Lions and Tigers and Bears, Oh My!

Support Animals in the Workplace

California employers are familiar with service dogs as a reasonable accommodation for employees and applicants with disabilities. But, what about “support” animals?  In 2013, the California Fair Employment and Housing Act (“FEHA”) required California employers to allow “assistive animals” in the workplace as a reasonable accommodation. Assistive animals include service dogs, but also support animals that provide “emotional or other support to a person with a disability, including but not limited to, traumatic brain injuries or mental disabilities, such as major depression.” 

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Medical Marijuana and the Workplace

California’s Compassionate Use Act (CUA) of 1996 decriminalized the use of marijuana for medicinal purposes. However, it did not legalize marijuana. It only shields medical users and caregivers from criminal liability. Recently, Governor Brown signed into law three bills (Assembly Bill 266, Assembly Bill 243, and Senate Bill 643) that comprise the California Medical Marijuana Regulation and Safety Act (MMRSA). While the MMRSA deals with various medical marijuana regulations, it does nothing to impede an employer’s right to maintain a drug free workplace.

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A CLOSE CALL: How Uber is Changing the 1099

The recent upswing in app based driving services like Uber have blurred the line between employees and independent contractors.   

At first glance, it would seem that Uber drivers are clearly independent contractors.  Drivers enjoy the flexibility of when and where they accept assignments, while Uber is able to minimize business costs since the usual benefits afforded employees are absent (overtime pay, minimum wage, meal breaks, unemployment insurance, workers' compensation, etc.).  However, recent holdings have altered any clear distinction between the two classifications.  The result is a multitude of so called independent contractors claiming to be employees entitled to benefits that traditional employees are guaranteed.

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