California Public Agency Labor & Employment Blog

California Public Agency Labor & Employment Blog

Useful information for navigating legal challenges

Monthly Archives: January 2011

Ninth Circuit Holds That Behavioral Issues Warrant Fitness For Duty Examination

Posted in Discrimination, Retaliation
On how many occasions have you found yourself asking whether you can lawfully send an employee for a fitness for duty evaluation?  At one time or another you may have been faced with an employee whose ability to perform their job is questioned.  Sometimes these situations are clear: the employee is actually failing to perform… Continue Reading

Formulating Effective College Freedom Of Expression Policies Under The First Amendment

Posted in First Amendment, Litigation, Workplace Policies
Many public universities and colleges in California want to establish policies regarding what kind of speech can occur on campus.  But doing so can be hazardous.  Imagine you are tasked with establishing a policy that governs organized student speech on your campus.  What would be reasonable? Without a lot of legal guidance, you might propose… Continue Reading

U.S. Supreme Court Holds Employee Background Checks Do Not Violate Privacy Rights

Posted in Privacy
Recently, the Supreme Court reversed a decision of the Ninth Circuit and upheld the federal government’s ability to conduct employee background checks in an 8-0 decision (Justice Kagan did not participate) in NASA v. Nelson (No. 09-530). The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (“NASA”) is an independent federal agency which has a workforce consisting of… Continue Reading

Failure To Hire Was Not Racially Discriminatory Where Employer Had Established Policy Against Applicants With Theft Convictions

Posted in Discrimination
Recently, the EEOC lost a lawsuit against an employer, Con-Way Freight, under allegations that the company did not hire an applicant because of her race. In support of these allegations, the EEOC offered evidence that one manager, upon learning of the applicant’s race, made a statement that hiring the woman would “open a can of worms” and the other… Continue Reading

Employment After PERS Retirement: What Are The Limits?

Posted in Employment, Layoffs, Retirement
A local agency employee retires and begins receiving a pension from the California Public Employees Retirement System (PERS) and is then offered part-time employment with the old employer because economically motivated layoffs had left the old department short-handed.  What obstacles and limitations do the agency and the retired employee face in this situation? The PERS… Continue Reading

Recent Lawsuits Fuel Debate Over Whether Appearance-Based Discrimination Should Be Illegal

Posted in Discrimination, Harassment
Two headline making lawsuits ignited a national debate over whether it should be illegal for an employer to make employment decisions based on an employee’s appearance.  The Wall Street Journal reported that Cassandra Marie Smith filed a lawsuit against her former employer, Hooters, alleging that restaurant management told her during a performance evaluation to join… Continue Reading