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Total Articles: 8

The California Supreme Court Finally Weighs In on Suitable Seating

On April 4, 2016, the California Supreme Court took a stand by issuing a long-awaited opinion in Kirby v. CVS Pharmacy, Inc. The decision clarifies certain ambiguities in an employer’s obligation to provide suitable seating to employees. At issue was a provision in California’s Wage Orders that requires employers to provide all employees “with suitable seats when the nature of the work reasonably permits the use of seats.” The Court held that “nature of the work” refers to the task performed at a given location where the employee is claiming a right to a suitable seat, instead of a holistic approach. The Court also adopted a “totality of the circumstances” test to assess whether a work location “reasonably permits” suitable seating.

California Supreme Court Tells Both Sides to Sit Down

Executive Summary: The California Supreme Court's recent decision in Kilby v. CVS Pharmacy/Henderson v. JPMorgan Chase has clarified the state's standards concerning when employers must provide suitable seating to their employees. While the holding will permit employees to sit on the job under certain circumstances based on the nature of work actually performed (rather than an abstract, such as a job description), the state high court validated a reasonable interpretation of the requirement that permits employers to use their business judgment (including customer service considerations) and the physical layout of workspaces when determining whether seating is required.

California Supreme Court Rules That Employees May Have Right To Sit During Working Hours

On April 4, 2016, the California Supreme Court ruled that employers must provide an employee with seating if the employee’s tasks at a discrete location make seated work feasible, even if the employee’s job duties include other standing tasks. This ruling is likely to have a dramatic effect on many California employers, particularly those in the retail industry. As a result, you will now have to consider whether the nature of your employees’ work permits work to be performed seated and whether you will have to provide seating (Kilby v. CVS Pharmacy, Inc.).

California Court Finds Duty to Accommodate Does Not Extend to Off-Site Employees Who Fail to Engage in Interactive Process

In this era of rapidly evolving technology, information technology (IT) providers frequently staff their employees at locations where their products are being used. IT providers supply their skilled talent to businesses in various industries, such as healthcare or biotechnology, in order to provide technological support for the use of their products. In such cases, a question can arise regarding the extent of an employer’s duty to accommodate an employee’s disability when the employer is not on-site where the work is being performed. A California Court of Appeal recently confronted this issue in an unpublished case, Poll v. Hewlett-Packard.

Top 10 Mistakes to Avoid During the Reasonable Accommodation Process

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and California Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) both require employers to make reasonable accommodations for qualified individuals with disabilities, provided that the accommodations do not impose an “undue hardship” on the employer.

Caltrans Liable for Failure to Properly Address Employee’s Requests for Accommodation

Kamali v. California Department of Transportation, No. B247756 (March 17, 2015): In an unpublished opinion, the California Court of Appeal recently upheld a jury’s verdict finding the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) liable for failure to provide a reasonable accommodation and failure to engage in the interactive process.

The Interactive Process Dance, Part Two: What Happens When the Music Stops?

Part one of this two-part series covered the details of the interactive process in California and discussed a scenario in which the employee fails to respond to the employer’s attempts to communicate on an accommodation to his disability. Part two covers two additional scenarios and provides key take-aways to be drawn from recent California court rulings on the interactive process.

The Interactive Process Dance, Part One: What Happens When the Music Stops?

California employers are not only required to refrain from discriminating against any employee on the basis of disability, but they also have an obligation to provide “reasonable accommodations” for employees with disabilities. Additionally, the California Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) provides that to determine whether there is an effective and reasonable accommodation that can be implemented, employers and employees must participate in a mutual, good-faith interactive process. While this sounds like a relatively simple obligation, it has become a topic that often confuses employers and employees alike. In litigation, the issue of the interactive process has become one of the most important aspects for litigants, counsel, and judges. An article in the September 2010 issue of the California Labor & Employment Law Review examined the steps of the interactive process “tango.” This article explores what happens when, for whatever reason, the process comes to an end.
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