The HR Specialist: California Employment Law — Business Management Daily: Free Reports on Human Resources, Employment Law, Office Management, Office Communication, Office Technology and Small Business Tax Business Management Daily
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The HR Specialist: California Employment Law

If employers lose an employment discrimination case, they end up paying the worker’s legal bills in addition to back pay and other monetary awards. But what happens if the employer wins? Don’t count on the losing side paying up.

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Good employers discipline everyone who violates work rules, without regard for protected characteristics. That may seem obvious, but sometimes supervisors get sloppy and decide that a particular employee should be punished for a violation another employee got away with.

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Sexually offensive material appears all too often in some workplaces. When that happens, get rid of it! Immediately! That way, there is less chance that someone will later be able to successfully allege that the graffiti or scribblings created a hostile work environment.

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Unsuccessful applicants often believe they didn’t get hired because of some form of discrimination. You had better be ready to show that the person you hired was clearly better qualified. If you can do that, chances are a discrimination lawsuit will be tossed out fast.

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Under the California Fair Employment and Housing Act, workers with disabilities are entitled to reasonable accommodations. But once their employers have accommodated them, they still need to meet the essential functions of their jobs.

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Former state Assemblyman Steve Fox has once again cost the California Assembly money to settle allegations against him. This time, Fox’s former legislative director is being paid $100,000 for sexual harassment and being required to perform work outside her legislative duties.

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Here are four common issues involving communications with employees during their FMLA leave.

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A federal court considering a class-action lawsuit alleging violations of California law and the federal Fair Labor Standards Act has dismissed the FLSA claims because the allegations were unclear.

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Employees are protected from retaliation for complaining internally about alleged discrimination. Some workers seem to think that means they can never be criticized or have their working conditions change. Fortunately, that’s not true.

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Under the California Fair Employment and Housing Act, employees who say they can’t work under a particular supervisor are not deemed to be disabled. Therefore, they aren’t entitled to any accommodation.

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Some workers wrongly believe a disability immunizes them. If they are disciplined or terminated, they often sue. Those lawsuits will be dismissed early in the legal process if the employer takes the litigation seriously and explains exactly why the worker was disciplined or fired.

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A federal court considering California contract law has ruled that an arbitration agreement presented in an online click-through form is contractually valid.

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In many organizations, it’s expected that exempt employees will routinely have to work more than the standard 40-hour workweek. What happens if an employee who has previously worked those long hours suddenly becomes disabled and can no longer put in 10 or 12 hours per day?

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The EEOC has filed suit against Papé Material Handling in Fresno, alleging the company systematically discriminates against Hispanic employees.

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In October, Gov. Jerry Brown signed Senate Bill 396 into law, expanding the subjects that must be covered in California’s mandatory sexual harassment training for supervisors.

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A jury will get to determine if an employer’s perceived preferential treatment of an alleged rapist created a hostile work environment for the female employee who reported the rape.

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Sometimes, you may want to offer certain highly skilled, key employees an opportunity to acquire an equity stake in the business. Be sure to have your attorney draft the contract. Then follow up by documenting either the employee’s signature or her objections and lack of agreement.

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Under California state law, an em­­ployee can allege a public policy wrongful discharge claim against her employer for some form of discrimination even if she can’t pursue a direct discrimination claim.

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While some behavior may make others uncomfortable, that doesn’t automatically mean the offended worker has a sexual or other harassment case.

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Here’s some good news for HR professionals and supervisors trying to manage the workforce: You don’t have to worry that ordinary functions like putting together performance reviews and making hiring and firing decisions will somehow be misconstrued as harassment.

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