News & Analysis as of

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 Amends FEHA, Protecting Accommodation Requests

On July 16, 2015, California’s Governor Jerry Brown signed a bill amending the California Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA), adding protections for workers who request accommodations for disabilities or religious...more

Employer Win in California – Say What??? Stress From Working Under Particular Supervisor is Not a Disability

Over the course of a career many workers experience the displeasure of dealing with a difficult supervisor — the type of individual whose mere presence in the workplace is a source of dread and whose name inspires feelings of...more

The ADA At 25: Mental Disabilities In The Spotlight

Last year, we marked the 50th anniversary of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. This year the Americans with Disabilities Act turns 25. Two laws with a shared, broader goal—to level the playing field and eradicate unlawful...more

Dual Ruling in FEHA Case Addresses Evidence Required to Establish Qualified Disability and Sets High Standard for Cost Recovery as...

Gabriel L. Roman, et al. v. BRE Properties, et al. - Court of Appeal, Second Appellate District (June 17, 2015) - The Fair Employment and Housing Act (“FEHA”) prohibits, as unlawful discrimination, a refusal to make...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

New California Law Expands Retaliation Coverage

Employees Requesting Accommodation Are Now Protected - On July 16, 2015, Governor Brown signed into law AB 987, amending the California Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) to reflect what many already believed to be...more

Governor Signs Assembly Bill No. 987 – Requesting a Reasonable Accommodation is Protected Activity under FEHA

This bill was in direct response to the decision in Rope v. Auto-Clor System of Washington, Inc. (2013) 220 Cal.App.4th 635 (2013), which found that an employee who merely makes a request for an accommodation does not engage...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

A Tale Of Two Public Entities: What Employers Can Learn About The FEHA Accommodation Process

Finding the right accommodation for a disabled employee can be a difficult task under the Fair Employment and Housing Act (“FEHA”). An employer’s accommodation obligations are broad, and litigation can ensue when there is a...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

Can that Doggie in the Window … Enter my Store?

Readers will recall that we recently corralled the law on “Assistive Animals” in the workplace, here. Now, in part two of our mini-series, we pony up an explanation of the rules governing the use of service animals by...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

Is Supervisor-Induced Stress a Protected Disability? California Appellate Court Says No

Employers often encounter challenging questions regarding their duty to accommodate employees who are diagnosed with stress, anxiety, or other mental health conditions that allegedly impact job performance absent...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

Caltrans Liable for Failure to Properly Address Employee’s Requests for Accommodation

Kamali v. California Department of Transportation, No. B247756 (March 17, 2015): In an unpublished opinion, the California Court of Appeal recently upheld a jury’s verdict finding the California Department of Transportation...more

Employer Is Not Required To Eliminate An Essential Job Function In Order To Reasonably Accommodate Disability

In Nealy v. City of Santa Monica, 2015 WL 632228, the Second District Court of Appeals held that an injured worker was properly denied the right to return to work where he was unable to perform essential functions of his job...more

Reasonable Accommodation and the Interactive Process—an Employer Prevails

An employer’s obligation to engage in the interactive process and to provide a reasonable accommodation to a qualified disabled employee as required by the Fair Employment and Housing Act is no simple task. More often than...more

Employment Law - January 2015

U.S. Supreme Court: Security Screenings Not Compensable - Why it matters: In a closely watched case, the U.S. Supreme Court unanimously reversed the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to rule that the time spent by...more

California Court Revisits Employer’s Duty to Reasonably Accommodate Disabled Employee Under FEHA

Swanson v. Morongo Unified School District, No. G050290 (November 26, 2014): In a recent unpublished decision, a California Court of Appeal held that a teacher, whose request to teach a particular grade as an accommodation...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

eAlert - California Employment Legislative Update: What's New for 2014?

In California, the New Year means new laws and regulations for California employers. Below we summarize new legislation that will affect employers doing business in California beginning January 1, 2014, unless otherwise...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

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

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

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