Archive for the ‘FMLA’ Category

A Timeline of American Employee Rights

September 27, 2011 Leave a comment

Inc. Magazine did an excellent article on the history of the workplace you can read by clicking here.

Wal-Mart Gets Caught in the Bermuda Triangle

The point is this: Just because an injured employee may not be able to return to work due to their injuries…they may be able to return to work by granting them an accommodation. Because Wal-Mart may not have engaged in an interactive dialogue the court let the case move forward. Wal-Mart was also being sued for wrongful termination. As stated by the court:

Here, considering the facts in the light most favorable to Cox, Wal-Mart terminated her between seven and ten months after she invoked her OWCL rights. Cox has offered evidence that during those intervening months, Wal-Mart disciplined her unjustifiably on three occasions, and refused to accommodate her, even though before Cox invoked her rights, Wal-Mart found her performance acceptable and gave her accommodations. A reasonable jury could infer from this evidence that Cox’s termination was causally linked to her invocation of her OWCL rights.”

Can You Hear Me Now?

December 20, 2010 Leave a comment

From the DFEH FAIR TIMES: This release applies to all employers as an example of just how expensive employment practice claims can get. Remember, settlements by agencies like the DFEH, EEOC, etc. are usually lower than those in private litigation.

DFEH REACHES HISTORIC MULTI-MILLION DOLLAR CLASS SETTLEMENT WITH VERIZON – On November 23, 2010, Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Anthony J. Mohr preliminarily approved a $6,011,190 settlement in Dept. Fair Empl. & Hous. v. Verizon (Seales) (Super. Ct. L.A. County, 2010, No. BC444066) for more than 1,000 current and former California employees to settle a class action lawsuit the DFEH filed challenging the company’s family medical leave practices. The settlement covers Verizon’s voice, data and video operations in California, which employ more than 7,000 people. The class action lawsuit was precipitated by a more than two-year-long investigation into Verizon’s practices under the California Family Rights Act (CFRA), which was conducted by the Department of Fair Employment and Housing’s (DFEH) Special Investigations Unit (SIU). The lawsuit alleges that from 2007 to 2010, Verizon denied or failed to timely approve class members’ requests for leave for their own serious health condition, to care for a family member with a serious health condition, or to bond with a new child. Settlement of the lawsuit—the largest in DFEH history—could result in payment to class members of over six million dollars, an amount equivalent to an entire year of DFEH Enforcement Division settlements. Verizon also agreed to review and revise its leave policies and procedures, continue an existing internal review process that employees can invoke to appeal denials, train all California officers, managers, supervisors and human resources personnel on the procedures and submit regular updates to the DFEH regarding the company’s compliance. In settling the matter, Verizon did not admit to liability. The settlement is subject to final court approval after class claims are filed. In addition to the CFRA class action, the Department also settled two companion group actions with Verizon: 1) a $444,960 Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) pregnancy discrimination group settlement for 42 employees denied time off for pregnancy-related medical reasons; and 2) a $467,466 FEHA disability discrimination group settlement for eight employees denied reasonable accommodation. Together, the DFEH achieved a total of $6,923,616 plus affirmative relief in the three Verizon settlements. For further information, see the press release.

DFEH PREVAILS IN FEHC PRECEDENTIAL DECISIONS – In Dept. Fair Empl. & Hous. v. Avis Rent-a-Car (Reed) (Oct. 19, 2010) No. 10-05-P, FEHC Precedential Decs. 2010 [2010 WL 4901733 (Cal.F.E.H.C.)], the Fair Employment and Housing Commission (FEHC) ruled in favor of the Department, concluding that the employer had unlawfully denied a reasonable accommodation to its salesperson, made unlawful inquiries about her disability, and committed other violations under the FEHA. The decision ordered the employer to pay $89,863.70 ($14,863.70 in lost wages and $50,000 in emotional distress to the employee, and $25,000 in administrative fine to the State), train its management staff, and post notices of the ordered relief. See the decision.

NOTABLE DFEH SETTLEMENTS – The DFEH continues to settle cases both pre- and post-accusation. Below is a sample of this quarter’s settlements.

  • Dept. Fair Empl. & Hous. v. Southgate Garden Homes Association, Inc. (Grey); DFEH Case No. H200708-W-0076; familial status discrimination in housing $115,000 plus affirmative relief.
  • Dept. Fair Empl. & Hous. v. University of California, San Diego Medical Center (Sutton); DFEH Case No. E-200910-D-0094-00-pv; disability discrimination in employment; $40,000 plus affirmative relief.
  • Dept. Fair Empl. & Hous. v. Urban Suburban Inc. et al. (Holdsworth); DFEH Case No. E200809-M-1316-00s/01s/02s; sexual harassment in employment; $22,500 plus affirmative relief.
  • Felicia Checo/Northgate Gonzalez LLC, DFEH Case No. E-200910-S-0597-00fe; California Family Rights Act (CFRA) violation in employment; $40,000 plus affirmative relief.
  • Ewing/Bay Area Legal Aid; DFEH Case No. E200910-M-0805-00-pev; disability discrimination and denial of accommodation in employment; $14,500 plus affirmative relief.


February 18, 2010 Leave a comment

The EEOC has made it clear that automatic termination after FMLA leave is exhausted may run afoul of ADA accommodation requirements. As stated by the EEOC “The era of employers being able to inflexibly and universally apply a leave limits policy without seriously considering the reasonable accommodation requirements of the ADA are over,” Hendrickson said. “Just as it is a truism that never having to come to work is manifestly not a reasonable accommodation, it is also true that inflexible leave policies which ignore reasonable accommodations making it possible to get employees back on the job cannot survive under federal law.”

To learn more go to