California Fair Employment and Housing Act Hiring & Firing

News & Analysis as of

Employers and medical marijuana: Are California's anti-drug policies up in smoke?

What’s an employer to do when faced with employees using marijuana in or out of the workplace? How should employers respond to employees who use or possess marijuana legally under California law? How does such use or...more

A Legislative El Niño for California?: New 2016 Employment Laws for the State’s Private Sector Employers

Experts are predicting a 95% chance of heavier-than-usual seasonal rainfall this year in Southern California based on the phenomenon known as “El Niño.”  Did the California Legislature and its Governor produce a comparable...more

Can Kim Davis Be Fired? What CA Employers Should Know About Religious Accommodations

Last June, the U.S. Supreme Court determined that same-sex marriages are a fundamental liberty protected by the 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution – and that states must issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples....more

All Over But the Penning: the California Legislature Completes its Work for 2015

The California Legislature adjourned its 2015 regular session early last Saturday morning.  It is now up to Governor Brown to sign or veto the last of the Legislature’s 2015 work product.  He has until Sunday, October 11, to...more

Inability to Work Under A Particular Supervisor Is Not a Disability in California

In response to standard negative performance feedback from a supervisor, an employee takes a leave of absence due to stress and submits a medical note stating that the employee must be transferred to another department as an...more

California Court of Appeal Rules in Favor of Public Entity Employer: No Forum Shopping for California Public Entity Employees

In a recent unpublished case, the California Court of Appeal ruled a public civil service commission decision on a worker’s employment claims precluded him from relitigating his claims in a civil action. According to the...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

Wacky Employee Claims: What Employers Can Learn From Outlandish Situations

Think you've heard every cautionary workplace tale? Believe it or not, you probably haven't – the real question is, how prepared are you to handle wildly unusual complaints, extreme accommodation requests, and highly awkward...more

Employment Flash - July 2015

The July 2015 edition of Employment Flash covers a number of developments, including: the U.S. Supreme Court's ruling that job applicants need only show that a religious accommodation was a factor in denying employment 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

Employment Law - June 2015

Actual Knowledge by Employer Not Necessary for Title VII Religious Discrimination Claim, U.S. Supreme Court Rules - Why it matters: In a closely watched case, the U.S. Supreme Court sided with a teenage applicant to...more

2015 Employment Bills Moving Through The CA Legislative Process

Thursday, June 5 marked the last day for bills to pass out of their house of origin in the California Legislature. Here is a summary of some key employment bills that made it through (followed by some significant bills that...more

California Confectioner Defeats Worker’s Age Discrimination Claim

Armenta v. Morris National, Inc., No. B255575 (March 27, 2015): Discrimination claims often ensue after a reduction in force (RIF) because laid off employees second-guess management’s selection process. However, as seen in a...more

Applicant Could Proceed With Race Discrimination Claim Despite Undisclosed Criminal Conviction

Raymond E. Horne was a glazier and a member of the glazier’s union. He also served as an officer and a member of the council and of the executive board of the union. Horne, who is African American, twice applied for an...more

Worker’s Failure to Perform His Job Duties Satisfactorily Dooms FEHA Retaliation Claim

Manner v. Intevac, Inc., No. H038979 (January 2, 2015): The California Court of Appeal recently upheld a trial court’s granting of summary judgment of a former employee’s claims of retaliation in violation of the Fair...more

California School Teacher’s Claim That She Was Fired Due to a Computer Error

Rommel v. Los Angeles Unified School District, No. B253405 (December 5, 2014): In a recent unpublished ruling, the California Court of Appeal reversed a trial court’s judgment in favor of a school district and against a...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

Unauthorized Work Status Does Not Bar Discrimination Claims

In Salas v. Sierra Chemical Co., the California Supreme Court held that an undocumented worker who was wrongfully terminated in violation of the California Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) may be awarded lost pay...more

Ninth Circuit Revives Police Officers’ Age Bias Class Action Over Scrapped Exam

Stockwell v. City & County of San Francisco, No. 12-15070 (April 24, 2014): In a recent decision, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals diluted the Supreme Court of the United States’ holding in Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. v. Dukes,...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

New Year, New Employment Laws

With the New Year comes a number of new laws, including several that will affect California employers. Employers should include on their list of resolutions a review of the company’s policies and procedures to ensure...more

Ringing in the New Year: A Summary of New California Employment Laws for 2014

California’s 2012-2013 Legislative Session concluded with the enactment of a variety of new laws that will affect California employers. In light of these developments, summarized below, California employers should review...more

Employment Law -- Dec 20, 2013

Despite $27,000 Jury Award, 9th Circuit Approves Almost $700,000 in Attorney’s Fees - Why it matters: Affirming the broad discretion of federal district court judges to award attorney’s fees, the Ninth U.S. Circuit...more

California Court Further Expands FEHA Protections To Employees Based On Association With Disabled Person

Rope v. Auto-Chlor System of Washington, Inc., No. B242003 (October 16, 2013): Recently, a California Court of Appeal held that a fired employee could proceed with a lawsuit in which he claimed that his employer discriminated...more

Fenwick Employment Brief - July 2013: U.S. Supreme Court Decides Several Employment and Employment-Related Cases

Employer strictly liable for supervisor’s harassment of employee only if supervisor has hire and fire authority over subordinates - In a favorable decision for employers, the U.S. Supreme Court in Vance v. Ball State...more

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