SF city parkCalifornia’s prohibitions against employment discrimination, including those contained in the Fair Employment and Housing Act, provide significant protection to employees, guarding them against mistreatment in the form of improper discrimination. In addition to protecting certain groups like women, people of color, and religious minorities, the FEHA also protects some employees who engage in certain protected activities from retaliation by their employers. Unfortunately for one San Francisco parks and recreation worker, the California Court of Appeal determined that the law did not protect him, since the activities that he claimed got him fired were not protected activities under the law.

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Employee HandbookWhen you are pursuing your employer for employment discrimination, there are paths you can choose and sometimes some hurdles to clear in choosing a course that will give you a good chance of obtaining the successful outcome you need and deserve. Sometimes, one of these hurdles is avoiding having your case sidetracked into binding arbitration. In a recent case from Southern California, the California Court of Appeal concluded that an employer couldn’t use a signed employee handbook to force the employee into arbitration because the employer had written into the handbook express language stating that it did not create a binding contract.

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cannabis leafA recent federal court ruling issued an important reminder about how far the Fair Employment and Housing Act’s protections against disability discrimination do, and do not, go. The federal district court in the Eastern District of California explained that the FEHA clearly does not prohibit employers from terminating employees for using medical marijuana. However, if the employer creates personnel policies promising not to punish medical marijuana-using employees in states where the practice is legal, the employer may face a breach of employment contract claim for firing an employee for no reason other than his medical marijuana use.

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pedestrianWhen you’ve been injured by a driver’s negligence, you have several important steps that are before you. You must decide if you will sue, when you will sue, and whom you will sue, among other things. Getting the fullest recovery possible under the law is, in part, based upon making these choices correctly. A recent California Court of Appeal case involving a teenage pedestrian struck along a Northern California road offers some helpful insight on when you may and may not sue a negligent driver’s employer for your injuries.

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cardboard boxesA recent federal court ruling in a disability discrimination case filed under the Fair Employment and Housing Act can offer important knowledge to employers regarding the interactive process when it comes to employees with disabilities. In this ruling, the U.S. District Court, Eastern District of California refused to award a summary judgment to an employer, even though the employee did not satisfy the employer’s request for a doctor’s note. The information the employer already had on hand, even without the requested note, was enough to put it on notice that the employee had certain disabilities and therefore placed the employer under the obligation to engage in an interactive process.

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PsychotherapyA recent ruling by a federal District Court in San Francisco provides a useful reminder to both employees and employers of the narrow circumstances in which the employers may demand psychological fitness-for-work examinations without violating the Fair Employment and Housing Act, due in part to the potentially powerful negative impacts of requiring employees to undergo such exams. In the recent case, since the exam in question never actually took place, the court concluded that neither side was entitled to summary judgment, and the issue of the exam demand’s compliance with the FEHA should proceed to trial.

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magnifying glassIn a personal injury case, you have a lot of important decisions to make. One of those is whether to accept or reject a settlement offer. This is one of many areas where experienced counsel can help immensely. Whether it is wise or unwise to accept a settlement may depend greatly on whether that settlement constitutes a “998 offer” under the California statutes. In another recent case exploring the criteria for valid 998 offers, the California Court of Appeal upheld a ruling against a driver because the release she included as part of the offer she extended was too broad to qualify as a 998 offer.

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calendar screenWhen you have a potential employment discrimination case, there are many legal procedural hurdles you may have to clear. One of these is making sure that you file the appropriate legal documents before the deadline for filing passes. Filing late could mean losing out entirely on the chance to pursue your case. In one recent Fair Employment and Housing Act case, the California Court of Appeal ruled that, contrary to the decision of a lower court, the man had not missed the applicable deadline and could proceed with his claim of racial discrimination.

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police car crashPursuing your personal injury case can involve many complex steps. The law allows a variety of techniques for presenting your case. In fact, there may be a point in your case at which you bring forward multiple contentions, some of which may seem to be in conflict with one another. The law allows you to present alternative claims for liability and alternative factual allegations, and, according to a recent California Court of Appeal case, the use of this technique should not be considered to be a “sham” and disallowed.

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Judge's gavelThere are a lot of things that go into pursuing a personal injury case, including many decisions that must be made and procedural hurdles that must be cleared. At any of a number of points in the process, making a wrong choice in how you pursue your case can cause you to lose, on procedural grounds, your opportunity to obtain the compensation you deserve. That’s what makes tackling your personal injury case on your own so risky. Just as you know all the nuances in your career field, your injury attorney readily knows all of the laws, rules, and procedural hoops that must be complied with simply to get your day in court. One injured Northern California man’s case provided a stark example, since his procedural errors led the court to throw out a default judgment in his favor and also dismiss his case entirely.

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