Employment Law

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Here’s good news: When an employee claims she was fired for filing a workers’ compensation claim, she can’t pursue the lawsuit as a wrongful-discharge claim. She’s required to sue under the workers’ compensation law.

Employers that engage independent contractors sometimes require them to sign an agreement stipulating that any disputes over the contract must be settled through arbitration, not in court. However, having such an agreement doesn’t mean a court can’t decide whether those workers are, in fact, independent contractors or employees.

A California Court of Appeal has affirmed a preliminary injunction against the city of Costa Mesa, which attempted to contract out work currently performed by city employees.

While the California Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) requires employers to reasonably accommodate disabled employees, there are limits. One involves the permanent reassignment of essential functions to other employees.

The California Supreme Court has agreed to review a case that enforced a class-action waiver and required a limousine driver to arbitrate his wage-and-hour claims.
Voters in Colorado and Washington state recently approved legalization of marijuana for recreational use, and 17 states have already OK’d medical pot. But take note: Employers—even in those states—can still set strict drug-use policies for their employees.
ERISA allows employees to sue if they believe they suffered retaliation for giving information or testifying in an ERISA proceeding. Until now, employers assumed that an employee had to at least make a formal complaint to the DOL before he could sue for retaliation. That’s no longer true.
Writing job descriptions for all of the positions in your company may sound like a lot of work, especially when they are not required by any law. But there are plenty of legal reasons why you should have them.

Q. An employee just notified HR he would like to take immediate leave under the California Family Rights Act. Can we require more notice?

If a recent 7th Circuit case is an indication, courts are taking a close look at whether groups of plaintiffs have enough in common to constitute a valid class. It may mean that em­­ployers will face fewer large class-action lawsuits.
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