Mar 23, 2017 Business & Facilities

Appellate Court Holds that Town Violated Brown Act by Excluding Items of Business from its Agenda Where Members of the Public Did Not Comment on the Items

In November 2013, the Town of Apple Valley passed a measure in a special election (the Initiative) that allowed for a 30-acre commercial development, which would include a Walmart Supercenter.  Walmart provided a gift to the Town to pay for the election and the Town accepted the payment by adopting a memorandum of understanding (MOU) at a regular council meeting held in August 2013, prior to the special election.  The Town also adopted three resolutions at the August 2013 meeting, including a resolution to call a special election on the Initiative, and that the Initiative would be titled Dale Evans Parkways Commercial Specific Plan (the Specific Plan).  Neither the resolutions nor the Specific Plan were on the agenda for the council meeting.  In addition, the agenda did not provide a description of the Initiative, and the resolutions adopted did not mention the Initiative in their text.  The agenda packet included information that the Town council could act at the meeting by submitting the Initiative to the voters in the special election, and was available online, at the library, and in the clerk’s office.  

Mar 15, 2017 Client Update

An Employer’s Past Practices and Policies Concerning the Duration of Reasonable Accommodations Can Establish the Reasonableness of Future Accommodations

The Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) gives employers many responsibilities as to applicants and employees with disabilities.  This case provides guidance on how these responsibilities function in the context of Police Academy training.     

Mar 15, 2017 Client Update

Hugging a Subordinate Can Create a Hostile Work Environment

A county correctional officer sued the county and its sheriff, alleging that the sheriff created a sexually hostile work environment in violation of Title VII of the federal Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the California Fair Employment and Housing Act.  The officer claimed that, during a 12-year period, the sheriff greeted her with unwelcome hugs on over 100 occasions, and an unwelcome kiss at least once, thereby creating a sexually hostile work environment.  

Mar 15, 2017 Client Update

Employee Who Was Terminated After Refusing to Work with His Alleged Harasser Gets his Day in Court

Efrain Reynaga and his son worked for Roseburg Forest Products where they were the only millwrights of Mexican descent.  The lead millwright, Timothy Branaugh, allegedly harassed Reynaga with racially disparaging comments.  After Reynaga made verbal and written complaints, management initiated an investigation into Reynaga’s allegations.  Ultimately, the company adjusted Branaugh’s schedule so that he and the Reynagas would not work the same shift.  

Mar 15, 2017 Client Update

County Attorney’s Comments to Reporter Regarding Settlement of Lawsuit Were Not Constitutionally Protected Speech

The First Amendment protects speech that a public employee makes as a private citizen, but not speech made in the employee’s official capacity.  This case demonstrates that the line between the two is not always clear.

Mar 15, 2017 Client Update

MMBA Authorizes Agency Shop Arrangement that is Applicable Only to New Employees

An agency shop arrangement requires employees who opt out of union membership to pay a service fee to the union, in lieu of membership dues, as a condition of continued employment.  The fee is meant to account for the fact that these employees incidentally benefit from union activities such as collective bargaining.  Government Code section 3502.5 of the Meyers-Milias-Brown Act (MMBA) permits the establishment of an agency shop arrangement following negotiations or, if negotiations fail, through approval by a simple voting majority of unit employees.