Sheeva J. Ghassemi-Vanni

Sheeva J. Ghassemi-Vanni

Fenwick & West LLP

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Employee Lawfully Terminated for Failure to Undergo Psychological Exam

In Kao v. University of San Francisco, a California appellate court upheld a jury’s verdict that the University of San Francisco (“USF”) lawfully terminated a professor who refused to undergo a fitness-for-duty examination....more

9/22/2014 - Fitness for Duty Exams Hiring & Firing Medical Examinations Termination

California Becomes Second State to Mandate Paid Sick Leave

On September 10, 2014, Governor Brown signed into law AB 1522 (Healthy Workplaces, Healthy Families Act of 2014), which requires all California employers, large or small, to provide employees paid sick leave (with limited...more

9/19/2014 - Employee Benefits Employer Liability Issues Employment Policies New Legislation Paid Leave Sick Leave

Fenwick Employment Brief - September 2014

California Becomes Second State to Mandate Paid Sick Leave - On September 10, 2014, Governor Brown signed into law AB 1522 (Healthy Workplaces, Healthy Families Act of 2014), which requires all California employers,...more

9/18/2014 - Cell Phones Employee Rights Employer Liability Issues Medical Examinations Mental Health New Legislation NLRB Paid Leave Reimbursements Sick Leave

Yelling At Employee And Throwing Book In Her Direction Not Sufficient To Support Hostile Work Environment Claim

In Brooks v. Grundmann, a federal court of appeals in the District of Columbia held that a manager’s conduct amounted to no more than “ordinary tribulations of the workplace” and was thus insufficient to support a minority...more

5/22/2014 - Appeals Employer Liability Issues Hiring & Firing Hostile Environment Title VII Workplace Violence

Employer Can Require Fitness-For-Duty Examination After Return From FMLA Leave

A California appeals court in White v. County of Los Angeles held that an employer could require a fitness-for-duty examination after returning an employee to work based on her medical provider’s certificate, provided that...more

5/21/2014 - Fitness for Duty Exams FMLA Leave of Absence

Disability Accommodation Through Telecommuting More Reasonable In Modern Workplace

In EEOC v. Ford Motor Company, the federal Sixth Circuit appellate court (covering Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio, and Tennessee) recently held that telecommuting may be a reasonable accommodation under the Americans with...more

5/20/2014 - ADA Disability Disability Discrimination Reasonable Accommodation Telecommuting

Fenwick Employment Brief - May 2014

Disability Accommodation Through Telecommuting More Reasonable In Modern Workplace - In EEOC v. Ford Motor Company, the federal Sixth Circuit appellate court (covering Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio, and Tennessee) recently...more

5/19/2014 - ADA Disability Disability Discrimination EEOC Employee Rights Fitness for Duty Exams Ford Motor Internships Minimum Wage Telecommuting Unpaid Interns Wages

Employees May Choose to Use Vacation Instead of FMLA or CFRA Leave for Medical Absences

The Ninth Circuit (California) held in Escriba v. Foster Poultry Farms, Inc. that an employee can choose to use vacation instead of leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act (“FMLA”) or California Family Rights Act...more

3/21/2014 - CFRA FMLA Sick Leave Vacation Leave

U.S. Supreme Court Expands SOX Whistleblower Protection to Employees of Private Contractors

In a landmark whistleblower decision by the United States Supreme Court, Lawson, et al. v. FMR LLC, et al., the Court held that the whistleblower protections under the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 (“SOX”) apply not only to...more

3/20/2014 - Contractors FMR LLC Lawson v FMR Sarbanes-Oxley SCOTUS Subcontractors Whistleblower Protection Policies Whistleblowers

San Francisco Limits Inquiry into Criminal History of Applicants and Employees

In February, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors passed the Fair Chance Ordinance, which limits when and to what extent employers can inquire into the criminal history of applicants and employees. The ordinance also...more

3/19/2014 - Background Checks Criminal Background Checks Hiring & Firing

Fenwick Employment Brief - March 2014

In February, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors passed the Fair Chance Ordinance, which limits when and to what extent employers can inquire into the criminal history of applicants and employees. The ordinance also...more

3/18/2014 - Barack Obama CFRA Contractors Criminal Background Checks Criminal Records Employee Rights Fair Housing Act FLSA FMLA FMR LLC Job Applicants Lawson v FMR Sarbanes-Oxley SCOTUS Sick Leave Subcontractors Wage and Hour Whistleblower Protection Policies Whistleblowers

Recent EEOC Religious Discrimination Cases Are Reminder of Undue Hardship Standard

Over the last few months, the EEOC has settled various religious discrimination lawsuits against employers across the U.S., including California....more

1/21/2014 - EEOC Religious Discrimination Undue Hardship

One-Sided Discrimination Investigation Inadmissible in Court

In Castelluccio v. International Business Machines, a federal district court in Connecticut held that IBM could not introduce evidence of its investigation into an employee’s age discrimination claim due to the one-sided...more

1/20/2014

Failure to Comply with ADEA/OWBPA Does Not Entirely Invalidate Release

A Ninth Circuit opinion, Harmon v. Johnson & Johnson, held that a release of claims that did not comply with the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (“ADEA”), as amended by the Older Workers Benefit Protection Act (“OWBPA”),...more

1/17/2014 - ADEA Age Discrimination Compliance OWBPA

EEOC Position Statement Comes Back to Bite Employer in Civil Lawsuit

In Kwan v. Andalex Group, LLC, the Second Circuit (covering New York, Connecticut and Vermont) considered the impact of prior inconsistent statements made in the employer’s Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”)...more

1/16/2014 - Compliance EEOC Enforcement Termination

Fenwick Employment Brief - January 2014

EEOC Position Statement Comes Back to Bite Employer in Civil Lawsuit - In Kwan v. Andalex Group, LLC, the Second Circuit (covering New York, Connecticut and Vermont) considered the impact of prior inconsistent...more

1/15/2014 - ADEA Compliance Discrimination EEOC Employer Liability Issues Investigations McDonalds OWBPA Religious Discrimination Undue Hardship

Is an Honor Vacation Policy Right for My Company? [Video]

Companies in California and across the United States are moving away from traditional vacation accrual policies to unlimited vacation policies, or honor vacation policies. What is an honor vacation policy? How can start-ups...more

10/17/2013 - Accrued Benefits Corporate Culture Employee Benefits Leave of Absence Sick Leave Startups Vacation Leave

Fenwick Employment Brief - August 2013: Marriott Potentially Liable for Injury Following Holiday Party

Although it’s still summer, it’s never too early to start thinking about the annual company holiday party — the food, the conversation, the alcohol — and the liability that can flow from it. In Purton v. Marriott...more

8/20/2013 - Bodily Injury Car Accident DUI Holiday Parties Marriott Wine & Alcohol

Fenwick Employment Brief - August 2013: California: EDD Determination Has Binding Effect on DLSE

In Happy Nails & Spa of Fashion Valley, L.P. v. Su, a California appellate court held that a determination by one state agency was binding on another state agency and precluded the second agency’s contrary finding....more

8/19/2013 - Collateral Estoppel EDD Enforcement Issue Preclusion

Fenwick Employment Brief - August 2013

As this FEB went to publication, Governor Brown signed Senate Bill 292, which clarifies that sexual harassment claims under California’s Fair Employment and Housing Act do not require a showing of sexual desire. The...more

8/16/2013 - Bereavement Leave Compliance Employer Liability Issues FEHA Harassment Internships Mediation New Legislation Sexual Harassment Sick Leave Termination Unpaid Interns

Fenwick Employment Brief: Employee Asked To Wear French Maid's Costume Not Sexual Harassment

In Westendorf v. West Coast Contractors of Nevada, Inc., the Ninth Circuit upheld the dismissal of a sexual harassment complaint, despite offensive comments made by plaintiff's supervisor and coworkers, including a request...more

4/19/2013 - Construction Workers Employer Liability Issues Protected Activity Retaliation Sexual Harassment

Fenwick Employment Brief: Verbal Disclosure Of Private Facts Actionable

A California appellate court expanded the basis for a public disclosure of private facts claim in Ignat v. Yum! Brands, Inc....more

4/18/2013 - Bipolar Disorder Public Disclosure of Private Facts

Fenwick Employment Brief: Employee Social Media Account Ownership Still Uncertain

Who owns an employee's social media account when it is used to promote the employer's business? This is a hot-button topic and developing area of employment law, and a Pennsylvania federal court recently shed more light on...more

4/18/2013 - Eagle v Edcomm Edcomm Invasion of Privacy Social Media Social Media Account Ownership Social Media Policy

Fenwick Employment Brief: California Court Addresses Admissibility Of "Me Too" Evidence Of Discrimination

In Hatai v. Dept. of Transportation, a California court of appeal upheld a trial court's decision to exclude "me too" evidence of discrimination from individuals outside of the plaintiff's protected class, but in doing so...more

4/17/2013 - Discrimination Harassment National Origin Discrimination Protected Class Racial Discrimination

Fenwick Employment Brief - April 2013

In Hatai v. Dept. of Transportation, a California court of appeal upheld a trial court's decision to exclude "me too" evidence of discrimination from individuals outside of the plaintiff's protected class, but in doing so...more

4/16/2013 - Admissibility Employee-Ownership Exemptions I-9 Minimum Wage Protected Class Public Disclosure of Private Facts Sexual Harassment Social Media Wages

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