Category Archives: Termination

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Yoga and Massage Therapist Fired for Being “Too Cute” Sees Gender Discrimination Claim Revived on Grounds of Unjustified Spousal Jealousy

A New York appeals court recently ruled in Edwards v. Nicolai (153 A.D.3d 440 (N.Y. App. Div. 1st Dep’t 2017)) that an employment termination motivated by the sexual jealousy of an employer’s spouse may support a claim for gender discrimination under the New York State Human Rights Law (“NYSHRL”) and the New York City Human … Continue Reading

“Ban the Box” and Background Checks – Recent Trends and Movements

Overview Retailers and other employers regularly consider the backgrounds of job applicants and employees when making personnel decisions. It is not illegal for employers to ask questions about an applicant’s criminal history, or to require a background check. However, whenever an employer requests background information about a job applicant or employee, the employer must comply … Continue Reading

California Employers – New Year, New Rules in 2017

The new year will bring along a variety of new obligations for California employers.  Although some of the new laws clarify existing law and provide helpful guidance, several impose additional requirements.  This update highlights key provisions of some of the more notable changes taking effect in 2017.  Links to the statutes and/or prior updates regarding … Continue Reading

Non-Union Employee’s “Bad Attitude” Protected by the NLRA

As a reminder that non-union employees are also protected by the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA), the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago recently upheld a National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) decision holding that Staffing Network Holdings, LLC (“Staffing Network”) violated the NLRA by twice threatening non-union employees with discharge for engaging in protected, … Continue Reading

New Jersey Supreme Court Holds That an Employer Can Sue a Disloyal Employee To Clawback Salary Without Showing Economic Loss

In Kaye v. Rosefielde (A-93-13), the New Jersey Supreme Court recently held that an employer need not demonstrate that it suffered an economic loss in order to recoup the salary of a disloyal employee.  The Court explained that courts have the equitable power to require disgorgement for any pay periods during which the employee was … Continue Reading

The EEOC’s Assault on Separation Agreements – A Bump in the Road, But It’s Far From Over

Most employers have separation agreement forms that have served them well over the years.  The terms have become fairly standardized and, aside from the occasional tweak, they don’t change much and are rarely challenged.  Enter the EEOC, upsetting the apple cart with its new strategic enforcement initiative.  In recent litigation, it has staked out an … Continue Reading

Employer Permitted to Use “After-Acquired” Evidence at Discrimination Trial

In Weber v. Fujifilm Medical Systems USA Inc., et al., case numbers 13-4891 and 14-0206, decided on October 9, 2014, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit held that a former executive’s employer could use “after-acquired” evidence – evidence of an employee’s misconduct during the period of employment which the employer discovers after … Continue Reading

Undocumented Workers May Pursue Claims Under California’s FEHA, So Says The California Supreme Court

On June 26, 2014, in Salas v. Sierra Chemical Co., the California Supreme Court held that undocumented immigrants who fraudulently obtained employment still may pursue retaliation and discrimination claims under the California Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA).  In its decision, the Court also found that the affirmative defenses of unclean hands and after‑acquired evidence, … Continue Reading

US v. Quality Stores, Inc.: Supreme Court Finds Severance Payments Taxable Wages Under FICA

In an 8-0 decision[1] issued March 25, 2014 in United States v. Quality Stores, Inc., the Supreme Court held that severance payments made to employees who are involuntarily terminated are taxable wages for the purposes of withholding Federal Insurance Contributions Act (“FICA”) taxes, i.e., Social Security and Medicare.  This decision resolves a circuit split created … Continue Reading

Court Says Okay to Terminate Bipolar Employee Who Threatened Coworkers

Before filing suit under the California Fair Employment and Housing Act ("FEHA"), an employee must exhaust her administrative remedies with the Department of Fair Employment and Housing ("DFEH"). In the recently decided case of Wills v. Superior Court, the court gave little leeway to an employee, finding that she failed to exhaust her administrative remedies … Continue Reading

“I Quit,” “No, You’re Fired!” New York Supreme Court Tells Employer to Think Twice Before Terminating Employees Without Setting Forth a Reason

Justice Melvin L. Schweitzer of the New York Commercial Division recently issued a decision in Greater Talent Network, Inc. v. Alec Melman, et. al., Index No. 650522/2010 (Sup. Ct., NY County, Dec. 22, 2010) that can have important ramifications for New York employers.  … Continue Reading

California Court Addresses “Stray Remarks Doctrine” In Employment Discrimination Cases

Last week, the California Supreme Court decided Reid v. Google, Inc. This case is yet another reminder to California employers that it is worth their while to train their employees and supervisors to be cautious about what they say and what they put into writing in emails, memos, and so on. The case also illustrates … Continue Reading

Public Policy Protects An Employee From Termination For Making A Good Faith But Mistaken Claim To Overtime

This week, a California Court of Appeal found that the plaintiff employee was entitled to a full trial on his wrongful termination claim, concluding that California public policy in favor of the employer’s duty to pay overtime wages protects an employee from termination for a mistaken but good faith claim to overtime wages.… Continue Reading

California Supreme Court Upholds Voluntary Employee Incentive Compensation Plan

On November 2, 2009, the California Supreme Court handed down its decision in Schachter v. Citigroup, Inc.  At issue was Citigroup’s voluntary employee incentive compensation plan that provided employees with shares of restricted company stock at a reduced price in lieu of a portion of the employee’s annual cash compensation. Under the Plan, the employees … Continue Reading

CALIFORNIA SUPREME COURT SAYS EMPLOYERS CAN SAY “NO!”

The California Supreme Court has ruled that an employer may terminate an employee for using marijuana for medical purposes.  In Ross v. RagingWire Telecommunications, Inc. the employee, Gary Ross, suffered from strain and muscle spasms in his back due to his service in the U.S. Air Force.  The employer, RagingWire, offered Mr. Ross a job, but required him … Continue Reading

TERMINATION OF EMPLOYEE WHO MADE A THREAT IN THE WORKPLACE CALLED INTO QUESTION WHERE EMPLOYER’S REACTION SUGGESTED THAT STATEMENTS WERE NOT ACTUALLY PERCEIVED AS A THREAT

In Industrial Dielectric, 123 LA 822 (Arb 2006), a recent arbitration decision, an employer’s immediate reaction to an employee’s threatening actions towards the Vice President for Human Resources was closely scrutinized to determine whether the employer actually perceived the employee’s actions as a threat.  Specifically, at issue was whether termination of the employee who made … Continue Reading

California Supreme Court Clarifies Standard For Employment “Discharge” For Imposition Of Waiting Time Penalties

On July 10, 2006, the California Supreme Court issued its long-awaited decision in Smith v. L’Oreal. The Court found that an employee is "discharged" for purposes of Labor Code Section 201 (requiring immediate payment at discharge) and Section 203 (waiting time penalties) not just when an employee is involuntarily terminated from an ongoing employment relationship, but … Continue Reading
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