Employer compliance with disability discrimination provisions of state and federal law are complex, requiring careful consideration of the interactive process and reasonable accommodations. Recently, the California Court of Appeals upheld the requirement that some employees in the public sector such as police officers must be able to perform ALL essential functions of the job even if they are rarely used. In Lui v. City of San Francisco, a police officer suffered a heart attack and could no longer perform physically strenuous activities. Obviously, police work requires a great deal of strenuous activities including chasing down criminals, physical confrontations and arresting non-compliant suspects.
Harassment & Discrimination
“Old Fuddy Duddy” Comments Could Lead To Jury Trial
The California Supreme Court issued a decision today in favor of a former Google executive who brought an age discrimination case against the company after he was terminated at the age of 54 because he was not a “cultural fit” for the company. In Reid v. Google, the California Supreme Court did not rule that Google had actually discriminated against Reid, but rather that he presented sufficient evidence to proceed to trial on the issue and thus present his case to a jury.
Supreme Court Holds Statutory Discrimination Claims Can Be Subject to Arbitration Provisions in CBAs
In 14 Penn Plaza v. Pyett, the U.S. Supreme Court recently held that under a CBA, a union and an employer can enter into binding arbitration agreements that explicitly require statutory discrimination claims to be submitted to arbitration with appropriate law being applied.
Employer Avoids Violation of 132a Discrimination Claim
A California Court of Appeals held that an employer did not violate section 132a by not allowing an employee to return to work for two months while they attempted to obtain clarification of the employee’s medical certificates.
Plaintiff Pays the Costs after CDPA Loss
On February 5, 2010, A California Court of Appeals in the case of Jankey v. Song Koo Lee decided that a prevailing defendant could recover attorney's fees under California Civil Code § 55 after being sued under the California Disabled Persons Act ("CDPA"). The defendant was subsequently awarded $118,458 in fees pursuant to the court's decision.
Title II of GINA Now in Effect
Title II of the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA) took effect as of November 21, 2009. GINA prohibits employers, employment agencies, insurers, and unions from discriminating on the basis of genetic information.
Some Minor Dilemmas: Agricultural Employers with Youthful-Appearing Employees
Recently, many Agricultural employers have been faced with a common problem. These employers specifically want to know whether they can ask youthful-looking employees about their age and ask those employees to provide identification to prove that they are over eighteen.
Hidden Video Surveillance Did Not Violate Employees’ Privacy Rights
The California Supreme Court held in Hernandez v. Hillsides Inc., No. S147552 (August 3, 2009), that an employer who, for legitimate reasons, installed a hidden surveillance camera in an office and took effective steps to avoid videotaping employees during normal working hours did not violate employees' right to privacy.
The Supreme Court Held It Was Unlawful For The City To Refuse To Certify An Exam Because A Disproportionate Number of Minorities Did Not Pass
Last week, the United States Supreme Court in Ricci v. DeStefano ruled that the City of New Haven violated Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 by discarding the results of a firefighter promotion test where a group of white applicants and one Hispanic scored disproportionately better than other minority applicants. In 2004, the City threw out the results of a promotion test for firefighters because no black applicants scored high enough to qualify for a promotion. Consequently, the white firefighters who passed the test but were denied a promotion filed a reverse discrimination lawsuit.
Victory for Employers in Age Discrimination Case
Last week, the Supreme Court issued its opinion in Gross v. FBL Financial Services, No. 08-441 (June 18, 2009), a case brought by Jack Gross a 54-year-old man that claimed he was demoted because of his age when he was transferred to a new position and some of his duties were assigned to a younger female employee in a newly created position. Gross received the same compensation in the new position as he did in his former position. Gross sued under the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA), the federal law prohibiting discrimination against employees age 40 and older.
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