Stoel Rives Labor & Employment News Digest - August 2008
California Court Upholds One-Year Statute of Limitation to Arbitrate FEHA Claim
In Pearson Dental Suppliers, Inc. v. Superior Court, the California Court of Appeal (Second District) enforced an arbitration agreement requiring the employee to bring any claims within one year, despite the "hybrid" two year statute of limitations in California's Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA). For more on this case, check out this article on the World of Work Blog.
Major Changes to ADA Coming
A bill currently winding its way through Congress is likely to bring significant changes to the Americans with Disabilities Act. The bill, known as the ADA Amendments Act ("ADAAA"), will greatly broaden the scope of the ADA. The ADAAA passed the House of Representatives on June 25, 2008 by a vote of 402-17. The bill was introduced to the Senate on August 1, and reports are that at least 70 senators have vowed to support the bill. A vote is expected when the Senate reconvenes in September. No word yet from the White House on whether President Bush will sign the bill into law, but it seems to have a veto-proof majority.
More on the ADAAA is available here on the World of Work Blog. To read an official summary of the ADAAA, click here. To read the full text of the current bill, click here. Stay tuned to the World of Work Blog for updates on this landmark legislation. .
Washington Mail Carrier Demands Right to Wear Kilt at Work
A six-foot-tall, 250-pound mail carrier in Lacey, Washington wants the U.S. Postal Service to add kilts as a uniform option for men, according to this article from the Seattle Post Intelligencer. David Peterson, the mail carrier/kilt enthusiast in question, has successfully lobbied the Oregon and Washington mail carrier union locals to endorse kilts. Why does Peterson want to wear a kilt? According to him, "In one word, it's comfort." With his build, he said, his thighs "fill slacks to capacity, causing chafing and scarring."
Scarring? Really? If so, could Peterson have a disability claim? In any event, this author is now shopping for a nice, business-casual Utilikilt.
California Employers Required To Offer, But Not Police, Meal and Rest Breaks
California employers scored a major victory regarding meal and rest periods as the result of a new California Court of Appeal decision, Brinker Restaurant Corp. v. Superior Court. Under the ruling, employers must provide meal periods by making them available, but need not ensure that they are taken. To read Stoel Rives' detailed synopsis of the case, click here.
Russian Judge: Sexual Harassment Necessary for Procreation
A Russian judge recently ruled that sexual harassment is lawful because it's necessary for human procreation. Really. We're not making this up. According to the judge, sexual harassment is "gallant," not criminal: "If we had no sexual harassment we would have no children," wrote the judge in his opinion dismissing a female executive's lawsuit. If you don't believe us, check out what the U.K. Telegraph has to say.
Don't expect this to become a successful defense in this country any time soon. If you have an employee who thinks sexual harassment is "gallant," have him or her read this fact sheet on sexual harassment from our friends at the EEOC.
California Paid Sick Leave Bill Dies in Committee
A California bill to provide universal paid sick leave died in committee last month, following intensive lobbying efforts from small businesses and their lobbyists. The bill would have granted employees of small companies in California up to five days of paid sick leave each year, while workers at larger companies could take up to nine days a year. For more on this law, and a funny video on how laws are made, check out this article on the World of Work Blog.
California Supreme Court Confirms Noncompetes Are Invalid
In a 7-0 decision earlier this month, the California Supreme Court held that a noncompetition agreement signed by a former Arthur Andersen CPA was invalid under California law. In Edwards v. Arthur Andersen LLP, the court reminded us that noncompetition agreements are invalid under California's Business and Professions Code section 16,600, even if they are written narrowly enough to not deprive persons of their right to pursue their profession. The court specifically rejected the "narrow restraint" exception to section 16,600 that had previously been adopted by the Ninth Circuit, under which employers could enforce noncompetes that did not "entirely preclude" an employee from practicing his or her trade. .
Oregon Supreme Court: Corporate Directors Are Not Employees
In Necanicum Investment Co. v. Employment Department, the Oregon Supreme Court recently ruled that a corporation's directors are not employees, and therefore not subject to Oregon's unemployment tax. For more on this story, see this article on the World of Work Blog.
Oregon Court of Appeals Rules Obesity Surgery Is Covered by Workers' Compensation
In SAIF Corp. v. Sprague, the Oregon Court of Appeals ruled earlier this month that an obese employee's gastric bypass surgery was covered by workers' compensation. For the full opinion, click here. For our coverage on the World of Work Blog, click here.
More World of Work Available Online
Can't get enough World of Work? Don't worry, we've got you covered. Last month, Stoel Rives launched the World of Work Law Blog with in-depth stories, funnier jokes, more pictures and frequent updates. Point your browser there, add a bookmark and be sure to check back regularly.
Contact your Stoel Rives Labor and Employment attorney if you have questions about this or other workplace issues. For a list of attorneys in the Labor and Employment group, click here.
This is a publication of the Stoel Rives Labor and Employment group for the benefit and information of clients and friends. This bulletin is not legal advice or a legal opinion on specific facts or circumstances. The contents are intended for informational purposes only. Copyright 2008, Stoel Rives LLP.
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