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Doug Larsen

California HR

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A Pregnant Employee's "Secret" Emails Sinks Her Case

Consider the case of Gina Holmes, who sued her employer, Petrovich Development Company, asserting causes of action for sexual harassment, retaliation, wrongful termination, violation of privacy and intentional infliction of emotional distress.  (Holmes v. Petrovich Dev. Co., LLC 2011 DAR 671.)  Gina interviewed and was hired in June 2004.  In July 2004 she announced her pregnancy, her December 7th due date, and her intention to work until the due date, and take only six weeks of leave. 

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Waiting Period Penalties Can Come Back To Haunt An Employer

In California, failing to pay an employee all of his/her wages at the time of termination (or within three days in certain circumstances) results in waiting period penalties pursuant to Labor Code section 203.  This penalty, calculated at the employee's daily wage, grows each day the employee is not paid all wages, up to a maximum of 30 days. 

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It Can Happen Anywhere -- Employees Claiming Hostile Work Environment

Perhaps it's karma or even justice.  The LA Daily Journal (a legal newspaper) reported on December 20, 2010, that an investigator who worked for a plaintiff's law firm filed a lawsuit alleging a hostile work environment.  She claims partners made derogatory comments about women, discussed porn at work, and even took some employees to a strip club after the firm's holiday party.  Allegedly, at the strip club, a partner purchased a lap dance for a co-worker about whom the plaintiff had complained.  The partner told him to imaging the dancer was the plaintiff. 

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E-Discovery, The Stray Remarks Doctrine and Reid v. Google

Those of you who attended this morning's Legal Beagle Bagel Breakfast ("LBBB") enjoyed a great training course on the stray remarks doctrine and it's limited use in California courts.  Travis Stokes also discussed the California E-Discovery Rules, and how, between these rules and the court's ruling in Reid v. Google employers must be cautious with e-communications, and also routinely and in good faith destroy email communications. 

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