Seyfarth Synopsis: Summertime is here. That time of year when wildflowers cover the landscape, birds are singing, and summer love is in the air—and that air may just drift into the workplace. And while a budding relationship seems innocent enough, the thorny reality of potential harassment, quid pro quo, hostile work environment, and other claims stemming from the demise
Continue Reading Wildflowers Are Not Intentionally Planted—Workplace Relationship Policies Can Be

Seyfarth Synopsis: On March 4, 2021, the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (“DFEH”) provided some much needed clarity in its updated COVID-19 Related Guidance. The Guidance answers many pressing questions for employers regarding COVID-19, including the all-important question: Can employers mandate their employees to get a vaccine?

In short, yes, California employers may require their employees to
Continue Reading Updated DFEH Guidance on Mandatory COVID-19 Vaccination Policies

Seyfarth Synopsis: As employers expected, the pandemic has brought new challenges to managing a workforce, and of course, new litigation. Here we address hotspots of COVID-19 litigation in California to help employers know where they should be taking special care.

Participants on either side of recent employment litigation in California can often point to the same scapegoat: “COVID made me
Continue Reading The Ultimate Scapegoat: COVID Inspired Lawsuits in California

Seyfarth Synopsis: Halloween is lurking just around the corner, and workplace festivities may present unusual challenges. Unsafe or offensive costumes, religious discrimination, and harassment are among the issues potentially facing employers around this time of year. Here are some tips to avoid the tricks and enjoy the treats.

Exorcise Your Right to Have Fun

It’s not uncommon to allow employees
Continue Reading Treating Employees To Halloween Fun Can Be Tricky

Seyfarth Synopsis: Employers, take note—the long-awaited, new FEHA regulations related to national origin are about to take effect! Come July 1, 2018, new regulations on national origin under California’s Fair Employment and Housing Act reflect a broad definition of national origin, codify existing case law, and intensify already strict regulations prohibiting harassment, discrimination, and retaliation based on national
Continue Reading New FEHC Regulations: The Galactic Expanse of National Origin Law in California

Seyfarth Synopsis: Workplace violence is a major concern that can take the form of intimidation, threats, and even homicide. But fret not: California employers can arm themselves with restraining orders, to prevent a modern version of the “Fight Club” at work.

Rule Number 1: If There’s a Workplace Violence Threat, DO Talk About It—In Court

Being at work
Continue Reading Fight Club Rules: Using Restraining Orders to Prevent Workplace Violence

Seyfarth Synopsis: As Californians grow tragically familiar with wildfire, California employers face another threat of fire in the form of defamation lawsuits. The rapidly burning #MeToo anti-harassment movement, and constant talk in the news about peoples’ reputations being destroyed, has rained down fire and fury for California employers forced to consider possible defamation lawsuits by current or former employees.

Stoking
Continue Reading Defamation: Containing Fire and Fury in the Deep Blue State

Seyfarth Synopsis: The natural inclination is to ignore attempts to dredge up claims of harassment that happened long ago. But no harassment claim is too old to investigate. Having strong anti-harassment policies and investigation procedures, along with a good work culture, can help employers avoid getting caught in the cross-fire of the “me-too” harassment dialogue.

The #MeToo movement has enveloped
Continue Reading The Stale Harassment Complaint: Coal In Your Stocking?

Seyfarth Synopsis: Private employers can face competing obligations when it comes to responding to employees’  expressive conduct. Employee rights may collide with employer obligations to maintain a safe and harassment-free work environment, not to mention the employer’s interest in maintaining productivity and avoiding adverse publicity. Here are some guiding principles.

“How’s work?” A common question, whether at a party, catching
Continue Reading Not Just Sticks and Stones: When Should Employers Step In?

Seyfarth Synopsis: On July 17, 2017, the California Fair Employment and Housing Council (FEHC) heard public comments on its proposed regulations covering national origin discrimination under the FEHA. Discussion centered on employer-imposed language restrictions, English proficiency requirements, and immigration-related employment practices. Look for final regulations later this year. 

The FEHC kicked off its third meeting of the year, this time
Continue Reading New National Origin Discrimination Regs: FEHC Hears Public Comments