Author Archives: Brian Inamine

Brian Inamine

About: Brian Inamine

Mr. Inamine focuses his practice on counseling and representing employers. He regularly defends companies against wrongful termination, discrimination, retaliation and harassment claims involving race, ethnicity, age, national origin, disability, religion, gender, and sexual orientation. Also, he defends employers against administrative charges filed with the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing and the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, and against Unruh/ADA access claims.

National Origin Discrimination: California to up the Ante

Remember the travel ban? The Wall? Ramped up deportations? California is moving to counter and guard against potential negative employment consequences for foreign-born workers and more.  The California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH), the agency charged with enforcing the state’s civil rights laws, is considering new regulations to implement or enhance California’s national-original discrimination statute. The current statute, Government Code §12940, identifies national origin as a prohibited basis for discrimination, but doesn’t provide details. The DFEH is empowered to promulgate regulations interpreting and implementing this statute and others. Cal. Gov’t Code §12935(a). So what enhancements are contained in …


California Equal Pay a Reality In 2016

California employers, prepare yourselves (again). The State has added a larger arrow to the plaintiff’s quiver – more equal pay. Decades before the Lily Ledbetter Fair Pay Act was implemented, California had a comparable equal pay statute in place. Enacted in 1949, the California Equal Pay Act (“Old Act”) provided equal pay protections to the opposite sex. But, the Old Act did not age well, its flaws uncovered. Critics bemoaned the Old Act’s limitations, including a difficult burden of proof, ambiguous affirmative defense, and the lack of an anti-retaliation provision found in other employment statutes. The time had come for …


Berwick vs. Uber: Small Decision, Uber-Sized Headache

In a somewhat unexpected, but not that surprising, ruling, the California Labor Commissioner, on June 3, 2015, issued a 12-page decision in favor of a pro se plaintiff driver against mighty Uber Technologies, Inc. for misclassification of the plaintiff as an independent contractor instead of an employee. The award though a modest $4,152.20 may have a multi-million dollar impact upon Uber and its competitors, particularly their business model and foundational argument that they are “just a neutral technological platform.” The path started out difficult for Uber. The Labor Commissioner noted that California law presumes that a worker providing personal, not …


California Employee Termination – Getting It Right

Letting an employee go is never easy. No one wants to be the bearer of bad news, especially in California where employee terminations seem to frequently end in (or begin) claims or lawsuits alleging discrimination, harassment, or retaliation. Avoiding, or reducing, the risks of claims and suits requires preparation before, during (including the termination meeting), and after the employment. Preparation should start before the employment Be sure your company has written policies and procedures about handling employee complaints or concerns relating to discrimination, harassment, and retaliation. Have written discipline policies and evaluation processes to show that the company takes employee …


Body Modification – New, Protected Religious Practice?

Ever have a sales employee show up at work with a first-time facial piercing? Or, have a job applicant arrive at the interview sporting a hard-to-hide tattoo of some thing reveling in the black arts or an image of Beelzebub? The HR decision is easy, right? Send the pierced employee home with instructions not to wear the adornment at work, and tell the job applicant that the company will never hire someone bearing that ink. Ten or even five years ago, these employment actions might have been uncomplicated and legal. Perhaps no more. California’s passage of AB 1964, which added …


New California Employment Statutes for 2013

As we have reported every year, the California Legislature likes to create more procedural hurdles for, and more potential claims against, employers.  2013 will be no exception. AB 1396 & AB 2675 (Commission Agreements) AB 1396 requires all commission-based compensation be in writing.  And, it must specify how commissions will be calculated and paid, a copy must be given to the employee, and the employer must receive a signed receipt acknowledgement from the employee.  Also, the terms survive the agreement’s expiration and remain in effect unless the employee is no longer working under its terms or the commission agreement is superseded. …


California Anti-Religious Discrimination Laws Expanded

It wasn’t a surprise.  California is probably the most religiously diverse, pro-employee state in the U.S.  The issue of wearing religious garb at work had been festering for some time.  Perhaps the most publicized example was of a Muslim female employee claiming that Disneyland had illegally refused to accommodate her request to wear her religious head scarf, or hijab, while working as a restaurant hostess.  So, when California’s Governor, Jerry Brown, recently signed AB 1964 into law (effective January 1, 2013), adding religious clothing and grooming as protected religious practices, employers and employment lawyers were not completely caught off guard. …


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