The HR Specialist: California Employment Law

A federal jury has awarded $2.3 million to a Los Angeles police officer who claimed that male officers sexually harassed her. Melissa Borck, who remains an officer, sued the city for violating the equal protection clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.

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Whistle-blowing employees almost always expect to experience retaliation. They start looking for it as soon as they file a complaint or bring a safety issue to their employers’ attention. Smart employers anticipate this and make absolutely sure that any discipline, layoff or other adverse employment action is wholly justified before they implement it.

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On March 6, the state announced that, with the enactment of the 2009 state budget, mandatory furloughs previously imposed on state employees will change to floating furlough days.

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Terminating a pregnant employee because she has minor medical restrictions can be very expensive. The move may mean you have to make the employee financially whole—plus pay a large punitive damage award and attorneys’ fees. Here’s the best way to handle temporary medical restrictions associated with pregnancy:

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Employees who believe their employers may be forcing them to participate in a tip pool and may be diverting part of the tips to owners or managers who aren’t entitled to them may or may not have a right to sue on their own behalf.

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Remind managers not to punish or otherwise retaliate against employees who report suspected drug use by fellow employees. Such tip-offs may constitute protected activity, and retaliation may lead to a lawsuit.

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According to a recent report, 286 of Fortune 500 companies provide equal benefits to same-sex couples. What’s more, the better the company performs, the more likely it is to offer benefits that serve lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) workers.

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Watch out! Some tests you use to see whether employees or applicants are suitable for a job could screen out individuals with disabilities. You could wind up in court defending against an ADA claim.

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A former lawyer at Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom LLP has filed a lawsuit against the law firm for terminating his employment after he wrote a performance evaluation that criticized another associate and partner.

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On Feb. 9, the state of California filed a criminal complaint accusing four Los Angeles car washes, their owners and one manager of wage-and-hour law violations and for creating “a work environment that bordered on indentured servitude.”

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