California Public Agency Labor & Employment Blog

California Public Agency Labor & Employment Blog

Useful information for navigating legal challenges

Category Archives: Personnel Issues

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Performance Evaluations: Why It’s A Good Thing For Public Employers

Posted in Personnel Issues, Workplace Policies
In the corporate world, the practice of giving annual performance reviews to employees is under attack.  Leading business magazines and newspapers have printed articles advocating for the elimination of performance evaluations.  There are even books in the marketplace that teach companies how to get rid of performance reviews.  Among the reasons for eliminating annual evaluations … Continue Reading

What Happens in Vegas Might Be Covered by the FMLA

Posted in FMLA, Personnel Issues, Workplace Policies
The FMLA provides an eligible employee the right to 12 workweeks of leave to care for the employee’s spouse, child or parent with a serious health condition.  Consequently, employers generally grant employee requests to use FMLA leave when their family member receives medical treatment or undergoes a surgical procedure.  What happens when an employee requests … Continue Reading

5 Resolutions for the New Year

Posted in Employment, Personnel Issues, Workplace Policies
It’s that time of year again to reflect on this year’s achievements and set goals for the new year.  With the beginning of 2014 upon us, we encourage personnel and human resources directors, managers and  1.  Evaluate Your Agency’s Handling of Disability-Related Issues Employee disability-related issues are among the most complicated and confusing that employers … Continue Reading

Genetic Information: A Protected Classification for the 21st Century

Posted in Discrimination, Harassment, Hiring, Personnel Issues, Retaliation
In the 1997 science fiction film Gattaca, the main character Vincent lives in a futuristic world where success is based on an individual’s genetic profile instead of experience or education.  Because Vincent’s genes are considered inferior, he assumes the identity of a genetically superior man in order to avoid discrimination based on his genetics.  While … Continue Reading

5 New Year’s Resolutions for Public Employers

Posted in Employment, FLSA, Personnel Issues, Workplace Policies
With the beginning of each new year, we make resolutions that often involve improving ourselves:  lose weight; eat healthier; get organized.  The new year is also a good time for personnel and human resources directors, managers and analysts to resolve to make their agencies an even better place to work and to reduce risk.  Here … Continue Reading

EEOC Wastes No Time Implementing New Enforcement Goals by Cracking Down on Pregnancy Discrimination

Posted in Discrimination, Personnel Issues
As part of its Strategic Enforcement Plan for 2012-2016 (“the SEP”), the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) identified the following five priorities for national enforcement in the private and federal, state and local government sectors: 1. Eliminating systemic barriers to recruitment and hiring; 2. Protecting vulnerable workecombatrs such as immigrants and migrants; 3. Targeting … Continue Reading

New California Laws Limit Access to Employee, Student Usernames and Passwords

Posted in Hiring, Legislation, Personnel Issues, Privacy, Social Media
Governor Jerry Brown last week signed two new privacy laws that will go into effect January 1, 2013.  AB 1844 and SB 1349 prohibit employers, colleges and universities from requiring or asking prospective and current employees and students to disclose social media usernames and passwords.  It also prohibits requiring or requesting employees and students to … Continue Reading

Campaigns, Elections, Voting and the Workplace

Posted in Personnel Issues, Workplace Policies
Obama or Romney?  “Yes” or “No” on Proposition 30?  With the election only several weeks away, these questions are starting to make their way into the workplace as political debates among co-workers are starting to break out in lunch rooms, hallways and around the water cooler.  While such political discussions usually consist of a polite … Continue Reading

The Cautionary Tale of the “Florida Cop Who Won’t Stay Fired”

Posted in Employment, Personnel Issues
Disciplining employees is a necessary part of employment.  However, employers often struggle with employees who engage in misconduct, especially where the employer believes the employees should be terminated.  Recently, we came across the story of a Florida police officer which highlights the importance of conducting a thorough investigation before imposing discipline. German Bosque is a … Continue Reading

NLRB Releases New Report Regarding Employer Social Media Policies

Posted in Personnel Issues, Social Media, Workplace Policies
The National Labor Relations Board issued a new report discussing seven social media cases handled by the agency.  This report is the third released by the NLRB regarding social media in the last year, and focuses on the policies of seven companies.  The report provides guidance to employers who have social media policies or are … Continue Reading

New Maryland Law Prohibits Employers from Asking for Social Media Passwords

Posted in Hiring, Legislation, Personnel Issues, Privacy, Social Media
Maryland recently became the first in the nation to ban employers from asking job applicants and employees for their Facebook and other social media passwords.  The law was signed into legislation by Maryland’s Governor approximately one year after the ACLU took on the case of Robert Collins who claimed he was forced to turn over … Continue Reading

Only Current Peace Officers May Inspect Personnel Records Under POBOR

Posted in Personnel Issues
In Barber v. California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, the Court of Appeal held that a terminated peace officer no longer has a right to inspect personnel and internal affairs records under the Public Safety Officers Procedural Bill of Rights Act (“POBOR”).  The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation terminated parole agent Patrick Barber.  Barber … Continue Reading

Does Discrimination Occur Against Workers With Caregiving Responsibilities?

Posted in Disability, Discrimination, Personnel Issues
Balancing work and family is becoming increasingly difficult.  Workers are not only responsible for caring for their own children but many are now the primary caretakers of aging parents.  It is also not uncommon for grandparents to care for grandchildren or for an aunt or uncle to care for a niece or nephew.  The U.S. … Continue Reading

Balancing Conflicts Between Work And Religion

Posted in Personnel Issues, Workplace Policies
Recently, a Macy’s employee was fired because she refused to allow a teenage transgender customer use of the women’s dressing area. Natalie Johnson, who worked at a Macy’s in San Antonio, Texas, watched the teenager shop in the women’s department.  When Johnson saw the teenager in the women’s dressing room, she told the teen “You’re … Continue Reading

Court Expands Employers’ Ability To Obtain Workplace Violence Restraining Orders

Posted in Personnel Issues, Workplace Policies
This guest post was authored by Judith Islas   A recent California Court of Appeal ruling provides employers an important weapon to combat workplace violence.  The Court in Kaiser Foundation Hospitals v. Wilson ruled that courts may consider and rely on hearsay evidence to grant workplace violence restraining orders and injunctions.  This is a significant … Continue Reading

If “Penn State” Happened Here, Would You Have A Duty To Report?

Posted in Education, Employment, Harassment, Personnel Issues, Workplace Policies
This guest post was authored by Meredith Karasch We have all heard about the scandal at Penn State that brought down college football royalty.  We cringe at what happened (or didn’t happen).  We agree there was a moral obligation to report child abuse.  However, moral obligation aside, all public and private entities need to know … 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

School Administrator’s Sexually Explicit Craigslist Ad Costs Him His Job

Posted in Employment, Personnel Issues
There was a collective sigh of relief from employers and school districts alike this week when a California Court of Appeal overturned a personnel commission’s decision to reinstate a middle school administrator after he posted a pornographic and obscene ad on the popular Craigslist website soliciting (free) sex. Frank Lampedusa was a tenured dean of … Continue Reading

Six Million Dollar Settlement Is A Reminder Of The Importance Of Complying With The California Family Rights Act

Posted in CFRA, FMLA, Personnel Issues, Workplace Policies
The California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) and Verizon Services Corporation, which employs more than 7,000 people, agreed to settle a class action lawsuit challenging the company’s handling of family medical leave requests under the California Family Rights Act (CFRA).  The DFEH’s lawsuit against Verizon alleges that the company had several policies and … Continue Reading

Liebert Cassidy Whitmore Will Be Live Tweeting At The ACWA 2011 Spring Conference

Posted in Conferences, Hiring, Personnel Issues, Social Media
This guest post was authored by Liebert Cassidy Whitmore In two weeks, more than 1,000 California water district professionals will gather at ACWA’s 2011 Spring Conference & Exhibition. Liebert Cassidy Whitmore Attorneys, Shelline Bennett and Morin Jacob will be presenting on two areas of our practice: hiring/reference checks and social media.  In addition, we will be live tweeting Morin’s presentation on social media, “Caught in … Continue Reading

California Tax Law Now Conforms With Federal Tax Law Regarding Dependent Health Care Coverage

Posted in Legislation, Personnel Issues
In March 2010, President Obama signed the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act into law.  This new Act requires that health plans and insurers who offer coverage to children on their parents’ plan make the coverage available until the child reaches age 26.  This law applies to married and non-married children, even if they are … Continue Reading