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CALIFORNIA WORKPLACE VIOLENCE SAFETY ACT

April 1, 2019

California has enacted the Workplace Violence Safety Act (the “Act”) permitting an employer, whose employee has suffered unlawful violence or a credible threat of violence from any person, which can reasonably be construed to be carried out at the workplace, to obtain a temporary restraining order and an injunction on behalf of the employee prohibiting further unlawful violence or threats of violence. Prior to this law, employers could not obtain a temporary restraining order or an injunction on behalf of an employee, and the employee was frequently reluctant to have his or her name attached to a restraining order.

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EMPLOYMENT REFERENCES

April 1, 2019

A common question faced by employers is whether to give a former employee a favorable letter of reference to assist the former employee in obtaining a new position. This issue is particularly difficult when the employee was not an outstanding employee or if the employee was terminated for cause.

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CALIFORNIA SUPREME COURT GRANTS EMPLOYEES THE RIGHT TO SUE FOR SEXUAL FAVORITISM

April 1, 2019

In a significant expansion of sexual harassment law in California, the California Supreme Court held, in Miller vs. Department of Corrections, et al, that any worker, male or female, has a claim for sexual harassment by showing that there was widespread sexual favoritism which created a hostile working environment, regardless of whether the employees who were granted favorable treatment willingly bestowed their sexual favors. Previously, a supervisor who granted favorable employment opportunities to an employee with whom the supervisor was having an affair did not commit sexual harassment toward other employees. Now, an employee can show sexual harassment even if his or her supervisor never asked for sexual favors or made inappropriate sexual advances.

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EMPLOYMENT LAW – SELECTION OF EMPLOYEES

April 1, 2019

This Newsletter shall discuss the restrictions imposed on employers in recruiting and hiring employees by Federal law and California law. In general, both Federal and California law prohibit an employer from asking any question, in either an employment application or an employment interview, which relates to race, religion, color, national origin, sex or marital status, unless it is a bona fide occupational qualification for employment. Employers should carefully review their employment application forms and interview procedures to ensure compliance with applicable law.

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NATIONAL LABOR RELATIONS BOARD – NEW GUIDELINES ON EMPLOYEE HANDBOOKS

February 27, 2019

The National Labor Relations Board (“NLRB”) General Counsel, Richard Griffin, recently issued the “Report of the General Counsel Concerning Employer Rules,” a comprehensive report providing guidance to employers on what the NLRB deems to be lawful and unlawful company handbook provisions and policies. The rules in the Report apply to both unionized and non-unionized employers because the National Labor Relations Act (“NLRA”) restricts all employers from issuing policies or rules that inhibit employees from engaging in activities protected by the NRLA, such as discussing wages, criticizing management, publicly communicating about working conditions and discussing unionization.

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