Company Websites and Applicant Disabilities

In recent employment cases filed in California, plaintiffs — potential job applicants — have alleged California employers have an obligation to make their job application websites accessible to the visually impaired under California’s Fair Employment and Housing Act (“FEHA”), the state’s version of Title I of the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”). Under this law, employers must take affirmative, proactive measures to ensure those with disabilities have the same access to their goods and services as do sighted job applicants. However, employers do not have an obligation to provide the specific requested accommodation from applicants. Employers must simply provide an effective accommodation.
Steps Employers Can Take

Gender Discrimination: Still Present in California Workplaces

A Los Angeles jury has awarded a former UCLA oncologist $13 million in damages in a gender discrimination case. Dr. Lauren Pinter-Brown claimed that while she was working at UCLA, she was subjected to harsher treatment than her male colleagues and that when she did complain about her treatment, her employer retaliated against her.

The jury agreed, awarding $3 million in economic damages and $10 million in non-economic damages against UCLA. This recent decision highlights the need for thorough training about workplace discrimination and uniform reporting and investigation procedures for following up on discrimination complaints.

Employment Update: The California New Parent Leave Act

As of January 1, 2018, California’s small employers—those who employ 20 to 49 employees within a 75-mile radius—must provide job-protected unpaid leave for new parents to bond with a newborn child. This law is significant because it increases the number of employers who must provide parental leave. Employees of larger companies are entitled to job-protected leave under federal law.

Insurance Companies Owe Certain Duties to Policyholders

An insurance policy is supposed to provide the insured policyholder with peace of mind: the policyholder and the insurance company have a contract stating that in exchange for premium, the insurance company will pay medical bills and provide other compensation in the event of an injury to the policyholder. Insurance is the only product that a consumer purchases which she hopes she never has to use. Unfortunately, however, when a claim is ultimately made, insurance companies do not always hold up their end of the bargain.  When that occurs,  a policyholder should consult a lawyer for assistance.

When Insurance Companies Don’t Act in Their Clients’ Best Interests

Insurance companies and policyholders agree to a number of terms in an insurance contract. For example, a company might agree to insure a business’s manufacturing plant in the event of a disaster such as a flood, in exchange for the corporation paying monthly premiums to the insurance company.

What’s more, every insurance policy in California is deemed by law to contain an “implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing.” This means the insurance company is supposed to treat policyholders fairly. Unfortunately, this does not always happen.

How Do Insurance Companies Adjust Workers Comp Premiums?

Insurance companies adjust workers’ compensation premiums based on a company’s actual losses compared with the “expected” losses of all other similarly sized companies in the same industry. This adjustment, or experience modification, is expressed as a percentage. A company with an experience modification of more than 100% has had a greater-than-expected number of claims (a worse-than-average experience), while a company with an experience modification of less than 100% percent has had a fewer-than-expected number of claims (a better-than-average experience).