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Photo of Employment Law Observer Mellissa A. Schafer
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mschafer@hinshawlaw.com
310-909-8000
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Mellissa Schafer concentrates her trial practice in the representation of employers in labor and employment matters as well as general liability …

Showing 7 posts by Mellissa A. Schafer.

Supreme Court Leaves Transgender Bathroom Issue Unresolved

Gavin Grimm is a transgender boy living in Virginia.  Grimm attends school in the Gloucester County School District, which adopted a new policy requiring students to use the bathroom of their birth gender.  Previously, Grimm had been given permission to use the boys restroom and did so for almost 2 months without any incident.   After complaints from parents, the new policy was put into place. Grimm fought this new policy requesting the right to continue using the boys' restroom. More ›

Title VII Posting Violation Penalties Increase 150% Effective July 1, 2016

The EEOC has increased the maximum penalty for employers that violate the posting provisions of Title VII, the Americans with Disability Act ("ADA") and the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act ("GINA") from $210 to $525 per violation, more than doubling the prior penalty amount. They state the increase is due to inflation and the Federal Civil Penalties Inflation Adjustment Act Improvements Act of 2015. The increase goes into effect July 1, 2016. The last increase was in 2014 but this increase is the largest increase in history. More ›

Amex Employment Arbitration Policy held Unlawful by NLRB

Amex Card Services Company ("Amex") operates a call center in Phoenix, AZ.  Amex required all new hires to sign an acknowledgement form acknowledging receipt and understanding of its Arbitration Policy as a condition of employment.  The policy mandated final and binding arbitration to resolve all employment-related disputes.  The policy also mandated that all claims subject to arbitration be submitted on an individual basis.  More ›

Texas Supreme Court Clarifies Employer Liability on Obvious risk in Workplace Injuries

It's not too often that we hear of an employer being able to escape liability for a workplace injury, where the injury does, in fact, happen to an employee and it happens in the workplace. Below, we'll discuss a case where an employer did just that, however. More ›

California Employers Beware: cell Phones Present Another area for Class Action Potential

In August 2014, the California State Court of Appeals (2nd Circuit, Division 2) decided in Cochran v. Schawan's Home Service that employers were responsible for reimbursing employees for the business use of personal cell phones. Most cell phone users have unlimited minute plans so the question before the court was whether reimbursement was warranted even if the employee did not incur an extra expense. The answer: reimbursement is always required. The California Supreme Court has denied a petition to review this case so this holding stands. Employers with employees in the state of California should be mindful of this decision and take steps to implement policies which comply with the law (e.g., provide company cell phones, provide for reimbursement of actual cell phone usage for business-related calls, or provide a flat amount of reimbursement per month per employee).

Hinshaw attorneys are available to assist employers implement and enforce such policies.

Co-Workers’ Seemingly Ageist Remarks Insufficient to Create Triable Issue of fact in ADEA Case

During the course of an investigation into employees fraudulently submitting falsified customer service surveys, a 60 year-old employee was terminated. He subsequently filed an age-discrimination claim in Texas state court pursuant to the Texas Commission on Human Rights Act (TCHRA) and the federal Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA). In support of his claim, he claimed his co-workers called him names like "old man," "old fart," "pops," and "grandpa," but he never reported this before he was terminated. The District Court granted summary judgment on behalf of the employer. The employee appealed, contending the District Court 1) used the wrong causation standard in analyzing his termination and 2) erred in granting summary judgment on his hostile work environment claim. More ›

NFL Player Denied Right to Workers’ Compensation Benefits in California

Former professional football player Bruce Matthews was a 19 year veteran of the NFL who retired in 2002 when he was with the Tennessee Titans. In 2008, he filed a claim in California claiming a right to workers' compensation benefits, even though there was no specific injury in California. After the claim was filed, the Titans filed a grievance against Matthews arguing that the suit violated his employment contract which specifically provided that any workers' compensation claim would be governed by Tennessee law. Due to a binding arbitration clause in a collective bargaining agreement, the parties ultimately arbitrated the dispute. The arbitrator found the choice of law provision to be valid and controlling, and ordered Matthews to "cease and desist" with the filing in California. Subsequently, Matthews filed suit in federal court to vacate the arbitration award. The District Court denied his request and confirmed the Arbitrator's Award. More ›

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