.

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It’s easier for employees to prove retaliation for complaining about discrimination than it is to prove the underlying complaint. When disciplining someone who has complained, make sure each infraction is iron-clad—and don’t pile on additional dubious charges.

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