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We provide businesses and public agencies with quick updates on legal developments as they happen. These alerts are handy reference guides for staying abreast of current issues impacting your organization.

October 19, 2017

California Employment Legislation Establishes New Training, Leave, and Hiring Obligations for 2018

The 2017 California legislative session closed October 15, 2017, with Governor Jerry Brown waiting until the last days of the session to sign several bills affecting employers. Below is a summary of the employment-related bills that were signed into law and vetoed by Governor Brown. Unless otherwise noted, changes to the law are effective January 1, 2018.


October 18, 2017

California Governor Signs Bills Banning Criminal History and Salary History Questions on Employment Applications

Days before the end of the 2017 California legislative session, Governor Jerry Brown signed two bills into law, which ban asking about criminal convictions and salary history on employment applications starting on January 1, 2018. Each of the bills is discussed below in more detail.


October 13, 2017

New Legislation Gives Rights to Student School Board Members

Under Education Code section 35012, a school district must appoint a student school board member upon receiving a petition signed by 10% of high school students in the district or 500 high school students, whichever is less, requesting student representation on the governing board. The current law also allows for submission of a student petition, whether at the same time or separate from the petition for representation, requesting the board allow the student board member(s) to cast a preferential vote. The student’s preferential vote is recorded in the board meeting minutes but does not play a role in determining the final outcome of a vote.


October 3, 2017

The Supreme Court Will Decide Whether Public Employees Must Pay Agency Fees to Unions

On September 28th, the U.S. Supreme Court agreed to decide whether a public sector employee who is not a union member can be required to pay "agency fees" to a union. Twenty-two states, including California, currently compel public employees to pay these fees.


September 22, 2017

U.S. Department of Education Withdraws Prior OCR Guidance on Campus Sexual Misconduct Under Title IX

On September 22, 2017, under the leadership of Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos, the federal Department of Education (Department) withdrew two Office for Civil Rights (OCR) guidance documents and replaced them with new, interim guidance.


September 12, 2017

Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals Holds That Forgiving Past Misconduct Is Not a Reasonable Accommodation

In the recent case of Alamillo v. BNSF Railway Co., _ F.3d. _, 2017 WL 3648514 (August 25, 2017), the Plaintiff-Appellant Antonio Alamillo filed suit against Defendant-Appellee BNSF Railway Company (BNSF), claiming that it had terminated him from his job as a locomotive engineer in violation of the California Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA), Cal. Gov. Code § 12940 et seq. Alamillo specifically contended that he was discriminated against because of his alleged disability, “obstructive sleep apnea” (OSA), because that condition allegedly caused him to miss six calls to work over a three-month period which resulted in his termination. He also contended that BNSF failed to reasonably accommodate his OSA by excusing the past missed calls once it learned of his condition.


September 6, 2017

The End of DACA: Q & A for Educational Agencies

On September 5, 2017, the Trump Administration announced it would phase out the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program over the next six months, affecting some 800,000 DACA recipients. According to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, more than 400,000 people living in California have applied for the DACA program since its inception under the Obama Administration in 2012. The decision to phase out DACA raises a host of questions and impacts educational communities as students, employees, and families respond to this news.


September 1, 2017

Appellate Court Ruling: Absent a “Clear Showing,” the Presumption Is That a Memorandum of Understanding Does Not Create a Vested Right

On August 22, 2017, a California appellate court ruled that a Memorandum of Understanding ("MOU") between the Vallejo Police Officers Association ("Police Association") and the City of Vallejo ("City") did not provide a vested right to a retiree medical benefit that covered insurance premiums up to the full cost of a Kaiser health plan. Vallejo Police Officers Association v. City of Vallejo, 2017 WL 3600572. In reaching this conclusion, the appellate court determined that the Police Association failed to present sufficient evidence of the City’s intent to create such a vested right. In other words, the Police Association did not sufficiently show that the City intended the promise relating to retiree medical benefits to survive beyond the MOU’s specified period. This ruling reinforces the California Supreme Court’s holding in Retired Employees Association of Orange County, Inc. v. County of Orange (2011) 52 Cal.4th 1171, 1182 ("REAOC"), that a party asserting that contract rights are vested rights must overcome the presumption that an MOU does not create vested rights.


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