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 — Business Management Daily: Free Reports on Human Resources, Employment Law, Office Management, Office Communication, Office Technology and Small Business Tax Page 78
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The HR Specialist: California Employment Law

A state court jury has awarded more than $1 million to a Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) sergeant who sued the department for retali­a­tion after he complained about shoddy treatment because he is gay.

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Employees who sue but can’t show they suffered any monetary damages sometimes claim mental distress instead. Fortunately, courts don’t just take their word it, especially if the employee claims she had to undergo psychiatric treatment.

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It’s been an open question whether Cali­for­nia’s Fair Employment and Hous­ing Act allows employers to punish a mentally ill employee whose disease makes her act out. Now the answer is clear: You can punish mentally disabled employees for threats or violence against co-workers.

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Once a lawsuit has been filed, courts sometimes issue immediate orders—called injunctions—to prevent irre­parable harm. But to get an injunction, the party seeking the order has to show what harm could occur—and convince the court it will probably win the case on its merits. That’s unlikely if the litigant waits too long to ask for relief.

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Taken separately, what a supervisor does or says to an employee who has filed a complaint might not equal retaliation. But if the slights add up, the picture changes. That’s why you should follow up several times with each complaining employee to verify there’s no pattern of retaliation.

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The California Fair Employment and Housing Act doesn’t require employers to provide unlimited time off for employees with disabilities. The fact is, employees with disabilities are still expected to come to work (at least some of the time) and perform the essential functions of their jobs with or without accommodations while they are there.

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When explaining your computer-use policy, make sure employees understand they may be criminally prosecuted if they violate the rules and gain access to information they have no business reading. That should make them think twice about obtaining confidential in­­for­ma­tion and passing it on to the competition.

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Lately, California employers have faced a flood of class-action lawsuits claiming they misclassified employees. Now that tide might turn, thanks to a ruling by the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals.

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The U.S. Supreme Court has concluded that federal immigration law does not pre-empt or invalidate an Arizona law that subjects Arizona employers to sanctions for knowingly or intentionally employing unauthorized workers and requiring them to use the federal government’s E-Verify online employment eligibility verification system.

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A California court has sentenced a company owner and a foreman to a year in jail for allowing unsafe working conditions that led to a roofer’s accidental death.

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