This post was authored by Melanie L. Chaney.

Under Title VII and the Fair Employment and Housing Act (“FEHA”), the employer has an affirmative obligation to take all reasonable steps necessary to prevent harassment, discrimination, or retaliation.  In order to comply with this obligation, employers must investigate all complaints of harassment, discrimination, or retaliation. 

The allegations of sexual harassment and assault levied against Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein have been front page news for the last week.  The board of directors of his company swiftly voted to terminate his employment, but only time will tell what impact Mr. Weinstein’s transgressions (and alleged criminal activity) will have on his former company. 

Supreme CourtOn April 26, 2016, the U.S. Supreme Court decided that a public agency can incur liability for a First Amendment violation if it demotes or disciplines one of its employee based on the agency’s mistaken belief that the employee has exercised a right of free expression.  The Court’s decision in Heffernan v. City of Paterson

Breaking-News1.jpgOn Thursday, June 19, 2014, the U.S. Supreme Court in Lane v. Franks held that the First Amendment protects a public employee who provides truthful sworn testimony, compelled by subpoena, outside the scope of his or her ordinary job responsibilities.  In so holding, the Court overturned precedent from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the

Whistle.jpgWhen Labor Code section 1102.5, generally referred to as the “whistleblower” statute, was enacted in 1984, the Legislature intended to encourage employees to report violations of state and federal laws by their employers without fear of retaliation.  The statute endured for nearly 20 years before it was first amended in 2003.  It has now been

Healthcare.jpgThis blog post was authored by Jessica R. Frier

Employers should update their whistleblowing, anti-harassment and anti-retaliation policies to reference new protections provided to employees by the Affordable Care Act (“ACA”). 

What is Prohibited?  ACA’s anti-retaliation provisions prohibit an employer from retaliating against an employee who:

  1. Receives a health insurance tax credit or subsidy

DNA2.jpgIn 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. 

Determining what constitutes an “adverse employment action” is critical when an employee sues for retaliation and/or discrimination.  In order to be able to sustain a claim for either retaliation or discrimination, an employee must sufficiently prove that he/she suffered an adverse employment action.  This issue was recently addressed by the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of

Police Cars.jpgUpdate: On December 11, 2012, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit decided to re-hear Dahlia v. Rodriguez en banc. Accordingly, public agencies can no longer rely on the three-Judge panel opinion discussed below. A panel of eleven Judges will re-hear the appeal. The opinion of that en banc panel of the