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Employment Law Daily News for Mar 30, 2015

Ellen Pao Loses Discrimination Case Against Silicon Valley Venture Capital Firm
Mon, 30 Mar 2015 04:57:41 - Pacific Time

Silicon Valley venture capital firm, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers,  has prevailed in a closely watched gender discrimination suit. Plaintiff Ellen Pao had accused the firm of discriminating and retaliating against her in the course of her employment and eventual termination. The lawsuit amplified concerns about the lack of diversity in the technology industry. Read more here.

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EEOC Chair Comments on Pregnancy Discrimination Case
Thu, 26 Mar 2015 15:37:04 - Pacific Time

The statement below is from EEOC Chair Jenny R. Yang, concerning the Supreme Court's decision in Young v. UPS. This case raised the question of whether a pregnant woman was entitled to changes to her job, such as light duty, in order to continue working during her pregnancy. The "decision in Young v. UPS is a clear win for women and families across America…The Court's analysis reflects the broad protection Congress intended when it passed the Pregnancy Discrimination Act in 1978. I am pleased that the Court also recognized that the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), as amended, provides important protections for employees with pregnancy-related conditions. As a result of this decision, many pregnant women who were previously denied accommodations will now be entitled to receive them." Read more here.

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U.S. Supreme Court Rules Against UPS in Pregnancy Discrimination Case
Wed, 25 Mar 2015 14:50:21 - Pacific Time

In a landmark decision (Young v. United Parcel Service) the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled against UPS in a case alleging discrimination pursuant to the federal Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA). UPS only provided light duty assignments to employees injured on the job. Thus, UPS denied a light duty position to a pregnant employee because her lifting restrictions (20 pounds versus the 70 pounds required by her position) were unrelated to a work injury. UPS defended its policy on the basis that all employees, other than those with work related injuries were treated the same, and thus there was no discriminatory intent under the PDA. The Supreme Court rejected their interpretation of the PDA. Read more here.

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California Assembly Committee Approves “Family Holiday” Bill
Mon, 23 Mar 2015 15:40:57 - Pacific Time

California’s Assembly Labor and Employment Committee has approved a bill (AB 67) requiring double pay for work performed on certain holidays referred to as “family holidays,” specifically December 25 of each year (commonly referred to as “Christmas”) and the fourth Thursday of November of each year (commonly referred to as “Thanksgiving”). CalChamber has opposed the bill, stating that “AB 67 would also unilaterally increase the cost of doing business only for those employers who have a physical presence in California, thereby automatically placing them at a competitive disadvantage with online companies and out-of-state businesses that would not be subject to this cost.” The bill is headed to the Assembly Appropriations Committee. Read more here.

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U.S. Labor Department Reaches $84 Million Settlement With BNY
Sun, 22 Mar 2015 00:39:44 - Pacific Time

The Bank of New York Mellon has agreed to repay $84 million to employee benefit plan customers as part of a settlement with the U.S Labor Department (DOL). The agreement was reached as part of a larger settlement that resolves private lawsuits against the bank as well as suits brought by the U.S. Department of Justice and the New York State Attorney General. An investigation by the DOL’s Employee Benefits Security Administration found that, for most standing instruction foreign currency exchange transactions with customers, including retirement plans, the bank allegedly assigned nearly the worst prices at which currencies had traded in the market during all or part of a day. Read more read.

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EEOC Sends Notice of Proposed Rulemaking on ADA and Wellness Programs to OMB for Clearance
Sun, 22 Mar 2015 00:32:05 - Pacific Time

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) voted to send a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) on the interplay of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the Affordable Care Act (ACA) with respect to wellness programs to the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for clearance. This proposed rule, which was approved by a bipartisan vote, would amend the regulations implementing the equal employment provisions of the ADA to address the interaction between Title I of the ADA and financial incentives as part of wellness programs offered through group health plans. The submission of the NPRM to OMB represents the start of the regulatory process. After OMB approval, the proposed rule will be published in the Federal Register for a 60-day public notice and comment period. The NPRM cannot be made public prior to its publication in the Federal Register. Read more here.

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Employer to Pay $125,000 for Allegedly Terminating HIV-Positive Employee
Sun, 22 Mar 2015 00:21:01 - Pacific Time

Gregory Packaging, Inc., a nationwide manufacturer and distributor of juice products to school districts and medical institutions, has agreed to pay $125,000 to settle a disability discrimination lawsuit brought by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). In its lawsuit, the EEOC charged that Gregory Packing terminated an employee from its Newnan, Georgia, facility after learning that he was HIV-positive. According to the EEOC's lawsuit, the employee worked as a machine operator in the packaging department at the company's Newnan plant.  Despite his good job performance and demonstrated ability to perform his job in a safe manner, Gregory Packaging admitted it terminated the employee because of his HIV status. "The company now acknowledges that the employee's continued employment after he became HIV-positive did not pose a threat to the health or safety of him or others," said Robert Dawkins, regional attorney for the EEOC's Atlanta office. Read more here.

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Former Facebook Employee Sues for Alleged Sex Discrimination, Harassment
Sun, 22 Mar 2015 00:11:52 - Pacific Time

A former Facebook employee is suing the company for a number of claims, including sex discrimination, harassment and race/national origin discrimination, according to a lawsuit filed with the San Mateo County Superior Court Monday. Chia Hong worked at Facebook from June 2010 to October 2013. Hong alleges that she was treated differently during her time at the company because of her race and gender. She was terminated in 2013. Hong claims that she was “belittled” at work, and was asked at one point “why she did not just stay home and take care of her children.” She also claims that she was punished for taking time off to volunteer at her child’s school, and “ordered to organize parties and serve drinks to male colleagues,” something that wasn’t in her job description. A Facebook spokesperson denied the allegations. Read more here.

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Judge Allows Claim For Punitive Damages To Continue In Silicon Valley Sexual Harassment Case
Sun, 22 Mar 2015 00:04:55 - Pacific Time

The San Francisco County Superior Court judge hearing a lawsuit against the Silicon Valley company, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers,  denied a motion that would have thrown out former executive Ellen Pao's claim for punitive damages in her high-profile gender discrimination lawsuit. Pao is suing her former employer, Kleiner Perkins, claiming gender discrimination and retaliation, alleging that she was not promoted by the company because she is a woman. She was terminated in October 2012, five months after filing the lawsuit. She is seeking $16 million in lost wages and bonuses, and asking for an unspecified amount in punitive damages. “There is sufficient evidence from which a reasonable juror could find, as to Ms. Pao’s claims for gender discrimination and retaliation, that Kleiner Perkins acted with malice, fraud or oppression…There is sufficient evidence from which a reasonable juror could conclude that Kleiner Perkins engaged in intentional gender discrimination by failing to promote Ms. Pao and terminating her employment, and that Kleiner Perkins attempted to hide its illegal conduct by offering knowingly false and pretexual explanations for its decisions not to promote Ms. Pao and to terminate her employment.” Read more here.

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Amended CFRA Regulations to Take Effect July 1, 2015
Fri, 13 Mar 2015 16:56:18 - Pacific Time

The Office of Administrative Law (OAL) has approved amendments to the California Family Rights Act (CFRA) regulations, which will take effect July 1, 2015. The amendments, proposed by the Fair Employment and Housing Council law year, make several changes to CFRA regulations so they are more closely aligned with the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). However, some differences between FMLA and CFRA will still exist, in particular as related to California laws on pregnancy disability leave. Read more here.

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Past Employment Law News Articles

• President Obama Announces “TechHire” Initiative: Fri, 13 Mar 2015 16:42:07 - Pacific Time: Read More...

• Catholic Diocese of Sacramento Will Pay $4 Million for Alleged Wrongful Termination: Fri, 13 Mar 2015 16:33:08 - Pacific Time: Read More...

• Supreme Court Upholds DOL Rule Classifying Mortgage Brokers as NonExempt: Mon, 09 Mar 2015 16:26:38 - Pacific Time: Read More...

• U.S. Supreme Court Revives Notre Dame’s Appeal in Contraceptive Case: Mon, 09 Mar 2015 16:12:42 - Pacific Time: Read More...

• EEOC and DOJ Sign Memorandum of Understanding on Title VII Goals: Fri, 06 Mar 2015 19:02:55 - Pacific Time: Read More...

• EEOC Alleges Trucking Company Committed Unlawful Medical Inquiries: Fri, 06 Mar 2015 18:51:01 - Pacific Time: Read More...

• Apple, Google Settlement Appears Headed For Approval in “Poaching” Case: Tue, 03 Mar 2015 07:04:19 - Pacific Time: Read More...

• EEOC Sues Disability Services Company for Inflexible Leave Policy: Tue, 03 Mar 2015 06:52:47 - Pacific Time: Read More...

• DHS Extends Eligibility for Employment Authorization to Certain H-4 Dependent Spouses: Thu, 26 Feb 2015 06:47:32 - Pacific Time: Read More...

• U.S. Supreme Court Hears Oral Argument in Religious Discrimination Case: Thu, 26 Feb 2015 06:12:20 - Pacific Time: Read More...