The HR Specialist: California Employment Law

An employee can lose a sexual har­­assment lawsuit and still win on retaliation if she can show she was fired for complaining about harassment. Don’t let that happen to you.

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Before offering a retirement package that’s contingent on giving up the right to sue, make sure you comply with the Older Workers Benefit Protection Act (OWBPA) requirements. That includes giving the employee time to review the agreement and talk to a lawyer.

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Here’s some good news for em­­ployers: Employees can’t use “me-too” evidence pointing to widespread discrimination against many classes of employees if their initial claim only alleges discrimination against a specific subgroup.

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Here’s incentive to give managers more control over their own schedules. It could prevent one dis­­gruntled employee from turning a simple lawsuit into a class action that covers everyone else with a similar job. That might make the difference between a small verdict and a huge one.

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A California Court of Appeal re­­cently held that an arbitration agreement was unenforceable because it was unconscionably one-sided.

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Employers that do business in several states often have a single employee handbook covering all workers at all locations. If that de­­scribes your organization, be careful about how you handle details like arbitration agreements.

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Do you employ workers on a piece-rate basis but require them to stick around when things are slow or perform other tasks between the piecework? If so, watch out!

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Employees asking for ADA disability accommodations often end up providing very private details about their health. Carefully guard that information so only those who have a real need to know about it are privy to the employee’s condition. That means you should establish a strict protocol for distributing health-related information.

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Here’s a timely reminder that you should carefully document disciplinary actions and make sure there is no unintentional discrimination. The key is to thoroughly consider the appropriate punishment for each transgression, taking into account all the details.

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If your workplace isn’t exactly the picture of diversity, the need to fire your only minority employee may worry you. Isn’t that just courting a lawsuit? Maybe—but that’s no reason to retain a poor performer.

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