California Public Agency Labor & Employment Blog

California Public Agency Labor & Employment Blog

Useful information for navigating legal challenges

Category Archives: Litigation

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Appellate Law – The Final Judgment Rule and its Exceptions

Posted in Litigation
Many times, parties to a lawsuit receive trial court rulings in the midst of the litigation that are unfavorable, oppressive, and seem to them to be demonstrably wrong.  The parties want to appeal immediately, but their counsel will say that cannot happen, citing the “Final Judgment Rule.”  The rule certainly sounds dark and fateful.  Perhaps… Continue Reading

Year-End Review of California’s Notable Employment Decisions

Posted in Litigation
Overall, employers fared well in the outcome of published decisions related to various employment claims this year (although there were cases that went to employees).  Some of the notable cases are discussed below. Fitness for Duty A university professor unsuccessfully sued his employer for violations of the California Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA), the… Continue Reading

Big Changes Are Coming to the Department of Fair Employment and Housing

Posted in Legislation, Litigation
The way complaints for violation of the Fair Employment and Housing Act (“FEHA”) are processed and enforced by the Department of Fair Employment and Housing (“DFEH”) is about to undergo a significant transformation.  Motivated by a desire to close a nearly $16 billion budget deficit by reducing duplication and maximizing efficiency within State government, Governor… Continue Reading

When Parents Behave Poorly, Must Districts Still Engage In The Process? When “Stay Put” Does Not Mean “Freeze!”

Posted in Litigation
This guest post was authored by Heather R. Coffman  In a recently published decision, Anchorage School District v. M.P., (9th Cir. 2012) —F.3d — [2012 WL 2927758], the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals sent a cool message to school districts struggling to provide special education services to children with hyper-litigious parents: Parents’ poor behavior does… Continue Reading

Appellate Law — What Are Amicus Curiae Briefs?

Posted in Appeals, Litigation
Public agency officials and employees may read newspaper articles about recently decided landmark cases in public sector labor and employment law, and may feel relief, anger, surprise, or vindication in the result.  This is especially true if the decision impacts how the agency functions on a day-to-day basis.  These same individuals may also find developing… Continue Reading

Anti-Slapp Motions As A Litigation Resource For Public Employers

Posted in First Amendment, Litigation
Public employers in California have a powerful tool available to them in California’s anti-SLAPP statute, California Civil Procedure Code section 425.16.  This availability was confirmed in a recent case named Vargas v. City of Salinas.  Not much fanfare accompanied the Vargas decision, which issued last November.  But the Court of Appeal’s decision, on constitutional grounds,… Continue Reading

“Last Chance Agreement” Failed To Contain Waiver Of “Skelly” Rights

Posted in Constitutional Rights, Litigation, Personnel Issues
This guest post was authored by James Oldendorph   On August 3, 2011, the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals held that a public employee had not knowingly waived his right to a due process pre-termination hearing by signing a “last chance agreement,” and that the public employer violated his due process right by not… Continue Reading

Court Rules Metrolink May Monitor Locomotive Engineers Via Audio/Video Surveillance

Posted in Constitutional Rights, Litigation, Privacy
This guest post was authored by James E. Oldendorph Jr. In October 2009, Metrolink installed two inward-facing cameras in all of its locomotive cabs.  While one of the inward-facing cameras records the control panel and gauges, the other is located seven to eight feet from where the locomotive engineer is seated inside the cab and… Continue Reading

Two Bar Associations Give Employers Another Reason To Adopt Social Media Guidelines

Posted in Litigation, Privacy, Social Media
Social networking websites have become a treasure trove for lawyers looking for damaging information that could be used to impeach an opposing party or any adverse witnesses in a lawsuit.  As a result, the New York Bar Association’s Committee on Professional Ethics looked into the following question: May a lawyer view and access the Facebook… Continue Reading

Overtime Pay For Off-Duty Cell Phone Calls And Text Messages? Maybe!

Posted in FLSA, Litigation, Privacy, Wage and Hour
The cell phone, in particular the so-called “smartphones” (e.g. iPhones, Blackberrys, Android phones) are amazing.  These devices allow us to be in contact no matter where we are on a 24/7 basis.  Some employers issue these devices to their employees both as a benefit to the employee but primarily as a benefit to the employer… Continue Reading

Details Do Count; FEHA Statute Of Limitations To Sue Begins When “Right To Sue” Letter Is Issued, Not When It Is Received

Posted in Employment, Litigation
Lawyers are sometimes faulted for being overly detailed and “picky.”  Maybe so, but sometimes attention to detail can be important!  A good example is the recent court of appeal decision entitled Hall v. Goodwill Industries of Southern California, decided this past March 16, 2011.  In that case, Hall was terminated from his job at Goodwill… 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