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Police Officer v. City (2016) – Following a two-day hearing, a Personnel Appeals Board upheld the termination of a Police Officer for dishonesty and failing to properly investigate and report domestic violence. The Police Officer responded to a call for a battery and arrived on the scene to find evidence of domestic violence. The Officer, however, failed to follow Department policies and procedures and adequately investigate the domestic violence. At the hearing, the Officer admitted his investigation was deficient and he could have done a better job. Even more troubling, however, is that when the Officer was investigated for failing to properly investigate the domestic violence, he provided misleading and dishonest statements. While the Officer stated he did not notice visible signs of domestic violence on the night of the incident, the body camera video plainly shows that he noticed an injury on the victim that night. The Board upheld his termination for dishonesty.

Former Fire Chief v. City (2023) – A city manager terminated the fire chief for comments made at a public meeting and on a podcast that lacked compassion, sensitivity or judgment regarding civil unrest after George Floyd’s murder.  The former fire chief sued in U.S. District Court for retaliation in violation of Labor Code section 1102.5, retaliation for exercising his right to free speech in violation of the First Amendment, and violation of the Firefighters Procedural Bill of Rights Act.  The LCW team won a motion to dismiss and then won a motion for summary judgment as to the remaining claims.

Community College District v. Former Employee (2023) – Convinced the court to grant a three-year Workplace Violence Restraining Order, preventing a former employee from harassing and threatening three community college district employees. The judge found that although the former employee has a First Amendment right to threaten another with a legal claim, the vulgar and threatening portion of the former employee’s text messages had no legitimate purpose. This Restraining Order prohibits the former employee from contacting, approaching, or interacting with the three employees for three years.

Scott v. Azusa Pacific University, et. al (2019) – A former employee of the University’s Campus Safety Department brought claims of wage and hour violations, wrongful termination, sexual harassment, retaliation, emotional distress, and workplace violence against the University.  Plaintiff claimed that he was entitled to overtime for the time he spent socializing and going to the movies with the former Chief of the department, as well as for time he spent doing the Chief’s homework.  The firm obtained dismissal of the claim for sexual harassment on demurrer on the grounds that APU was exempt from the Fair Employment and Housing Act as a religious corporation.  The firm then initially obtained summary adjudication on all causes of action except the wage and hour claims.  On the wage and hour claims, the trial court found that while the employee was an exempt executive employee, a question of fact remained as to whether he was entitled to overtime compensation for the hours he was on-call, which the employee claimed was 24/7.  The firm sought a writ of mandate from the Court of Appeal on the basis that the employee was not entitled to any additional pay for on-call time once he was found to be exempt from overtime.  The Court of Appeal issued a coercive Palma notice to the trial court stating its intention to grant the peremptory writ of mandate.  In response, the trial court scheduled a further hearing and then granted summary judgment to APU in its entirety.

Special District v. Former Employee (2019)In this case, one employee assaulted another employee, without provocation, at the Special District workplace. The employee who was attacked did not know why the other employee assaulted him. The Special District terminated the attacker-employee, but thereafter, other employees saw him in the parking lot and they were concerned.  The employee who was attacked feared he would be attacked again if he encountered the former-employee. Kalinski guided the employee’s testimony in court about the attack and his fears that it could re-occur.  In response, the court issued a permanent restraining order that keeps the attacker away from the employee and the worksite for three years.

Miller v. City of Los Angeles, et. al. (2015) – In a whistleblower retaliation federal lawsuit, the former Independent Assessor for the City of Los Angeles’s Fire Commission brought a lawsuit against the City and several individual defendants, alleging FEHA, § 1983, and Labor Code 1102.5 violations.  The firm obtained complete summary judgment on all causes of action on behalf of the City, the Mayor, all five Fire Commissioners, and a Mayoral employee.

To Pay Or Not To Pay? The Ninth Circuit Addresses Whether Work Time Is Compensable Or De Minimis
California Public Agency Labor & Employment Blog

In Cadena v. Customer Connexx LLC, decided on July 10, 2024, the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit (which includes California) recently affirmed the applicability of the “de minimis” doctrine, which provides that under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) employers are not...

What Employers Need to Know about California’s New Reproductive Loss Leave Law
California Public Agency Labor & Employment Blog

It was Friday July 5, 2013.  I was sitting in my doctor’s office.  I was desperately hoping I was fine, but had a sinking feeling I was having a miscarriage.  The doctor’s office was packed because it was closed the day before.  I was anxious, scared, and had a current of emotions coursing through...

Raines v. U.S. Healthworks Medical Group Rains Down Liability Under FEHA To Business-Entity Agents
California Public Agency Labor & Employment Blog

On August 21, 2023, the California Supreme Court’s decision in Raines v. U.S. Healthworks Medical Group significantly expanded the scope of potential liability under the Fair Employment and Housing Act (“FEHA”) to an employer’s business-entity agents that have five or more employees.

Five Considerations For Background Checks Of Nonprofit Volunteers

Many nonprofits are powered by dedicated volunteers, who assist with programs and special events, interact with the public, and serve as directors.  However, many nonprofits overlook background checks on volunteers as an essential risk management tool, particularly for volunteers that work with...

Don’t Stay Silent In An Era of Quiet Quitting
California Public Agency Labor & Employment Blog

What is “quiet quitting?”  After a recent tiktok post went viral, as described below, quiet quitting has been all over social media and the internet.  A google search on “quiet quitting” turns up 315,000,000 hits!  But what exactly is quiet quitting, where did it come from, and what should public...

The Government’s Flagpole or the Public’s? The U.S. Supreme Court Rules Against Boston in First Amendment Case
California Public Agency Labor & Employment Blog

When does a City create a public form for speech under the First Amendment?  When can a City restrict which flags fly on a City flagpoles?  When can a City limit religious speech under the First Amendment?  The United States Supreme Court addressed these questions in its unanimous decision...

Must Have Employee Policies for California Nonprofits

Most nonprofits are proud to focus on achieving their do-good mission. But because nonprofits, like all organizations and corporations, are run by employees, nonprofits must also comply with many employment laws. Employees in California have specific rights, and employers are affirmatively...

Masks May Come Off, But Is Remote Litigation Here To Stay?
California Public Agency Labor & Employment Blog

After two years of the Covid-19 pandemic, things are looking optimistic in California.  Covid case numbers and hospitalizations are declining and mask requirements are loosening.  For many, myself included, this is great news and a much needed “return to normal.”  At the same time, however, the...

What To Do When Employees Decline COVID-19 Vaccinations?
California Public Agency Labor & Employment Blog

One year after the public health emergency caused by COVID-19 began, hope is on the horizon as vaccine production and distribution increases and eligibility criteria for vaccinations expands.  With many employees teleworking during the pandemic, employers are starting to consider post-pandemic...

Do Good Mission; Do Good Employees

Many employees who work at nonprofits are energized and proud to support their organization’s “do good mission.”   A nonprofit’s employees can impede the organization’s mission, however, if they violate harassment and discrimination laws.
In California, the Fair Employment and Housing Act (“FEHA”),...

Litigating During a Pandemic
California Public Agency Labor & Employment Blog

I moved to Los Angeles from New York 11 years ago.  One of my favorite aspects of practicing law here was appearing in different courthouses throughout Southern California.  I enjoyed seeing the mountains as I drove out to San Bernardino or visiting many courthouses around LA and Orange County.  I...

Special Bulletin: The U.S. Supreme Court Rules That Title VII Protects LGBTQ Workers
LCW Special Bulletin

On June 15, 2020, the United States Supreme Court ruled that Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act protects gay and transgender employees from discrimination.  The Court’s decision was 6-3 and the opinion was authored by Justice Gorsuch, who was joined in the decision by Chief Justice Roberts and...

Working From Home + Homeschooling – A Journey During A Pandemic
California Public Agency Labor & Employment Blog

I’ve been working from home since March 16, 2020 when my children’s school closed.  I am not alone – with the COVID-19 pandemic and safer at home orders, many employees across the country have been working from home.  While restrictions may be easing, without schools reopening, many parents are...

#MeToo 2.0: A Guide to Help Navigate New Workplace Harassment Laws
Western City Magazine

This article highlights some of the major legislative changes affecting employees in the workplace and suggests best practices to protect your agency and create a harassment-free workplace. The #MeToo movement exposed the prevalence of sexual harassment in the workplace. As a result, society is...


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