News & Analysis as of

Stressed Out By Your Supervisor? Too Bad, Say California Courts

California employers may finally rejoice: there is now an employer-friendly state court decision, Higgins-Williams v. Sutter Med. Found., 237 Cal. App. 4th 78 (2015). The case takeaway is straightforward: an employee’s...more

Employee’s Inability To Work For A Particular Supervisor Does Not Constitute A “Disability”

Higgins-Williams v. Sutter Med. Found., 237 Cal. App. 4th 78 (2015) - Michaelin Higgins-Williams worked as a clinical assistant in Sutter’s Shared Services Department. Higgins-Williams reported to her treating physician that...more

Quirky Question #263, My Supervisor is Stressing Me Out!

Question: We have an employee who claims she has a mental disability involving stress and anxiety caused by working with her supervisor, and she has asked for a different supervisor as an accommodation. This doesn’t seem to...more

Trend to Limit ADA and FEHA Definitions of Disability Attributed to Behavioral Disorders Affecting Work Relations?

Could there be a trend starting among the courts to put restraints on the reach of the disability discrimination laws when it comes to mental impairments affecting an employee’s ability to get along with others in the...more

Taking the Stress Out of Employee Claims of Disability Caused by the Stress of Working for a Particular Supervisor

Navigating an employee’s claim of stress-related disability continues to challenge employers. Recently, the California Court of Appeal provided helpful guidance for employers when an employee claimed to be unable to work...more

Supervisor-Caused Stress is Not a “Disability” under the FEHA

The inability to work under a particular supervisor because of anxiety and stress related to the supervisor’s standard oversight of job performance is not a disability recognized under California’s Fair Employment and Housing...more

Inability to Work Under One Boss Is Not a Qualified Disability

In Higgins-Williams v. Sutter Medical Foundation, the Third Appellate District relied upon the repeatedly challenged holding of the First Appellate District in Hobson v. Raychem Corp. (1999) 73 Cal.App.4th 614 (“Hobson”) that...more

Today's Immigration Debate Impacts California Employment Law and Litigation

A year ago, the California Supreme Court limited damages in employment discrimination claims brought under the California Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) when an employer discovers it employed an unauthorized worker....more

Prevailing FEHA Defendant Not Entitled To Litigation Costs Unless Plaintiff’s Lawsuit Lacked Objective Basis

The California Supreme Court in Williams v. Chino Valley Independent Fire District affirmed the asymmetrical nature of litigation costs awards in discrimination lawsuits under the California Fair Employment and Housing Act...more

10 Steps to Hiring Without Violating Disability Discrimination Laws

Regardless of whether a job applicant has an apparent disability, employers should always follow these 10 steps to reduce the risk of liability for running afoul of the anti-discrimination provisions of the ADA or the FEHA....more

Employment Law - July 2014 #2

High Court’s Fall Docket Includes Major Employment Issues - Why it matters: While the 2013-2014 U.S. Supreme Court term may be over, the justices have granted certiorari in two major employment cases slated for the...more

Fenwick Employment Brief - April 2014

Supreme Court Confirms FICA Taxes Must be Withheld from Severance Payments - Finding severance payments to be a form of “remuneration for employment,” the United States Supreme Court in United States v. Quality Stores,...more

Employment Law -- Oct 15, 2013

“Use It or Lose It” Policy Results in Multimillion-Dollar Verdict - Why it matters: Although this decision is unpublished, it provides a lesson on the potentially expensive ramifications of maintaining an illegal...more

LAPD Reserve Officer Cannot Claim Disability Discrimination Because He Is Not An "Employee" Under FEHA - Court Rules That...

A California Court of Appeal recently held that a volunteer reserve police officer for the Los Angeles Police Department was not entitled to maintain a disability discrimination claim under the California Fair Employment and...more

Employment Law Newsletter: April 2013

Post-Brinker Meal Break Decisions on Class Certification De-Published by California Supreme Court - We have previously reported on the California Supreme Court’s decision in Brinker Restaurant Corp. v....more

Employment Law Reporter – April 2013: "We won! Wait, no, we lost!": The Narrative Arc of a Disability Discrimination Lawsuit

An employee (Prock) becomes temporarily but totally disabled by an anxiety disorder, goes out on a disability leave and receives disability benefits. The disability leave is extended by the employee’s doctor several times....more

Employment Law Advisory for April 2, 2013: Pregnant Employees May Be Entitled To More Than The Four Month Leave Permitted By The...

Most California employers are keenly aware that California’s Pregnancy Disability Leave Law (“PDLL”) requires an employer to allow an employee disabled by pregnancy, childbirth, or a related medical condition, to take a leave...more

Employment Law Commentary -- Volume 25, Issue 3 -- March 2013

In This Issue: - Pregnancy Disability Leave in California: What Should Employers Be Expecting?: Last year, the Department of Fair Employment and Housing (“DFEH”) implemented new regulations interpreting the...more

Did You Know…New Pregnancy Regulations In Effect In California

As we recently reported to you at our 2013 Emerging Employment Law Seminar, the California Fair Employment and Housing Commission (FEHC) implemented new and amended regulations addressing employers’ obligations and employees’...more

Did You Know…New Regulations Released Governing Disability Discrimination In California

As we recently reported to you at our 2013 Emerging Employment Law Seminar, the California Fair Employment and Housing Commission (FEHC) implemented new and amended regulations governing disability discrimination, reasonable...more

Legal Alert: California Expands Protections For Disabled Employees

Recent California case law and new regulations stress the importance of the employer's duty to engage in the interactive process with disabled workers who require accommodation. Now more than ever, it is important for...more

California Employment Law Notes - March 2013

In this Issue: - California Supreme Court Revises Jury Instructions And Trial Procedures In Discrimination Cases, Harris v. Superior Court, 56 Cal. 4th 203 (2013) - Employee Who Exhausted Four Months Of...more

Fenwick Employment Brief - March 2013

In This Issue: - Feature Articles: - California Court Of Appeal Significantly Expands Pregnancy Leave Rights - New York Employer's Flex-time Policy Precluded Holding Employee Accountable For Tardiness...more

Engage—Before You Fire

Consider this scenario: An employee goes out on a leave of absence for anxiety. His doctor says he’s temporarily totally disabled. Then the leave gets extended because the employee is having problems adjusting to the...more

California Employer Should Have Engaged In Interactive Process Before Firing Employee

Prock v. Tamura Corp. of America, No. E054185 (January 25, 2013): In an unpublished opinion, a California Court of Appeal recently overturned the dismissal of a lawsuit where the employee was fired while on a leave of absence...more

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