On Friday, June 19, 2015, Floyd, Skeren & Kelly, LLP will hold its 5th Annual Southern California Conference.
The conference will take place at the Disneyland Hotel, located in Anaheim, CA.
We invite you to join us for this full day conference that will offer education on both Employment Laws and Workers' Compensation.
Some of the topics we will cover are:
The Latest Information on California's Paid Sick Leave-Ensure Compliance Before July 1, 2015; Mastering California Leave Laws Related to Disabled Employees: A Closer Look at the FEHA Regulations;
Interactive Process, and Accommodation; Preventing Work Comp Fraud in the Workplace;
Understanding and Complying With the New California Family Rights Act Regulations;
Sexual Harassment Claims Continue to Plague the Workplace- Employer Best Practices for Prevention and Response; How to Effectively Manage and Defend Work Comp Claims-Advanced Techniques From the Experts; Performance, Discipline and Termination-Best Practices for Avoiding Liability with These Vital HR Actions;
Work Comp Resignations and C&R's-What are the Legal Implications? and much more.
MCLE, CEU and HRCI Credits are approved for this conference.
For more information and to register, please visit FSK HR Training.
Silicon Valley venture capital firm, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, has prevailed in a closely watched gender discrimination suit. Plaintiff Ellen Pao had accused the firm of discriminating and retaliating against her in the course of her employment and eventual termination. The lawsuit amplified concerns about the lack of diversity in the technology industry. Read more here.
The statement below is from EEOC Chair Jenny R. Yang, concerning the Supreme Court's decision in Young v. UPS. This case raised the question of whether a pregnant woman was entitled to changes to her job, such as light duty, in order to continue working during her pregnancy. The "decision in Young v. UPS is a clear win for women and families across America…The Court's analysis reflects the broad protection Congress intended when it passed the Pregnancy Discrimination Act in 1978. I am pleased that the Court also recognized that the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), as amended, provides important protections for employees with pregnancy-related conditions. As a result of this decision, many pregnant women who were previously denied accommodations will now be entitled to receive them." Read more here.
In a landmark decision (Young v. United Parcel Service) the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled against UPS in a case alleging discrimination pursuant to the federal Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA). UPS only provided light duty assignments to employees injured on the job. Thus, UPS denied a light duty position to a pregnant employee because her lifting restrictions (20 pounds versus the 70 pounds required by her position) were unrelated to a work injury. UPS defended its policy on the basis that all employees, other than those with work related injuries were treated the same, and thus there was no discriminatory intent under the PDA. The Supreme Court rejected their interpretation of the PDA. Read more here.
California’s Assembly Labor and Employment Committee has approved a bill (AB 67) requiring double pay for work performed on certain holidays referred to as “family holidays,” specifically December 25 of each year (commonly referred to as “Christmas”) and the fourth Thursday of November of each year (commonly referred to as “Thanksgiving”). CalChamber has opposed the bill, stating that “AB 67 would also unilaterally increase the cost of doing business only for those employers who have a physical presence in California, thereby automatically placing them at a competitive disadvantage with online companies and out-of-state businesses that would not be subject to this cost.” The bill is headed to the Assembly Appropriations Committee. Read more here.
The Bank of New York Mellon has agreed to repay $84 million to employee benefit plan customers as part of a settlement with the U.S Labor Department (DOL). The agreement was reached as part of a larger settlement that resolves private lawsuits against the bank as well as suits brought by the U.S. Department of Justice and the New York State Attorney General. An investigation by the DOL’s Employee Benefits Security Administration found that, for most standing instruction foreign currency exchange transactions with customers, including retirement plans, the bank allegedly assigned nearly the worst prices at which currencies had traded in the market during all or part of a day. Read more read.
The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) voted to send a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) on the interplay of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the Affordable Care Act (ACA) with respect to wellness programs to the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for clearance. This proposed rule, which was approved by a bipartisan vote, would amend the regulations implementing the equal employment provisions of the ADA to address the interaction between Title I of the ADA and financial incentives as part of wellness programs offered through group health plans. The submission of the NPRM to OMB represents the start of the regulatory process. After OMB approval, the proposed rule will be published in the Federal Register for a 60-day public notice and comment period. The NPRM cannot be made public prior to its publication in the Federal Register. Read more here.
Gregory Packaging, Inc., a nationwide manufacturer and distributor of juice products to school districts and medical institutions, has agreed to pay $125,000 to settle a disability discrimination lawsuit brought by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). In its lawsuit, the EEOC charged that Gregory Packing terminated an employee from its Newnan, Georgia, facility after learning that he was HIV-positive. According to the EEOC's lawsuit, the employee worked as a machine operator in the packaging department at the company's Newnan plant. Despite his good job performance and demonstrated ability to perform his job in a safe manner, Gregory Packaging admitted it terminated the employee because of his HIV status. "The company now acknowledges that the employee's continued employment after he became HIV-positive did not pose a threat to the health or safety of him or others," said Robert Dawkins, regional attorney for the EEOC's Atlanta office. Read more here.
A former Facebook employee is suing the company for a number of claims, including sex discrimination, harassment and race/national origin discrimination, according to a lawsuit filed with the San Mateo County Superior Court Monday. Chia Hong worked at Facebook from June 2010 to October 2013. Hong alleges that she was treated differently during her time at the company because of her race and gender. She was terminated in 2013. Hong claims that she was “belittled” at work, and was asked at one point “why she did not just stay home and take care of her children.” She also claims that she was punished for taking time off to volunteer at her child’s school, and “ordered to organize parties and serve drinks to male colleagues,” something that wasn’t in her job description. A Facebook spokesperson denied the allegations. Read more here.
The San Francisco County Superior Court judge hearing a lawsuit against the Silicon Valley company, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, denied a motion that would have thrown out former executive Ellen Pao's claim for punitive damages in her high-profile gender discrimination lawsuit. Pao is suing her former employer, Kleiner Perkins, claiming gender discrimination and retaliation, alleging that she was not promoted by the company because she is a woman. She was terminated in October 2012, five months after filing the lawsuit. She is seeking $16 million in lost wages and bonuses, and asking for an unspecified amount in punitive damages. “There is sufficient evidence from which a reasonable juror could find, as to Ms. Pao’s claims for gender discrimination and retaliation, that Kleiner Perkins acted with malice, fraud or oppression…There is sufficient evidence from which a reasonable juror could conclude that Kleiner Perkins engaged in intentional gender discrimination by failing to promote Ms. Pao and terminating her employment, and that Kleiner Perkins attempted to hide its illegal conduct by offering knowingly false and pretexual explanations for its decisions not to promote Ms. Pao and to terminate her employment.” Read more here.
The Office of Administrative Law (OAL) has approved amendments to the California Family Rights Act (CFRA) regulations, which will take effect July 1, 2015. The amendments, proposed by the Fair Employment and Housing Council law year, make several changes to CFRA regulations so they are more closely aligned with the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). However, some differences between FMLA and CFRA will still exist, in particular as related to California laws on pregnancy disability leave. Read more here.
President Obama has announced a “TechHire” initiative. The initiative “is a bold multi-sector initiative and call to action to empower Americans with the skills they need, through universities and community colleges but also nontraditional approaches like “coding boot camps,” and high-quality online courses that can rapidly train workers for a well-paying job, often in just a few months.” The initiative is intended to train and develop a U.S. information technology workforce. Commenting on the program, President Obama stated, “I want to focus on something very specific, and that is how we can work together to build a pipeline of tech workers for this new economy.” Read more here.
Following a jury verdict of $900,000 in compensatory damages, but prior to the punitive damages phase of the case, the Catholic Diocese of Sacramento agreed to pay $4 million to settle the case. The case involved a football coach who was allegedly terminated, retaliated against, and defamed after reporting a sex-hazing scandal in his football program. However, according to the jury foreman, Cynthia Sanderlyn, who works as a local insurance agent, the Diocese may have overpaid: “I wish they kind of would have let us battle it out a little bit…I told the plaintiffs they got off lucky, because I don’t think we would have awarded as much.” Read more here.
The U.S. Supreme Court has sided with the Department of Labor (DOL) in upholding a rule making mortgage brokers nonexempt and thus eligible for overtime pay under federal law. The justices unanimously agreed to reject a lower court ruling that faulted the administration for trying to change overtime rules without following proper procedures. The case involved rules put in place by the DOL that would make the mortgage brokers eligible for overtime pay under federal labor law. The rules were changed twice in a four-year period that spanned the Bush and Obama administrations. In 2006, the DOL said the mortgage brokers were like executives and thus not covered by the overtime provision. In 2010, the DOL reversed itself. Read more here.
The U.S. Supreme Court has vacated an appeals court ruling against the University of Notre Dame, in a case involving the question of whether the Affordable Care Act's requirement that employers should pay for contraceptives as part of women's health insurance, is lawful. In February 2014, the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago backed a lower court's ruling that dismissed Notre Dame's request for an injunction against the rule. However, the Supreme Court has remanded the case back to the 7th Circuit, "for further consideration in light of Burwell v. Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc." — last summer's Supreme Court ruling in favor of Hobby Lobby. Notre Dame had sued the Obama administration over the contraceptive requirement, saying a compromise that was meant to put insurance companies instead of religious institutions in charge of contraception coverage was not acceptable. Read more here.
The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and the U.S. Department of Justice's (DOJ) Civil Rights Division have signed a new Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to further the goals of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 in prohibiting employment discrimination in the state and local government sector. The signing ceremony took place on Monday, March 2, at DOJ's headquarters in Washington, D.C., and included remarks from Assistant Attorney General Vanita Gupta of the Civil Rights Division and EEOC Chair Jenny Yang. EEOC and DOJ share enforcement authority for public sector employers under Title VII. The EEOC receives, investigates and mediates charges of discrimination against public employers. Where the EEOC finds reasonable cause to believe an unlawful employment practice has occurred, the agency works with the employer to negotiate a mutually agreeable resolution to the charge. If conciliation of a charge fails, the EEOC refers the charge and its investigative file to DOJ, which has sole authority within the federal government to file a lawsuit against public employers under Title VII. Read more here.
A trucking company, PAM Transport, Inc. has been ordered to pay 12 of its former truck drivers a total of $477,399 in a disability discrimination lawsuit brought by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. In its lawsuit, the EEOC alleged that PAM violated the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) by subjecting its entire workforce of truck drivers to overly broad medical inquiries. The lawsuit arose from PAM's medical clearance policy, which required all drivers to notify the company whenever the driver had any contact with a medical professional, including a routine physical.According to the EEOC, such alleged conduct violates the ADA which prohibits employers from making medical inquiries of employees unless the inquiries are job-related and consistent with business necessity. Read more here.
A U.S. District Court judge, Lucy Koh, appears satisfied with a proposed $415 million settlement that would conclude a lawsuit in which tech workers accused Apple, Google and two other Silicon Valley companies of conspiring to hold down salaries. The plaintiffs alleged that Apple, Google, Intel and Adobe Systems agreed to avoid poaching each other’s employees, thus limiting job mobility and, as a result, holding down salaries. Judge Koh had previously rejected an earlier $324 million deal as too low. During a hearing on Monday, March 2, 2015, Judge Koh raised no objections about the size of the settlement as she had at an earlier court session. Although Judge Koh did not formally rule from the bench on whether she would preliminarily approve the new deal, she set another hearing date for final sign off of the $415 million deal. Read more here.
ValleyLife, a disability support services company, has been sued by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) for allegedly terminating disabled employees rather than provide them with a reasonable accommodation in the form of a leave of absence due to its inflexible leave policy. The policy compelled the termination of employees who had exhausted their paid time off and/or any unpaid leave to which they were eligible under the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA). For example, the EEOC alleges that the company forced out one supervisor due to his need for further surgery when his FMLA leave was exhausted. In addition, the company did not engage in any interactive process to determine whether any accommodations (including additional leave) were possible. The employee had worked for ValleyLife for over ten years at the time of his termination. The EEOC also alleges that ValleyLife commingled medical records in employee personnel files and failed to maintain these medical records confidentially in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Read more here.
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) Director León Rodríguez announced that, effective May 26, 2015, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is extending eligibility for employment authorization to certain H-4 dependent spouses of H-1B nonimmigrants who are seeking employment-based lawful permanent resident (LPR) status. DHS amended the regulations to allow these H-4 dependent spouses to accept employment in the United States. Read more here.
The U.S. Supreme Court recently heard oral argument in EEOC v. Abercrombie, a lawsuit involving an employee’s right to wear a hijab in the workplace. The case involves Samantha Elauf, a practicing Muslim who applied for a position as a model at the Abercrombie Kids store in Tulsa, Okla., in 2008. She was denied employment because she was wearing a black headscarf, known as hijab, which violated the company’s “look policy.” The EEOC argues that Abercrombie violated Title VII of the Civil Rights Act by failing to accommodate Elauf’s religious beliefs. Abercrombie claims Elauf never informed hiring managers of the conflict and that allowing her to wear a headscarf would have imposed an undue hardship on the company. The company’s position was upheld by the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals after a federal district court sided with the EEOC. Read more here.