News & Analysis as of

Employment Law Commentary, January 2016

Alcoholism And Disability Discrimination: Lessons From The USC Coach’s Case - If you have never dealt with an employee who is an alcoholic, rest assured, you will. Alcoholism has been described as the single largest,...more

New Employment Laws for California Public Employers

As in years past, 2016 brings important changes to employment laws in California — a state that continues to be a challenging environment for employers. Employment issues ranging from healthy workplaces and gender...more

New Year, New Laws for Employment Lawyers

The California legislature has enacted several new laws that will affect every employer and employment lawyer in 2016. Here’s an overview of some of the key statutory changes you need to know about....more

Do I or Don't I?—Alcoholism and Accommodations in the Workplace

Any college football fan can attest that this has been quite the year for upsets. As interesting as the on-field action has been, we have seen increasing media attention and fan commentary focused on the action off the...more

Trojan Travails: Coach Sarkisian’s Alcoholism-Discrimination Lawsuit Against USC

Readers have been clamoring for my take on the alcoholism-discrimination lawsuit filed by Steve Sarkisian against the University of Southern California. Actually, I got one email from a reader, who had a better take on...more

2016 Labor & Employment Law Update for California Employers

This past year, the California Legislature enacted a number of new laws that either took effect immediately or will become effective in 2016. Among the most significant are the following: AB 1506: Employers Given Time to...more

Employment Law Commentary - Volume 27, Issue 11, November 2015

Annual California Roundup - Another year and another round of legislative updates. California’s legislature continues to provide a rich source of law. This year the highlights include equal pay legislation, expanded...more

Summary of Key New California Laws for 2016: What Employers Should Know

Governor Brown has signed several laws impacting California employers. A summary of some of the key new laws follows. The effective date of the particular new law is indicated in the heading of the Assembly Bill (AB) and/or...more

2015 California Labor and Employment Legislation Update: It’s Final!

October 11, 2015, was Governor Brown’s last day to sign bills the California Legislature presented to him following the first year of the 2015-2016 Legislative Session. Below is a summary of what did and did not make Governor...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

Employment Law - September 2015

From the California Legislature: New Employment Laws, Bills Set for Signature: Why it matters - The California Legislature has been busy with employment-related bills, passing measures to provide additional...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 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

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